CD (ltd. 500)
"Transforming Galaxy" is the second full-length album of Sergey Bulychyov (aka Uak-Kib) from Vsevolozhsk, Russia - an imprint of direct experience of the Universe. The album is dedicated to the end of Kali-Yuga - the age of technocratic lack of spirituality and moral decay - and to the attainment of human awareness of the Unity.
Eight hasteless compositions of psychedelic drone ambient combine a light atmosphere with deep multilayerness, crystal clear sound transparency with mild and sometimes uneasy melodies. Soft organic tracks full of plangent drones, noises and natural recordings neighbor with dense and saturated hymns to Hindu goddess Kali. The disk is closed by a beautiful lyrical composition reminding us that the best way to overcome ignorance and realize unity is Love.
The album is released in a glossy 6-panel digipak with front cover by Sergey Ilchuk (Siyanie, ex-Vetvei & Vresnit Art).
First 30 copies are designed by the author as special collector's edition: hand-crafted bag made of brown velvet containing art printed on a thick wooden plate 28 x 30 cm, and also an additional CD-R with a live recording of Kshatriy's performance in Moscow-based cultural center "DOM" on October 23, 2010.
From the dark hinterlands of Russia two dark ambient releases. First we have Kasahtry, the project of Sergey Bulychyov (also known as Uak-Kib). 'Transforming Galaxy' is his second album and dedicated to the end of Kali-Yuga "the age of technocratic lack of spirituality and moral decay - and to the attainment of human awareness of the Unity". Proto-type dark ambient music if you ask me. Lots of synthesized ambient scapes, perhaps made with real synthesizers, no doubt with lots of field recordings, much electronic processing and all such like, but the good news is that this doesn't lead to abstract drone patterns, but in each of the pieces there seems to be the shimmering of small melodies humming along, making the whole thing more 'musical' than y'r average drone record, which I guess is nice. Each of the eight pieces takes a considerable time to develop, as all of these pieces are easily between eight and thirteen minutes. That makes it quite a long album, but its one that can hold the attention quite well. Kshatriy moves along various patterns, ideas, motions and emotions and it makes a highly varied and mostly enjoyable record.
This is the second album from this Russian composer and is dedicated to the end to the technocratic lack of spirituality and modern decay. Quite.
What we do have are eight epic constructions that utilise Dark Ambient as the foundations to a mass of swirling futuristic, sci-fi like electronics that slot in perfectly with the albums title.
This theme has been explored by a number of artists such as Inade right through to Sleep Research Facility and such like; it seems to be an intriguing concept for a lot of artists within the genre and makes a change from some of the ramblings from acts that lean a little too much on their right hands.
There is more than a hint of the psychedelic on ‘Transforming Galaxy’; it is to be expected as to be fair there is little I presume (maybe incorrectly) that Kshatriy would know about the subject matter, rather than I suspect, some astronomical photography and scientific reports. It does colour the mind with images when people see the universe in this light and of course this leads the way to dramatic concepts about what truly transpires out there in the nether regions of space.
All in all though this is a more than competent release; careful attention has been made to the building blocks of sound to give the tracks a sturdy base to work from. This second album has more to offer than the usual one dimensional approach to the genre, with emphasis on vast soundtrack that more than conveys what it is trying to achieve; a vast array of impressions are given listening throughout, feeling like there is a genuine story being told from start to finish.
I have the pleasure to live with many animals who share the house with me. I am pretty sure that they don’t like most of the music I am listening to, but Kshatriy, released by Muzyka Voln, a part of the label Zhelezobeton, which is responsible for many great releases on my shelf, drew some strange reaction from them. Packed with unsettling shapes of dark ambient and what I guess is field recordings, ‘Transforming Galaxy’ suddenly spread the tweets of birds into my room. My two parrots, Loki and Falkore, they both answer insanely to the phantom voices, and it takes them long minutes to calm down. Minutes later, it is the turn of my dogs Tau and Buff, as distant dogs are heard as well. Three times I stop the music in order to make sure the barks come through the speakers and not through the window. They are very real. The music in this album is very real.
