DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XVI

Dungeon Archives Recently, I was struck with an idea for a dungeon synth mixtape. Part of this idea is rooted in the hilarity of people trading hot dungeon mixes while the other is based in seriousness. In my past, I used to host a music podcast where we would look for new and up and coming bands to feature on a mix. I would contact musicians and artists and talk to them about featuring them on our show. They would supply songs for me to use. This songs would be…

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Voices From The Past: Conversations with Grimrik

Grimrik was one, if not the first compatriot I met during my journeys into dungeon synth. After one of my articles on the history of the first “wave” of dungeon synth, here was a guy who was speaking with authority on a topic I believed to be unknown to most. Grimrik is a living artifact. One of the few still surviving titans of the original black metal scene which fostered this weird side genre that would eventually become dungeon synth. Since that time, Grimrik has seen this genre evolve over…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XV

This is the 15th installment of column series which was originally designed to help me process through all of the new dungeon synth material. Since then it has aided me in cataloging all of the newer material being released and in turn allowed me to cultivate a master list which I have been giving to new people who are interested in the genre. This list was done more as an initial recommendation but it soon has grown into a list of things I find important in this genre. While I…

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The Devout Homage of Chaucerian Myth

Ready to start upon my pilgrimage To Canterbury, full of devout homage, There came at nightfall to that hostelry Some nine and twenty in a company Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all -General Prologue from The Canterbury Tales Chaucerian Myth was, like most of my discoveries in this genre, by complete happenstance. Paging through Bandcamp, I stumbled on an album cover which was pulled from an illuminated manuscript and had references to the 12th century English poet Chaucer. Enthusiastically, I entered…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XIV

Sometimes my friends come over and marvel at my growing tape collection expecting me to give some justification on how tapes are superior in terms of audio fidelity. They expect it to be similar to why people enjoy vinyl. To be quite honest, collecting tapes for dungeon synth is not that cost intensive as tapes have grown into a practical media for this genre. Part of the reason why I enjoy this genre so much is its encouragement of low cost music. Aside from the conversation of what music and…

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Fantastic Dreams: The Immersive World of Verminaard

Verminaard was a random find through my massive combings through Bandcamp. Wardens of a Light-Starved Realm had a black and white cover depicting a classic fantasy tableau which looked ripped out of an old RPG manual. Since then, the creator for Verminaard has been immensely active on the Facebook group and has been seeking advice, sharing wisdom, and participating perhaps more than most. Wardens of a Light-Starved Realm recently saw a limited cassette run and support from small labels. The creator for Verminaard is also a big collector and player…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XIII

Malik Shah's Sanctuary by Raphael Lacoste

This is almost becoming unmanageable. Usually when I scroll through Bandcamp new arrivals for dungeon synth, I can find 4-5 decent releases. This has been normal for around a year of doing these columns. This month, I was flooded with decent material and in fact was overwhelmed at the amount of new and interesting releases available. There maybe a time when I will need to do this column twice a month just to cover all of the music. This month is also very special because I not only have arranged…

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Illuminated Letters: The Visual Art of Canrith Knox

This is perhaps one of the first pieces I have done on dungeon synth that is not primary related to music. Music styles and subgenres have visual components which attach themselves whether or not to album, merch, or general motif. The aesthetic of any genre allows the style to grow organically giving it an identity and gives people a chance to identify related objects. Some genres relay heavily on a visual aesthetic which others are loosely held together by a motif. I feel, at this moment, dungeon synth has a…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XII

I find myself fortunate to be here and now within the dungeon synth community as I can see things working at an observable pace. The Facebook group for dungeon synth community has been an invaluable tool not only for seeing people’s projects posted but also to see the growth of fledgling artists into reliable makers of the style. Within the small microcosm of a 745 member group, one can get a sense of a strange community between people who have banded together under one weird flag. The glimmers of support…

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Unearthed Arcana: Henri Sorvali and Forgotten Dungeon Synth

There are a billion things I could have asked Henri Sorvali. His work in Moonsorrow and Fintroll is usually a start but so is his work in video game composition or his enthusiasm for gaming. Additionally, I could have asked him about his role in the H&M clothing troll which overtook metal media a few years back. There are a billion things I want to ask Mr. Sorvali but since we has so few moments together, I might as well concetrate mostly on his dungeon synth project. I mean, would…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XI

I was recently on the podcast Genre Cult talking about dungeon synth. This wasn’t mine rather someone who found me and was asking questions regarding the genre. I have always joked about my dream of becoming a top commentator on the genre, if not an unofficial historian / expert. I know I have a long ways to go before the documentary on Dungeon Synth is made and I am called by the producers to talk in front of a crackling fire while smoking a long wooden pipe, but I believe…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST X

Some of my fascination with dungeon synth comes from how small of a genre it is. This may seem trivial at first, until one realizes that one can experience the rate of growth along with a genre that is blossoming. Unlike heavy metal, or pop, or even smaller genres like psych or trance, it is difficult to see genres in real-time. Every month I have been going to Bandcamp and listening to each of the newest arrivals. Every month the array of albums has been manageable since last visiting. This…

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PAPER DUNGEONS: An Interview With The Creator of The Masmorra Zine

The Masmorra Zine was an important development, for me, in my understanding of dungeon synth. A little over a year ago, I was digging around for more information on dungeon synth and saw that a zine was being printed by some guy in Brazil. Fascinated, I ordered a copy and low and behold a gorgeous copy comes to my door complete with a poster and CD. The companion CD had an array of dungeon synth artists including Erang, Foglord, Celestial Crypt, Iami, and Hedge Wizard. The poster was a large…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST IX

One of my dreams is to become an expert on dungeon synth, or at least talk about it enough that people think of me as an expert. You are here because someone, probably me, has talked enough about this strange little genre that at least enough interest has been piqued for further investigation. Dungeon Synth was offered to me by the work of Erang and has since led me into a magical world of fantastical ambient music and obsessed musicians who create worlds with sound and imagination. There are few…

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