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Artemiy Artemiev, Electroshock, UL. Krilatskaya, 31-1-321, Moscow, 121614, Russia.
Tel: (095) 415-3046
Electroshock Records is a young record company, founded in 1997 and based in Moscow, Russia. Not an obvious place to base an electronic music record label you'd think, but then Electroshock are anything but obvious. Founded by respected composer/musician Artemiy Artemiev and Vladimir Krupnitskiy, Electroshock are truly cutting edge and experimental in their view of electronic music. No dance beats and screaming disco queens here - this is serious stuff, exploring the space that music asnd sound occupies in our lives, through the work of Artemiy Artemiev and his father, Edward, and rapidly growing roster if musicians - plus a groundbreaking series of compilations featuring many Russian and international musicians that are little known outside their chosen field of music.
This a comprehensive overview of most of Electroshock's current catalogue of albums, along with availability information.
The music on this album dates back to 1995 and is different to the previous albums. The layered, heavily textured soundscapes are gone, replaced by a collection of eight delicate, extremely melodic pieces. The opening track Waiting For the Winter is extremely wistful, and its deceptively simple melody does set a mind picture of gently falling snow [and let's face it, they know about snow in Mother Russia!]. The following tracks, Freezing, A Polar Night, Lullaby For A Lonely Wanderer, Sudden Awakening, Vadjira (Tibet Song), Transition To Winter Time and Cold all tend to reflect the same themes of solitude and isolation. The sound throughout the album is sparse: some gentle percussion, occasional ambient back washes and a few lead solo synth voices to carry the melody. It is uncommon to find an album of music that you can call beautiful, this is one of those rarities.
This is the music from the soundtrack to a movie based on Homer's Odyssey, released a few years ago but I can't recall seeing it on any tv listing, so it was probably for cable only. The music, written and conducted by Artemiy Artemiev's father, Edward, and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra is lively stuff, both reflective and action orientated, and with a layer of electronics weaving in and out of the score for effect. The opening track Introduction is an ear-opener, a full on percussion workout that slowly shifts into some Greek stylings while the LPO strings set up the ambience. There's some nice Mediterranean ambience on The Ship Departs, enough that you visualise the scene without seeing it. Then it's onto another twenty-two tracks of music covering all sorts of moods and mind pictures dealing with the movie's action. Unlike many soundtracks this is one where you don't need to see the movie to enjoy the music, it stands on its own and is well worth seeking out.
I think Artemiy Artemiev's take on music is similar to Brian Eno's - music isn't just about melodies and choruses, the atmosphere or ambience is an equal factor in the composition. And in Mysticism of Sound we have ambience and atmosphere in full measure - and what a lush ambience it is too! The opening track Pictures of I. Bosch and P. Bruegel is a sound portrait of two very ideosyncratic artists. Beginning with a synth choir of heavenly voices it builds into a wall of rich sound, full of differing textures that languidly roll on like a spring river full of melted ice. The next track, Mysticism of Sound Part 1, is something very different, a huge soundscape carved out of the air, a cacophony of sounds and distant voices creating an aural cathedral of sorts. After the relentless thrust of the previous track Cataclysms of the XX Century is something of a respite, a much more spartan affair with jagged shards of sound rolling across the soundstage. The final track Mysticism of Sound Part 2 is very different to Part 1, rather more minimalist, again taking disparate sounds and rhythms and interweaving them slowly into something else. Mysticism of Sound is a very evocative album.
Stanislav Keitchi is one of the veterans of the Russian electronic music movement. He was one of the first musicians to use the very first Russian built ANS synthesiser back in 1961. It's fair to say that of all the musicians on the Electroshock label Mr Kreitchi is one of the most experimental, his sonic explorations stretching the concept of what is music to the very limits. On Ansiana Mr Kreitchi has created a range of 'tone poems' that collect sampled sounds, sonic architecture, sequence loops and what remarkably sounds like someone running a steel bar along the bars of a heating radiator! The overall feeling is of spaciousness, both cosmic and physical - a range of sonic landscapes that one is hard pressed to describe in recognisable terms. It's an extremely clinical sounding album with an audio mix of almost zero tolerance accuracy that left me correspondingly cold. I don't think this is an album one would listen to for pleasure - unless you were a computer!
