Corvuz - Invisible Landscapes

"Invisible Landscapes"

CD (ltd. 500)

1. Through the Night Mist
2. Invisible Landscapes (feat. Booh66)
3. Roots, Stones and Earth Draught
4. By the Path of Thawing Brooks
5. The Breath of Ancientry
6. Visionary
7. Gray Groves
8. Wormwood of the Clan
9. Labyrinths of Darkness
10. Desert
11. Thawing in Fog (Staruha Mha cover)

total length: 58:39
release date: April 20, 2012
price: €10


The debut album of a musician from the city of Oryol, Russia, released with the support of ZHELEZOBETON label. "Invisible Landscapes" is dark ambient recorded with a typical Russian approach combining homage to native traditions, deeply melancholic contemplation and powerful thirst for the beyond. Dark red embers, twilight, wind sways over tree crowns, lost eyesight of the consciousness wandering in forest labyrinths and gradually dissolving in the infinite circle of life and death... Rich sound of Soviet analogue synthesizers, a bit of field recordings, voice samples and digital processing - this is the pallette used for creating this image. It feels that the music of Curvuz is inspired by the project Staruha Mha, a cover-version of its track rounds up the album. The album was mastered by Sergey Uak-Kib (Kshatriy), artwork performed by Sergey Ilchuk (Siyanie, ex-Vetvei & Vresnit Art). Digipak.


The music is made with old analogue Soviet synthesizers, some field recordings, a bit of voice and lots of sound effects. Here too we go deep down in the underworld of sonic isolationism, also with a bit of melody, but also with occasional mumbling voices, which I guess are not really my cup of tea. This music has more 'gothic' edges, more inspired, at times, by Lustmord than by zoviet*france if you catch my drift. But then in some pieces the keyboards are a bit too standard in their settings, and sounding a bit too much like cliche. This makes this album also varied but it doesn't work always out too good. It seems like Corvuz doesn't want to make up his mind what he wants with his music. Go something very dark, for something very light and almost new agey? Some of the ideas are pretty much alright, its well produced but its in need for some clear choices.

Traditional Russian Dark Ambient here from the debut offering from the native Corvus; conceptually speaking this appears on the face of it to be without any real story to tell other than the artist wanting to make music within the genre he resides and there is nothing wrong with that, other than this style usually requires something for the listener to latch onto.

Given the open nature of the album, a review would simply rely on the impressions given alone; analogue synth and repeating rich drone work offering a spacious playing field to open your mind, there is more than a fair share of gentle breathing pads on ‘Invisible Landscapes’ to let your imagination run away with itself.

Intriguing vocalisations appear irregularly and are a welcome source, almost elemental and effective once they start travelling alongside the dream-like textures portrayed; sometimes however as in track two (the titles are in Russian) the drop out is too much and the song should have been allowed to fade naturally.

Track six toys around with notes in an almost rhythmical sense; there is an element of IDM in the nature of the structure that given some moderate beat-work could elevate this into something spectacular; that’s not gonna happen on this album though. Pity.

As far as ambient music is concerned, this is a more than generous affair and clocking in at nearly an hour there is little on here to complain about; an undeniably solid result that does have more than its fair share of greatness that I relished along the way. With some clever ironing out to make his work cohesive from start to finish, the next output from Corvis could be something quite spectacular.

Tony Young, Black Audio.

This Dark Ambient project hailing from Oryol, Russia is part of the experimental noise and dark ambient renaissance that has been gathering a lot of momentum in the former Eastern Block over the last few years and they present here a debut release which is very impressive.

Every track is well thought out and executed and they all continuously evolve to maintain the listener's interest and successfully manage evade the trap of repetition that is so very prevalent in this style. The album also manages to avoid many of the hallmarks of Dark Ambient (rumbling low end noises, drone sequences and clanging metal sounds drenched in cathedral sized reverbs) in favor of evolving melodies and sequences which sound quite fresh as a result.

Tracks 1, 6, and 9 are the definite standouts on this album and they truly shine. The rest of the album doesn't slouch in its presentation however and it must be listened to from start to finish.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable debut and a new project to add to the watch list. Fans of this style will not be disappointed!