I do not consider Kshatriy to be a dark album in the simple sense of the word. Instead, it justifies the darkness in his extreme density of sounds. Like a dying sun, each track holds the dense collection of boiling elements within it. Ritual bells and echoing metals ring through distant sounds of rain and wind. The entire universe is being held with every single pulse of life that Kshatriy releases, engulfing the listener with infinite sonic mysteries. This romantic vision, trying to cage the entire universe within the spectrum of audible sound, softly releases it in caressing paces that lament on some parts of the album, haunt and even threaten on others, and finally, offer bittersweet consolation on more parts.
‘Transforming Galaxy’ is a sum that is much greater than its components. The eight tracks, from the higher self and all the way to love, offer an emotional and transcendental experience that travels through the listener’s mind, riding on nostalgic notions in search of sonic (if not other) boundaries. Once again, a great outcome for Zhelezobeton.
Few months ago I had a pleasure to review the collaboration album of two Russian residents Kshatriy and Vresnit, and I was really impressed by the ambience that they had created. As for me, most of the bands from the post-SSSR region are worth to be checked out at least from curiosity site, the underground culture there is less influenced by the western music development, that's why the chance is high to come across some interesting act.
Now it is a turn of the new album from Kshatriy to get inspected and weighted by your loyal servant. This is a second full length records from this artist, but Sergei, the man behind the project, has already a rich portfolio of different collaborations, split albums and tracks on various compilations. While I dive into the mythology behind the name, I discover the Indian background of the whole creative process, where Kshatriy is an eternal warrior caste in Indian social structure. In the album "Transforming Galaxy", Sergei tries to reflect two main messages of his inner world. The first is the idea of Kali Yuga, the age of dawn and decadence, the worst age of all, when all the virtues are downgraded and forgotten, and his belief that this age is close to the end, the light in the end of the tunnel is bright enough for devoted to see it already. And the second idea is of the origin of uniformity of the entire world, and each single particle carrying an impulse of whole universal establishment. According to Sergei, "Music is a natural language of souls?", and in order to connect myself to the philosophical background, I begin my journey into the musical soundscape, brought through the album of the eternal warrior of light, - Khatriy.
When one chooses this kind of a creative background, usually the demand is for the wide opened plains with strong emotional impulses. The journey starts with an opening track "Initiation into the Higher Self", where from the first tunes I can understand how vast and circumspect the music is. First of all, what is significant to all the tracks that I have ever heard from Kshatriy, is a constant usage of field recordings which become inseparable part of the whole concept. Wind blowing inside trees, constant splashing of the water, birds signing, crickets making their noises during the late hours, dogs barking, everything is bind into the huge canvas,- the picture of the surrounding world, where each and every creature carries a reflection of universal order. Cold sonic landscape opens its doors with the track "The Song of the Unknown", a deep humming melody circles like a wheel of galaxy, supporting the sounds of breathing nature, rainfalls and thunder.
Two following tracks, "Omut" and "Awakening" are the best in this record for my taste. "Omut" brings a deep open space feeling, almost of meditative origin, where the quiet sounds of frozen winter morning are combined with a distant droning background layers. And with "Awakening" all the nature wakes up from a sleep, a light rain washes away dreams of a spring to come; fluting sound welcomes the breath of life around and makes the landscape even vaster and the atmosphere much viscid. On this stage I am already carried away by the river of time to meet the creator of all and to dive into the "Transforming Galaxy" track, much gloomier and heavier experience.
"Hymn to Kali 2" and "Hymn to Kali 3" are even thicker compositions that bring a touch of darkness into the whole structure, maybe as a reflection of the idea of Kali Yuga which I described in my preface before. Finally, to relieve the taste of grimness comes a closing track "Love is a Key", full of celestial, almost heavenly spirit, to reveal a statement of what can be the main cause of finishing the Kali Yuga age.
