[Reviewed by stark]
If someone were to ask me, which post-industrial artist gives you the biggest pleasure when you listen to their music, I would never mention Reutoff. If somebody else were to ask me which project is in my opinion the most daring in its experiments or simply the most innovative in the scene, Reutoff wouldn’t be my pick either. But if you were to ask me about the musician who combines experimental with so-called “catchiness” the most effectively, well, I’d have to think about mentioning this Russian duo.
They’ve been active for about 18 years, releasing a variety of materials, also in collaboration with other artists in their famous Kreuzung series: a collection of names such as Deutsch Nepal, Troum or Der Blutharsch. “No One’s Lullabies” was originally released on tape, thanks to the Sea State label from Leipzig. Zhelezobeton gives us an extended edition on CD, with five additional tracks and a cover image painted by Fabrice Billard, the owner of the Divine Comedy label.
For many years Reutoff’s line of work and constructing additional sound structures has more or less been the same. They take a nicely crafted industrial background, a mid-tempo rhythm theme, often looped and encrusted with other trinkets and little diamonds, so that most of the tracks possess a slowly yet nicely building tension that leads to a culmination, abundant in sounds and atmospheres. Not all of the tracks though: Reutoff is not a project that always chooses the easy and proven ways – check this splendid dark ambient of a non-obvious feeling in “Nameless Tune With No Fate”.
This is also one of Reutoff’s huge advantages. That you can’t describe their atmosphere in one or two words. You need to build the whole story in your mind, different for each track. It may be dystopian sci-fi straight from Orwell or Bradbury novels; a dark yet epic, sometimes even strangely romantic story, similar to, say, “Blade Runner”. After all, titles like “New World Disorder” or “Requiem for Android” cannot be a coincidence. On the other hand in some track you may notice a somehow optimistic… no, not a good word – a note that breathes with hope. Saying that not everything is lost, that there are still new and mysterious worlds to explore even though our planet is lost.
I feel this modern sci-fi element is pretty solid in Reutoff’s works, which is even more interesting considering the fact that when it comes to technical matters a strong analogue vibe emanates over the whole of “No One’s Lullabies”. This is specific for many post-industrial artists coming from Russia, that while they’re faithful to classic samplers and synths, they’re able to achieve such a fresh effect. Reutoff, Cyclotimia, Sal Solaris, some Cisfinitum efforts. This offering is no different, and once again provides us with a certificate of the uniqueness of the Russian post-industrial scene.