A.T.M.O.M. - Andromeda

A.T.M.O.M.
"Andromeda"

CD-R (ltd. 77)
ZHB-XLII


1. Earth Shine
2. Moonlight
3. Andromeda
4. Astrogenesis
5. Dust
6. Plasma
7. NGate (feat. Glasberg)
8. Abstract Earth (feat. O.N.E.)
9. Orbital

total length: 59:31
release date: December 25, 2014
price: €7

* bandcamp.com
* soundcloud
* vk.com/club.atmom

A.T.M.O.M. (At The Moment Of Madness) was founded by Taras Voloschuk in 2009, and has released many works on such web labels as GV Sound and DNA Production including a couple of collaborations with Bardoseneticcube. Experts of the Russian experimental scene might also know his other projects Toxi-X (harsh noise), Nano Synthetic (rhythmic noise) and Fractal Flints (noisecore). Taras is also the organiser of a series of festivals called Noise Pollution, featuring many acts of the Russian noise underground. However he is not only into noise music, and the A.T.M.O.M. project shows the more atmospheric side of his versatile talent.

"Andromeda" starts with tranquil and quite canonical space ambient. Unobtrusive contemplative melodies and flashes of electronic signals gradually turn into dense layers of synthesizer drones, enwrapping in a dark sonic abyss like the irresistible force of gravitation. And this hypnotic minimalism of airless space outlined by mild noisy spirals finally transforms into rhythmical dashes and sketches bringing us back to the near-Earth orbit.

A couple of tracks were recorded together with Glasberg and O.N.E. projects, mastering done by the sonic magician Kshatriy (kshatriy.pro). The physical release is made on quality pro-CDRs in an edition of 77 copies in a sleeve of designer cardboard.



Reviews

'At The Moment Of madness', that's what A.T.M.O.M. stands for, and its the project started in 2009 by Taras Voloschuk, who also works Toxi-X (harsh noise), Nano Synthetic (rhythmic noise) and Fractal Flints (noisecore). He has released 'many' works on web labels as GV Sound and DNA Production as A.T.M.O.M. in which he shows us his love for all things atmospheric, drone, dark and ambient. In nine lengthy cuts, spanning one hour, his synthesizers drone away, lights flicker on these machines and overall move very slowly. This is another space ship, high into the nocturnal sky; lights also flash, like those synthesizers do, and we easily mistake A.T.M.O.M. for another star on the endless firmament. 'NGate (feat. Glasberg)', the seventh piece here opens with a bit of spoken word, the first in this otherwise highly electronic release. It's followed by 'Abstract Earth (feat. O.N.E.)' and 'Orbital' and both of these pieces use rhythm which sort of breaks with the chilling mood of the seven previous pieces. That's a bit of pity. A.T.M.O.M. could have opted to leave these out and have a stronger, homogenous album, or have more of these and a more varied album. Now it sort of hangs there, at the end. Nothing new this kind of atmospheric music, but A.T.M.O.M. does a decent job at creating his own version.

On ‘Andromeda’, A.T.M.O.M. opens vast reaches of spacey, wondrous and rich drones, like immense, low frequency waves across the dark and empty cosmos, singing majestic songs of planets, galaxies and ultimately – dust. Whoever pointed at the similarities between the far reaches of space and the vast reaches of the mind can mark another success in their comparison, as ‘Andromeda’ manages to not only open up infinite unknown reaches, but also play a meaningful, meditative experience in nine different sets of consciousness. While ‘Dust’ sounds like a lethal desert where nothingness reaches an almost shamanistic property, ‘Moonlight’s endless pads bring a suitable enchanting vision of the lunar light. ‘Plasma’, further away beyond our grasp, is an abstract echoing of long forgotten feedbacks and low drones.

This interstellar voyage is a challenging and rewarding one. Like most, if not all of Zhelezobeton’s releases, the promising Andromeda is certainly something to gaze upon.

A.T.M.O.M. is a completely unknown name to me. I don’t even know what this abbreviation stands for, but Zhelezobeton is known of promoting little known, mostly Russian projects, and after listening to their releases I’m often glad that they gave me the opportunity.

Contrary what the cover may suggest, the title of the disc and the individual tracks are not exactly cosmic dark ambient (I stumble upon it very often recently; see reviews of Phantom Ship and Sphare Sechs put up somewhere nearby). Taras Voloschuk, a native of Krasnoyarsk currently living in St. Petersburg, is very fluent in electronic ambient and the music on “Andromeda” has in fact quite the cosmic character, but the prefix “dark” is totally unnecessary, as it’s aspect is definitely more dreamy, building upon the artist’s awe at the power of the cosmos rather than his fear of it. The desire for knowledge, moving off into the unknown, even if it’s just a one-way ticket.

