The idea for Umbra Vulgaris came about in late December 2020. The intention was not to start a label in the proper sense, but to claim ownership of my music and distribute some tapes or CDs without outside influence – at the time, recording early material as Madrigals. It wasn’t until the following spring that anything was accomplished: a friend of mine designed the logo, I recorded Fallen, the dungeon synth crowd started to show an interest.
All bouts of productivity and accomplishment are followed by a comparative degree of stagnation. I collaborated with a few dungeon synth artists over the course of 2021, but it wasn’t quite clear what would become of this burgeoning “label.”
Let’s be honest: the underground ambient niche is already inundated with tapes. They’re affordable, nostalgic, and fun, but at some point the novelty wore off for me. My new plan is to release music – not tapes – three times a year. Winter, spring, and fall. In summer I slumber. The reissue of Fallen is the last planned cassette release for a little while. In the time that frees up, I want to focus more on writing: lyrics, world-building, and reviews for this site.
Shades of Dark Ambient
I’ve always liked a range of ambient music from neoclassical piano to drone to dungeon synth. It seemed narrow to restrict myself to one genre, even from the beginning. The original idea was just dark atmospheric music. Working with different artists on splits, or just people in the same milieu, I decided to release a compilation featuring some of their work that spans multiple styles while remaining dark and atmospheric.
Shades of Dark Ambient (SODA) is arriving with our Spring ’22 releases. I hope to do more of these free digital compilations. If it leads to people buying tapes through another label, cool. If it helps to put money directly into the pockets of the artists, I would be overjoyed.
Of course, future cassette releases aren’t totally ruled out. A couple promising projects are on the horizon for digital release in fall, including Deabruen and a collaboration with Frostgard.