The idea and the result of the projection of this idea into the musical expression work nicely for Kshatry. Though nothing new explored here from the musical point of view, an able manipulation with the well-know techniques helps in creating a beautiful journey. Those tools can be heard from a lot of artists which already became masters of dark and ritual ambient genres decades ago, like Inade , Herbst9 and few others, but still they sound fresh enough to gain a foothold in "Transforming Galaxy". The exploit of these techniques doesn't cause a plagiarism, contrariwise, it helps Sergei to develop own vision and reach the establishment of his special sound.
Now and then we receive material from Russia, and in almost every case it turns out to be dark ambient-industrial electronica, a style the artists on Zhelezobeton and its sub-label Muzyka Voln have refined to a state of near-perfection. Or so at least it appears based on the evidence of Transforming Galaxy, the second full-length album from Vsevolozhsk-based Sergey Uak-Kib, which presents seventy-eight minutes of deep ambient-dronescaping. It's a concept album of sorts that aspires to be nothing less than, quote, “an imprint of direct experience of the Universe,” unquote. In like spirit, Kshatriy (a Sanskrit word meaning warrior) dedicates it to “the end of Kali-Yuga—the age of technocratic lack of spirituality and moral decay—and to the attainment of human awareness of the Unity.” As always, the listener is at liberty to disregard all such background details and proceed directly to the music, which holds up well enough sans conceptual baggage.
The album's eight pieces are thick, atmospheric meditations, heavy on synthetic sounds and processed field recordings, with all of it shaped into immersive set-pieces of foreboding character. There's no shortage of cavernous rumblings, and at various times we hear the crackle of someone trudging through the outdoors, birds chirping, dogs barking, and crows cawing. A psychedelic undercurrent permeates the music, too, albeit one that's more cool and controlled than the norm (interestingly, a recent Kshatriy release is titled Mushrooms and Kshatriy). During “Initiation into the Higher Self,” crickets quietly chirp alongside a poisonous stream of bass hum and symphonic gloom, while thunderstorms and smothering winds swirl amidst ghostly exhalations in “The Song of the Unknown” for twelve nightmarish minutes. The title track is understandably oft-violent and cataclysmic in attempting to evoke primal transformation at a galaxial level. By contrast, the closing “Love is the Key” is naturally the least turbulent setting and consequently hints that some degree of resolution has been reached. The Eastern stylings of the recording come to the fore during “Hymn to Kali (part 3)” when hand bells become a dominant sound element, even if they gradually give way to the album's more familiar dark ambient blend. On this well-crafted if overlong opus, a battle of sorts appears to be waged throughout, one that finds forces of dark and light involved in constant struggle—the moments of relative levity and clarity obviously suggesting that the good side has temporarily gained the upper hand while the claustrophobic episodes hint that evil forces have gained victory.
The debut-CD of Kshatriy already caught my attention for its deep and poignant dark-ambient influence. The new album deals with a new concept dedicated to the end of Kali-Yuga, the age of technocratic lack of spirituality and moral decay and to the attainment of human awareness of the unity. The conceptual idea has been transposed into a dark and dense soundscape. One of the main characteristics is the multiple sounds of insects and animals. I guess it here consists of field recordings featuring particular guests like crickets, birds, frogs, dogs ao. But all these little creatures rather sound like symbols of premonition. If you consider the obscure and haunting universe Kshatriy is composing you feel like you are lost in an anguishing no man’s land. Icy sound waves and buzzing soundscapes are getting the listener in a state of stupor. The track “Hymn To Kali – Part III” reminds me of the fascinating ambient universe of Greater Than One. The ultimate piece of the album is a rather surprising lyrical composition, which wants to remind us that the best way to overcome ignorance and realize unity is love. It’s rather unusual a dark-ambient project is ending on a positive note. Kshatriy confirms the strong debut and is a Russian ambient project I’ll highly recommend to all lovers of frightening experiences in sound.