Marc Martinez, Brutal Resonance.

Through infinite layers of sound, buildups and subtle audio hints, there is not just one world that is being portrayed through this album, but many musical worlds that share roughly the same space, and phasing in and out as I listen to their vibrating echoes. This is not just an over imaginative metaphor. As I try to grasp what I am listening to I am seeing so many sights that it is impossible to stitch them into one landscape anymore. It begins with distant beacon through empty space, and as the unsettling drones glide forward through the dark ether, I suddenly see more. Pagan chanting and dark, dense branching appear, while hot, deserted landscapes are erased.

Even in its most disturbing peaks, Corvuz keeps caressing the listeners with soft, almost reassuring music. It is actually pretty admirable how deep and eerie this album can get while staying within the physically calm area of soundwaves. Tales are being told through long strokes of music, and a painful, multifaceted picture is being drawn by this obscure artist. With every track being a portal or a pathway to a whole set of rules and notions, this sums up as another great album that is available through Zhelezobeton. It’s not a surprise, but it’s a golden opportunity to recommend another album from its arsenal.

Here is my first exposure to this Russian dark ambient project and a thorough one it is. Ночной туман spans about 60 minutes and is translated as “Invisible Landscapes”.

Corvuz spans styles of new age, and ritual ambience reminding me much of the works of acts like Herbst9, Circular, and Vidna Obmana. The range of sounds here is quite nice and features a diverse set of elements in each track. Usually you will find synth pads, some acoustic element – like guitar or sung vocals – and the occasional percussive or sound design element.

Given the hefty length of the album Corvuz does well to keep the listeners interest with tracks that are densely layered like Невидимые пейзажи (Invisible Landscapes) and some that remain more sparse like Визионер (Visionary).

Overall a solid effort yet a touch generic. However the atmosphere is consistent and there are times when I’m really in the mood for stuff like this. A good introduction to the project.

“Invisible Landscapes” is the debut album of the Russian project Corvuz. It here consists of a self-release, which has been distributed by Zhelezobeton. “Invisible Landscapes” is a voyage throughout the dark and foggy universe of Corvuz. Dark and growling tones completely terrorize the visitor. The impact of the sound rapidly starts to be overwhelming. Resonating soundvibes can be noticed in the background. Voices emerge at the surface of the title track. It injects an extra touch of desperation and a feeling of loss and horror. Corvuz progressively evolves towards space-like soundscapes. The atmospheres of this universe remain icy and obscure. A bell announces a kind of ritual happening on “The Breath Of Ancientry”. Space influences come back on a regular basis, but globally speaking the atmospheres remain pretty hostile. This is not exactly the kind of album on which you’ll start to dream away. Corvuz leads the visitors into pure horror. Some of the last cuts of the album are even like a climax of angst. A few more spooky voices are empowering the haunted mood. Corvuz has achieved a quite noticeable and chilling debut.

The debut of the Russian project Corvuz is strongly toned, echoing dark ambient, which has fine structures but a somewhat too flat general sound. The slight mustiness can be quite easily forgiven, however, because the music has a strange sense of originality. Corvuz distantly resembles others, but does not one bit feel like a copy. Maybe because of this, some strength has been lost, so that while the compositions are fine, they do not rise to full power. It seems as if only some parts of the artist’s talents have so far been utilized. Suprisingly, the album’s best track is the Runes Order -like Лабиринты Тьмы (Labyrinths Of Darkness), perhaps precisely because it sounds a bit different from the others. Corvuz is obviously a very promising project, but still unable to create something that would be both original and powerful at the same time. It does get close, though, especially in the retro-style Staruha Ma cover that ends the album.

Innovative ambient, with beautiful gloom, but the need for more polishing is very obvious. The combination of pretty backgrounds and their clever breaking with loose sounds is not quite enough by itself.

