CD-R (ltd. 77)
S36NZ-Okh is the solo project of the St. Petersburg-based musician, painter and illustrator Kirill Rozhkov, also known for his joint work with Alexander Lebedev-Frontov in T.A.U. and Stalnoy Pakt projects. Two previous S36NZ-Okh albums were released by the Ultra label in 2000 and 2002 and the material for the third album "Meditzina Katastrof" was recorded in 2003-2004 and kept in archive for ten years waiting to be released.
As the title suggests ("Medicine of Disasters" as translated from Russian) the album is dedicated to the medical theme, particularly to medicine as a tool for healing social problems: anthropogenic, biological and other disasters, although practically useless in our reality. Musically this is a saturated mixture of dark electronics and dramatic old school industrial. Each composition is a separate story filled with tangible cinematic images. Every track features exclusive samples such as the fragments of correspondence of a German cannibal with his victim eaten in parts by mutual agreement, or a functional description of a "Snegir'" onboard recorder from the "Kursk" submarine, etc. All this is skillfully combined with industrial noises, sound loops, synthesizers and electronic rhythms making a solid collage filled with a sense of collapse of the modern social model, fatigue and the impending doom of humanity.
An apt album to soundtrack Doom 5, should it ever come out. Especially the parts when your main character ventures through some narrow, dimly-lit tunnel where creatures grab at you from the darkness. Producer Kirill Rozhkov succeeds in crafting a horror narrative set in a post-apocalyptic world of desolate factories, torture chambers, unnerving subway rides, futurist ports and machine rooms, with the odd mosque-in-prayer session thrown in for effect. The opening title track, 'Meditzina Katastrof' starts off eerily enough, with vacuous noises and vintage broadcast radio voice-overs in Russian that gives way to creepy ambience and in turn is subdued by very nice power synth sweeps with a grandiose melody. 'Meditzina...' would fit perfectly on a 4AD compilation. The samples interplay nicely with heavy, electronic sweeps and canon-blast percussion. 'Sanatorium' has a bit of a haunted-house-in-a-theme-park vibe to it. An eerie wind is followed by an industral hum and what could be sinister growling or an idling mega truck. Further into the track, disembodied voices sing in chorus as austere keyboard notes from horror films join clanging from clumsy blue collar workers who cannot seem to get a firm grip on their tools. 'Island of Renaissance (Yersinia Pestis)' is rich and heavy in the low end bass and sets a tense backdrop for what could be a Russian horror radio play. Next, there is the torture chamber-esque 'Masha/Dasha' where voices dialogue calmly amidst a chorus of power tools and manic screams. To this listener, there appears to be a music box sample from the theme music to the 80's-era Twilight Zone. Towards the end of the track, as the samples hit a kind of crescendo, a heavy feedback drone washes in and sweeps the torture chamber clean for the next customers. Enter a ride on the world's most rickety and dilapidated subway train filled with workers who just finished a long stint in the salt mines and members of the Soviet arts council'on 'P424 (Snegir')'. People who murmur in Russian could be heard through cacophony of the train rumbling through a tunnel while opera singers practice vocal scales. 'Sweet Dreams' has nothing to do with the Eurythmics, rather a rumbling bass-drone is a canvas for a recitation of the opening passage of the Quaran, followed by a collective 'amen'. I will hazard a guess that the voice over is probably from a Chechyn talking about being a Mujahid (Jihadist martyr). Given Russia's ventures in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and now Syria, I could see how this could be part of the topical horror theme. Now, I realize 'Vaccination of Work' is supposed to be yet another horror-themed track, but to my ears, the power-surge generator hums remind me of the giant robots of Pacific Rim, while the chatter of men and assorted mechanical bleeping and clamor from machines could easily pass for a maintenance bay. Go robots! 'Official Version' closes the album on a decidedly sci-fi note with a bit of an eerie tinge. Wind chimes play against oscillating tones wile looped voices are steeply reverbed as if in a cavernous room. The noise could pass for a space station bay with chirps from a control station. Meditzin Katastrof is an issue of a 2003-2004 recording session in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Though the packaging is minimal, a simple cardboard sleeve, the design is a work of Industrial-esque art and hand numbered. If you are into dark, horror movie sound scapes with a tinge of sci-fi, this disc is for you.