CD (ltd. 300)
The third full-length album by the project of Sergey Ilchuk (ex-Vresnit, ex-Vetvei) and Dmitriy Shilov (Neznamo, Peal Grim, Magickal Things) has gathered materials recorded at three live gigs in 2012-2013 and completed in the studio in 2012-2015.
This album is for lovers of live textured ambient. Almost 80 minutes of powerful yet tender sound submerging the listener into bright dreaming and at the same time awakening crystal clarity within. An experience of the mystery of life expressed in artistic form. The call, the revelation, the transformation, living through your own self. These canvases are woven from a manifold of acoustic and electronic threads: droning and vibrating guitars, flutes, voices, a sitar, electronic sequences, field recordings and found sounds - all this is interlaced into multidimensional structures, the depths of which can be endlessly explored with every new listening.
The CD is packed in a matte 6-panel digisleeve with artwork by Sergey Ilchuk. Sound mastering performed by Sergey Bulychov (Kshatriy). The edition is limited to 300 copies. Digital copy can be purchased at bandcamp.
Special collector edition - 24 copies in envelopes with 17 cards of A5 size printed on silver cardboard featuring reproductions of Sergey Ilchuk's artwork made in 2012-2016.
In einer Auflage von 300 Einheiten erscheint "Mystery Of Life", dessen Inhalt den Titel auch gut wiedergibt. Aufgrund der Instrumentengegebenheit ist hier ein exotischer Einschlag gegeben, der besonders durch eine Sitar hervorgerufen wird und sich wohl am besten in der Region um Indien (?) ansiedeln lässt. Auch die Musikform der sogenannten Weltmusik kann man hier fraglos benennen, wobei man dieses Tondokument durchaus auch als eine Form der Meditation durchgehen lassen kann. Getragener Gesang harmoniert da sehr gut mit der angenehmen Musik, wobei auch Electronica und Formen des Ambient zum Tragen kommen. Was Siyanie zugestanden werden muss, ist die Art der gekonnten Umsetzung, welche auf einem warmen Charakter beruht, dessen atmosphärische Ausläufer mitunter zum Träumen laden und bei jedem weiteren Besuch schöne Momente präsentieren. Besonders in Zeiten der Ruhe und Entspanntheit gilt es hier ein Ohr zu riskieren, denn einen besseren Ausklang auf einen stressigen Alltag kann man sich eigentlich kaum vorstellen. Langsam, aber sicher, und unaufhaltsam wird man gefangen genommen und in einen Strudel aus Wärme und Geborgenheit gehüllt, welchen man letztendlich überhaupt nicht mehr missen will.
Verantwortlich für diese Publikation sind übrigens Sergey Ilchuk (u.a. ex-Vresnit) und Dmitriy Shilov (u.a. Neznamo), die dieses Tondokument zudem auch in einer besonderen Sammlerauflage darbieten, welche man direkt über Siyanie beziehen kann. Somit gilt es sich die Zeit zu nehmen, Zeit zum Innehalten und sich von der Schönheit verzaubern zu lassen, welche hier über siebzig Minuten lang regiert und eine gute Alternative zu herkömmlichen Publikationen darbietet - meine Empfehlung!
...I started with the name I only vaguely recalled, Siyanie. It was more a case of vaguely recognizing the colourful artwork than the name, I must say, but I reviewed 'Shining Of Unity', back in Vital Weekly 849. Back then Siyanie was the solo project of Sergey Ilchuk, now he's doing the music with Dmitriy Shilov (of Neznamo, Peal Grim, Magickal Things). The basic material was recorded over three covers in 2012 and 2013, and reworked and edited in the time following that. This is seventy-seven minutes of ambient bliss. In an average piece they lay down the basic with a bunch of endless sustaining sounds from synthesizers, I assume, a few lines together, moving slowly in and out of each other range and on top of that they play their instruments. That might be a synth of some kind, such as in 'Deep Tenderness', but it is more likely to be flutes, bells, voices or a sitar in 'You Are Self'. Everything gets a lot of time to evolve around here and pieces stretch out between six and ten minutes. There is a light, trippy, hey even psychedelic feel to the music, despite also being a bit dark at times. Just a look at the cover makes you realize it's not all about doomy, moody and atmospheric tunes, but rather something that is a bit more hopeful; maybe even some kind of religious experience? Maybe my mind is spacing right now, and I could be all wrong. Sometimes I was reminded of Organum (especially the flutes), and at other times the more loosely organised music of Voice Of Eye; not the worst to be compared with, I think, but Siyanie certainly has that finer Eastern mysticism captured.
