A.Artemiev & Peter Frohmader - Transfiguration
Order Number ELCD021
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"In 2002, the Russian composer Artemiy Artemiev released his second
collaboration with Peter Frohmader, Germany's master of dark ambient.
Recorded over 11 months by sending the tapes back and forth by mail, the
album follows the same vein established in the 2000 CD "Space Icon".
Artemiev brings in lush keyboard patches, eery singing voice samples, and
drum programming. Frohmader adds more keyboards and samples, plus occasional guitar and bass (although he has been downplaying the latter lately).
"Transfiguration" presents five pieces. Despite their numerated titles they don?t form a single work, although the mood remains rather homogeneous. "Space Icon" came very close to a space rock affair, but this one plays it smoother, abandoning hypnotic beats and swirls in favor of more complex and rich textures. The music gains depth, but it doesn't completely fills the gap left by what's been lost in excitement. The 30 minute "Transfiguration. Part V" is a good example: the keyboard textures are lush, but the occasional beat sequences and recurring sound elements (a short twinkle, particularly) are enough to justify the duration. The album still has its good moments "Transfiguration. Part I" and "Transfiguration. Part IV" both song-like, but it feels a bit weak coming from these two artists." - Francois Couture ("All-Music Guide")
"Transfiguration" is a collaboration between two multi-instrumentalists and their multi-track studios - in other words it is magic time! "Part I" starts with some simple loops and samples, repetitive but it sets up the rhythm for this track and underpins it while Peter Frohmader's guitar does its own loosely cyclical part. "Part II" begins with a slow drum beat and ambient synth washes followed by some flute-like synth melody lines that are lovely to listen to. All in all, this one very dreamy track that packs a bit of a surprising punch in the last minute. "Part III" continues with a very similar melody line, clothed in sampled voices and synthesised atmospherics, staggered percussion and a low-key but persistent groove pushes the track along very nicely. So far so good - overall impression is that I am loving this. "Part IV" is next, ethnic-style percussion and deep echo-laden drums crash out as layer after layer of instrument appears - very dramatic sounding, definitely an oriental vibe and would make a great soundtrack for a Hong Kong-produced thriller. One can almost visualise the chase across HK harbour in junks... Final track is "Part V", the longest track on the album at nearly thirty minutes, it's also the most cosmic, a series of loose drum rhythms, limpid keyboard lines, ambience and an overall feeling of drifting where the sun doesn't shine.
"Transfiguration" is an album of many moods, at times forceful but also laid back, it ranges from avant-garde to commercial electronica, but it is always listenable and at times quite stunning in its range of sounds and their musical manipulation. It's difficult to allot credit to either musician, their individual styles have merged seemlessly together here. Another winner for "Electroshock Records". - John Peters ("The Borderland")
"When I found out that Artemiev and Frohmader were working together I wasn't surprised at all, it all made perfectly sense to me! Peter Frohmader is known for playing his guitars and basses over layers of keyboards, long lush synth chords and sequences but never throwing away the beat. This is what happened in this case too, but it sounds like the German composer has also added more keyboards, to those already laid down by his Russian companion, thus widening the rich sound palette that "Transfiguration" is based by and originated from. Considering that it took the couple almost an entire year to achieve this, it sounds like they never met and instead mailed each other the tracks some way until done. This is their second collaborative work (after "Space Icon", from two years ago). The five tracks are numbered and vary in length, ranging from a little over five minutes and a half to almost half an hour. Detailed and outlined beat structures and sytnh/synth-bass lines make for an easier approach to Artemiev's musical art. A pleasing experience that combines electronics, atmospherics, rock, ambient, fusion, experimental music and more, all nicely driven by rhythms and sound sequences. Considering how many genres converge in "Transfiguration" it is probably safer to just say that it represents a very good example of what electroacoustic avant-garde, two terms often used to describe Electroshock releases, is or can be." -Marc Urselli-Schaerer ("Chain D.L.K.")