CD-R (ltd. 77)
A collection of the best pieces by the conceptual project Pustota maintained by Evgeniy Savenko (Lunar Abyss, Hattifnatter, Boevye Cikady, etc.) to explore various forms of manifestation and convergence of the acoustic spaces and artifacts. Repeatedly amplified noise of old magnetic tape, work of tape-recorder mechanisms and technical faults, electro-magnetic interference, running through the tube cascades of the old amplifiers, impersonal urban and field recordings caught on cassette dictaphones - all this is tesselated in a sort of mosaic of textural sonic events. All compositions except one were previously released in extended forms by BioSonar^Lo-End label in tiny editions of 7-15 cassettes with deliberately absurd handmade artwork.
Another trio of new releases by St. Petersburg's finest Zhelezobeton and I went in the 'Greatest Hits' by Pustota, which is yet another name by Evgeniy Savenko, who we otherwise also know as Lunar Abyss, but also as Hattifnatter and Boevye Cikady (and others). Here he sets out to 'explore various forms of manifestation and convergence of the acoustic spaces and artefacts', which means he's all about getting sounds from old tapes, mechanisms, half broken machinery, electro-magnetic interference and such like. One of the reasons I never heard of this is that the releases he produces as such as strictly limited to somewhere between seven and fifteen copies, with 'deliberately absurd handmade artwork'. So, if these are the greatest hits is not for me to judge. It sure is quite a noisy tune Pustota plays here, well most of the times that is. He hits upon a noise, which is never easy to identify in their source, and then he does a recording of it, for a couple of minutes, well usually about six to nine minutes. These come without much variation, and things stay as they are. That perhaps doesn't work always for me, certainly when it comes to the more loud end of the music. I was thinking 'yeah, loud it is, and it stays loud, it's not harsh noise wall, but is it interesting all this time?' With the pieces that allowed for some quietness, such as 'Posle Vsego', with its crackling surface noise or 'To Da Syo', going from noise into watery field recordings, worked much better. I would think that a true hit would be a bit shorter than eight minutes anyway? I know this is all tongue in cheek (great cover by the way!), but some more rigid selection and/or editing down the pieces would have been a good idea.
Pustota’s greatest hits might not contain the material that radio stations would spin every half an hour, or billboard would put up in some high ranking lists between the likes of Elton John and Celine Dion.. But these greatest hits on this greatest hits album have every right on their own to be called great and hit! Great as they are not only great, they are also loud, and ‘hit’ because they hit all their potential. Let me talk you through these greatest hits on the greatest hits album…
‘Zamescheniye’ couldn’t possibly better be described as a well-executed lift off in which an listener is treated with the classy crushing sound of a fresh rocket engine. It reaches a great height and becomes more and more pleasant as the wild sound establishes itself out in the open. A feeling of monumental movement is simply added into this track, making me as a listener searching for a seat and a seatbelt just in case turbulence might kick in unexpectedly. A greatest hit not only on earth but also appreciated outside the ozone layer.
Next up is greatest hit ‘Polumery’ which features human activities like talking of individuals. There is also this prominent buzzing burning sound that makes whatever these human individuals do or say into something that is kept in the dark. A yell could be heard perhaps, but the crunching industrial sound is dominating the recording, clearly obscuring the humans as non-humans rule the world over here.
Samozavodka is the greatest hit that goes straight into the action, sounding as if live machinery is well oiled up for an intensive sound play. The industrial material has a fair rhythm to it, clearly capturing some loose bolts and screws for additional percussion. It’s loud and noisy but also quite pleasant for the ears, never going into the distorted harsh zones and clearly delivering the machine generated sounds in a crystal clear format.
Komada Trake is one of the more stormy weather chapters on the release. This really does its best in recreating a typhoon of wind that might pick up an entire house and place it somewhere a few miles further on the map. When the whole ordeal was over my ears had blown into the garden and I had to find them as if it was a game of Easter eggs.
Mikrorayon has earned the name of greatest hit because it was and still is so popular among the kids. They are having a huge part in the success of this hit, clearly enjoying themselves while they play around while they secretly become the main happy leads on the ‘Mikrorayon’ master peace. There is some slight hiss fluffing around, as if someone is flushing down the dirt nearby a playground; but it’s the kids that simply made this into the hit that it is. The case of unexpected footsteps and happy birds did definitely a great job in making it much more than an average hit.
Super mega hit Rassloyeniye had something of a light rain feeling shining through it, it’s one that will make you feel soaked till the bone, slightly cold and shivering. But it’s also refreshing; I mean it doesn’t occur that much that we are stuck in a wet and windy rainfall with no place to hide our asses in. It has something to get wet, while actually just listening to a fantasy of is getting wet in the rain.
Another best of hit is ‘Tumanniy Mys’ it brings the comfort of nature, carefully blowing a soft and sweet electric wind into the earlobes while a tickling sensation of upfront stones are nicely played around with. It might be wood, or perhaps other things, but whatever it is, it sounds playful and cozy.
Vasilyeostrovskiy Peregruz is the name of another greatest hit, a work that seems to be grinding its way through the sound barrier, drastically filling up the zone with a certain earth crushing noise that feels like a natural disaster; pretty heavy but acceptable and pretty respectful.
Then it’s time for Posle Vsego which simply hits a love for dusty clicks and ticks to the hit mix. It’s one of these tracks that goes straight to the essence, clearly delivering the thing that brings lovers of vinyl and moldy tapes together in a celebration of crackles.
Last best of the best mega hit is To Da Syo which combines the moving sound again with some humanity. It made me feel like being on a train in heavy weather, sailing through subway train stations with a lot of eye popping spectators around. It’s a sound of traveling and perhaps they are all on their way to get their hands and ears on all these mega hits. Don’t board a train but click the link below as it will save you a wet suit, as strangely this hit contains halfway of a water session that guaranteed will make you want to pee or thrown in your sweaty shirt for some hand cleaning by the mega hit creator.
As you would expect from a ‘greatest hits’ album, only the best tracks of the artist a featured on this release. Sometimes, when you are an artist that didn;t release much, it also features some new tracks that you would like to become greatest hits. Because I don’t have any previous experience with the music of Pustota, I will just try to review it as any other normal album.
Very minimal in it’s sounds within the tracks themselves, it does have a lot of variety between the tracks. Ranging from the screaching noise of the first track Zamescheniye and Rassloyeniye to the more calm and subtle Tumanniy Mys and last half of the track To Da Syo.
Especially Tumanniy Mys is worth mentioning because it makes you wonder what sound sources where used to make it. Is is made by just simply dropping some stones on a contact mic or by carefully recording the decompositioning (is that a word?) of a rock.
Mikrorayon is also a field recording near a beach or swimmingpool. The most relaxing track of this release it is a nice interval between the harder tracks Komada Trake and Rassloyeniye.