Music Reviews

Artist: Kryptogen Rundfunk
Title: Live 2005
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Distributor: Zhelezobeton
Rated: *****
Kryptogen Rundfunk is the project name of Russian electronic music artist Artyom Ostapchuk, and this is his second solo album since 2004, '22.SZ' on the French Mechanoise Labs label, although he's had several split/releases/collaborations with such of artists as Neznamo, Lunar Abyss Deus Organum, Sister Loolomie, Bardoseneticcube, and other artists in the interim. The music on the album is taken from liver performances the "Noise vs Glamour" festival in 2005 in St. Petersburg and Moscow, later edited in the studio. It should also be pointed out that Artyom also runs the Zhelezobeton label. Why he waited until 2011 to release material recorded in 2005 I really don't know, but I suppose he had his reasons. (Perhaps ambient noise is timeless?)

I was intrigued by the photo on the cover of Artyom fiddling with knobs so I listened to this CD much earlier in the batch I received from Chain D. L. K. HQ, but since what I heard wasn't initially as intriguing as the cover, I put it aside for later. Perhaps this was due to what I was listening to the CD on, the CD player in my car. Bad choice. This certainly isn't driving music. It can be classified as experimental electronic ambient noise, with the accents on experimental and ambient. First track (St. Petersburg performance, 11-18-2005) clocks in at 19:52 and is primarily drone with some feedback, oscillating electronics, bellish tones and miscellaneous noise. Very low key and minimal. It is fairly multi-layered and nuanced in places but I found the feedback elements annoying. The second piece (Moscow performance (11-26-2005) is 23:42 and I liked this one better. It has a larger, denser sound than the first piece; more spacey and cerebral. It is rather difficult to describe, but alien spaceship might be one way. There are times when there are just low drones, others when electronic squiggles are present, and sections when there are richly harmonic drone pastiches, sub-bass thrumming. This is still very low key ambient noise in an understated industrial atmosphere, something you don't want to crank the volume up for. The piece shifts and morphs subtly over time but nothing too far afield from the beginning course that has been laid out. Perhaps the exception would be the brief spoken word samples in Russian (in the middle) and near the end (in German) in the piece that were lost in non-translation to me (except for the obvious Deutsches-porn) but that was a very minor part of the composition. For those who enjoy subdued ambient noise soundscapes, Kryptogen Rundfunk's 'Live 2005' is a curiously engaging listening experience and even though I wasn't entirely thrilled with it, the second piece is amply rewarding. The fact that this was done live is a credit to its artistic merit.

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