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Fallout 4

by Darkroom

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Fallout 4 is the fourth album in Darkroom’s Fallout trilogy.

Darkroom specialise in creating ambient music that stretches the definition of the genre to its limits in many directions: from quiet, introspective and naturalistic through celestial and melodic to intense, abrasive and synthetic.

Darkroom’s music has always been played not programmed, with a focus on human interaction and capturing the magic of live performance. Their earliest independent releases over 20 years ago were the albums Fallout 1 to 3, curating their concert sound journeys with the tools available at the time and echoing their early inspirations Can and Tangerine Dream in blurring the boundaries between concert and studio recording, composition and improvisation.

While their studio albums became more ambitious sonically and compositionally - Some Of These Numbers Mean Something (2008) and Gravity’s Dirty Work (2013) - their live performances developed in parallel with extended improvisations and soundscapes documented across multiple releases, including the three hours plus of The Noise Is Unrest (2019) that was released to coincide with the band’s live performance at the Extreme Chill festival in Iceland. At the end of 2021, Darkroom released The Last Sense To Fade via the specialist ambient label Whitelabrecs, tying both strands of their music - studio arrangement and extended live capture - together in an assured and unexpectedly optimistic work.

Fallout 4 goes back to the original Fallout inspirations, and a darker aesthetic. The soundscape is stark, open, at times ragged and jarring while at other times hauntingly beautiful. The album contains three extended pieces. The first two - It’s Clear From The Air and Qaanaaq - derive from the last performance of Darkroom’s 2012 tour: even after most of the audience had left, the band kept on playing into the night as the inspirational flow was so strong. Reviewing extensive recordings from rehearsals and the rest of the tour, one additional piece - Tuesdays Ghost - stood out for its controlled slow drone build and primal rhythmic electronic energy.

To master the album and to make sure it was finally done, Darkroom chose Jono Podmore for his intuitive understanding and ability to control sonic forces, and for his central role in creating Can’s The Lost Tapes (2012).

Carl Glover chose the front cover image before the Fallout 4 album was finished, partly for its evocation of the iconic 1970s paintings of space monoliths by Chris Foss. In 2022, with the decision to release via the Expert Sleepers label, it’s the link with terrestrial Cold War imagery that seems both prescient and unsettling. More nuclear age than new age (or maybe new unclear age), this music is cinematic ambient noir: uneasy listening, but with its heart wide open to finding beauty in frightened times.

Protect and survive.


released August 25, 2022

Recorded at The Cornershop and The Lightroom, October-November 2012

Michael Bearpark - guitar, pedals
Andrew Ostler - modular synthesizer, laptop
Recording and audio restoration by Andrew Ostler
Edited, mixed and produced by Darkroom
Mastering and finalising: Jono Podmore
Design and photography: Carl Glover for Aleph Studio

Dedicated to the memory in music of Ed Elloway

Special thanks: Jono, Carl, Georgina Brett (Tuesdays Post), John Fossey, Rhett Griffiths, Jordan Muscatello, Lee Thompson, Cos Chapman, Marina Young, Bob Hodds, Boss for DD-7, iZotope for RX

Remembering 333, the Frank Chickens and their ‘special sushi’, lost connections between different worlds, Troyganic, The Strongroom, The Cornershop…all those basements, before the bright regeneration took over…so long, Old Street.


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Darkroom UK

Guitar but not guitar; synthesizers but not keyboards – Darkroom’s music starts with improvisation and a distinctive approach to sound design, followed by disciplined editing and stop-motion studio craft. By turns beautiful and beautifully ugly, theirs is a very human music that always sounds ‘played’ not ‘programmed’, despite the essential technology. ... more

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