From the first seconds of “Earth Shine” space sparkles with thousands of colors. It tempts with its beauty; abstract paintings, that couldn’t be born in even the most creative earthly mind. Taras gives his best to try to capture such an atmosphere at least in some small part and – at least according to his abilities – he manages to do it. It’s thanks to the sound, which is strong and clear, yet not so crystal clear that the whole thing would seem artificially sterile.

Of course, several names come to mind during the lecture of “Andromeda”, and these are mostly the names of the classics: Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream… here and there I noticed the echoes of Biosphere and Klaus Wiese. This is why the disc has a certain “vintage” flavour; yet it’s hard to talk about mindless copying. Rather consider this work as created with great respect for the masters, without going beyond what has long been said in this kind of music, obviously. It’s not possible anymore I guess, but that’s not the point. It’s important that the music is how it should be. Taras captured the essence of this sound.

“Andromeda” is released by Zhelezobeton on CDr in an edition of 77 copies. In two compositions A.T.M.O.M. is assisted by other musicians, once again – at least to me – little known, that is Glasberg and O.N.E. (what the hell is their point with these abbreviations). For fans of the electronic ambient classics it’s a thing worth recommending. And if someone doesn’t feel like immersing in such moods, they can get it anyway and use “Andromeda” as a soundtrack to read some space opera or classic sci-fi, preferably one of several decades ago, something by Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke. In such forms the album comes true as well.

Ambient music exists since the mid 70s and it stemmed from the experimental and synthesizer-oriented styles of the period. Lots of sub-genres developed on this fertile soil, thousands of different projects and bands exploited the tools that such an abstracted way of human self-realization can offer. And apparently, ambient music which explores different cosmic themes and sketches might be one of the most famous between them, rooted in the first albums of a legendary Brian Eno, Steve Roach and many other artists that created thousands of hours of various materials for us to enjoy. That's why, you have to be a super talented and creative person to be able to bring something new into it; admit it or not, but it is really hard to compete in this genre when you are surrounded by dozens of genius albums out there. But nevertheless, people don’t stop to release cosmological records, they continue to dive into open space and travel between the stars in search for enlightenment. One of them is a Russian resident Taras Voloshuk that expresses himself under the name A.T.M.O.M. (At the Moment of Madness) since 2009. He is a quite famous person on the local post-industrial scene being active in Saint-Petersburg with few other projects like Toxi-X (harsh noise), Nano Synthetic (rhythmic noise) and Fractal Flints (noisecore) alongside organizing the local noise festivals Noise Pollution and collaborating with other experimental artists like Bardosenteticcube. With A.T.M.O.M. Taras discovers his poetical and melodic side trying to immerse in coldness of the open space, absorbing the light of distant star system and transferring it into the language of music.

"Andromeda" is an album that was released by Zhelezobeton label during 2014 and it appears to be the first "physical" record from Taras while all his previous albums were presented in a digital format only. It is concentrated mainly around synthetic driven melodies, and as you might already guess, the theme that underlines those melodies is the Andromeda Galaxy, the largest galaxy of the local group that the Milky Way (out galaxy) belongs to it as well. After such a preface you may expect some revelations from the music itself, but jumping slightly ahead, I will hasten to disappoint you because besides the spirit behind the album I couldn’t find anything that could have possibly excite me.

As I've already mentioned, the music of A.T.M.O.M. is based on floating synthesized melodies without specific highs or lows, being mostly kind of an atmospheric background while you read some book or work on a computer. The ambiance on most of the tracks is quite shallow and reminds me of a low-budget PC game and I have to assure you that there are enough brighter pieces of space music on the market today. The same sound keeps rolling from track to track, some of them have a darker atmosphere like "Dust" or "Plasma", and the rest are typical gleams of cosmic sounds. I must admit that maybe in a proper place with proper decorations and a proper video screening such music could have blossomed much stronger, but I am at my home full of really interesting music in the "arm-length principle". That’s why I can allocate only the last two tracks being somehow entertaining, but all the rest do not exceed the level of an easy-listening "background soundtrack". There is a certain rhythmic component of electronic beat that is added to the "Abstract Earth" and "Orbital" which turns both compositions to be more IDM-ish and throws in some extra flavor just enough to save the day.

My dear audiophiles, to make a long story short, there is too much average music out there. But maybe the purpose of such albums is to make us understand the true value of really good products that can bring a genuine experience even if the price of this ability of comprehension is the time which is spent on records like "Andromeda". That's why it is important to have a taste of them from time to time and leave them behind as fast as possible.

Andrew Dienes, Brutal Resonance

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