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Amber Asylum

Beckoned by siren song, the listener is welcomed to confront oracles, alchemical dream images and the poetry of days lived. In the fray one may create one's own cinematic narrative(s), both the common and the heroic...


Amber Asylum is a project centering around the work of Kris Force. As a composer, multi-instrumentalist and soprano vocalist, she has been an orchestral visionary for over ten years, consistently exploring the confines of texture and sensuality in new music. "I have no specific agenda to making music other than the experience itself. It is my reverence. It is my evolution." Kris continues... "when I'm sticking my violin through a Rat pedal and the Morley wah, I would think that Beethoven turns in his grave. We're definitely an alongside or outside outfit... It's all very visceral, personal, haunting." Already known for her collaborative work with Neurosis and the Swans, Force's Amber Asylum are a neo-classical, experimentalist trio that utilize violins, cellos, percussion and soul-stirring female vocals to create profoundly moving compositions of dark, sinister beauty. Unique in her approach to combining the acoustic and the electronic, the old and the new, romantic and post-modern, Kris makes stirring and evocative music which draws from influences as diverse as a traditional madrigal or lullaby, the ballads of Buffy St. Marie, 60s chanteuses and psychedelia, harrowing Eastern European classical music and noise pioneers such as Brian Eno and Coil.


With the release of "Songs Of Sex And Death", Amber Asylum unveiled eight new soul-searching hymns of dark melancholy. Kris Force poured herself and her personal introspective journeys onto a shadowed, textured musical canvas, leaving her art open to individualistic interpretation. Evoking the deepest aspects of self-contemplation, "Songs Of Sex And Death" explored the innermost nuances of one's emotional grey-areas and exported them unto distant, shimmering dreamscapes. Amber Asylum blurs the boundaries between "high" and "low" art. Turning classical music on its head, Amber Asylum juxtaposes traditional forms such as the Art Song and Aria within post-rock and electronic settings.


Amber Asylum is completed by Jackie Gratz on cello, Wendy Farina on drums and percussion and Erica Stoltz (lead singer of Lost Goat) on bass and voice. Force's lyrical style and content is chilly yet elegant and, at moments, supernaturally decadent. As a new voice for Amber Asylum, Erica Stoltz shares the conceptual vision, and her smoky mezzo combines with Force's crystalline soprano to make a richly sonorous equation.


Amber Asylum possesses the rare gift of turning deep feelings into gorgeous music and has always been able to infuse an array of song forms with their own elixir of the personal and poignant. Their fourth release, "The Supernatural Parlour Collection", bears this out. Unlike like the introspective delicacy of "Songs of Sex and Death", "The Supernatural Parlour Collection" contains songs that traverse more rugged territory, with heightened results.

Although the word appears in four out of seven titles, on "The Supernatural Parlor Collection", "black" becomes less about Satan and more about the inside of your eyelids. The opening track, "Black Lodge", about a secret society gone awry, begins like a military procession and reaches the sort of epic conclusion that recalls songs by contemporaries Godspeed You Black Emperor. One of the chamber pieces on the album, "Black Swan", an aria from the opera "The Medium" by Gian Carlo Menotti, features guests on oboe and piano and achieves a tarnished and subdued beauty. Finally, Amber Asylum's monumental and hysterical commemoration of "Black Sabbath" closes the album and will leave listeners entirely sated.


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.