Cryo Chamber Monorail: Why Losing A 24/7 Livestream Is Important

The Monorail was a 24/7 music livestream of the Dark Ambient genre. It had a fascinating full-3D city as seen from a monorail car with machine humanoids inside.

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In the grand scheme of things, we’re in an age of music saturation. Therefore, a livestream of music tracks – that are still widely available on the curator’s Youtube and Spotify pages – is of little consequence as a statistic. However, omitting the growing issue of entire libraries disappearing overnight for a moment, what’s also lost is the culture of that livestream.

In many cases a livestream of music is just that: music, with a black screen or a static image background and sometimes more. Today it’s getting more common, with video loops of a person writing or rain falling. Adds a touch of optional immersion.

Sometimes the production goes beyond a simple, short loop of video. This was the case with the 24/7 Monorail livestream, produced by Cryo Chamber. Led by Simon Heath of Atrium Carceri, Cryo Chamber is a record label that specializes in dark ambient music. I’m not into all of it, but I found many tracks interesting or outright captivating.

I’m not sure when the Monorail livestream started, but I enjoyed listening to it for what felt like at least 2-3 years. I put it on for the sound, definitely, but the whole design of the visual scene drew me in as well. Someone set up an entire digital city using software, and then added a monorail that rode around it. The attention to detail was astonishing, both inside the rail car and the city as a whole. Here is a snapshot I managed to preserve:

My favorite part was this old robot, whose story is unknown. They looked either sad and/or damaged, perhaps to help establish the dark tone. Over time, the scene changed a bit and there was a new character. I liked them, but as time went on I missed the former robot more and more.

In February 2024, about a week before my birthday, I found a Discord server for Cryo Chamber. I searched chat history to see if anyone else remembered or missed the Monorail stream. Of course, there were many who did. From what I can gather, the livestream was shut down for various reasons, including 1. the live chat getting toxic (not enough moderators), 2. the script that ran the video was breaking, and 3. the stream was de-ranking Cryo Chamber in instances where the channel would be recommended by the almighty YT algorithm. Reminder that search/visibility algorithms tend to suck on Youtube, Reddit, and the like. Long past time for an overhaul.

Even without those reasons, it’s also speculated that it was hurting album sales. I don’t blame the label if so, but at the same time the Monorail had become iconic by that point. We’re not entitled to a random livestream being up 24/7 for our entire lives, no, but I found it to be another interesting example of how quickly some things become standard, only to vanish a few years later. Reminder that good things can disappear overnight, and that late-stage capitalism sucks.

So, how do I preserve the visual scene? I have one screenshot for now, and there’s a surviving video of the city from one angle in this one-off upload from Cryo Chamber. There’s also a “script” on Github that apparently needs fixing before it can work again, but so far I have been unable to find it. I also need to see if the making-of video is still available.

There’s more to say (and reveal!) but I’ll save it for another blog. In the meantime I’m adding the Monorail to a growing list of things that feel like they’re gone too soon. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you sooner than my last drought (over a year! screams “Unacceptable!” in Vay Hek).

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