SP* Episode 10: EXPLAINED SOUNDS – with Raffaele Pezzella [podcast]

a closer listen

Many of our readers responded enthusiastically to the Anthology of Electroacoustic Lebanese music compiled by the Unexplained Sounds Group in 2018. Earlier this year, I reached out to label founder Raffaele Pezzella (Sonolygyst) to discuss his label, his radio show, his solo work, and why he keeps digging for unheard artists.

We had a great chat, discussing his interest in dark ambient, conspiracy theories, and the technical pursuit of sound. I am also really into this playlist, if I don’t say so myself. (You can hear the mix without the interview and vocal fades if you support this project on our Patreon.)


Sound Propositions should be available wherever you get your podcasts, so please keep an eye out and subscribe (and rate and review, it helps others who might be interested find us). New episodes will be published every two weeks (more or…

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Mario Lino Stancati – Cross the Desert

Head-Banger Reviews

We’ve all come across artists of many different kinds of styles that consider themselves the highest level that an artist could be as they consider themselves auteurs and other fancy terms. Very smarmy pricks that make you hate the word “artist”, but every now and then there comes someone who brings glory to being called a true artist. Tonight for me that came in the form of the latest album from Mario Lino Stancati who challenges both himself and the listener with material that is constantly changing on every level.

You could very easily just label this work as a primarily ambient work like I’m doing just to make things easier on myself, but there is so much fucking more to this album that it’s a little nuts. Mario Lino Stancati fully-embraces the idea of genre-hopping to a great degree but it’s all incorporated into a roughly ambient form such…

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Unexplained Sounds Group – Anthology Of Contemporary Music From Indonesia

Head-Banger Reviews

If you know anything about any sort of world music that’s been making its way across the internet especially with the help of Bandcamp, you’ve more than likely come across the curated compilations made by the people from Unexplained Sounds Group. Thus far, they’ve covered ambient and traditional music from cultures all across the world like Africa and many regions across the Middle East. They’re wonderful studies into the traditional music of the cultures there as well as an exploration of their works that fall into ambiance or any of its contemporary sounds. Indonesia is where the latest excursion of music has taken place, and it’s possibly the most interesting one to date.

Indonesia had a history that’s as amazingly rich as it is tragic given how far back the very history of the different cultures on the islands goes back as well as how far back foreign visitors have…

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Sonologyst – Ancient Death Cults and Beliefs

Head-Banger Reviews

If you’re going to want to listen to any sort ambient, it’s really best to just stop trying to find a new act and, instead, go to someone who has been doing it for so long and has knowledge of it in spades, for that’s when you get the best material. I’m not sure how long Sonologyst has been around, but with it consisting of the man behind Eighth Tower Records, Unexplained Sounds Group and the newly made labels of Big Cypress Swamp and ZeroK, is there really any doubt that this man knows his shit? With what seems to be one new album every year, this album is the entry for 2020 and it’s far from anything to be considered lightweight.

Just labeling this album as ambient and nothing else would be to disservice everything that’s at play throughout these tracks as Sonologyst can really work his dark magic…

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Various Artists – Drone Islands – The Lost Maps

Santa Sangre

[Reviewed by stark]

After “Occult Realm” this is the second compilation curated by Raffaele Pezzella in 2020. This time it’s the second installment of the “Drone Islands” series. Last year, Raffaele’s flagship (along with Unexplained Sounds Group) label, Eighth Tower Records has offered “Drone Islands – Land Rising” to all the drone maniacs and it hasn’t even been a year when we got a follow-up, entitled “The Lost Maps.”

The line-up is more than interesting as within more than an hour we have the opportunity to check the new track of experienced drone/experimental wolves, the younger but already respected ones and a group of debutants, the anonymous projects having a chance to present their music to a broader audience.

But it is one of those oldtimers who opens the compilation. Lately I came to a conclusion that Rapoon is probably one of my favourite artists ever. That fact wasn’t that…

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Head-Banger Reviews

It was ever since I was a kid when I was first terrified by Alien and became absolutely enamored by Jeffrey Thomas’s sci-fi masterpiece “Blue War” that I have been a big fan of that highly detailed science fiction that’s only done true justice on occasion. Even less often is when an act of any style can put together a listening experience the likes of which gives nothing but true glory to the entire genre of science fiction. It’s really only been Progenie Terrestre Pura and Mesarthim that have been able to do it justice, but even then there’s so much more to tap into. As if to answer my very desires, with this brand new work of some of the deepest ambient I’ve ever heard that HLER brings forth an experience I won’t soon forget.

Ambient has long been a thing that I only dip my toe into simply…

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Eighth Tower Records – Drone Islands – The Lost Maps

Head-Banger Reviews

There have been plenty of times that I’ve dove into the world of drone and found loads of enjoyment out of the strangely meditative works that are in a world all of their own every time they’re played. One of the best examples that I’ve seen that really brought the style to a new level of understanding for me was the first issue of “Drone Islands” with “Land Raising” a little over a year ago, and now it’s with “The Lost Maps” that the bar has been raised for me just a little yet again.

The beauty of compilations like these is simply how minimal they are as they’re like many other compilations: just bringing together a whole bunch of different artists doing a similar sound and calling it a compilation. But, if it’s a good selection it can become a real tour of what the style has to bring…

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Various Artists – Occult Realm

Santa Sangre

[Reviewed by stark]

With this compilation we set off on another journey, a journey through the realm of the occult/ritual dark ambient with Raffaele Pezella and Psymon Marshall as your guides. Some of you may recognize them: apart from being a musician himself, Raffaele is – among others – the head of Unexplained Sounds Group and Eighth Tower Records, while Psymon is a dark ambient reviewer/editor, a damn good one, I tell you this.

These individuals have joined forces and founded a new label called Big Cypress Swamp, dedicated to the occult side of dark ambient music. The moniker refers to “The Statement of Randolph Carter” short story by H. P. Lovecraft. So as you can notice, The Great Old Ones are constantly one of the key inspirations within the dark ambient world.

So, twelve tracks by the artists from Europe and US. It begins with Adonai Atrophia from Bulgaria…

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Eighth Tower Records – Witchcraft & Black Magic in the United Kingdom

Head-Banger Reviews

The idea of paganism has not only been around for centuries upon centuries, but it has permeated our very society as we know it. The legends and horror stories of witches, people sacrificing animals, worshipping heathen gods, selling your soul to the devil; all and more are subjects that we’re familiar with in some form, and the most famous of those are of the witches and black magic. Many artists have brought such a concept to life on multiple times, and it’s Eighth Tower Records that takes the focus of dark ambient to the land of the United Kingdom to bring back witches in such a fashion that is nigh on delectable.

All the tales that surround them are numerous enough to fill several compendiums more than they already do, and it’s the exact sort of thing that fits perfectly for some creepy as fuck music. Even the cover art…

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Interview with Raffaele Pezzella


Raffaele Pezzella has been very active in the past year producing and divulging experimental music from remote areas of the world such as Africa, Lebanon, Russia and Iran showing that often, beyond the vestiges of cultural post-colonialism, there is a realm of very skilled artists that are totally extraneous to our environment. I was lucky enough to meet Raffaele back in my home town, Napoli, over a coffee to discuss some of his activity as a label owner, a listener and a composer.

GP: Raffaele, your activity starts as a mixing engineer, mostly working in studios, how did your first contact with non-western electronic music happen?

RP: It happened thanks to the internet. My first contact with a non-western reality was when I met online the son of Artemiev who is primarily known for having worked as a soundtrack composer for Tarkovsky’s movies. Through him I discovered a prolific environment…

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