7” vinyl, SEALT/Brume Records, 2011
“Circumbaikal”, a new split 7-inch vinyl featuring work by Flint Glass and Arx Kaeli, pays homage to the Circum-Baikal Railway, located on the shores of Lake Baikal (Russia) and, until the mid-20th century, part of the main route of the Trans-Siberian Railway. As might be expected, with only four tracks and a running time of about fourteen minutes, “Circumbaikal” feels all too brief. Paris-based dark electronic mainstay, Flint Glass, and Arx Kaeli, from Moscow, each contribute one original track and one remix of the other artist’s track on this very limited release.
Flint Glass begins the a-side with the title track, an admittedly typical output of energetic ritual drums and long, spacey synths. The remix track, “Kultuk”, follows with subdued and buzzing ambience, into which builds IDM-style rhythms, strengthening in conjunction with glitchy movements in its sound structure.
The flipside sees “К-Б-Ж-Д”, the remix contribution from Arx Kaeli, starting off, softening the original’s ritual drums while maintaining sliced and diced beat patterns. Following that is “Marituy” (a personal favorite), in which that selfsame buzzing ambience found in the treatment by Flint Glass also shifts, this time into a playful, off-kilter downtempo cadence.
Despite that the production and music are both of good quality – not surprising, considering previous output from Flint Glass and the fact that he collaborates, in this case, with up-and-coming Arx Kaeli – everything on “Circumbaikal” seems too short. It is as if each track calls it quits before it really has a chance to get off the ground. Assuming that the format of the release was a limiting factor in determining its duration, it nevertheless detracts from the music’s potential in the end. Unable to naturally stretch out their limbs, develop and explore, the tracks seem abbreviated, like radio edits, or simply unfinished.
— Dutton Hauhart