[Reviewed by Iaha Crax]
There is here a particular intimacy with organic life that pervades the entire record and seems to render it alive. The Russian artist behind this project has completed musical studies and is familiar with classical instruments and musical theory. In his personal approach to ambient music he combines classic and digital music within a sound territory dominated by drones and meditative structures.
“Landschaft” is an old record re-ssued after 12 years by the Ukrainian label Old Captain. The disc is not far from an impressionist painting illustrating an acoustic paysage of vast spatiality. Song titles stand as names for these landscaping tableaux. “Inland”, the debut track fulgurates with light-sounding but also scarcely misty sounds that are taking you little by little into a vaporous embrace, finally making you disappear. The music is endowed with a fantastic power of suggestion and brought into memory Claude Monet’s painting, Impression, where he surprises what the landscape transmits to the eye, regardless of its actual physical shape (“ Landscape is nothing but an impression, and an instantaneous one”). And here, on “Inland” there is a magical touch that allows you to actually see an impression of that landscape, some dewed prairie strewn with hidden maws where the bodies of drowned people are lying in forgetfulness.
The disc contains two tracks entitled “Landschaft I” and “II”. The first part of this descriptive diptych is colored in grey-sparkling ink, like some prose-poem where words disappear as soon as the declamation is made. The mental is floated with eerie tones of nostalgic disconsolation that seem to find solace in crevices of earth. The sound moves naturally like the passing of a gentle wind in what could be tunnels carved through timeless rocks, or abandoned monuments of immemorial age. Strange echoes of diluted chorals enshroud these mystic places, composing a dead-soul’s requiem that haunts the spirit, leading it to an irreversible state of catalepsy. Only the sudden end startles the hearing, which however remains mesmerized by the sound even when the track is finished. The second musical image of this diptych is like a mirrored reflection of the first part’s envisaged form. The tonalities become brighter and gain in lightness, whereas matter seems here to have lost its gravity. Telluric idioms are now de-substantialized and receive a certain deep sense of spiritualization. It’s all the more difficult to imagine a sketch of this newly formed landscape, but fragile bells and phantom hissings keep the listener from falling in complete aural absence. The artist’s mastery in shaping such evanescent nuances of tonality bewilders the listener and almost annihilates his natural senses. Slowly the image of this second landscape becomes identifiable to the first part of the diptych in a truly beautiful manner that completes and finally puts the final brush in an impressive painting.
From “Inland” we have been walked by the “Landschaft” and we finally reach the final part of the visual journey, “District Delta”. Here a vaporous melancholic melody pictures a territory undefiled by human presence. It is both tragic in its refinement and glorious in the way that it marks the wildness. The uncanny beauty of the song resides on the absence of an observer, there is a sheer, palpable presence of melody and nothing else.
This sensibility of perception, an ingenius intuition to depict immobile surfaces, decomposed or hazy images, sad and magical misty landscapes, are just a few of the reasons to say that we are in the presence of a magnificent musical painter. Others will be discovered along more journeys we will take in the Landschaft.