Shrine

experimental ambient sound drift

"The hypothesis of a death instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state."

Sognefjord, Norway, 2007

My name is Hristo Gospodinov and SHRINE is my own music project, born of my interest in esoteric music and the desire to express my obscure understandings of life and everything else in a nonverbal way. It was started in autumn 2003 when after several years of playing various acoustic instruments I have finally turned to sampling and computer music.

Under the heavy influence of the dark ambient scene from the mid-to-late 1990s, the original idea of the project was to create some noticeable dark ambient works. However the idea got blurry over the years and has finally dissolved into the wide field of audio experiments. Today SHRINE has no strict genre limits. Still, I'm interested mostly in 'drifting' types of music, and especially to mix nature sounds with machine sounds and other artificial things into a processed ambient environment. The sound sources vary from audio synthesis, to acoustic instruments, to field recordings, to whatever I find interesting to make sounds with, so not much of a limit here.

It's an experimental art after all, isn't it?

Ordeal 26.04.86
Ordeal 26.04.86 Listen

Ordeal 26.04.86

  • 01. Atomgrad.
  • 02. Radiant Skyline (Unit 4).
  • 03. The Silent Apocalypse.
  • 04. The Night That Hell Broke Loose.
  • 05. Under the Graphite Clouds.
  • 06. The Burden of Knowledge.

Press release: The new full length by SHRINE is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster that happened on April 26th, 1986. Composed during a post-operative convalescence period in 2015 Hristo Gospodinov says of the process: "To me the Chernobyl theme has always been very special not only because I witnessed the nuclear sunburn effect myself back in 1986 when I was a kid, but also because I find it to be the closest glimpse of a pending apocalypse we have seen so far. I find it terrifying not only because of the devastating effect of the ionizing radiation itself, but also because it was a man-made event. To me, the parallel with the biblical book of Revelation is inescapable." Laced with emotional distress and SHRINE’s superbly crafted soundscapes and notable sound design skills, “Ordeal 26.04.86” serves as a tribute to those that suffered, and still suffer from the irreparable.

The idea of this album came to me about 10 years ago, but I never did anything else except for writing down the tracklist (which originally contained 4 pieces). In fact, this is the first and as of now the only conceptual SHRINE album. The thematics of all my other works were created after the music had been in progress, or completed, so this is the first time when the idea of the album preceded the music. I started the actual work on it during convalescence from surgery in 2015 - back then I wasn't able to move properly, so I spent a lot of time at home, often thinking about the effect of humanity's technological progress over the human body. It was the perfect time to revive my old "Chernobyl" idea. Of course some of the track names changed after I started to compose the music, the album title changed too, but the concept remained the same - I wanted a thematical work with introduction, exhibition, and conclusion. So I ended up with 3 very long tracks and I sent the material to Cyclic Law this way, but then decided that I can tell my story better if I split each track into two. And so I did.

The artwork of "Ordeal 26.04.86" was created by Vincent of TREHA SEKTORI and myself in 2016, but the more important part of the work was done by Vincent - he designed the cityscape backgrounds and the 3D album title. I did the vector design on the front, back and inside covers - all atomic models (including the two exact recreations of an Uranium atom), etc. I also did the typographic design and the "on-disc" artwork for this release.

Trivia: "Atomgrad" means "atomic city" in Russian and is referring the city of Pripyat. "Unit 4" is referring to the infamous 4th reactor block in the Chernobyl NPP. In one of the tracks you can hear the St.Michael prayer spoken in Latin. In the last track you can hear "The Opening of the Sixth Seal" text (Revelation 6:12-17) quoted in Russian; that was sampled from the movie "STALKER" by Andrey Tarkovsky (1979).

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Nihil
Nihil  Listen

Nihil

  • 01. Shadow Puppets.
  • 02. Scrinivm.
  • 03. Carnal Euphoria.
  • 04. Hellfire.
  • 05. Paradise.
  • 06. Nihil.
  • 07. Disintegration of an Ego.

Press release: A very personal and poignant work that differs significantly from other SHRINE releases, being a lot heavier in atmosphere with a lingering gloom and largely saturated with negativity. Exploring the burden of the human ego from a personal point of view, it aims to expose a different take on Freud's "Death Drive" theory. Delve into the depths and let Shrine guide you through its singular shadow world.

