We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

SumDark 12

by Michel Banabila

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      €5 EUR  or more


  • Limited Edition CDR
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Limited edition CDR in digipak.

    Includes unlimited streaming of SumDark 12 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

Crowds 06:37
SumDark 12 08:58


Dark electro / atmospherics

Track 1-4 recorded by Michel Banabila.
Track 5 recorded by Kees van de Wiel, live at Summer Darkness 2012,
Tivoli, Spiegelbar, Utrecht, for X Rated / Concertzender.
A special thanks to Bob Rusche & Hessel Veldman.

Reviews ;

Available as a digital download for some time, but now also as a strictly limited CDr edition. Contains four tracks that were the basis for Banabila's impressive (at times even terrifying) set performed at the Summer Darkness festival in Utrecht, 2012, as well as a 22 minute live recording from that performance.
Definitely showcasing the darkest of the many sides of Michel Banabila (Peter van Cooten).

Sum Dark 12, from prolific electronic musician Michael Banabila, consists of four original, standalone tracks and one long live track, performed at the Summer Darkness 2012 Festival, that incorporates elements from the first four. If this recipe sounds interesting to you, you are correct. This is a ride you’ll be taking more than once, and you’ll be taking it with the volume turned up and the bass cranked. The first four pieces are diverse and plenty strong on their own. “Crowds” comes in on a spring-loaded beat, then ramps up its density and intensity. There’s a certain tribal feel to the rhythm, paired off with industrial undertones. Throat-sung notes snarl under the beat, and then Banabila slides in a growing chorus of the titiular crowd sounds and suddenly we’re in mid-ritual and working toward a frenzy. The build here is superb, and when Banabila drops a little house beat into the middle of this epic swirl of sound, it just amplifies the existing cool. Banabila shifts gears with “Eyes of the Witness,” giving us a set of minimalist elements wrapping themselves around a glitchy beat. A snaky melody adds tension. ”Sum Dark 12″ follows, an expressionistic mix of wandering sounds–static, church bells, electric crackle, vocal samples, bass drones, and more, cooked together into a mind-grabbing mist. Banabila keeps it on the subdued side, letting the pure atmospheric elements do the work. After the three tracks that precede it, “The Empire in Transition” comes as a bit of a surprise–a spacey and soft ambient piece that moves gently across its five-minute span. There’s none of the grit and barbed edges of its fellows, just a surprisingly calming flow.

The live track is a 22-minute affair that, as you might expect once you know its genesis, rolls through several tonal changes as it progresses. It opens with the dark/tribal elements from “Crowds,” layering in and building up. Minimal elements take their turn as this early stage charges urgently along, taking firm hold. The build sneaks up on you until suddenly you’re back in the middle of that chanting, ritual-crazed mob and lost in the proto-tribal thrum. Banabila switches tone a little less than halfway in, picking up a bass ‘n’ drum feel, maintaining the deep groove but cleaning out the sound. Again he drives the thing forward on a big, pulsing, won’t-let-go beat and starts layering in his source sonics. This is seriously sweet EDM with just enough of a shadowy edge, and my favorite section of the piece. At the 15-minute mark we dive into the “Sum Dark 12″ sound-set and get bare and experimental for a bit. As the track winds downs, the swirling animal call of didgeridoo blends with the churning industro-tronics and fades, slowly, to nothing.

Sum Dark 12 ranges from interesting to exhilarating, and once it has you in its grip, it has no intention of letting go. Each of the original pieces are full and engaging on their own, and the dark chemistry that creates the live set is inspired, perfectly managed, and utterly immersive. This is a great release from Michael Banabila, one you must hear. (John Shanahan).

Sum Dark 12 zou je eigenlijk kunnen zien als twee ep’s op 1 schijfje: de eerste vier tracks zijn originele composities die Banabila vervolgens gebruikt heeft voor een optreden op Summer Darkness in Utrecht eerder dit jaar. Daarvan is de vijfde track een live-weergave. Banabila klonk nog nooit zo donker en beklemmend als op Sum Dark 12.

Het album begint met Crowds, een nummer van ruim 6,5 minuut, dat bijna industrieel overkomt; het begint met een metaalachtig repetitief patroontje en wat onheilspellende klanktapijten. Vervolgens wordt door middel van donkere drums en keelzang (!) een dreigende sfeer opgeroepen. Het nummer ontaardt in een opzwepende kakafonie wanneer een schreeuwende menigte en tribalachtige ritmes de track naar een climax stuwen. Zo meeslepend had ik Banabila nog niet gehoord!

Eyes Of The Witness duurt ongeveer even lang, maar zet een heel andere sfeer neer. Nog steeds wel wat donker, maar lang niet zo beklemmend. Stevige beats en een moddervette bas geven dit nummer ballen. Banabila laat zich op deze plaat niet van zijn meest subtiele kant kennen (waarmee ik niet bedoel dat er geen subtiliteiten in zitten), en dat bevalt me voor de verandering prima. Halverwege voegt een eenvoudige melodie de nodige luchtigheid toe en tegen het eind vervagen alle ritmes tot er een duistere drone overblijft.

