CD-R (ltd. 77)
The second release of the St. Petersburg-based project Mira Drevo after their CD-album "Heavens of Lakes" (BioSonar^EleKtro / ZHB Distribution Division, 2012) is a live recording made on September 13th, 2012 at the Experimental Sound Gallery (ESG-21). The performance was improvised without any backing tracks except for a few pre-recorded samples and field recordings from the shores of the Ladoga lake. Other instruments used by the three band members included wind and percussion instruments, voice, guitar and effects. With this set-up they managed to create a very smooth and organic circumrotatory flow of northern natural images: brooks stream among mossy stones, sparks from dry pine logs fly around charming away forest spirits and other imps, the wind blows through mighty seids and the boundless sky opens our minds, dissolving us in unity with the majesty and beauty of Mother Nature.
Mira Drevo continues from where Heavens of Lakes (2012) left off. This is good, because that one was one of the very best ambient albums of its publication year. Islands contains subtle soundscapes decorate with acoustic elements, all of it recorded during an improvisational concert. Behind the trio of music is played only field recordings, and the combination thus results in something very organic in tone. It is slightly rougher than the one present in the organic works of Halo Manash that utilized a rather similar technique, yet in its own way very fascinating. The wind and bells keep the album in line with the debut, even if it’s all now being done without a synthesizer. Island isn’t quite as good as Heavens, but it’s close enough.
Beautiful, bright, organic. A good next step on a career that has been started with a lot of promise.
The sonic poetry of Mira Drevo is handed to me once again by Zhelezobeton label, and it makes me think, above all, about the illusionary seed of nostalgia it plants in my mind, as I can almost remember this distant hiding place that is shown on the cover of ‘Islands’, where I imagine the touching and intimate music was made at.
Skald, who stands behind this project, uses various field recordings, loops and various objects, to which guitars, percussion and vocals are added by Yarvi and Naviy. The sounds they pour forth create a slow, rich and clear river that gently takes you to wild nature, only rarely claimed back by persistent spoken words.
‘Islands’ begins softly and slowly. We are being led on a small boat through this river, but slowly Skald, Yarvi and Naviy turns the water and surrounding into a thick, deep and dense arsenal of musical ideas. Under the black sun where soft guitar melodies hover among rich insect humming and airy drones, Mira Drevo’s albums are magical and challenge the mental capacity of their listeners with something they can never have, a brittle memory and a spiritual experience.