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v4w.enko – Harmonic Ratio

v4w.enko - Harmonic Ratio

CD, Kvitnu, 2009

Words that spring to mind when assailing your senses with the bizarre conglomerate of sound that is “Harmonic Ratio”, a selection of 26 fragments and sonic experiments by Evginey Vaschenko, alias v4w.enko, include, among others, thrilling (in much the same way as surgery without the benefit of anaesthesia is liable to thrill), interesting (in the same manner that the grotesque or hideous manages to hold your attention) and possibly even more appropriately, entertaining. And I don’t mean entertaining in the same context as formulaic, weeknight American sitcoms – rather, entertaining in the sense of an institutionalised paranoid schizophrenic that has laid his hands on a fire axe. The entertainment factor tends to drop alarmingly the closer your proximity, and it’s much the same with this album: it isn’t healthy to connect too closely with the stream-of-consciousness manipulated sonic algorithms that make up the majority of the music.
Whether it’s the semi-rhythmic stabs of “Future__20L13-20L23”, the ringing feedback loops of “Awava_a” or the alternating drill-like structures and keys of “Io_n_l”, there’s danger to be encountered round every turn. Nothing about “Harmonic Ratio” suggests any kind of harmony, in a conventional musical sense or otherwise; this is a decidedly uncomfortable, nerve-wracking experience. Combine this with the linear static artwork that typifies the artist’s previous releases, or even with any kind of geometric op-art (including standard waveform “visualisations” on most media players) and you have a guaranteed recipe for nausea on your hands.
But then you consider Kvitnu’s slogan: “High Blood Pressure Music” and realise it’s not meant to be calming. It’s designed to set your nerves on edge, to make your hair stand on end, to excite, shock and frighten you; it’s uneasy-listening music, and v4w.enko has completed his mandate successfully.


— David vander Merwe

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