Survey Channel - Ritual

Released: April 24

Heavily inspired by the ethereal and unsettling music of early PlayStation horror games, notably Silent Hill, Survey Channel brings us a six track collection of dark ambient tracks that fully bring out the vibe of such soundtracks that build on the genre rather than flatly copy it. Each track sits at roughly twelve minutes apiece, giving plenty of time to let the atmosphere fully soak in to the crevices of your brain. It might sound like what I'm describing is something of a scary album, but it's honestly quite the opposite. In many of these games, the player is subject to intense moments of fear and panic when they are wandering around and something suddenly reveals itself or they are being flat out pursued and have to flee. These are not the moments captured here. Instead, these are those "breaks" in the action - moments that seem calm and almost serene, but still have that feeling of lingering dread that can't be shaken. And those moments are fully and well-captured here. 

The closest we get to anything frightening is "Static," with deep and reverberated pads that swell hypnotically and this strange sound that I couldn't quite put my finger on that sounded almost like a shuffling in the distance. But even with this dark atmosphere, it comes across more like that puzzle moment in the game in which we must read several different blocks of text and determine what lever we have to push and in what order to advance. An air of mystery surrounds it, much like the five other tracks that populate this interesting and strangely nostalgic album. It is a perfect album to sit with for a while as it leaves an impression, not one that is extremely specific, but one that is quite liminal in nature. 


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