CD, Muzyka Voln, 2009
If the Icelandic volcano had erupted four days earlier I would have been stranded in Prague, perhaps for sometime (admittedly it could be much worse). As it is, I’m able to listen to this Russian project surrounded by home comforts, largely unaffected by the eruption, except in terms of how I perceive this. The impact of an album or even of a single listening session is often affected by synchronicity and after today’s listen to “Slepok Soznaniya” I can’t avoid volcanic metaphors.
Listened to loud this has a colossal, cataclysmic quality. As well as making me think about the scale of the eruption it brought to mind the apocalyptic paintings of the Victorian artist John Martin, perhaps still the ultimate portrayer of floods, earthquakes, eruptions and catastrophes often described as biblical. This is a very powerful album and actually demands full attention – played at any significant volume it’s very hard to carry on normal activity at the same time. Yet at lower volumes it’s still a fascinating (but possibly safer or less psychically affecting) set of soundscapes.
Sonically it veers between heavily-layered drones and more mechanical elements. First track “Put’Voina” has an occult/ritualistic sound to it, while the second, “Magic Forest” contains a massive sound similar to that made by the centrifuges used at Cosmonaut training centres. “Lights” is another dense mass within which you eventually hear a woman speaking in Russian and sombre chords that give it a filmic quality.
“Hymn to Kali” and “Space Travel” are the darkest tracks where the volcanic metaphor becomes inescapable. Kali is the Hindu goddess of destruction and the track has a hellish but compelling atmosphere. “Space Travel” is very much school of Lustmord dark ambient: hardly original but extremely well done. Like Russian counterparts Velehentor, Kshatriy deploys dense fields of desolately accumulating chords and drones, conjuring solid sound masses driven by infinite subtle changes and shifts.
This is the perfect soundtrack for an individual or a culture perched on the brink of a literal or metaphorical abyss, compelled to watch as colossal and almost certainly lethal forces break through the thin crust of normality. Approach with caution and respect.
— Alexei Monroe