Kobold – Cave of the Lost Talisman (2021)

Dungeonsynth is some strange music. Inspired by synth pioneers and early videogame music, the result is usually spacious, atmospheric electronic music that, despite its ambiance, often seems surprisingly punishing, at least in large doses. Perhaps that is a symptom of its origins among makers of black metal. Regardless, the idea of lo-fi electronic music for dungeon crawling remains a growing scene.

I primarily think of it as a cassette tape scene, thanks to my low key devotion to tape label Heimat der Katastrophe (I mainly stick to HDK and my Neptune Tower records because I know they aren’t fascists, which I can’t say for certain about a lot of other dungeonsynth, a pitfall of the scene at large that is deeply exhausting). I don’t have a cassette player, but I do have a record player, so when HDK issued the first Kobold album on vinyl I leaped at it. I love Kobold. I love this album in particular. I love the art (which riffs on Bob Maurus’ art for BSOLO: The Ghost of Lion Castle). The original cassette came with a little dungeon map and encounter booklet, but the record came packed with a much fuller retro-styled module.

Everything about it is great. Try and snag a copy if you can find one. Oh, and HDK: do Kormorg next?

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