The hollow Earth

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Traditional Dungeon Synth echoing a wandering through the underground world of the region of Ivkapel, a fantasy and heathen land where hostile magicians and gorgeous sorceresses rule.

Get the 2017 Album "The hollow Earth":

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Tracklist (Edit)

  1. Elpiedesyr sta vivildesta Elpier (The forbidden book of the Librarian) : 3'34"
  2. Ildesyrili (Daydreams) : 3'58"
  3. Aeri Eeril (The Wand of Magic) : 4'27"
  4. Büirlu Iltisyr (The shortest day) : 6'48"
  5. Brellüa ub Ibelüe (Underground Water) : 2'01"
  6. Bri ? (Alone?) : 5'35"
  7. Aedir sta Vikildar (The Warlock's grip) : 7'11"
  8. Taril Ibelüe (The hollow earth) : 1'52"
  9. Eeraldu (the torch) : 3'16"
  10. Albüiser valdersta (Waltz) : 2'40"
  11. Aesa sta Füadar (The Sorceress' touch) : 7'15"
  12. Blitiri u Brilüee (The thorns and the claws) : 2'49"

Story (Edit)

English (Edit)

A man called Zephyr lived in the region of Ivkapel. Having some vegetables to sow, he went to the city library to find a book on gardening. The librarian working there seemed a little odd, so out of curiosity, Zephyr spied on him for a bit. The man had opened a book in front of him, with runes both intriguing and attractive. Zephyr asked him a few questions and then asked to borrow it, but the librarian refused.

Driven by his curiosity, as soon as the librarian stepped away to assist someone else, Zephyr took advantage of opportunity to steal the grimoire and slip out of the library. When he got home, he opened the book at random, but could not read or understand the runes. Some of the comments, however, were in his language. Overcome by sleep, he dozed off beside the open book. When he woke up, a wand was next to the now closed book.

In the waning days of summer, Zephyr took the wand into the forest and discovered the entrance to a cave, which was rapidly sinking underground. Further in, the tunnel appeared to have been dug by the hand of man or some intelligent creature, as evidenced by the scenes of war that decorated the walls.

After a few hours of walking, he found himself in a natural cave, and saw a large lake above which shone luminous, phosphorescent halos. He refreshed himself with the icy water and continued his wandering.

The space became larger and wider, like one world inside another. He even seemed to see a sun in the distance. The plain stretched as far as the eye could see, and in the valley he met a hostile magician, who raised an army without reason against him, so Zephyr rushed into the moor and fell into a crack, ever deeper into the earth.

A man stood there with a torch and conducted him to a safer place. The man was unable to speak and seemed to have been there for centuries, yet he was not an old man.

Zephyr entered an underground castle and danced with a beautiful woman, who was a sorceress. She then told him that he had fallen in battle against the magician, and that his last fall was in fact his death. She touched his arm and scratched him violently to make him live again in a certain way. A thorn pricks indifferently, while a claw requires a will behind it, whether to do evil or good.

next ➡️

French (Edit)

Un homme, prénommé Zéphyr, habitait dans la région de Ivkapel. Ayant quelques légumes à planter, il se rendit à la bibliothèque de la ville, pour rechercher un livre de jardinage. Le bibliothécaire qui officiait là avait un air étrange, aussi Zéphyr l'espionna un peu, par curiosité. L'homme avait ouvert en face de lui un livre avec des runes à la fois intrigantes et attirantes. Zéphyr lui posa quelques questions et demanda ensuite à l'emprunter, ce que lui refusa le bibliothécaire.

Toujours poussé par sa curiosité, Zéphyr profita de l'absence de l'homme, partit renseigner quelqu'un d'autre, pour lui subtiliser son grimoire, et le remporter chez lui. Là il l'ouvrit au hasard, mais il était impossible de lire ni comprendre ces runes. Quelques commentaires étaient néanmoins dans sa langue. Pris de sommeil, il s'assoupit près du livre ouvert. À son réveil, une baguette se trouvait près de l'ouvrage, désormais refermé.

En cette fin de l'été, Zéphyr prit avec lui la baguette, et alla en forêt, y découvrant une grotte qui s'enfonçait rapidement sous terre. Puis plus loin des souterrains, creusés par la main de l'homme ou de quelques créatures intelligentes, comme en témoignaient les frises qui défilaient en haut des couloirs, et qui décrivaient des scènes de guerres.

