3 CD (ltd. 300)
Here we have a three-hour long compilation of live recordings, made in September 2020 at Gudelnaya Polyana (Russian for “droning glade”) – the experimental stage of the Solar Systo Togathering festival. The concept of Gudelnaya Polyana is total drone, infinitely diverse, but united in its essence. Every year in any weather dozens of musicians gather in the woods of the Leningrad region to take part in this ritual action, keeping themselves warm with bonfires, hot pu-er tea and kilowatts of sound.
In 2020, we were lucky to record the performances of most artists, and many of them agreed to provide fragments of these recordings for a commemorative compilation. The unity and diversity of droning sound is fully represented here since the festival gathers musicians from different fields: ambient, drone, noise, electronic, academic, and even the ensemble of 12-year-old experimenters made their contribution.
The first disc gently immerses us in the forest thicket, swamps and electrified fogs; the second takes us further into the labyrinths of sound experiments and unlikely consonances; the third begins with the piercing clarity of dawn, which gives way to a calm daytime mood, followed by the coming of night – the deep darkness thickens, we’re riding electromagnetic waves and trying to look beyond human existence…
In order to recapture the atmosphere more precisely, the tracks of 28 artists are smoothly rendered in three hour-long mixes. The artists taking part in this compilation are: AIKO ONLINE feat. KIKIMOTA & ANTON SONDA-JUNGLOV, ANDREW SPRRW & NIKA, AU, DRONE LIBERATION FRONT, EGREGOROS, EVERGREEN DJ, JAGATH, JAM DAZAN, KONTAKT S INOPLANETYANAMI ETO MUZYKA, KRYPTOGEN RUNDFUNK, LUNAR ABYSS, MIRA DREVO, NOISES OF RUSSIA, PETER THEREMIN, PETROGRAD DRONE GATHERING, SACHA RUSH & INSPECTR, SIX DEAD BULGARIANS, SOILCULT, SONOZERO, SVETLO111, SYMPHOCAT, TILE~SHORE, TIM SIX, TREMORKIKIMOR, TRETIY MIR, TUHJADES MAADES, W I I, WALDGRENZE.
The physical edition is presented as a foldout matte-laminated 6-panel digisleeve, limited to 300 hand-numbered copies. Digital version is free to listen and download at bandcamp.
The other new release by this label is a massive compilation, twenty-eight artists, with recordings of a Gudelnaya Polyana, which is Russian for 'droning glade', and it is the experimental stage of the Solar Systo Togathering Festival. This is held in the woods of the Leningrad region (do they still call it like that? I didn't know) as a long on-going thing, despite rain and sun, cold or warmth. I am not sure what is the bigger surprise; the fact that I don't know so many of the names, or that the world of ambient/drone artists is so infinite bigger. I recognized Kryptogen Rundfunk, Lunar Abyss, and Noises Of Russia, as the only names I reviewed before. That means that the other twenty-five is all new for me. Apparently, there is an ensemble of "12-year-old experimenters" here. The tracks are divided not in chronological order, but in thematic. The first disc is one long ambient trip, the second has the more abstract end of ambient music and the third disc is a day-trip, from dawn to dusk. How does one approach such things? A difficult question! A blind test would be best, I think. Not look at the cover, names that don't mean much (although I was curious to check out the Drone Liberation Front) anyway, and then say, oh disc two, track four, now that stood out! (all alright, I looked at the cover, Andrew Sprrw & Nika, with a weird live piece; not sure if it is great or weird). Or, perhaps, conclude that there isn't much difference here in approaches and that it sounds very homogeneous. It is the latter. There are very few pieces that stood out here, or that made a difference. That is not to say it is all weak and mediocre; far from it. The quality is of the music is great. All the variations of ambient pass by, except ambient with much rhythm. It is all dark, atmospheric, ritualistic, obscure, abstract and everybody uses all the right tools; from laptops to synthesizers and field recordings. The only downside is that tracks are cross-faded which may add to the unified idea of this, but adds, for me, too much to the idea of sameness. Great music and a who's who of ambient music in Russia.