"NIHIL" is the fourth full-lenght SHRINE release and the second one for Cyclic Law. The album was completed in September 2013 as a commemoration of SHRINE’s 10th year anniversary (Sep.2003 - Sep.2013) and brings together seven tracks composed between 2009 and 2013. Loosely reminiscent of Sigmund Freud's "Death Drive" theory (also known as "Death Instinct") and dealing with themes like despair, hatred, denial and death, this work turns to be the darkest and most oppressive SHRINE record up to date.
"A gift for you, who wake up in the middle of the night and know you couldn't live with yourself any longer."

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Vapor Trail
Vapor Trail  Listen

CYCLES

Cyclic Law's 10th Year Anniversary Label Sampler

  • 2012
  • Cyclic Law
  • 2xCD, six panel digisleeve
  • 2°35'00'', 21 tracks
  • Featured SHRINE track: CD2 01 - Vapor Trail.

Press release: To commemorate our 10th year of activity, we’ve collected new and previously unreleased material by most of Cyclic Law’s roster, whose music has been released on the label over the past 10 years. This very special label sampler features exclusive tracks by ALLSEITS, ARCANA, AUN, BEYOND SENSORY EXPERIENCE, DESIDERII MARGINIS, GUSTAF HILDEBRAND, KAMMARHEIT, KARJALAN SISSIT, NEW RISEN THRONE, NORTHAUNT & MULM, PARHELION, SHRINE, SINKE DUS, SOPHIA, SVARTSINN & PSYCHOMANTEUM, THE FLOATING WORLD, THERRADAEMON, TREHA SEKTORI, TRIANGULAR ASCENSION, VISIONS and VORTEX. This compendium stands as an homage to all artists involved throughout the years, and with whom their unique approach to atmospheric music have forged the Cyclic Law Sound. Onward to a new dawn...

A track that has been created for Cyclic Law's 10th year anniversary sampler. It's good to be a part of a big family.

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Somnia
Somnia Listen

Somnia

  • 01. The Grand Design.
  • 02. Immersion.
  • 03. Lost Beauty.
  • 04. Somnia.
  • 05. The Iron Water.
  • 06. Dream Captured in Stone.
  • 07. Ruins.
  • 08. On the Edge of the Void.

Press release: Somnia is a complex audio metaphor that can be interpreted as an aural equivalent of a "low level" lucid dream state - a dream in which the dreamer is not fully aware he is dreaming but still has the ability to control the dream. Based on processing of multiple sound sources ranging from audio synthesis to acoustic instruments and field recordings, "Somnia" explores several imaginary realities immersing you into a lucid-like experience through sound. Almost an hour long, it contains 8 thematically independent compositions representing an extended blend of ambient, acoustic music and nature sounds. Use it as a sound guide to lucid dreaming.

"SOMNIA" is the third full-lenght SHRINE release and the debut on Cyclic Law, containing eight tracks composed between 2006 and 2010. Initially scheduled for release on the now defunct French ambient label SNOWBLOOD, this album underwent some major changes over the years. It was ready for release in 2009, with a different track list and a different title. The original title ("Anthems of Extinction") was denied by the label, due to their strict anti dark/drone/industrial policy. After the deal with Snowblood failed in 2010, some tracks were dropped from the album, while others were recreated, and also several new tracks were composed. In this way, after substantial changes, "Somnia" landed on Cyclic Law's release list one year later.

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Distorted Legends, pt.1
Distorted Legends, pt.1 Listen

Distorted Legends, pt.1

  • 01. Those Endless Fields of Rust.
  • 02. The Silo Sanctuary.

Press release: Dream & Distortion. The melancholia of distorted synths combined with odd micro noises & effects. The fusion of rough and thunderous drones with hidden melodies. It evokes a strong emotional impact, like the feeling of being stuck in a confusing dream. SHRINE's philosophy shows a way to realize that what we call "reality" is to be mistrusted based upon our usual perceptions. The distortion of this reality opens up a chance to better understand its true essence and confront the things that lie under the surface.

After the release of "Wander" was cancelled by Drone Records because it was too long to fit a 7-inch vinyl plate, four new SHRINE tracks were composed the same year, to be released exclusively on Drone Records and that is what became "Distorted Legends". The new material was split into two parts with the idea to make two separate releases, but only the first part ended up as a "Drone" EP (at the time I was working on it I didn't know that Drone Records only allowed one release per artist). And just for the record, this is the final SHRINE release that was created only with computer software. Which obviously doesn't mean anything since a music review once mentioned: "Their music has that typical sound of 1980s pre-laptop drone".

