Gaming Soundtrack: Nunatak-Teimo-Permafrost

If you’re one of the 5 people who regularly read this blog, you’re probably already aware that when it comes to dungeon delving, I generally prefer ambient music at the table — the darker/creepier the better — and when I post something in the “gaming soundtrack” it’s inevitably an album or artist that falls into that category.  That said, I’d like to share with you my new appreciation for the music of Thomas Köner, a German ambient composer and multimedia artist perhaps best known for an early-1990s trilogy of albums now considered classics of electronic drone music: Nunatak Gongamur (1990), Teimo (1992), and Permafrost (1993).  These three albums were re-released in 2010 as a box set, which is good news for those of us who want physical versions but weren’t able to get our hands on the original CD imports…

koner nunatak

I first learned of Nunatak Gongamur in an early-2000s magazine article on drone music (possibly in the short-lived Grooves?), and the experimentally-minded percussionist in me was captivated by the idea that the entire album was created from electronically-transformed/manipulated gong sounds!  I found the mp3s online, enjoyed the album for a while, and then moved on to other things.  Fast-forward to this year, when I randomly revisited Nunatak and Teimo… WOW!  Are these some dungeon crawling atmospheric sounds or what?!!!

Many reviews of Köner’s work that I’ve read inevitably use adjectives like icy, cold, bleak, lonely, etc.  His titles and artwork often suggest images of frozen northern landscapes, but the sense of otherworldly isolation invoked by the soundscapes is just as appropriate for dungeon crawling.  After all, what could be more isolating than exploring the dark depths of an alien underworld that is quite often hostile to human life?  As is common in the ambient genre, the tracks on each album flow smoothly from one to the next, eliminating any potential disruptions of the sinister, eerie dungeon atmosphere at the table.

I’m not yet familiar with TK’s later albums, but I highly recommend checking out his early trilogy.  Enjoy!


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