Over the past five years, Russian electronic producer Pavel Milyakov’s prolific production has swung between genre and vibe: four-party techno on the ground, enjoyable indie rock, new age ambient, harsh drone, and collaborations ranging from Dirty Beaches’ Alex Zhang Hungtai front-saxophonist Bendik Giske. Although produced with care and consideration, Milyakov’s recordings often bear the hallmarks of experimental recklessness, documenting his creative spirit with a sort of diaristic vulnerability. His music often resembles high fidelity sketches: cleverly performed excursions and deliberately left in their infancy.
Last year Blue, Milyakov’s first collaboration with Russian artist and singer Yana Pavlova, the duo improvised a series of blissful performances with swagger funk and rhythmic propulsion. In its catchiest moments, the music came close to something akin to indie pop. Although the duo continue a similar collaborative process on their latest album, Wandering, the results are much darker. It’s a record of harsh industrial reactions and dismal howls, reveling in its own sadness. Over 10 tracks and 33 minutes, it flutters in the shadows with barely a glimmer of light. Yes Blue was the summer of love of Milyakov and Pavlova, Wandering is its brutally unexpected winter.
Inspired by drone, black metal, dub, industrial and noise, Wandering is fragmented and deconstructed. Its twists and turns are almost obscured, as the songs merge into each other like recurring nightmares. Feedback, pulsating static rhythms, harsh rhythms, trigger delays, vocal vocals and overwhelming synths ricochet off each other in frantic conversation. Wandering is attached to his own disturbing world, and his musicians take pleasure in tirelessly tinkering in his frames. The monotonous atmosphere allows small inflections to cast powerful shadows: a scream gives way to a crash symbol of an incredibly crisp door. A flood of delayed returns comes slowly like a choppy tide, the silence between the shallow waves bringing its own comfort.
“Ramified” opens the album with late-heavy synthetic bagpipes and the cavernous, mourning vocals of Pavlova. The song creeps forward as the warm buzzes of the guitar hum like distant thunder, a funeral procession played backwards. Floating synth sounds light up the desolate palette as the song fades into the drone doom of “Mountains & Woodlands”, where choppy guitars, delayed blast beats and chopped tom rolls crash like a storm. of hail, reminiscent of the first liturgy in its mechanized approach of corrosive darkness.
Several moments on the album are reimagined versions of songs that appeared in warmer, more lovable renditions on Blue. “Take a While” redefines the unmistakable dance-pop “Strong Willed” into a heart-wrenching symphony of drones, with Pavlova singing her memorable chorus, “It’s gonna take a while with this / So you get it.” Here, the lyrics take on a narcotic haze, barely recognizable over crash symbols. “Denying” incorporates passages from “Blue Denial”, another flashy from the previous record. But in this version, jackhammer drum fills and fuzzy guitars envelop the words. The stuttering feedback is surprisingly soothing, like a doom-metal sound bath.
After the dissonance of the first half, the album begins to soften. “Rural” brightens up the tone with flickering guitar notes and quivering melodies similar to Archie Shepp’s Mum rose played with the equipment of Sunn O))). ‘Wandering Fugue’, a late star, features bubbling bit-synth organ trills that glow through the darkness like laser beams, delivering a brief moment of sweetness as gas synths merge into Pavlova’s wordless cooing. . These quieter tracks provide a respite from the record’s overwhelming sense of claustrophobia. With such a cohesive atmosphere, Wandering lacks some of the finesse and nuance that makes Milyakov’s more eclectic work so striking. Yet like a quirky horror film, this haunted experience carries its own charming aura of chaos.
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