Kryptogen Rundfunk - Live 2005

Kryptogen Rundfunk
"Live 2005"

CD-R (ltd. 150)

1. Live at Deep Sound, 18.11.2005 (St. Petersburg) [mp3]
2. Live at DOM, 26.11.2005 (Moscow) [mp3]

total length: 43:33
release date: April 26, 2011
price: €7


After several limited edition split and collaborative releases this is the first solo recording by Kryptogen Rundfunk since the release of his album "22.SZ" on Mechanoise Labs label back in 2004. The disk contains live recordings made during the "Noise vs Glamour" festival in 2005 in St. Petersburg and Moscow, later reworked in home studio.

In fact the same program was prepared for both shows so some fragments of the compositions intersect, but due to the live mixing of sampled layers of analogue and computer synthesis and use of such instruments as analogue synth "Rokton", radio receivers, voice and processing units, both tracks sound entirely different in the end. In both cases these are constantly moving psychoactive soundscapes spreading from soft pulsations and drones to sprightly noisy fragments spiced up with a couple of funny samples.


Apparently it has been since 2004 that there was a solo release by St. Petersburg based artist Kryptogen Rundfunk, labelboss of Zhelezobeton). I know that he has been playing concerts since then, so I am a bit in the dark as to why he decided to release these two older live recordings from 2005. Its been awhile since I last actively Kryptogen Rundfunk, both in concert as well as on CDR, but this release brings back good memories as it sounds exactly how I remembered it. Two pieces of densely layered electronics, build from one or more analogue synthesizers, lots of electronics which are used to expand those synth sounds from, bits of short waves, voices and a small amount of computer processing. Dynamic ambient music, I would call this. Things always hiss and bubble, continuously moving forward as well as backward, like connections in an old phone connector being interlocked with eachother. The two pieces, recorded with one week, in St. Petersburg and Moscow, show how different these things can work out. In St. Petersburg it stays on a rather mellow side, but in Moscow the sound becomes much more menacing and deeper. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that both pieces employ the same sound material, but that work out entirely different in the mix. Excellent dark ambient with a great electronic twist.

The second solo album by Kryptogen Rundfunk collects together its two performances from the 2005 Noise vs. Glamour tour. The base track on both gigs is the same, but the live mixing makes them almost totally different works. They are ambient-soundscapes that lean towards noise, very fine-shaded and nuanced ones. Heard from an album, they are easy to leave playing s background music, but their many-faceted nature lifts theme from there too into a center of focus, offering many moments of infatuation. The St. Petersburg concert is more minimalist, with the one from Moscow containing more obvious elements. The latter is by far the more interesting, and its porn sample ending a hilariously nice final touch.

This is a highly challenging, occasionally ear-piercing album, but a very fine one. I believe it conveys just a pale part of the intensity of the actual performances, yet it’s nevertheless very fine. It is a delicacy, especially for those who like to listen to ambient-layers many times in a row, looking for more and more minutiae and nuances.

Yay people. This summer strikes me with soooo hot weather, that my brain melts in 5 minutes each time I go outside. I promise myself every year, that I will consider moving to some colder place on the planet Earth, but I always postpone the decision until the better days . So, with that positive vision, today I started to search for something that could possibly cool me down a little bit and nothing can be better in such a case than a glass of cold beer and one piece of refreshing abstract music. As soon as the glass is full, the turn comes to choose CD and by chance I grab a relatively new creation of Moscow based Kryptogen Rundfunk.

Being very active with different split CD's and collaborations, the front man of this project, Artyom, released his last solo album in 2004. So, when he felt that the time had come, he decided to give a light to some live material which was recorded during few stage sessions during 2005. I usually stay very skeptic about such kind of material, because for me live sessions are not only about the music, but also the visual experience. With those mixed feelings I started to listen to this CD and with the first minutes of its run, it turned to be more than expected.

Generally, the atmosphere is based on the usage of different analogue electronic instruments, which were built long ago in Soviet Union, and on radio noises. Two tracks, two different locations, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The sounds that were prepared for those sets are more or less the same and most of the ambiance is created by mixing them. Because of that, there is a feeling of de'ja` vu sometimes, like I already heard the specific part of the track. But the harmonic feeling that is created during the process, makes me forget about these hitches. The cold music balances on the edge between being noise and dark ambient. The wall of low sound, prepared by radio drones and pulses, slowly creeps into my ears. The vibrating textures filled with sandy uniform hum, transform into sonic landscape. The changes in the overall “melody” are so smooth that sometimes it is difficult to pay attention to them and only after a minute or so I notice that they already happened. While the sound is unexpectedly good, I discover the fact of correcting it in studio after recording. All the material was taken from the festival “Noise vs. Glamour” performances, that brought a lot of delights from the Russian scene.

If you want to open yourself up to new boundaries in radio noise and drone music, you will not be able to do this with this specific album, but still the CD brings the breath of very chilling atmosphere to this hot day of mine and turns it to be something more than just one another day.

