The great thing about doing Dungeon Synth Appreciation Month is that I am exposed to more and more music, a wider variety of musicians and styles, and new talents I hadn’t heard before. Dungeon synth, that fringe genre of a fringe genre, is wider and more beautiful than I could have imagined. My most recent discovery, indeed, occurred during dungeon synth appreciation month: Nahadoth! What I found in Nahadoth is probably the purest example of dungeon synth that I have come across. The sounds and effects and melodies he uses fall in the dead center of the scale. The music is haunting but not epic, surreal but not fuzzy. Solstice, his newest album, covers a lot of musical ground.
First, some stray thoughts on the album and its appearance before I get down to the analysis. One, the song titles (Shortest Day, Endless Dusk, Longest Night) immediately remind me of Elie Wiesel’s Night trilogy (Night, Dawn, Day). I don’t know if this is intension or not but now that those images are in my head the album’s overall tone becomes very somber. Two, the song length for the first and third song are much longer than the middle one. Is there any significance or symbolism to that? Was that choice a music theory related choice or a narrative related choice? Probably either, depending on what you know about music theory in general. Three, the artwork of the album is minimalistic in style and color, something I appreciate being colorblind. I don’t have to stretch my eyes to appreciate the beauty of the album cover.
The album is a stunning example of music that can be made by someone who really knows how to write and play music. As a person who can do neither, I am thoroughly impressed by the sheer talent of the music writing. The production is rough but it doesn’t qualify as lo fi, not by a long shot. It might not be cinematic but the sound is clear and precise. The music is ethereal, taking the listeners on a journey, not through the dark and dreary dungeons but through the vastness of reality itself. It’s not space themed or new age consciousness style music, Solstice is music that explores what reality it, what time is and how our understanding of time within the context of a single day is expressed through sound and how that sound shifts our emotional spectrum. Maybe that’s not quite what the intent was, Adam will have to let me in on that, but that’s what I took from that, using my literary theory background rather than a music theory background.
Let’s talk about the songs now, with only three songs Nahadoth has a lot of ground to cover. The concept of the solstice, in this case the winter solstice as evidenced by the name of the songs, is rebirth and rejuvenation of the soul and of nature. Now as this album is not really nature themed, we should take a long look at the rebirth and rejuvenation of the soul. The music acts as the tunnel which we go through, going from day to night and back into the day. What the listener finds along the way is entirely up to them as it’s themselves and their reality that they are exploring.
I was very much impressed with this album, so much so that the music itself has firmly implanted itself in my brain. It’s the perfect example of pure dungeon synth, it’s not lo fi, it’s not orchestral. The music is pure synth-y goodness. It’s melancholic yet vibrant, the emotional range here is pretty extensive, as all good music should be. I highly recommend not only this album but this artist for fans of either side of the lo fi/orchestral coin, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
Listen and support the music!