Artemiy Artemiev - Mysticism of Sound
Order Number ELCD009
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Continuing to straddle the line between modern classical and electronic influences, Artemiy's latest release finds him exploring the dark ambient side of classical music. Four lengthy sonic excursions onto the murky depths are presented, beginning with the stark "Pictures of I. Bosch and P. Bruegel" harkening back to his disk "Cold", the music has a definite chill, but it is also moving and beautiful, in its own dark way. The music unfolds very slowly, and may require patience form some listeners, though I think it will be rewarded. "Mysticism of Sound. Part I" starts with deep echoes, sounding the depths, followed by bone-chilling metallic percussions that jumps out at you. The feeling is dank and intense, as the music grows louder. Several layers of formless sound are joined by strange, unintelligible voices in the background. This is fascinating, brilliant stuff, but it may scare the hell out of you. This CD will go well alongside B. Lustmord and Robert Rich's "Stalker", not necessarily in terms of sound, but in terms of the fright factor. Part I of the title track remains intense throughout most its 27 minutes, letting up only for the last few as it winds down. If the description of the first two tracks intrigues you rather than scares you off, then you won't mind that things get even more experimental with "Cataclysms of the XX Century", filled deep pulses, assorted odd noises and voice loops. This piece intentionally keeps the listener off balance, alternating brief passages of noise with relatively sparse stretches in between, changing every few seconds. It somehow isn't quite as jarring as this sounds, but it is unique. The disc closes with "Mysticism of Sound. Part II", perhaps the oddest of the four. It continues the pulsing effect, but adds more random elements, sounding much closer to the modern classical, with hints of Japanese flavor. This is my least favorite track of the four, but it is still interesting, to say the least. Artemiev is an acquired taste, but his music has a lot to offer for those who like a challenge. You won't be bored." -
P. D. ("Sequence")
"Russian electronic music artist, Artemiy Artemiev's recording, "Mysticism of Sound", is a moody, dark, and at times disturbing collection of ambient sound collages. Filled with moments of beauty and also terror, this is a CD for those who enjoy exploring the shadows where objects fade into blackness and the mind fills in the blanks. Using a vast array of equipment from Roland, Ensoniq, and Korg, among others, Artemiy weaves drifting minor chords and washes into a foreboding tapestry of noir images. The first song, "Pictures of I. Bosch and P. Bruegel" intermixes mournful synth choirs, muted bell-like tones, and smoky minor key synths, yielding the albums best cut. This is music with a subtle nightmarish quality, i.e. never out and out scary, but incredibly evocative and disturbing. The next song, "Mysticism of Sound, Part I" is more abstract, crossing over into experimental "musique concrete" at times, with loud crashes, distorted high-pitched wails, and underlying dark washes of sound. This one is definitely not for the timid and stands toe-to-toe with seminal works in the dark ambient field, such as Stalker and Heresy . At over twenty-seven minutes long, the song begs to be played in a pitch-black room, as long as you have nerves of steel (personally, I wasn't up for it - my imagination is too vivid!). Other elements in the song include muffled and distorted dialogue that, at times, resembles the buzzing of angry insects! I'm sitting here with the lights on, typing this review, and I keep looking around for a malevolent force to sneak up on me from behind. "Cataclysms of the XX Century", the next song, goes even further afield than the previous song. Odd percussion effects (clangs, alien-sounding rhythms) and bizarre electronics slowly intermingle with an undercurrent of bass synths. Sometimes the music is jolting in its intensity (quite loud too!), as the strange electronic sounds flash into your mind's eye like a crimson bolt of lightning. This can only be described as true nightmare music, the kind that one would expect to accompany a slow descent into insanity perhaps. By no means do I intend that as a criticism. However, in all honesty, while I appreciate how bold and adventurous this music is, it is way too dark and scary for me. I mean, this makes Stalker sound like a Jonn Serrie album! However, I love the way Artemiy layers these different textures. I'll bet on headphones this is a trip (and no, I wouldn't dream of listening to it that way!). The final song, "Mysticism of Sound, Part II" is lighter than the first part, but is even more abstract, blending sometimes discordant and arrhythmic musical elements, like a strange theremin-like tone, synthetic buzzes, and assorted percussive effects. Dare I say it, this song could, I suppose, be viewed as whimsical, in a Twilight Zonish way. Maybe the dance of some crazed marionettes? This recording is for all you people who think that most dark ambient is either too tame or too melodic. With the exception of the first cut, nothing here will calm you down - that's for sure. And, in my opinion, if you play this before sleeping, I hope you don't dream!" -
Bill Binkelman ("Wind & Wire")
"Mysteries of Sound" is Artemiy Artemiev's fifth and latest collection of electronic compositions issued on his own, Moscow-based label. Previous CDs like "The Warning", "Cold" and "Point of Intersection" have all shown him to be an electronic composer of the highest water, whose talents have followed a constant upward curve in their evolution. However, last year's "Five Mystery Tales of Asia", the result of his travels in Mongolia, China and Japan and incorporating sounds from these cultures, indicated how far he has progressed since his debut in 1993 - the relative melodiousness of his earlier works now becoming invested with something heavier, more elusive. This trend continues with his latest release, "Mysticism of Sound". While this album could easily be slotted into the "dark ambient" genre, its subtle shifts of mood locate it far beyond a simple genre piece. The four long tracks seem to have subsumed the Asian influence while at the same time never reneging it. The opening "Pictures of I. Bosch & P. Breugel" is a sublime aural landscape shot through with dark, shifting undercurrents, a mirror held up to the work of the artists to whom the title refers; playful yet ominous. While one would assume that, given our history, a track with the title "Cataclysms of the XX Century" would be the most cacaphonous piece on the album, it is actually the half-hour long second track, "Mysticism of Sound, Part I", which roars and groans with the clash of swords and noise of upheaval. "Cataclysms... " is a collage-like documentary exploiting reverb effects and perhaps indeed telling the story of our sorry century; it reaches its resolution after a quarter of an hour with a quiet, meditative mantra, with a whimper or a sigh, not a bang. Finally, the second installment of the title track allows the Asian influence of "Five Mystery Tales... " to once again surface, this time dotted with percussive elements and electronic embellishments. Artemiy Artemiev has proven once again that he is an exciting and innovative composer who deserves much more exposure in the West." - Steven Fruitman "AmbiEntrance"/"Motion").
"Mysticism Of Sound" is full of gorgeous atmospheric space drones. Powerful imagery for this listener, of actually being in the darkest corners of space. "Pictures Of I. Bosch & P. Bruegel" is an 18 minute space drone which develops very slowly, like a ship that's lost all power floating through space, led on its seemingly random course by an unseen force. Part I of the title track includes more space drones, but far more sounds and what seems like crowds of ghostly voices that ramble and groan without ever forming words. The atmosphere is dark and even a bit frightening. The intensity increases on "Cataclysms Of The XX Century" and the sounds consist of both machine-shop industrial clangs, bangs, and drones on the one hand, and shrill screams on the other. And Part II of the title track is the most experimental of the four cuts on this CD. Lots of freakiness and found sounds... abstract yet accessible, making this release my favorite of Artemiev's five solo CD's." - Jerry Kranitz ("Aural Innovations").