Noises Of Russia
CD-R (ltd. 250)
Nowadays Noises Of Russia is one of the most known groups on the Russian experimental post-industrial scene, mainly because of their numerous concerts and CDR-releases, published by their leader - Gosha Solnzev aka 1g0g ("Van Gog") - on his own label ElectroIndustria. This release has captured one of such concerts which took place at the Experimental Sound Gallery (ESG-21) in St. Petersburg in October 2008.
This concert was peculiar because of the non-traditional band line-up which aside from 1g0g included some of his friends: musicians Nikolay Kalmykov (Hladna), M.M. (Kryptogen Rundfunk), Igor Potsukailo (Bardoseneticcube) and Evgeny Savenko (Lunar Abyss Deus Organum), and also VJ Alco (video projection) and Grigory Glazunov (ODDDance Theatre, butoh dance). By common efforts these comrades performed totally improvised material quite typical for the "St. Petersburg post-industrial wave" and combining elements of collage, industrial, noise and ambient. Field recordings and voice manipulations, metal percussion and rough analogue signals, guitar semi-melodies and various sound effects - all this is harmoniously blended in the unified psychedelic soundsphere.
[...] The ten tracks of this limited 250 CDrs edition see the combo improvising using vocals, metal percussions, distorted noises and humming creepy sounds. Mixing live sounds with samples and treated sources the atmosphere created is the one typical of experimental 80's releases of the likes of "Berlin Atonal" or the Coil/Zos Kia tape released by Necrophile. Intense and ritualistic.
A live recording made by Noises Of Russia offers only half the thing presented on october 6th 2008 at the Experimental Sound Gallery in St. Petersburg. Missing is the butoh dance of Grigory Glazunov and the video projection of VJ Alco. But the music is there, played by Gosha Solnzev (a.k.a. 1g0g - "van gogh"), the leader of the band, along with the help of Nikolay Kalmykov (analogue electronic noise), M.M. (also known as Kryptogen Rundfunk, labelboss of Zhelezobeton, playing guitar here), Igor Potsukailo (also known as Bardoseneticcube on metal percussion) and Evgeney Savenko (also known as Lunar Abyss Deus Organum on voice). 1g0g plays samples, field recordings and laptop. The music was all improvised, which is something that is shown in the music I think. That makes this a strange affair I think, but also a nice one. On one hand we have the ritualistik music, mainly through the use of voice, mumbling like a priest, thus overflowing the music with connotations of music I don't like. But the instrumental part is actually quite nice, with a mixture of ambient, psychdelic guitar and microsound, the latter mainly in the field recordings part of the music. Perhaps a bit long to be fully entertaining on CDR, and surely it worked better in a concert situation. It could have used a bit more editing I think, but nice enough.
[...] The beginning, with its small clangs and pronounced shouts is very strong. From this the show unfortunately devolves into various confusing parts, some of which (like a push-ups breathing style bit) do not work at all . Other parts are excellent, such as the fifth tracks New Orthodox Line style hypnotic segments, but the whole is just way too dissonant. One gets the feeling that it may have been a truly impressive gig for those who were present, but as a recording it is only a cold shadow of that. Despite that feeling, the album does show the strange brilliance which is born during the best jam sessions, and thus stays somehow constantly intriguing.
"Experimental Structure" documents a live performance by Noises of Russia in St. Petersburg. Musically it is quite an excursion from the deep death industrial that I had learned to associate with the band. Gone are the grinding loops and the sacral atmospheres that characterized the early releases. Here they are replaced by, most likely improvised, collages of field recordings from nature, treated instruments, shamanistic chants and sparse industrial noises. Together they form a soundscape which conveys an impression of the performance as a very esoteric experience. This is further confirmed by the seamless way the ten untitled tracks flow into each other. Therefore, the album is best experienced as whole from start finish and viewed as authentic audio documentation of a ritual.
This ritual character, however, is also the biggest shortcoming of the album. Rituals never rely just on soundscapes; the way they are performed plays at least as significant a role. While listening to "Experimental Structure", it is impossible to escape the idea that there is much more going on than what meets the ear. Without the visual component, some of tracks are too often just sparse collections of unedited sounds. However, when things get more structured, like in the melodic and droney fourth track, in the mantra-like chants of the fifth track or in the noisy, but hypnotic eighth track, strong mystical atmospheres are evoked. These resemble in a very positive way the artists of the Aural Hypnox family. Unlike them though, Noises of Russia is more of this world - primitive shamanism over transcendental elementalism. Also, despite not being particularly aggressive or noisy, the album carries a nice raw old-school industrial edge, which is emphasized by the crude live sounds and slightly imbalanced mastering.