With this album Anatoly Pereselegin seems to be trying to find the spiritual in electronic music, and I guess he might have succeeded as there is a church-like quality to all the tracks on the album. That is helped, of course, by having all the tracks titled after extracts from various books of the old testament. Isaiah #1 has a choral feel to it, with the synths sounding very crystaline and glacial. Isaiah #2 is a longer piece with a rather more brooding theme that develops satisfactorily over fourteen minutes. Ezekiel #1 retains the echo-laden atmosphere of the previous tracks, mixed with a looping crystal riff that evolves over the track. Isaiah #3 is a slower paced [to start with] piece that gradually becomes frenzied with some demented J.S.Bach-style keyboard motifs weaving in and out of the track. Ezekiel #5 is another track that sounds as if it has been recorded in a crystal-lined church - the music fairly shimmers as it darts between quiet reflection and agitation. Ezekiel #6 pretty much brings together all the sounds and styles from the other tracks into one sixteen minute epic. Download The God probably won't appeal to all electronic music listeners - the sound is extremely stark and minimalist and every note demands attention. But the album is impressive and well worth exploring.
As the title suggests, this is volume 6 in Electroshock's anthology album series featuring musicians on the extreme cutting edge of electronica. What makes this series so intriguing is that the musicians come from all around the world, so on this new cd musicians from Italy, Lithuania, the UK, Spain, Brazil and Finland are all represented.
Track one is Francesco Galante's El Mio Prese e La Notte, an interesting selection of industrial-type sounds mixed and organised in such a way that it hints of organic life but barely makes it as music to these ears. H3ORaj by Antanas Jasenka is thankfully more musical, much more ambient, with drones, percussion and chimes - but bizarrely about halfway through you get a quick burst of The Stripper! Peel, by Pete Stollery, seems to be a collage of assorted sound effects, all electronically treated and run through various bits of technology - again it doesn't scan as music but puts me in mind of sound installations or a modern ballet. Adolfo Nunez' Noche Castellana is another piece of gentle ambience, a voyage over a very strange ocean viewing its alien denizens. Rituals Do Matter, by Carey Nutman, continues the strange voyage concept, again over a very alien sea or perhaps its cyberspace, a collision of beeps, bubbles, swishes and muffled voices. For some reason a mind picture of being lost deep in the heart of a multi-story carpark came to mind while listening to this! Jorge Antunes' Hombres Tristes... lulls with a some gentle droning only to be shaken by assorted crashing chords and screechy violin scrapings. Not really my taste. Finally, Jukka Rudhomaki's Homage A Winston Smith is simply an incremental selection of drones and other noises that end up in cacaphony. Have to admit that this album is perhaps a bit too cutting edge for my tastes - there's little here that I would want to listen to again.
This was Artemiy Artemiev's debut album for Electroshock, and it opens rather appropriately with Overture, a very uptempo, upbeat introduction to his music. Compared to later work, this is almost conventional electronica, not too different to Jarre, Kitaro or Vangelis. Down By the River is more of a harbinger to later work: ambient sounds of synthesised animals and waves crashing topped by a slow melody that gently meanders for several minutes before it slides into Tibet, a tone picture of this most troubled mystical country. Reminiscences is another upbeat track, slightly oriental-sounding percussion ripples the tune along. Throughout all the tracks are snatches of street sounds, horse and carriage, childrens' voices, church and hand bells, speeding cars and hawkers cries. There are eleven tracks in total and they are all excellent - one can only be impressed at this debut album which announced the arrival of an important new composer and musician to the genre of electronic music.
