Sobranie 8 18
Out: 3rd February
From the dark and mysterious corners of the Russian gothic music scene comes Sobranie 8 18. Nastya and Kirill are two like-minded lovers of the avant-garde who have a long history of making music together. This latest incarnation of sound is taken from the Russian word for “meet together”, like a joining of minds this project shows that retro concepts and modern art can converge in fascinating ways. It's taken Sobranie 8 18 over two years to finalise this long-awaited LP, with a clear distance between it and their debut EP that shows in the complexity of sound. Now with a live instrument ensemble to colour the electronics, this ground-breaking work is bound to be long-lived.
The album begins with an intro. Sunny sonics drift through in slow carrier waves of glare. These build and bloom in various directions before a stamen of rhythm breaks free. A drum-roll breaks into silence. This gives birth to a slightly creepy synth which dances on adjacent black notes in an airy melody. Progression brings the track to choral voices chanting melodiously before a droning synth shatters the haven. Drawn out bass tones thump down with thunderous timbre. Voice shines from the vespers, clarity and passion rings through.
Next, a beautiful tone threads through the quiet which provides a line of voice like ribbons on a kite high in the sky. A bass throbs underneath then another voice with a robotic effect starts to chant in time to the slow moving tempo. The mixing of male and female vocals create a dualistic energy which provides mental poetry in the composition. Lucy is a steady tread through sludgy beats and ravishing bass that shakes and crunches under the weight of the song.
Mozart follows as gentle synthesiser pads sing in radiant harmony with soaring vocals. Distant bells chime while whistling hums generate an air of sparkling mystery. Plucked notes delicately rise from the garden. Then, with thumping bass with a frantic beat alongside sirens, the music breaks free. A new dimension is given to the track with a sudden thrust of kinetic energy. Synths shudder forwards with hard-hitting momentous tones which spiral into skyward chaos. Wailing words painted with sharp emotion frolic with intense presence before a small selection of bells ends the track.
A darkly sound boils from beneath the sonic cosmos as the next track begins. So deep it digs, the synth plunges tones into the seedbed for musical shoots to rise from. Voice and synth compliment the underside which evolve and progress into a verse. New and catchy melody forms a hook within a chorus section where the repeating melodics in the vocal give an easy route to memory. Angels Fight seems to be a dirge for someone admired. The original energy breaks down for a middle section where sombre droning bars hold onto what's left of the fading feeling. From here on, the track builds up once more.
Spaced-out vocals with layers of reverb shine from glistening pools of ambient synthesiser tone. The melody builds with chording harmonies and layers of vocal which dance seductively around the flow. Saxophone makes an interesting edge that illumines the open space. Ripples spike and bend the music through a strange and interesting effect. It sends the mood into a strange netherworld that compresses with encompassing composition. A melody from the sax again plays out, matched by the vocals which consistently decorate the scenery with feelings and verse. This is Stars. It shifts to iconic piano sounds as if in a long forgotten music hall before breaking into beats and synths once again.
After is another intro, called Intro 2. Moving tones wander across simple scales with shifting inflections, raising consciousness at different levels. Vocals that have been altered in tone and delivery are looped and knotted across the rhythmic notes in an almost alien way. Laser zaps fill a role, pinning us to the music.
M.I.R follows. It starts on Kirill's vocal in a Gregorian style with harmonising tones in monotonous stretches. Then a keyboard begins with a harpsichord like sound with bells adding extra flavour. More vocals, this time from Nastya, follow an additional melody that patterns the fabric of the music in another new way. A continual progression throughout the song-writing gives rise to a folky and melancholy shuffle through all manner of expressions. Flutes are added, bringing a pause in the vocals, before more layers of harmonisation are projected like images across the song.
A twisting high melody needles through open night skies like rockets in the distance. Bass vibrates and climbs various nodules of course-way as the track clambers over new ground. Rhythmic strikes match a simple minimal drumbeat while walking bass keeps an energy burning. Vocals keep to folklore style hypnotic bursts that dance with the lead melody. Harmonica invites us to dream in a Jungian reality crafted in song.
Sad Song begins with a sombre vocal stitched to droplets of shimmery tone. As the melody shifts, drums enter to lift the composition off of the ground. Pulsations of music swell and burst over crisp beats and fizzing bass. Delicately adjusted arpeggio drifts across until it evolves into something more melodic. Ballerina like vocals dance and gesture with every poetic line.
To finish, a throbbing industrial bass begins the music. Reverb drums tap and snap over echoing pattern lines while the bass synth flattens to reveal a higher edge. Swishing chords flutter in neatly times pulses as decisive lyrics build from the quiet. Rhythmic lines generate energy as each follows from the other. Intensity in the pressure grows as drums and bass combine over the building fire. Kirill's voice makes another appearance which simmers down the music to gentle piano tones, out of key and ghostly. More melancholy vocals layer over gated synths to allow a dancing pulse to progress from the emotions.
Exciting, ever changing, and full of folk energy, Sobranie 8 18 uses Russian and English to paint fascinating pictures of intense and beautiful sound.
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Sobranie 8 18 is available on Bandcamp
Rowan Blair Colver for The Electro Review.