If you took one look at this album and had to guess, I reckon most of us would go for ‘old school black metal’ as the contents. An Ildjarn friendly racket? This however is actually, according to the PR, dark ambient. Now I have in reality only just dipped my gout-ridden little toe into the vast subterranean waters of dark ambient but, with Lustmord’s ‘Heresy’, Black Mountain Transmitter’s ‘Black Goat Of The Woods’, Inade’s ‘Aldebaran’ and a bit of Current 93 in the collection I at least have a decent base to drift out from so it seemed a good call to try this.
What you actually get is, at the very least, the most unusually inappropriate music ever to wrap itself in black metal cd cover clothes, apart from maybe Angizia. This is a one man band, the appropriately named Lonegoat, at a piano with no other intrusions save for the odd brief whisper of electronic keyboards. No vocals, no percussion beside for the pounding keys, just an album of dark echoing piano that runs the gamut from melodramatic silent film theatre soundtrack to obsessive artist in his gable tenement on a lost street of Arkham. It is relentlessly in shadow, the mood, and the pace ebbs and flows and showcases a marvelous level of musical fluency as well as mood awareness. To me however it is no more dark ambient than a Schubert piano concerto; it does not create soundscapes and suggestion, instead it is very much a distinct and determined voice leading you, a song based, digitally dexterous voice at that. There is more of the film soundtrack to it, to no ill effect mind, and it touches the edges of art such as The Shining and Suspiria but with a more baroque style of energetic keyboard runs, endlessly scurrying across the piano like a plague of rats to gnaw on your soul.
This is dense music spilling flurries off notes at every twist but very, very listenable oddly. You can sit in the lamp lit room, wine glass in hand as the feel of Victoriana and Baroque put on a shadow play for you. It is rather enticing, fascinating music that drapes the room in darkness but sings a sensuous song.
The PR says this is what happens when dark ambient gets aggressive. No. There is no overt aggression here. Aggression is the shotgun blast in Lustmord’s Heresy that leaves you shocked and disoriented, coming from nowhere, or somewhere too close. This is drama. Occasionally melodrama, but drama nonetheless. If Heresy is the sound of the book House Of Leaves, this is The Music Of Erich Zahn set to piano not violin. Black occult metal in intent, something far more out there by inclination.
I think fans of A Forest Of Stars, for example, should pay this Lonegoat’s craft a little respectful attention but no, not for everyone. Weirdly and darkly compelling if you settle down in your armchair and let it dance for you, this Goatcraft may well open up doors. Fascinating and somewhat addictive.