'Mystery of Life' is the third full-length album by Syanie, the project of Sergey Ilchuk (ex-Vresnit, ex-Vetvei) and Dimitry Shilov (Neznamo, Peal Grim, Magical Things) comprised of material recorded at three live gigs in 2012-13 and completed in the studio 2012-15. Now I've heard and enjoyed Vresnit and Neznamo before, both exponents of the New Russian Ambient Music scene, but Siyanie is new to me. However from the moment I saw this CD I knew I was going to like it. It's cosmic ambient to the max, and nearly 80 minutes of pure aural bliss. A bodacious blend of electro-acoustic environments that you can just let your mind float away with. I especially like the use of sitar that crops up now and then in the music giving a kind of Eastern transcendental flavor. The textures of Siyanie are sublime and ever shifting within their cosmic drones. At times ultra placid, at others mildly intense, it bodes well for a musical trip into a higher state of consciousness. Voices that arise in some pieces sound absolutely other-worldly. The nine tracks (track 9, "Shine If You Will" has three parts) are somewhat lengthy (nothing under 6 minutes) and evolve nicely over time. The grossly overused term "psychedelic" might be applicable in the sense of mind expansion for what the listener may experience with this album, but no drugs are required. Although if I had to equate it with one, it would probably be DMT, although that trip is much more brief than the album, from what I've read. (Never tried it.) If you're looking for an aural equivalent of utopia though, this has to be it. One of the reasons why the album sounds so good is that it was mastered by Sergey Bulychov (Kshatriy), another Russian ambient artist I've reviewed here before. The colorful artwork on this 6-panel CD slipcase is by Sergey Ilchuk and certainly reflects the music. This is one of those albums that really needs to go on your "must have" list, and since it's limited to only 300 copies, I wouldn't wait too long to acquire it.
Sergey Ilchuk and Dmitry Shilov are the two protagonists behind Russian miraculous drone ambient project called Siyanie, which I have already reviewed during summer 2013, particularly their jaw-dropping "Homo Multidimensional" album. Yeah, no wonder, I am deeply fascinated by these Russians since the very first day, sometime during April 2013, when they firstly landed on my radar. Always offering a top-notch visual delight, available in two editions, "Mystery Of Life" comes in one regular run limited to 300 copies, while the second one, a special collector's edition, counts 24 copies. This richly expanded version contains 17 A5-sized cards printed on silver cardboard featuring reproductions of Sergey Ilchuk’s artwork created during 2012-2016 as Siyanie Art. The CD comes in a really gorgeous 6-panel eco wallet precisely displaying Siyanie's thrillingly mesmerizing sonic alchemy. It's out since July 21st, 2016 as a collaborative effort between Russian labels Moonsun Productions (home of Siyanie), Frozen Light and Zhelezobeton, which is credited as a distributor. I should also add that 10 of 11 tracks on "Mystery Of Live" are recorded live during Siyanie's three performances during 2012 and 2013 (two in Moscow, one in Yaroslavl). The mastering credit goes to Sergey Bulychev of respected Kshatriy project.
On the opening 9-minute "You Are Self" Timofej Zaozerov with his sitar joins Siyanie for a pure, hypnotically transporting ride, when intriguingly coalescing perpetually spiraling images with piquantly ear-tickling stringed tapestries, intangibly dissonant glimpses and balmily nocturnal quietudes. The magic of Siyanie is back in full bloom!!! Enigmatic flute calls announce "The Moment Of Truth", with 6 minutes the shortest piece on "Mystery Of Life", while ethereal choir-like drones ride atop along with occasional industrial flavored, yet diaphanously solitary fragments and hissy perplexing breaths, which inconspicuously metamorphose into voluminously transcendental and audaciously blissful listening experience. Wow!!! "Circling Eternity" safely follows the vestiges of breathtakingly engulfing terrains, when meticulously amalgamating titillating cyber-organic rattles, contemplative chimes, hallucinogenic drone helixes, stinging flute patterns and shamanic voice opiates. Another indigenously jaw-dropping sonic kaleidoscope! "Invocation" calms down this exciting journey a bit, when merging secluded monochromatic drones with resurrecting expressive guest sitar wizardry by Timofej Zaozerov with some high-spirited Middle East fragrances thrown in. But psychedelic chants with overtone-like vistas shift this opus into the forefront of mind-bending electro-acoustic magnificence!!! "Chant For Beauty" dives deeply into mysteriously sculpted subterranean sceneries, where spellbindingly flatlined meridians, guarding above, are propelled by mesmerizingly immersing potpourri of chants and gossamer ephemeral rumbles. Trance-driven reverie at its most engrossing! 10-minute "Deep Tenderness" glides tranquilly on the wings of enigmatic spaciousness, where sweeping blankets are commingled with gossamer cyber-biotic traceries, swirling crescendoing subtleties and longing mirages. The next composition, "The Sky Is Not The Limit", brings back Timofej Zaozerov's sitar with additional flute work by Nikolay Kalmykov of Hladna project. Healing stringed helixes, euphorically cascading and evanescing synthetic bleeps, voice transmissions, remote whistles, warmly hypnotic yearning expanses... Another amazingly nectarous blend! "Everflowing Stream", the only studio track on this album, unfolds with weirdly weeping intro, but soon transient tribal infusions step in, although the main theme moves into more drifting scenario, smoothly evolving into gracefully immense celestial dimensions, reinforced by some phantasmal groans and backed by liturgic-like choirs and female voice samples. The closing, 14-plus minutes long "Shine If You Will" is divided into three parts. The opening passage keeps on the route of enveloping grandness driven by choir-like drones with auxiliary voice harmonizations, here and there spiced by some scraps, both palpable and vaporous. Cyber-organic embellishments magnify the drifting healings during the second passage, while the final part is highlighted by mesmerizing male verbalizations in Russian.
