Necropolis ‎– Necrosphere

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[Reviewed by John Pearson]

This Russian act comes from the Siberian city of Irkutsk, a remote location within the middle east of the earth’s most vast country. Along with a self-titled cassette released in 1999, ‘Necrosphere’ is the only other full length release by the outfit. It was originally made available in limited supply on the St. Petersburg based label/distro Zhelezobeton in 2003.

The renowned English label Cold Spring would eventually re-issue this current edition in 2006, including an additional 14 minute track ‘Morning Air’ along with the original half-hour long title track.

Necropolis first came to my attention with a track they contributed to Cold Spring’s ‘Swarm’ compilation. Whilst this gave a hint towards what would be expected from more expansive material, the elements of field recordings, samples and a deep, cavernous sound treatment bore all the typical hallmarks of dark ambient. When first listening to ‘Necrosphere’, this proved to be misrepresentative of their greater body of work.

The best comparisons ‘musically’ that could be applied to Necropolis are the abyssic tonalities of Lustmord with the harmonic sensibilities of Raison d’être. The aural landscape is quintessentially Russian, contrasting barren, decrepit post-industrial environments with that of the taiga and barren plains.

On closer inspection, a parallel to the ‘arctic ambient’ of the Norwegian act Biosphere would be convenient, albeit not as directly rhythmic or indebted towards techno, but with a similar atmosphere and cinematic quality.

This re-issue of ‘Necrosphere’ is a rewarding listen. Whereas the addition of ‘bonus tracks’ or additional recordings onto a re-release risk to detract or add incoherent, unnecessary filler to the general listening experience, the additional material expands on what was originally there, and injects it with a greater sense of longevity, further soliciting the wondrous and sparse ambient qualities of this mysterious project.

Necropolis ‎– Necrosphere
CD, 2006
Cold Spring, CSR51CD

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