Artyom Ostapchuk aka Kryptogen Rundfunk is a Russian artist who has already released an impressive number of split-releases. A first album entitled “22.SZ” saw the light of day in 2004 and it took seven more years for the next album. The least I can say is that “Live 2005” sounds quite bizarre. Don’t you it’s a rather strange idea to release a live album six years after its recorded? Two tracks were featured; one taken from a gig in St. Petersburg and the other from Moscow. The first track starts in a rather experimental way and evolves towards a pure soundscape genre. Dark and icy sounds hold the listener in their grip, which goes on for nearly 20 minutes. The second track is more interesting. Kryptogen Rundfunk here moves from a kind of glasshouse vibes into an intelligent sonic experience. The most unexpected and absolutely funny part comes at the end. We here get hilarious porn samples leading to a faked orgasm finding its apotheosis in a heavy noise blast.

This album is strictly limited to 150 copies and I guess it will always remain a rarity. “Live 2005” doesn’t sound bad at all, but reveals a few good parts in dark soundscapes experiments.

Kryptogen Rundfunk is the project name of Russian electronic music artist Artyom Ostapchuk, and this is his second solo album since 2004, '22.SZ' on the French Mechanoise Labs label, although he's had several split/releases/collaborations with such of artists as Neznamo, Lunar Abyss Deus Organum, Sister Loolomie, Bardoseneticcube, and other artists in the interim. The music on the album is taken from liver performances the "Noise vs Glamour" festival in 2005 in St. Petersburg and Moscow, later edited in the studio. It should also be pointed out that Artyom also runs the Zhelezobeton label. Why he waited until 2011 to release material recorded in 2005 I really don't know, but I suppose he had his reasons. (Perhaps ambient noise is timeless?)

I was intrigued by the photo on the cover of Artyom fiddling with knobs so I listened to this CD much earlier in the batch I received from Chain D. L. K. HQ, but since what I heard wasn't initially as intriguing as the cover, I put it aside for later. Perhaps this was due to what I was listening to the CD on, the CD player in my car. Bad choice. This certainly isn't driving music. It can be classified as experimental electronic ambient noise, with the accents on experimental and ambient. First track (St. Petersburg performance, 11-18-2005) clocks in at 19:52 and is primarily drone with some feedback, oscillating electronics, bellish tones and miscellaneous noise. Very low key and minimal. It is fairly multi-layered and nuanced in places but I found the feedback elements annoying. The second piece (Moscow performance (11-26-2005) is 23:42 and I liked this one better. It has a larger, denser sound than the first piece; more spacey and cerebral. It is rather difficult to describe, but alien spaceship might be one way. There are times when there are just low drones, others when electronic squiggles are present, and sections when there are richly harmonic drone pastiches, sub-bass thrumming. This is still very low key ambient noise in an understated industrial atmosphere, something you don't want to crank the volume up for. The piece shifts and morphs subtly over time but nothing too far afield from the beginning course that has been laid out. Perhaps the exception would be the brief spoken word samples in Russian (in the middle) and near the end (in German) in the piece that were lost in non-translation to me (except for the obvious Deutsches-porn) but that was a very minor part of the composition. For those who enjoy subdued ambient noise soundscapes, Kryptogen Rundfunk's 'Live 2005' is a curiously engaging listening experience and even though I wasn't entirely thrilled with it, the second piece is amply rewarding. The fact that this was done live is a credit to its artistic merit.

Steve Mecca, Chain D.L.K.

Even worse than counting in Dog years, counting the years of computers is not a pleasant thing to do. Mine is six, I think, and you can see how he is dying, not so slowly, and certainly not so quietly. In fact, it constantly drones in such a way that I sometimes confuse it with some of the music I listen to. It is pleasant, though, to hear how the vibrations that are created by the music of Kryptogen Rundfunk are shifting above and below the annoying computer malfunction, almost disintegrating the sounds of my crumbling gear into silence. I am left, instead, with the intoxicating aura of eeriness, circled by high pitched shrieks and serene layers of pacific calmness, that are created by the artist.

Released in 2011, this recording of two live sessions that took place in 2005 offers two high-quality documentations of different live shows, taking place in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The overall 40 minutes of the album are phasing through different stages. An almost dormant, ambient drone that is almost too low to notice, all the way into storming blasts that are dominant as well as being inevitable. KR is no novice. He doesn’t bomb his audience just for the pleasure of showing off how far and hard he can go. His music is dynamic; almost dead silent in places where it should be silent, and where his ideas and vision need power, he can be crushing and unforgiving.

The second track, the one from Moscow, ends in a surprising sample that takes the album to a different direction altogether. I find it hard to understand if what I’m listening to comes from a Porno, Horror or Comedy movie, and as I write these words I suddenly realize that there is little difference between the three. The lunatic screams make way to a brief mention of ‘The End’ by the doors, and the show is over.

While the album is indeed interesting and well worthy, I can only imagine how the live shows have been much better. This sort of music require us audience to leave our houses and gather together to witness the spectacle, rather than stay home and listen to its documentation. Nevertheless, I am quite happy with what I got in my hands, as it almost makes me forget about my deep urge to throw my stupid computer out of the window.

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