"Experimental Structure" is an album which is an acquired taste, and even then takes patience to be fully appreciated. It gives a glimpse of a probably great live show, but manages only partially to convey the feeling of actually being present. Therefore, it necessarily leaves a feeling of slight dissatisfaction and missed opportunity. The improvised and raw nature of the recording, however, carries a certain unique charm, which should be appreciated by people into primitive industrial and ritual atmospheres.
The small yellow paper inside this album tells me about the many members of the group that bears an eyebrow-raising moniker of "Noises of Russia". With 1g0g on samplers' field recordings and Laptop, Nikolay Kalmykov on analogue electronic noise, M.M on guitar, Igor Potsukailo on metal percussion, Evegeny Saenko with vocals, and in addition to two invisible members for the album, yet as this album was recorded live, their part must have been very meaningful when performed – Grigory Glazunov as a Butoh dancer and VJ Alco for the video projections, you know that you are going to hear something very rich once you press Play.
The performance begins slowly, with whispering drones and words I cannot understand, but give an impression of a call for arms, as if the musicians are being called to take their places and show us what they got. The entire performance goes through various rich textures of sound, proving the high number of musicians is critical for this organic and delicate work. The metal percussion are clear while gliding over the various digital manipulations. Low and deep breathing , as if someone is gasping for a little bit of air, transform to chanting while other sounds transform into different forms. More than anything else, "Noises of Russia" Manages to form endless waves between the many members, and these waves are shifting and turning and creating various interactions within themselves. On one hand, there is problem with this album as it barely has any ups and downs. This makes it hard to really listen to the whole performance without wandering away here and there, because it's east to get lost with no real anchors of attention. On the other hand, once you get to know this album, the music is highly meditative and can suck you in easily. This wont happen at the first time, but give it few times to run on your speakers, turn the lights out, and the Noises of Russia are a great thing to hear and to feel.
More than anything else, this album makes me want to see and hear this group perform. The dynamics between the various members seem to be really good and I get the feeling that the music will sound better live, and around more people, than in my living room. The echoing guitars on track number seven are all engulfing and powerful like the feedbacked drones that will soon follow it. I am reminded of the gasping voices in the beginning, as the drones that are being heard now make it feel like it's hard to breath ."Noises of Russia" sound very proficient and very effective on this performance, and they leave behind them a very nice documentation, in the shape of this album.
Post industrial experimentalists, Noises of Russia have built a name for themsleves through copious live performances and CD-R releases. This album is a recording of one such concert held in the Experimental Sound Gallery (ESG-21) at St. Petersburg comprised of completely improvised material (which explains why each track is untitled).
The first track contains several elements coincidental with the "St. Petersburg post-industrial wave." with clanging pipes and people exclaiming single words creating an atmosphere similar to that of a medieval mob readying to torch a body on a pyre. The second track continues the ritual with added clangs and electronic sounds that sound eerily similar to water droplets hitting cold cement. The album is rich in atmosphere, that’s for sure, and this experimental usage of sounds, both human and electronic is downright creepy.
The album as a whole is cohesive and tells a story. An interpretation of a dead body perhaps, as it reaches a farm village by means of a river ,where it is met with the sound of lambs bleating and soft bird chirps. Track three invites the slow buzz of a fly to the construction, whose humms become electronic and feed into a deep chanting ritual.
Track five continues the journey where the corpse is attacked by dogs, with monotnous hums and ambient electronic elements. Track seven continues the journey with harder industrial beats that increase in severity along a constant electronic sizzle. This is then transformed to a manic whirling in the following track that continues the alarming spectacle. Track eight gets shrill while muffled footsteps and whirls continue their bizarre dance.
As a concept Experimental Structure works. As a piece of performance art however, it works even better. Given that the group creates a structure with a coherent beginning and end, this recording is a pretty good effort considering the whole thing is improvised and as atmosphereic as it is. I can’t say experimental music is my cup of tea, but I wouldn’t be adverse to sitting through another performance like this from the Noises of Russia. Next time however, I’d like to be present for the performance.
Noises of Russia is not just a band. It’s an experimental Russian project founded in 2000, that performs electronic Art. As an institutor of a ideology that captures all elements of electronic performances. As well as in sounds as in images. Throughout the International Annual festivals; Noise vs. Glamour and Electroindustry, Noise of Russia gives their audience a new apologue about human destiny. Uses all electronic features to capture it all. The music has elements of darkambient/drone but also more traditional noise music. Often described as Mystical Protoavant Guarde.
[...] Listening to Noises of Russia makes you lose time and space. You just step into a psychedelic soundsphere.
[...] I was amazed by hearing this record. Actually never heard anything like this before…. I am sorry that it wasn’t a DVD, because I think that especially the collaboration between sounds and visuals will be stunning. So I do hope to see them live one day.
I think what Noises of Russia has to say about their music kind of captures it all. “We will prepare you to death and make music for your funeral”.
Doesn’t this make you curious? Can it get any darker than this?
Just have a listen and see the beauty of dramatic sounds and visual in this work…