Ambient albums are often described, by me, as soundtracks to films that cannot be made. Dark ambient looks into humanity and sees things that we, humanity, cannot. It sees the pain that we hide from everyone, including ourselves, it sees the decay, the façade. What is it about dark ambient and why is it that this music can evoke emotions within the listener that other forms of music simply can’t? How can dark ambient capture emotions and moments that even films cannot? It’s absolutely mind bending to me that dark ambient is still considered a fringe genre. The more I listen to dark ambient, the more I learn about it. I’ve found that dark ambient is less an offshoot of metal and rock as it is of classical music and film soundtrack (the closest we can come to modern day classical composers). Cryo Chamber is one of the best and promoting these unsung heroes, these forgotten geniuses. The debut album from KeOSz is no exception. “Be Left to Oneself” is a brilliant, frank, and melancholic look into human nature.
Given the title of the album, I feel it’s appropriate to say that what I got from the album is deeply personal and really only relevant to me and my mindset. I encourage you now to listen to it without looking for anything. Go into this album with a blank slate on your mind. Allow your own thoughts and beliefs to influence the way you see this album. More so than any dark ambient album I’ve reviewed in the past, Be Left to Oneself is completely wide open to interpretation. So what did I get from this album?
As I said, dark ambient albums, for me, are soundtracks to films that simply cannot be made. Be Left to Oneself is no different in that regard. Where many dark ambient albums are synonymous with horror films and the like Be Left to Oneself is different. When I close my eyes, the images inspired by the beautiful bass driven drone is not horror but drama. Drama is my favorite genre because it looks deep into the human psyche, it looks at emotions that are hard to express and explain. Be Left to Oneself is a wonderful dramatic piece. The tale is intimate and heart wrenching. No matter how I tried to look at it, there was a deep sadness, a melancholy that pervaded the music. Music stirs emotions, that’s really its primary purpose (with a secondary purpose to teach), but the emotions go deeper with Be Left to Oneself. Not only is the music full of the creator’s emotions, but the music is built to reflect the emotions of the listener as well. It’s a mirror that reflects both the creator and the listener. To my immediate knowledge, I’ve never heard something like that before. It’s a technical piece of brilliance. Drama can encompass anything, that’s what I love about it. As long as the center of the film is on human emotions then the plots can be as varied as the emotions we have. So what dramatic story did I discover within KeOSz’s opus? An intimate one, a cast of only a few people set in a remote wilderness. In the midst of technology and innovation, the characters have chosen to live in isolation, free from the mechanical society but still heavily influenced by said society. It’s futuristic but has a very old touch to it, the sound is merely a fresh, new take on things that are very old indeed.
The music is thick with rich distortions and drones that echo and echo but the music is still surprisingly human. It’s an artificial sound but the tones and melodies are distinct. They may have been created through a machine, but they have grown beyond that. They were produced mechanically but grew organically. The music and the sound of Be Left to Oneself have a sort of sci-fi tone to them but I would not call the music sci-fi ambient. Even if the drama that Be Left to Oneself is describing (at least for me) is set in the future, the tone of the “film” is still very old school, focused solely on the people involved rather than the setting.
KeOSz opened up what I would like to call the emotional mirror, a part of four dimensional story telling that gives complete control of the story to the listener-protagonist rather than allowing them to influence events in a preconstructed universe. In the emotional mirror the emotions of the creator and the listener combine to tell the story. Before the music begins there is nothing, the entire world of the story along with the story itself is created only once the music has begun. Once the music is over that world ceases to exist. If the listener goes back to the album and starts again, the resulting world and story will be different, slightly or completely. As Heraclitus said, you cannot step into the same river twice. You change as well as the river. The music of KeOSz and Be Left to Oneself is the same thing. If I were listen to the album again, the story would change, I will never be able to experience that story that I experienced again. It’s sad but it’s satisfying as well. What story will you find within the sonic realms of Be Left to Oneself? All you can do is listen and find out!
Listen and support!