AMBER ASYLUM (USA)

Music of Amber Asylum is a filmic fusion of modern classical and post-rock, where arias and art songs meet in a pale field of electronic disturbance. Equally at home in the opera house or the smoky, raucous din of an underground nightclub, Amber Asylum plumbs the crevass between noise and beauty. Lyrical, confessional, dark yet aspirant, their strings, vocals, and spare percussion billow like furious mists across your consciousness. Dark as it is beautiful, spare as it is complex, its supernaturally decadent powers will overtake you in the remote reaches of your imagination. Amber Asylum's music is generally within the neoclassical or dark ambient genres, and it tends towards the romantic, introspective, and brooding. Violin and cello are the dominant instruments. Amber Asylum might sound like the polar opposite of Asunder's crushing doom and Wold's terrifying prairie black metal, but the San Francisco foursome are just as capable of establishing dark moods to rival their Profound Lore labelmates. Firmly rooted in the sedate yet experimental terrain of avant-garde chamber music and post rock, the overall effect of their distinct brand of doom and gloom is far more subversive. Their music can be as personal and poignant as songs by 60's chanteuse's, as epic as film scores (think Bernard Herrmann and Ennio Morricone), and yet it ranks with the output of post-modern noise pioneers such as Nurse with Wound, Coil, and more currently that of sometime collaborators, Matmos.

The group Amber Asylum, formed in San Francisco, is made up of a talented – if changeable – group of artists. Kris Force acts as violinist, guitarist, and lead vocalist; Wendy Farina handles drum kit and percussion; Erica Stoltz is both bassist and vocalist; and Jackie Gratz plays the cello. Other musicians have been members or have worked with the group, such as Timothy North, John Benson, violinist Annabel Lee, cellist Martha Burns, John Oberon, pianist Michael Richards, Blaise Smith, clarinetist Heather Sneider, guitarist and drummer Steve Von Till, and Camille Norment.

Spilling over with luxurious textures, achingly beautiful melodies and a poetic force that is both current and timeless, Amber Asylum defies categorization, offering the listener the opportunity to delve deep within themselves and reflect on both the past and the present. In creating powerfully moving, avant garde moments of deep, stirring emotional splendor, Amber Asylum touch on subtle, thought-provoking themes of endless soul-searching and haunting mental discoveries.