Point of Intersection is Artemiy Artemiev's third album, and is an example of the musician breaking away from what has been and exploring even wilder sonic landscapes. Opening track Under Cover of the Skyies is almost conventional ambience, apart from the rolling layers of echo-drenched sound that wash across the speakers. It brings to mind the alien city in Forbidden Planet. Mirage continues in the same way, but with more of an industrial feel and some German language spoken text weaving in and out of the music. Album magnum opus is Down by the Footsteps Leading to the Abyss, an epic quasi-orchestral piece that slowly evolves into something surreal, featuring yelping voices, knocking sounds and Syrian Orthodox church chanting. Point of Intersection begins with booming chimes and alien sounding trumpets, becomes very mystical and doom-laden. Finally, From & To concludes the album with a [relatively] short track, which returns to the sounds of track one, but with a faint American Indian tribal beat. Point of Intersection is a brilliantly atmospheric album, showcasing a vivid imagination at work.
This album dates back to 1998 and is an evocative journey across the vast Asian continent. There are five lengthy tracks: Hong Kong - 01.07.1997, Flying Eagle, Journey Under the Great China Wall, Mysteries of the Ming Dynasties, and One Night on the Khangay Mountain. The overlying impression I get from all the tracks is of movement - political, social and human. The sound is huge, layer upon layer of densely textured synths, samples of Mongolian, Chinese and Japanese instruments, percussion and Buddhist chants and all sorts of weirdness. The music has a grandeur that matches Kitaro's great classic album, Kojiki, and like that it builds a mind picture of a region of the world positively bulging with humanity among a clash of differing cultures. From a musician whose albums all set high standards this is one of his very best.
This album is a compilation of music drawn from three Russian movies directed by Andrei Tarkovskiy - not having seen any of them I know of Solaris only by repute. The music here, composed and performed by Edward Artemiev, is mostly electronic and extremely evocative. The Stalker Theme, which opens the CD, is very wistful and gentle and leads into Train, which carries on some of the same themes mixed with the sounds of a train passing: the rhythm of the wheels clattering over the tracks brings on strong feelings of mystery and sadness. Being science fiction, the music for Solaris is very different to that written for Stalker, much more ambient, and dare one say, spacey. The single track drawn from the Mirror score is rather more industrial and jagged sounding, and probably the track I liked least. The final track, Dedication To Andrei Tarkovskiy, is a very impressionistic sound portrait/tribute to the film director himself. Rather than sequence the music from each movie in turn, the producers have mixed them together, creating a new series of moods not dependent on having seen the movies themselves. In turn this has created a fascinating and very listenable 'new' album of music that highlights just how good a composer and musician Edward Artemiev is.
Shifting expectations again, Artemiy Artemiev has teamed up with Phillip B. Klinger for this new album, though to my untutored ears it is difficult to tell who contributes what in this collaboration. Part one of the eponymous title track is certainly dreamlike, though with its industrial sounds it seems more like a nightmare scenario. Lost Souls in Bamboo Jungle has a Twilight Zone feel to it: disembodied voices, distorted clock chimes, floorboard and door creakings, all over an ambient backdrop. The shortest track, Between People or Within, is also the most discordant and least likeable. Murmurs Across the Surface continues the industrial sounds with what sounds like a distant thundering factory floating around in space. Final track is Part Two of Dreams in Moving Space, subtitled the Moscow Mix, more dreamy electronica drones with a touch of backbeat. I have to admit this isn't one of my favourite AA albums, it is a little too industrial sounding for my tastes, but it does have its fair share of moments.
Another collaboration album, this time with German guitarist and keyboard player Peter Frohmader. And this time the collaboration is much more discernable from the very first second of track one, Space Icon - huge washes of synth ambience are layered by some almost funky percussion and wah-wah guitar licks that gradually evolve into a nineteen minute prog-rock thrash out. Track two, Mir, calms things down with a very lovely music portrait of the Mir space station. Very Tangerine Dream-ish. The next track, Channeling, features weird fretless bass lines and acoustic guitar over a typical Artemiev ambient soundscape - for some reason I kept thinking of Weather Report while listening to this. Zen Garden eases the pressure off for a short and peaceful oriental sounding piece of electronica. Cosmic Jungle closes the album, a twenty-three minute epic of gentle ambience spoilt somewhat by an intrusive 'buz-saw'-pitched drone that is very irritating and spoils the track immensely. Overall, Space Icon is a very good album, full of variety with both collaborators working well together.