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Wander
Wander  Listen

Strange Growths / Wander

  • 2008
  • Corvus Records
  • Six panel digipak CD
  • 53'45'' (Shrine part: 24'40'')
  • 01. Little Saints.
  • 02. Standing In The Sand.
  • 03. Sacred Language.
  • 04. Strange Growths.
  • 05. There.
  • 06. Back.

Press release: "Wander" is a brilliant 25 min long piece of multi-layered ambient drift. The basic concept is somewhat dualistic, even antagonistic - 2 long tracks opposing one another, representing the contrast between nature's mystical harmony (heaven) in "There" and the human industrial progress (hell) in "Back". According to that, the work can be also interpreted as an entrance into a dream-state and then a return to reality (there~back).

"Wander" was initially meant to be released on Drone Records but it turned out too long to fit a 7-inch vinyl plate - back then I didn't know that you can put only about 8 minutes on each side, and both "There" and "Back" are above 12 minutes. Then Stefan Knappe gave me the option to shorten the tracks or to create something new exclusive for Drone Records. Of course I didn't want to shorten anything so I recorded new material which later became "Distorted Legends". As for "Wander", even being too long for an EP, it was still way too short to be released on a CD alone, so a friend from Poland (the founder of SANTA SANGRE webzine) suggested the idea of making a split release with another artist. I offered that to Jaakko of LINGUA FUNGI and soon the split was scheduled on Corvus Records' release list.

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The Final Asylum
The Final Asylum

The Final Asylum

  • 01. Binary Creation.
  • 02. The Prophet and the Source.
  • 03. The Cellular Gardens of the New Eden.
  • 04. Unnatural Way.
  • 05. The Promised Oblivion.

Press release: A clear anti-utopic image of a desolated future world. Aural exploration of the point of no return. It will take you into hollow cryogenic prisons lying down among the weedy ruins of deserted cities. Echoes of machine songs glorify the end of Mankind. The Earth is waiting for its silent end beneath the rays of dying artificial suns. Welcome to the FUTURE.

"The Final Asylum" is not only the first SHRINE album released on CD, but also the very first SHRINE record in general. It was released in April 2006 - about a month after "Harmony, Bliss, Rust", but all the tracks were composed and recorded back in 2003 and 2004. The release date was chosen to coincide with RAISON d'ÊTRE's live performance in Sofia in April 2006, where SHRINE did an opening set. The first 99 copies include a bonus disc containing a 12 minute remix of RAISON d'ÊTRE's track "Deep Enshrouded", but according to the host label, the special edition is long sold out.

12.00 EUR + handling and shipping (registered)
Remixes & Compilations

Kayno Yesno Slonce - Elohim Neva Senzu (2007)

SHRINE contribution: CD2-03 - "Нестинар" (remix of Kayno Yesno Slonce)

Various - Desert Space (2007)

SHRINE contribution: CDR3-04 - "A Quiet Shiny Day of Contemplation"

Various - Noises for Japan (2011)

SHRINE contribution: 3-10 - "Tears" (live remix of an unreleased LETUM track)

Various - Saur Maas / Auditory Dark Matter (2011)

SHRINE contribution: 5-04 - "Rapture" (voices taken from "Galder" by HELHEIM)

Various - Wounds Of The Earth 6 (2014)

SHRINE contribution: 09 - "Sulphur Heart"

Various - Eudoxus (2016)

SHRINE contribution: 15 - "Light Grey"

Various - Where Words Fail, Music Speaks (2016)

SHRINE contribution: 12 - "For Ania"

Harmony, Bliss, Rust
Harmony, Bliss, Rust

Harmony, Bliss, Rust

  • 2006
  • Mirakel Musik
  • File, MP3, vbr
  • 40'00''
  • 01. Harmony.
  • 02. The Droning Bliss.
  • 03. Rust.

Press release: "Harmony, Bliss, Rust" is a passage from tranquility to disharmony. Three lengthy compositions will take you to uncharted desolate places with their slowly evolving sounds. The beginning is very soft and laid back and the end is harsh and distorted... but this doesn't keep the album from being soothing. It works great both as usual background ambience and for active listening.

"Harmony, Bliss, Rust" is the very first SHRINE release, but it's not the first SHRINE record in general. It was recorded in 2005, about one year after "The Final Asylum" and released digitally on the now defunct Swedish net label MIRAKEL MUSIK in March 2006 for free. The original source for download is gone since the label closed down in 2008 and the domain mirakelmusik.se got disabled in 2009, but you can still download any of their releases from archive.org, just do a Google search. Also, I found a partial  copy of the original website  still available online, most probably unauthorized, but all the music was free anyway.

Download free download from Archive.org