CD (ltd. 333)
"Liquid Circuits" is the second solo studio album by Kryptogen Rundfunk released 12 years after the debut album "22.SZ" (Mechanoise Labs, 2004). The gap between these two works was filled with many collaborations and split recordings with such artists as Hladna, Lunar Abyss, Neznamo, Umpio, Forgttn, to name a few, and many tracks on various experimental and noise music compilations. Behind the project stands M.M., also known for running the ZHELEZOBETON and Muzyka Voln labels and participating in other projects such as Hattifnatter, Govorit Radio Kosmos, etc.
The album is built on the use of analogue synthesizers and effect processors, various found sounds, samples and, of course, traditional for this project multiple kinds of radio noises and interceptions recorded both in home studio and various unusual places (the Caucasus mountains, Kola polar region, several cities of Western Europe…). Kryptogen Rundfunk combines elements of sound collage, drone and dark ambient, power electronics, chaotic and structured noise, weaving his multilayered musical fabric from them. Sonic streams radiate with all shades of frequencies, looped pieces of interference spiral out and soft rhythmic pulsations make room for scorching detailed electric noise burning out holes in sonic perception.
Sound mastering performed by Kshatriy (http://kshatriy.pro). The compact disc edition is limited to 333 copies. Digital version can be purchased at bandcamp (including high resolution 24-bit FLAC), CDBaby, iTunes and other platforms of digital distribution.
Zhelezobeton's label boss hides behind a musical project himself that is called Kryptogen Rundfunk, and while I found it hard to believe, 'Liquid Circuits' is only his second solo release, following '22.SZ', which was released in 2004 (see Vital Weekly 468). In the meantime he was active with working with other people, and sharing split releases with them, such as Hladna, Lunar Abyssm Neznamo, Umpio and Forgttn. I once saw one of his concerts and enjoyed his take of the notion of 'experimental ambient noise', which is a route he explores also on this new album. To that end he uses a bunch of bigger and smaller synthesizers, a guitar, record player, flute and found sounds, which all goes into a bunch of effects (all listed on the cover). Kryptogen Rundfunk plays seven pieces, all quite long and in some cases a bit too long. It's not difficult to see what he is aiming at, which is some kind of psychedelic ambience noise, but it very well happens that some of this is then a bit on the long side, I think. Which is a pity since it has everything I tend to like these days; the brutal harshness of those small synthesizers, abundant sound effects, but also the control over the sounds, and the way he holds down and makes something way more subdued. I think he's best at that, doing that variation 'loud' versus 'soft' and the louder pieces should be trimmed down a bit; yes, loud can equal fun, but more so for the creator than the listener, I sometimes wonder. So while 'Collapse Of Neurotic Illusions' and 'Informancer' are not well spend on me, I very much enjoyed the other pieces, which made up some forty strong minutes of music.
Active since 2004, Russian ambient/soundscape artist Kryptogen Rundfunk (M.M., aka Artyom Ostapchuk) is also the head of the Zhelezobeton label, a label that's had some very cool new music on it in my estimation. I'm very glad they keep sending me stuff. Kryptogen Rundfunk is a great name by the way, sounding like a character from a cyberpunk novel. This is KR's second solo album in 12 years, the first being '22.SZ' in 2004. In the interim, KR has been active doing splits and collaborations with artists such as Lunar Abyss Deus Organum, Sister Loolomie, Bardoseneticcube, Neznamo, Hladna, Forgttn, Umpio, and others. My most recent encounter with Kryptogen Rundfunk was on the 'Now It's Dark:David Lynch Tribute' with one of the better tracks on that comp. Here, KR employs analogue synths, effects processors, found sounds, samples and multiple kinds of radio noise. This is a very active kind of ambient over the seven tracks on 'Liquid Circuits,' and may fall more into the experimental-industrial than strictly ambient. Although the opener, "Subaudition Coils" is kind of a calm Blade Runner type of ambient, the followup, "Iridescence" eases you into a busier electronic environment. With repetition in loops, the firing of alien sci-fi oscillators and various types of noise (used to good effect I might add), you absolutely get the impression of some type of futuristic industry. In comparison, "Pyramidoid" seems minimal with its pervasive buzzing drone. M.M. really seems to have mastered the creative use of LFos as they are an integral part of his soundscapes. As you go deeper and deeper into 'Liquid Circuits' the atmospheres become more dense and intense, and also somewhat noisy. Twisting oscillators snaking through some of the most noise-tastic environments I've heard with garbled radio transmissions sounding completely extraterrestrial. Yet there is a terrestrial grounding in this; an undeniable familiarity. At times chaotic, but even the chaos is ordered. By the time you get to the seething conclusion on "We Forget," the firmament has boiled over and coalesced into something completely different. And thus, you should feel somewhat changed by the experience. If they ever decided to remake Godard's "Alphaville" or "Forbidden Planet," I'd recommend Kryptogen Rundfunk for the soundtrack. Masterfully mastered by Kshatriy, and limited to 333 copies.
Genre/Influences: Experimental, industrial-electronics, soundscape.
Background/Info: Kryptogen Rundfunk is a Russian solo project driven by Zhelezobeton-founder Artyom Ostapchuk. He’s also involved in other projects such as Hattifnatter, Govorit Radio Kosmos and Lunar Abyss. “Liquid Circuits” is the second complete album by Kryptogen Rundfunk, which also is the first ones since “22.SZ” (2004).
Content: The sound universe of Kryptogen Rundfunk moves in between industrial music and experimental soundscapes. It sounds pretty ambient-like while revealing a passion for analogue sound treatments. The tracks are supported with overwhelming, cold atmospheres and heavy sound blasts. The tracks have been accomplished by numerous field recordings (or samplings), which sometimes creates an impression of improvisation.
+ + + : “Liquid Circuits” reveals an impressive arsenal of sounds and noises. This artist likes decomposing and recomposing sounds. It creates a kind of noise-scape weaved into mysterious atmospheres. “Iridescence” is a great cut in the genre. The opening piece is another attention grabber, which also accentuates the ambient character of the work giving the impression of moving into a surreal- and somewhat abandoned imaginary world.
- - - : The somewhat improvised aspect of the work is not exactly my favorite and that’s why “Liquid Circuits” will be more pleasing to real experimental lovers in search of improvisation.
Conclusion: Kryptogen Rundfunk is a kind of sonic anatomy exploring a wide range of electronic sounds and noises.
Best songs: “Iridescence”, “Subaudition Coils”, “Vibroseis”.
14 years ago, when I was still a student running a Paris bedroom label in the prime years of the now forgotten CD-R label boom, I received a package from Russia that contained a split release from two St. Petersburg projects cryptically named Kryptogen Rundfunk and Rupor Udara. It was the sort of earnest and vigorous industrial noise that I still love to this day, dynamic and with a sense of emotion and atmosphere.
Later on and after continuous contact with M.M. of Kryptogen Rundfunk, I released his first solo full-length album titled "22.SZ", a process during which the pressing plant kindly informed me that each CD copy was placed by hand inside a plastic sleeve by a detainee at a women's prison.
M.M. has been far from inactive since then, and the years have been marked by many memorable collaborations, side projects and compilation releases which I've carried in my mail order. His own Zhelezobeton label and later its drone/ambient sister label Muzyka Voln became prominent fixtures by not only releasing essential material from Russian noise, drone and post-industrial projects, but also by distributing thousands of other CDs, CD-Rs and tapes both from and to this scene's listeners and actors.
Consistent with his work, this second album uses analogue synthesizers, signal processing and captured radio noises to create a glowing stream of sound that radiates with varying intensity, but always carried with a generous amount of calming low-end. Gentle, soothing pulses at one point and white-hot incandescent electric noise at others, this torrent of static, ground hum and fried frequencies is expertly controlled to create a hypnotic state of bliss. Shock Music for Shock Workers.
I stumbled upon this very cool sounding name quite often, on the occasion of various splits, collaborations, compilations or live show announcements on social media. So I have to admit, I was a bit surprised when I realized that Liquid Circuits is only the second album by this project run by Zhelezobeton label manager. Second album in 12 years – who would’ve thought?
So I guess we should expect something epic – a creme de la creme of all Artyom’s ideas that had been born in his mind during all those years. I’m guessing it might be the essence of his creativity, as the album is quite huge in all possible aspects: its duration, production, atmosphere and the abundance of used sounds and effects. At the same time, it is representative of the Russian industrial scene and their cherishing of analogue synths and the meaty, natural form of the sounds instead of purely digital output. Check the booklet and the technical specification of Liquid Circuits to see in detail what kind of equipment Artyom has used.
Kryptogen Rundfunk music is hard to classify because several musical fascinations are playing an equal role here. It is experimental, because even for a not very experienced listener it seems obvious that the artist is often improvising and checking the possibilities of the equipment and the sound forms it is able to create. It is industrial perhaps even “dark” industrial thanks to the machinesque and soulless feeling. The rhythmic pulsations, hums, diverse noises, radio waves make you feel like you’re inside a giant electric device or installation full of – not necessarily liquid – circuits, coils and resistors. Its purpose is still to be determined, but it doesn’t include a human factor in any aspect.
More in the background you’ll notice a few dark ambient inclinations as sometimes the sounds take a more drone-like shape, like for example in the third track, “Pyramidoid”. The drones and textures are also filling the holes in the composition structures, they’re like concrete which bonds the whole thing into one monolithic construction. And on top of that a pinch of noise, not very aggressive, just underlining the cold and mechanical character of the album, having no ideology, no message to the people, which in this case is so unnecessary. Unless you consider the immersion with the music literally and feel that your soul is merging with the integrated circuits making one half-organic, half-artificial entity. After all, who knows if it isn’t the future of humanity. Something of which we should all be afraid.
So is it a unique album? By all means no, we were drowning in these atmospheres a lot of times in the past. But at the same time, Liquid Circuits gives a whole lot of listening pleasure as it is a well prepared dish for all the connoisseurs of honest, quite old-school industry devoid of useless flashiness.
Slowly, from the horizon rises and grows the first track, Subaudition Coils, hypnotizing us by the streams of sounds disappearing in the depths of the endless space, carrying you inside a spaceship full of scientific machines on the mission to the distant stars. The second track calls the memories of the Soviet sci-fi film Planeta Bur (1962), directed by Pavel Klushantsev. The soundtrack made of cosmic noise has such a wonderful sound, of alive universe of machines, mechanisms and micro-chips. The track, Pyramidoid, sounds more like a soothing hypnosis, after the previous track, we just heard. It is a temporary ambient drift, but the sound wave is still with us and never lets us go.
Vibroseis starts with the direct sub-bass of the technogenic origin. Beware, it may untune you psychologically with its frequencies. The strain fades with another ambient break and we get to the Collapse of Neurotic Illusions, 14 minutes and 25 seconds in length, the longest track on the album. Listening to the track and looking at the real world objects is an interesting experiment, which will change the way you comprehend the motional sound of this record.
The record concludes with the pacifying notes of We Forget, but the sound unrest of the record will remain in your mind for a long time. Liquid Circuits is one of the best presents to the admirers of electronic music, but it may have unexpected effects on unprepared listener.
The record was created using a large set of tools: electric guitar, flute, synthesisers, machines, recorded sounds and sound effects, everything required to achieve the most complete self-expression by the artist and impact consciousness of a listener, both of which are done really well in this recording. The record boasts a curious and futuristic cover, that you will gaze on for hours, trying to untangle connections between its elements. It is mastered by Kshatriy, and realized on Zhelezobeton, with a limited edition of 333 copies, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Kryptogen Rundfunk was created by Artyom Ostapchuk (aka M.M.), founder of the Zhelezobeton label, who also took part in a number of other music projects.