Après quelques heures de marche, il se retrouva dans une caverne naturelle, et vit un grand lac au-dessus duquel brillaient des halos lumineux, phosphorescents. Il se rafraîchit avec l'eau glaciale, et continua ses pérégrinations.

L'espace devenait de plus en plus vaste, comme un monde à l'intérieur d'un autre. Il lui semblait même voir un soleil au loin.

La plaine s'étendait à perte de vue, et dans la vallée il rencontra un magicien hostile, qui leva sans raison une armée contre lui, aussi Zéphyr se précipita dans la lande et tomba dans une crevasse, et ainsi encore plus profondément sous terre.

Un homme se tenait là, avec une torche, et le conduisit en lieux sûrs. L'homme était muet et semblait être là depuis des siècles, bien qu'il ne soit pas un vieillard.

Il entra dans un château souterrain, et dansa avec une belle femme, qui était une sorcière. Elle apprit ensuite à Zéphyr qu'il était tombé au combat contre le magicien, et que sa dernière chute était en fait sa mort. Elle lui toucha le bras, et le griffa violemment pour le faire revivre d'une certaine manière. Une épine pique indifféremment, tandis qu'une griffe nécessite une volonté derrière, pour faire le mal comme le bien.

suite ➡️

Reviews (Edit)

Wow, what a pleasant surprise. I guess I had gotten the impression from this artist’s previous album that this was entirely a chip-oriented project like Digre or Chevalier. What we have here seems to take some advantage of the fuzzy, low-fi timbres, but not exclusively - there are some smoother, 90s keyboard sounds to balance some of the fuzzier midlines, and this album starts off punchy, with strong momentum driven by active, syncopated lines all over the mix. The blend of sounds on this album as a whole is really nice, as the chip sounds are mixed in well with the more modern sounding keyboards. Over the course of the next 50 or so minutes we get a sample of just about every sound under the banner of dungeon synth - there’s a bit of the weird, a bit of the epic, a bit of the idyllic. This all feels like the work of the same artist rather than a compilation, so to me it’s impressive that such a wide variety of sounds can be given coherence on a single album.

The composition is very diverse - there seems to be a prevailing influence from CRPG music that is not just a result of the sounds used, but the composition has the same kind of hyperactivity that is sometimes fatiguing but usually used to good effect here. The more relaxing/subdued tracks like “Ildesyril (Daydreams)” and “Brellüa ub Ibelüe (Underground Water)” even have some of this quality, which puts me in mind of light fantasy music (but in a way that defies cliché). A bit of subtle, pulsing noise in “Bri? (Alone?)” indicates that this dungeon is a bit psychological as well, underpinning the more melancholy instrumental work in this album. Immediately after, “Aedir sta Vikildar (The Warlock’s grip)” gives us a more serpentine dungeon crawl, getting a lot of mileage out of some simple repeating patterns off of which a few somber melodies interject.

The artist describes this as old school dungeon synth, and I don’t see that in the sound, but certainly in the intent. The track sequence supplies a strong sense of narrative, and that is cemented by the diversity of sounds, approaches, and more importantly track lengths, which makes the length of this album really breeze by. I can’t say for certain how much DS artists think about sequence when composing an album, unless the album is all one track or there is a seamless mix indicating some desire for continuity. Here, we get an album of songs that isn’t compositionally related, but keeps a steady atmosphere throughout without fatiguing the listener with too much sameness. If I had to find a critique of this overall very pleasant experience, it’s that you sometimes hear the “too many notes” problem of music that is very busy and/or sequenced - some melodies seem to find their way into a dead end from time to time, stumbling into dissonance without a perceptible purpose. This is, to me, a common flaw, and it’s not unforgivable, just is something that I notice happens sometimes with synth music with a lot of complexity. It happens less than 5 times on this record, and I don’t think it impacts my enjoyment of this album at all.

things to ponder while listening: what is the mysterious language used in the track titles? and what is that dog doing in the dungeon?

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I had the privilege of hearing a very early version of this album, and I'm glad this is finally out just in time to make my list. This album is pure magic. Every track takes you somewhere, to a place, a time, or just an abstracted synesthetic experience. The tone consistently carries that bittersweet out-of-reach nostalgic essence that makes DS what it is. Just wonderful. You have to hear it.

-- (src)

A successor to One Myth, replacing the ZX Spectrum with more sophisticated technology. We make a fateful and melancholy journey into the shadows of time, and every person we meet along the way is a wizard who has waited an eternity for precisely this moment.

-- (src)

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