Each album of Siyanie sounds exactly as it looks like, so "Mystery Of Life" is obviously no exception, visual and aural installments are masterfully melted into a phenomenally challenging, galvanizingly authentic and triumphantly immersing 77-minute spectacle. These Russian guys, as one of the most unique voices on the scene, are always utilizing very distinctive insignias in order to deliver an all-inclusive eargasmic sensation taking the listener way beyond the ordinary. Deep respect, Sergey and Dmitry, you are true Masters of your art!!! And kudos to guests as well!!! Enter now the transcendental Eden of Siyanie displayed as "Mystery Of Life"!!!
Genre/Influences: Dark-ambient, psychedelic.
Background/Info: After having released 2 albums plus one split-album on Moonsun Productions, Russian band Siyanie joined hands with Zhelezobeton to unleash their newest opus. Driven by Sergey Ilchuk (ex-Vresnit, ex-Vetvei) and Dmitry Shilov (Neznamo, Peal Grim, Magickal Things) “Mystery Of Life” is a selection of live tracks.
Content: “Mystery Of Life” is an interesting experience, that sounds like the meeting between different sound universes. It definitely sounds dark-ambient like, but also mysterious and even psychedelic. The use of authentic instruments like a sitar and a flute inject a surprising and transcendental effect.
You feel like you are moving from nihilistic sound passages into reverie, a bit like the passage from one work towards another. The ambient part also reveals an intimate aspect, which mainly comes through on the final part of the work. A few voices add a ritual aspect to the work.
+ + + : “Mystery Of Life” is a versatile and fascinating exploration of different influences. I especially like the dark-ambient influence, which has been mixed with authentic instruments. It adds an Eastern touch to the work, which feels mysterious and even into pure psychedelic music. The ritual touch created by some spoken-like voices is another intriguing aspect of the work. This is a creative side of dark-ambient music, which sounds clearly different than familiar productions in the genre. One of the absolute highlights is “Invocation”, which sounds like magic through the sitar playing merged with humming sound waves.
- - - : The live aspect of the record is present, but not at the forefront. I guess it’s not really the point!
Conclusion: Siyanie is a band I discovered and the least I can say is that their very personal and somewhat transcendental approach in dark-ambient music is absolutely original and sounds great.
Best songs: “Invocation”, “The Moment Of Truth”, “Chant for Beauty”.
When I got this album, I opened the envelope, put the CD to the player and felt like taking a nap. And it was a pleasant nap. This Russian duo doesn’t push the limits of the genre, but their creations are nicely prepared and quite relaxing.
The two musicians are known from their other projects, as both Vresnit and Neznamo are already recognized members of the ever-growing Russian ambient/experimental family. Mystery Of Life is their fourth album, including the collaboration with the mentioned Neznamo. I know that our page is called This Is Darkness and Mystery Of Life is somewhat distant from the pitch-black or grey ambiances (check the cover), but there’s a certain form of depth which most of the shades of ambient share. The spirituality, the detachment from the mundane world. But, while dark ambient artists often wander through the wastelands, sometimes in the literal meaning, sometimes as a metaphor of the dark corners of the human soul, the artists like Siyanie (Russian word meaning “radiance”), search for a harmony with nature, a contemplation in a peaceful solitude.
It’s nothing new musically, you won’t find anything that you haven’t heard on the albums by Alio Die, Mathias Grassow or Klaus Wiese. In this form of ambient it is even harder to create your own, personal path than in dark ambient, so the trick is to capture the perfect atmosphere, that won’t bore or tire the listener, that will let him be immersed in the blissful contemplation. Serene, but not shallow. The body may lie on the bed or in the grass, but the spirit is traveling astrally to the world beyond. And they manage to do it, I find the album relaxing after a hard day, but not in a mindless way, there’s a whole open space for reflection here. The other important thing for such music is to avoid falling into the new age trap. And they succeed here as well, although there are moments when they balance dangerously close to the edge of triviality. Perhaps the album is a little bit too long, the album is not able to catch my attention for the whole duration and a few tracks seem like they are filling the gaps, but I can’t deny that there are some magic moments here, like the fourth composition, “Invocation”, with the growing tension, deep drones of the Eastern provenance and the sublime sounds of sitar. It’s worth mentioning that all tracks (except one) were recorded during live performances. If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t guess, they sound awesome. So if you don’t expect anything crucial to the genre, but rather look for a completion of your spiritual ambient collection, this one might be for you.