Story, story, story. I rail a lot about this in music, especially in dark ambient. Albums should tell stories; they lose power when they are a loose assemblage of songs only put together because they were created around the same time. Dark ambient is music, almost like a movie soundtrack, that is built to tell stories best. Throughout my experience listening to dark ambient I have come across several different stories, supernatural ghost stories, post-apocalyptic stories, inter dimensional travel stories, but never have I come across a story like the one I found in Eiva Ada “Madhouse Tranquility.” The album feels as though it was torn from the pages of the Bible, the script for They Live, and Alice in Wonderland and cobbled together. It’s a dystopian tale of madness, thought control and mental rebellion.
When I first found this album, I was struck by the artwork, a terrifying view of what could happen if something like religion completely took control of everyone’s daily life. It’s bleak and foreboding, exactly the kind of thing you would expect from a dark ambient album. The music is eerie and ethereal, like walking through the forest as the fog rolls in. Given the subtle religious feeling I got from the album, I could almost feel myself walking through Puritan New England: religious fanatics on one side, a forbidding forest on the other. The feeling of being trapped adds depth to the musical experience, being trapped in one’s own mind and unable to rebel.
As the music goes on, and the soundscape develops and matures, the subtleties begin to grow and coalesce into brilliantly haunting melodies. The mind control goes deep there, so deep it’s nearly impossible to tell who’s behind it, the music has the same sort of panic inducing effect that watching a crocodile coming out of the water after you has. It’s somehow slow and inexorable but the music creates a sensation that slows the body down. It’s terrifyingly effective. I can say with supreme assuredness that this album exemplifies what I want in a dark ambient album. The unique blend of sound, music, and atmosphere no other genre of music will be able to master.
Listen and support!