Kshatriy’s second full-length is like a diverse continuation from its excellent debut album. It is gloomy ambient with fine shades, sounding (like its name) very space-like. It does not, however, for a successful continuity, being more like a set of pieces that do fit together, but not seamlessly. The production quality is quite sharp, emphasizing high tones and thus especially the changing parts of the music instead of the darker background wave. In many sections that solution works well, but some of the elements (water, and especially the dog barking sample in Hymn to Kali (Part 3)) break the spacey mood. The album works fine as individual tracks but not as a flowing whole.
Transforming Galaxy is fine, innovative and at its best also very captivating ambient, but remains far behind the masterpieces of space-themed ambient, the artist’s preceding album included. It is beautiful, but not really original or significant. Omut, with its sampled croaking birds, is in any case a wonderful piece, and a reminder of just how good Kshatriy is at its best. The title track, too, is fine, even if it does resemble Inade a bit too much.
A very good album, but I know we can expect a lot better from this artist.
Ah, nothing like good ‘ol space ambient to help ground me this morning after a hard night of drinking. At least this stuff will soothe my headache appropriately. First off, love the packaging. Very tasteful, colorful, and psychedelic mix of images make up the artwork on this slick digipak.
The sounds and style of Transforming Galaxy might be a touch predictable; harmonious synth drones, deep resonances, crackling samples. But it is well executed nonetheless. The synths aren’t overtly melodic or cheesy, the merging of electronic and organic elements meld together very well, especially in The Song of the Unknown.
Awakening takes a step down from outer space to a more earthly realm with bird ambience embedded among the floating drones. The music here once again reminds me of the score from Tarkovsky’s Stalker (must all Russian dark ambient harken back to those roots?!) with flute-like pads emerging among the gleaming layers.
One thing that I really enjoy about Transforming Galaxy is that the whole album ebbs and flows quite nicely. The tracks are generally active drone, but others like Omut and Hymn to Kali (Part 3) offer a respite from the activity with a more minimalist touch. This really helps the pacing and makes Transforming Galaxy a dynamic listen.
This is a dark ambient album through and through and although there is no original ground tread here it features very well constructed atmospheres and well designed sounds. I would recommend this to both a dedicated fan of dark ambient or a person just getting into the style because it is a shining example of the genre.
Kshatriy is the work of Sergey Uak-Kib, who hails from Vsevolozhsk, Russia. I was unfamiliar with his work, but had heard some other releases on the label. You can often get a sense of what you are in for by looking at the cover art of the album. In this case, the impression is pretty accurate ' you're in for some spacey ambience. According to the label, 'The album is dedicated to the end of Kali-Yuga - the age of technocratic lack of spirituality and moral decay - and to the attainment of human awareness of the Unity. Eight hasteless compositions of psychedelic drone ambient combine a light atmosphere with deep multilayerness, crystal clear sound transparency with mild and sometimes uneasy melodies. Soft organic tracks full of plangent drones, noises and natural recordings neighbor with dense and saturated hymns to Hindu goddess Kali.' I'm not quite sure this comes through the music (that's the problem with dark ambient, isn't it?), but there is a good mixture of synthetic and organic sound source as synth drone combines with field recordings of birds, dogs, etc. But this is not really just peaceful drone. There is an edge to it at times, which is somewhat reminiscent of Inade's work. I suppose this makes sense, as Wikipedia notes that 'the 'Kali' of Kali Yuga means 'strife, discord, quarrel, or contention.'' The liner notes likewise state that 'In the era of Kali-Yuga our concepts of the world are completely chaotic.' I would file this under what James Keeler of Wilt fame calls 'dark noise.' If you want to check it out, you can listen to the whole album at the label's Bandcamp site. You should ' it's worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 78 minutes. Limited to 500 copies.