Very respectable from a debut album to be released not on the black marker-signed cd-r, but in digipack, with artwork by Sergey Ilchuk, and mastered by Sergey Uak-Kib (Kshatriy). Such an approach offers immediately a hint to its content – or rather, its quality. “Forest” ambient", raised by Ilchuk on his Vetvei label has ceased to be a local phenomenon by now, spreading across the country in all directions. Corvuz interprets “forest sounds” in his own manner, so don’t expect the continuation of Vetvei’s releases here. There is a binding to the classical forms of ambient from the beginning, with the domination of analogue synth lines and atmospheric soundscapes. With no trace of fractal psychedelia as in the vein of Lunar Abyss, or the archaic hum of Neznamo, and no oppressive urbanistics of Starucha Mha; the author of the project explores the personal microscopic space with no less confidence than his eminent colleagues, through his own vision.

An interesting fact to note is that the beginning of the album sounds much more psychedelic and introverted than the second half. Listeners are not prepared; it just happens in the woods, as if waking from a witch’s craze. Raw twilight fog and impenetrable thickets around you – Roots, Stones and Earth Drought (looking it over, this is the most impressive track on the CD). A thread of fear with tight knots extends throughout the body, trembling, while uncertainty doesn't let confidence to grow; our head is dizzy from all the unfamiliar sounds and weird smells… The primitive essence of human nature reigns over the rational mind, and for a while man becomes more like a baby, hallucinating tangles of energy – the threads of which are connected to each element of the environment. The album’s further development takes us through a range of other circumstances and situations that are much more conscious, yet the basic level of infant openness and interconnectedness remains unchanged. Perhaps this is the only condition letting us travel across the expanses of invisible worlds, as our usual urban existence stands in direct opposition to it. All communication is controlled (by the self, society, government), all hallucinations classified, all openness faced with vulnerability – this is our everyday life, leaving no place for the visionary.

Fortunately, music (similarly to any other forms of art) is like a magical storage, a treasure hidden under seven seals. Hearing it means sensing beyond the imperfection of forms, terms and layers of styles that are very emotional, mystical and vital, existing in all of us, in each and every object and phenomenon. Perhaps the listener becomes distracted by the too “musical” (in terms of ambient) tracks, losing this metaphysical thread of the narration, however, let’s not forget that the sacred permeates all levels of reality, from the instinctive desire to the emotional nuances of human perception. With this in mind, we can say with full confidence that this work is not only a guide to the beyond and otherworldly, but it also contains plenty of personal, emotional, truly human dimensions, that certainly enhances its role in connecting the different levels of attitude. Truly organic music, leaving a strong impression at every thoughtful listening; it’s not always happy, yet it is unique and valuable each time.

I had not heard of this Russian artist, and have had only some exposure to the Zhelezobeton label, but a quick glance at the cover art and titles like 'Roots, Stones, and Earth Draught,' 'Labyrinths of Darkness,' and 'Through the Night Mist' told me that it would likely be a pleasant slab of dark ambience. Here is how the label describes this album: ''Invisible Landscapes' is dark ambient recorded with a typical Russian approach combining homage to native traditions, deeply melancholic contemplation and powerful thirst for the beyond. Dark red embers, twilight, wind sways over tree crowns, lost eyesight of the consciousness wandering in forest labyrinths and gradually dissolving in the infinite circle of life and death... Rich sound of Soviet analogue synthesizers, a bit of field recordings, voice samples and digital processing - this is the palette used for creating this image.' I'll admit that I was unaware that there was a 'Russian approach,' but overall this is pretty good. The album is a mixture of dark ambient styles, which I find works well. The different styles are not really jarring, but instead complement each other. The cavern-like drones reminiscent of Lustmord are present and accounted for. There are also some elements of analogue synthwork here, such as in the intro to 'Invisible Landscapes,' which reminded me of Cabaret Voltaire's 'Exterminating Angel' on their album 'The Conversation.' There are also nice, long passages of drone that shift slowly with melodic elements woven throughout. We hear disembodied voices and subdued noises within the drones, but they are so deep in the music that one cannot really hear what they say. Worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 58 minutes.

eskaton, Chain D.L.K.

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