Ogni Videniy – Sounding Emptiness (Огни Видений ‎– Звучащие Пустоты)


[Reviewed by stark]

Yellow, red and blue fancifully mixing on the front picture; my thoughts are drifting towards psychedelic rock straight from the seventies. Could Zhelezobeton, specializing primarily in industrial, have tricked us and given us music under which our parents were smoking weed?

Ogni Videniy is another Russian project, of the existence of which I learned while removing the disc from the envelope, and at the same time it’s one that has already managed to release some stuff. Eight albums, five of which are collaborations, among them one with Lunar Abyss that I quite like. Therefore I’m in ambient–industrial company, according to the label’s standards. I was inclined to trust all these surroundings and not be influenced by this amusing image on the cover.

It turns out that both of these directions are actually justified. “Sounding Emptiness” (excuse me, but I’ll be using the English title) is filled with dark ambient created in not a very bombastic, rather a restrained way. And simultaneously there’s some peculiarly unreal atmosphere, where you can easily roll a spliff helping to sail into the unknown with this project from Archangelsk. “The Pass” for example: a great piece, a descent in the damp catacombs, dirty water dripping on your head, and a hideously sweet odor irritating your sense of smell. After a moment you realize, however, that in this underground structure counting many centuries there shouldn’t be any cables lying on the floor, or monitors built in the walls. They suddenly begin to spark with rows and columns of numbers arranged in very clear patterns.

I don’t know why, ‘Immersion’ reminds me of a Middle Eastern desert at night, although the direct music references are missing – except maybe the calling drone, sounding like a mutated version of the sequence taken from “Falling Twilight” by Raison d’être – but it’s possible that it’s more in my imagination than reality. Also, “Ashes From The Tablecloth” I quite like, perhaps because of its synth sounds as if from some ambient dub. If we were to move the electronic pulse from the background to the foreground and add some space, we’d almost get Echospace or something.

These are the best moments. The worse are present as well. “Wollo” and “Scattered Embers” bored me and – this applies to most pieces anyway – I feel that the gaps between the individual layers should be filled with sound, because despite the bizarre, sometimes quite subtle atmosphere, the ascetic feeling of these compositions seems too perceptible. Though perhaps that was the idea. But I wouldn’t be angry about slightly thickening the sound here and there.

Well, I also feel annoyed about this dissonance between music and graphic design. Obviously it’s different than the standard grim landschafts, but this image makes me feel that the artist is not taking the whole creative process seriously. And this stands in conflict with the “serious”, not necessarily distanced music. Generally speaking, it doesn’t kick ass, though a few compositions are good. I’ll be listening to it selectively.

Ogni VideniySounding Emptiness
Zhelezobeton, ZHB–XLIII
CDr/Digital 2014

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