Het titelnummer (9 minuten) drijft op knisperende glitches, een soort ontstemde electronische harmoniumklank, stemfragmenten en klokgelui. Later worden hier etherische zang-samples en langzaam toenemende noise aan toegevoegd. Het nummer ontaardt in pure digitale noise en laat een zeer onheilspellende sfeer achter na het uitsterven daarvan.

The Empire In Transition (ruim 5 minuten) is een prachtige track die aan het eind van de serie perfect tot zijn recht komt. De titel zal niet toevallig zijn gekozen, het nummer is veel opener en positiever van karakter dan de overige; de luisteraar wordt als het ware daadwerkelijk getransformeerd naar een andere, hoopvollere sfeer.

De laatste track tot slot, zoals reeds gezegd, is een 22 minuten durende live-weergave van het optreden op Summer Darkness. Aan de basis hiervan liggen de eerste vier composities, maar het geheel is nog heftiger, nog angstaanjagender. Een mooie weergave in elk geval die laat horen waar deze geluidstovenaar toe in staat is. (Peter Tuin).

Het is zonder meer het meest duistere dat de veelzijdige artiest heeft voortgebracht. Beangstigend mooi ! (Jan-Willem Broek).

Michel Banabila è nato ad Amsterdam nel 1961, e dal lontano 1983 produce con orgoglio e passione lavori di ambient sperimentale che gli sono fruttati varie collaborazioni e buoni riscontri dalla critica specializzata, anche se la sua carriera è decollata solo nel 2000 con "VoizNoiz". A partire dal primissimo LP "Marilli" Banabila ha dato alle stampe ben trentuno album, tra full-lenght, mini e apparizioni su compilation, spesso attraverso la sua Tapu Records, etichetta che viaggia a braccetto con la prolificità del musicista. Si è inoltre esibito su diversi palchi d'Europa e ha firmato colonne sonore per lungometraggi, documentari, lavori teatrali e installazioni, oltre ad aver fatto parte di progetti come Byzantium, Chi ed East Meets West. Si ha di fronte un artista determinato, che fa risplendere tutto il suo bagaglio di esperienza e talento. Questo "Sum Dark 12" è solo una delle tante release annuali del musicista olandese. Nel solo 2012 si contano sei uscite tra il formato fisico e il download, e in quest'annata si è già arrivati a quota due (più la collaborazione con Philippe Petit nella compilation "Malpertus"). Ed è proprio alla scena sperimentale d'avanguardia, di cui fa parte anche il francese Petit, che va ad aggiungersi il nome di Banabila. "Sum Dark12" è un mini-album in CDr di quattro inediti, più una live track catturata durante il Summer Darkness 2012 e dedita alla pura improvvisazione, essenza dell'anima di Banabila. Michel pare devoto alla psichedelia teatrale dei Tangerine Dream o del krautrock degli 80s. Le quattro tracce inedite, a partire dalla oscura e acida title-track, presentano un ponte tra elettronica e rumorismo ambient, tutto sostenuto da emozionanti crescendo a far da struttura. "Crowds" risulta afasica e ansiogena come già sottolinea il titolo, mentre "Eyes Of The Witness" sfoggia una diabolicità da film noir. "The Empire In Transition" è un classico tappeto dark ambient che arreca un po' di nostalgia per i primi anni del nuovo millennio, quando una label come la Cold Meat Industry deliziava con le sue regolari pubblicazioni. Il piatto forte però pare essere proprio il brano conclusivo, un'esibizione registrata da Kees van de Wiel durante il Summer Darkness della scorsa estate. Banabila si dimostra abile e plastico nel mettere in piedi la sua 'nebbia' sonora, a partire dal brano "Crowds", per poi sfociare in monolitici beat simil-industriali. "Sum Dark 12" non può essere un lavoro esaustivo, ma è la giusta occasione per presentarvi un uomo/artista che con il suo umile contributo riesce a ricalcare territori vincenti. L'ennesimo esempio di come la scena indie non scarseggi mai di idee. Se l'ambient d'avanguardia di un'etichetta come la Alrealon vi scorre nel sangue, Michel Banabila va appuntato nella lista dei musicisti che compongono la colonna sonora della vostra vita. (Max Firinu).

This is interesting dark ambient with a beat. "Crowds" is a pulsating, rhythmic piece with crowd samples woven throughout. "Eyes of the Witness" keeps the beat moving, but this time a bit more traditionally. At some points, such as "Sumdark 12," it is pretty minimal, which actually works for this disc. "The Empire in Transition" is also a peaceful bit of droning soundscape. About half the disc is taken up by a live recording from "Summer Darkness 2012." We begin this set with a live version of "Crowds," but it is a bit more intense in the live version. The second part of the live set began as a simple beat-driven track that reminded me at times of old Plastikman and then got more gritty as it progressed. Overall this was a pretty good live set. This album weighs in at around 49 minutes. (Eskaton).


released August 21, 2012

Michel Banabila ; electronics & mix.
Front cover photo by Michel Banabila.
Banabila SD photo by Gertjan van der Loo / www.gertjanvanderloo.nl
All tracks composed and produced by Michel Banabila.

2012 ℗ Tapu Records.


all rights reserved



Michel Banabila Rotterdam, Netherlands

contact / help

Contact Michel Banabila

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Report this album or account

Michel Banabila recommends:

If you like Michel Banabila, you may also like: