Bardoseneticcube & Shinkiro
CD (ltd. 300)
The Russian prophet of dark sonic surrealism Igor Potsukailo (Bardoseneticcube) once again teams up with the Japanese master of dark ambience Manabu Hiramoto (Shinkiro). "Beyond the Edge of the Universe" is their third collaboration work after "Four Noble Truths" (2011, Athanor) and "Inner and Outer Space" (2015, Zhelezobeton). Like both previous albums, the new release continues to explore the ghostly dichotomy of inner and outer worlds, this time shifting the focus to the border of the known universe and beyond.
Unknown landscapes full of diverse acoustic phenomena are slowly unfolding before the aural gaze of the listener: from dense layers of synthetic sound and industrial samples to the finest emotional melodies, sensual female voices and echoes of a prepared koto. Such a rich sound palette allows the musicians to create incredible images, in the intricacies of which listeners can spend hours each time discovering something new. Beautiful, delicate and complex cosmic dark ambient music.
Artwork was created by the St. Petersburg based designer Cyril Kazanov. The physical edition of the album is presented in two versions: a CD limited to 300 copies in a glossy 4-panel digisleeve and an audio cassette limited to 50 copies. The digital version is available on bandcamp.
Here we have four lengthy pieces of cosmic dark ambient that comfortably stretch across a canvas as broad and as deep as the universe itself. It amazes me at times how a species as planet-bound as homo sapiens can create such vivid, painterly, and sculptural depictions in sound of environments none of us have ever seen up close, and which we are unlikely ever to visit. I am disinclined to believe in astral projection but music like this makes me question my assumptions about that – how else to explain such mind-numbingly expansive and dramatic vistas of dark beauty as detailed here?
I cannot imagine a place more breathtaking, electrifying, or terrifying than the galactic core of the Milky Way. A nexus of out-of-control gravity culminating in a supermassive black hole, where stars orbit around it at speeds barely comprehendible, where matter and light are swallowed and spewed out violently at thousands of miles a second. The sheer ferocity is itself a grandiose and ineffable spectacle, worthy of our awe and dread in equal amounts. The opening track thankfully lets us observe the unfolding events from a safe distance, the slow dance outlined in sustained chords in major and minor keys that ring out across the inestimable distances whilst being accompanied by stretched-out bell-like tones. Even from here though, the pull of the forces at work is strong enough to be felt, giving us a tiny but exhilarating taste of what it’s like to be insignificant. It is both inspiring and hideously alarming.
We’re in even more mysterious territory in ‘Dark Matter’, that hidden and puzzling gravitational force shepherding the observable matter in our universe. Looping mutterings and grumblings form its backdrop, with exclamations of sparkling crackles punctuating it in random bursts; the very components of the invisible fabric holding reality together, unseen and unfelt but essential. Fading in gradually the voice of the universe asserts itself, eventually breaking and crashing upon the shores of matter, sparking chaos and creation, and magnificent spectacle. It almost overwhelms but pulls back before everything fatally breaks apart.
Now we’re confronted by ‘The Void’ – a place of unutterable emptiness (for fact fans, there is actually a real void in space, called The Great Nothing or the Boőtes Void, where there are very few galaxies and is mostly unoccupied space). Bass gratings and bursts of metallic percussion fight through swelling chords, a clash between chaos and orderliness. This inevitably leads us into ‘The Ultimate Fate of the Universe’, something which none of us wish to contemplate let alone being capable of imagining. A state where matter loses its cohesion and loses out to the irresistible force of immense gravity, coalescing into the very infinitesimally-small singularity the universe began as. This final track is a lament for all that was and is now passing beyond the call of anyone’s memory. From darkness it was birthed, and into darkness it falls once again.
‘Beyond the Edge of the Universe’ makes me want to buy a sensory-isolation tank and dissolve into non-being whilst listening to and experiencing this. Strangely enough, in spite of the destructive powers that lie behind the creation and continuance of the universe and their portrayal here, I find it all somehow comforting. Not entirely sure whether that makes me a grumpy nihilistic crank but it suits me just fine.
Igor Potsukailo is the man behind Bardoseneticubbe and he has a bunch of releases that didn’t go unnoticed in these pages and one of them was a release with Manabu Hiramoto, also known Shinkiro, which was reviewed in Vital Weekly 1026. Then they travelled 'inside and outer space' and this time they take us 'beyond the edge of the universe'. I assume the two men shared sound files and did that for nearly two-and-half years. There are no instruments mentioned, but I would think they use a variety of Tibetan bowls, percussion, synthesizers, guitars and effects and from the latter they use reverb a lot. A massive space is suggested here through the use of reverb and perhaps that is all a bit of a cliché. It doesn't make the music bad per se, but it is here also a means to cover some of the weaker ideas. You can bang on any can and suggest a massive space. The sustaining ambient sounds, played with either synthesizers or guitar and bows, they also use I thought were of much more interest; they sound like space ships through the black sky and that too might seem like a cliché, but it is the dark ambience I love very much. So there are a few mixed feelings here with this release.