This series of compilations features a wide range of composer/musicians using electronic instruments and sounds some reminiscent of what we now call 'Electronica', but most really fall into the avant-garde and soundsculpture categories. For example, Volume 3 ranges from the gentle [and very listenable] ambience of Richard Bone's Elusia, I Can See and Rudiger Gleisberg's African Moods to the unlistenable [or perhaps that should be rampantly unmusical] Epitaph by John Palmer. Remaining contributors to this CD are Martin Alejandro Fumarola, Pete Stollery, Alejandro Iglesias-Rossi and Hans Joachim Roedelius. Volume 4 is subtitled 'Synthesiser ANS 1964-1971', and brings together for the first time recordings made on the very first Russian designed and built synthesiser. Contributors include Edward Artemiev, Alfred Schnittke, Oleg Buloshkin, Sofia Gubaidulina, Edison Denisov, Stanislav Kreitchi and several others. The majority of the tracks here are atonal, and not music as we recognise it, Jim! However, if you hanker back to the 50's sci-fi movies and their soundtracks of weird sounds and music then this is for you. Finally, Volume 5 brings together a new set of contributors: Claire Laronde, Peeter Vahl, Robin Julian Heifetz, Anatolly Pereselegin, Dieter Moebius, Karda Estra and Christopher De Laurenti. The moods and sounds on this CD are the most wide-ranging of all, with Vahl's Fugue and Hymn mixing symphony orchestra and electronics into a piece that could be classed modern classical music. My personal preference is for the albums by Artemiy Artemiev and his father, but if you enjoy cutting edge 'electroacoustic' music then any of these compilations will push your preconceptions to the brink.
This latest album by Moscow-based musician and label boss Artemiy Artemiev is a collection of twelve tracks recorded over a long period of time: 1988-2000. These are tracks, I assume, that were recorded during the sessions for his previous albums but not used for various reasons. One would normally assume that if that was the case they wouldn't be up to much, in terms of quality. But not so!
Forgotten Themes is perhaps Artemiy's most approachable and commercial sounding album yet, beginning with a movie theme, The Fan, a rich slice of pounding electronica that wouldn't be out of place if you whispered 'Tangerine Dream'! The Last Waltz follows, a lengthy atmospheric synth drum workout which shows just how boring most drum 'n' bass' stuff is - in fact it sounds like a demented fairground ride! An Evening in the Country is a short melodic ambient piece mixing a rainstorm with the sound of chimes and clocks - oh, and grasshoppers. The centrepiece of the album is the very ambient and minimalist An Autumn Breath - eighteen minutes of gently shifting notes that somehow contrive to be timeless and exist in their own cosmos. Another cosmic track is Space Distortion, a rumbling, echoing industrial soundscape. The album closes with the robotic waltz-like The Ending, another visit to that cyber fairground. I've only described the most striking tracks here, but the whole album is a gem of highly accessible electronica and is a bravura showcase for an excellent musician little known in the west.
This latest album, like Artemiy Artemiev's Forgotten Themes, is a compilation of unreleased tracks spanning the years 1975 - 1996, and as such chronicles the exploration, evolution and technological restraints of electronic music in Russia. The album opens with the powerfully anthemic Out There Where, which certainly shares the same grandeur you will find in Vangelis's movie themes. The lengthy I'd Like To Return follows: it's a collision of styles, ambient throbbings, industrial crashes and howls, samples of voices and orchestral timbres. Experimental and not the most approachable track to face. Ritual has a churchlike ambience, a deep echo and portentous chords - it packs a lot of atmosphere into its three minutes!
Indeed, the album has a strong science fiction feel to it, with tracks such as In The Nets Of Time, Noosphere, Touch To The Mystery all having a cosmic feel to them. Despite the variety of recording dates, there is a futuristic cohesiveness to the album that makes it fitting that it is released in 2001 of all years - one just wonders where the monolith was... The overal feel of all ten tracks on this cd is of ambience, whether by treating conventional instruments electronically or by using synthesisers to create a library of new sounds. The ambience is crystaline to the ear, bright and laden with cosmic echoes, pastoral one moment and gratingly industrial the next. A Book of Impressions is an album that needs to be explored over time - it doesn't offer instant gratification for the listener, but there are riches here waiting to be discovered.