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  The Dark Ambient World of Kammarheit
by Kenneth Mark Hoover

Hailing from Sweden, Par Boström is the creative composer/genius behind Kammarheit and its Electronic/Dark Ambient sound. The 2005 album The Starwheel is a sonic feast of soulless, regressive landscapes that heighten, rather than diminish, our sense of isolation and vulnerability.

The imagery of Kammarheit is known for being hauntingly beautiful and ominous. The dark music explores how emotional textures relate to emptiness, loneliness, and paranoia.

The first track is named “Hypnogoga.” It’s a haunting entrance to a mesmerizing influence which probably hails from some Other Realm. With crooked finger it beckons in the shadowed distance. We have no choice but to follow.

“Spatium” reveals the disconsolate nature of cosmic structure while using simplicity to examine human perceptions of reality. “The Starwheel (Clockwise)” presents a grand, slightly out of wack, panorama of hidden machinery. Slowly, the music reveals half-hidden horrors as it grinds away. Reminiscent of Kepler’s belief the universe was one gigantic clock, Kammarheit warps and twists this theme to reflect the fabric of slow-moving dark Things working toward unknown, and unholy, ends. They lie beyond the veil, and yet are within reach. And it terrifies us.

“Klockstapeln” is an atmospheric piece that draws you in with an overwhelming sense of isolation. We feel small and insignificant as a funereal bell tolls in the distant background. “The Starwheel (Counterclockwise)” is a discordant song in comparison to the title track. Things click, knock, creak. and rattle throughout. It is the universe off-kilter, giving a sense of tortured, screaming metal bent into demonic shapes.

“A Room Between the Rooms” is my favorite. It’s as if we are lost forever in a long hallway, stretching to infinity, while unknown things skitter between dimensionless walls. This is pure alienation, and the physical expanse that exists between rooms, and human constructs. Especially between heart and soul.

“Sleep after Toyle, Port after Stormy Seas” compares repetitive jangling with a sense of slow energy and watery Nature in discordant upheaval. The final track, “All Quiet in the Land of Frozen Scenes,” reproduces an endless landscape of northern hell. This is hollow, overwhelming environment. The unremitting sense of cold desolation makes this track memorable. It ends with an icy wind scouring the scene. Our sense of what it means to be human in the face of such terrible grandeur is questioned.

If you are interested in listening to Dark Ambient, or want to explore the genre, Kammarheit is an excellent place to start. There are other Dark Ambient composers out there, Northaunt being of particular note. But I really like this album. Its mixture of loneliness, desolation, and scary things beyond human perception elevate it to soundtrack status. Which is why I plan on using The Starwheel as the background/atmosphere music of my Halloween Haunt next year.

That ought to scare the Trick or Treaters. And not a few adults, including me, as well.

The End

website for Kammerheit


About the Author

Kenneth Mark Hoover

Kenneth Mark Hoover has appeared in various print and online magazines such as Fantastic Stories, Strange Horizons, Challenging Destiny, Drops of Crimson and many others.

In 2005 his first novel, Fevreblau, was published by Five Star Press. The novel sold out its first print run and received several good reviews. He is currently working on short stories and meets another writer twice a week at a coffee shop where they write together, vent, and talk about publishing. He lives in Dallas, TX.

Copyright (c) 2008 Drops of Crimson. All rights reserved.