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Рецензия от Heathen Harvest на альбом «The Lost World»


Рецензия от Heathen Harvest на альбом «The Lost World»

Размещено 27 Сентября 2015
review, english, heathen harvest

I’ve only once gone on a blind date (friends don’t let friends date me as a general rule). It was a strange experience, because the gentleman was intelligent, well read, a successful sound engineer with an interesting perspective on music, and not bad-looking. I can’t recall his name or what we talked about, because I spent most of the night wondering at what point I could leave without seeming impolite. The next day, when the friend who had arranged the date called me to see how it went, I waffled a little before finally saying, ‘Well, he’s nice.’ My friend’s reaction was a swift ‘oh no’, because apparently every guy knows that ‘he’s nice’ is code for ‘I never want to see this person again.’

It’s not like I was looking for some brute to throw me over the back of his Harley and ride off into the sunset while shooting heroin into his eyeball; what I needed was the spark—that thing that excites you and makes you want to stick around and forget that you have to get up for work in the morning, because the experience is so fulfilling that it’s worth at least one extra double espresso and some toothpicks to hold your eyelids open. No one can explain the spark, but I’m convinced that everyone reading this knows what I’m talking about because we’ve all had it happen.

Listening to SiJ’s album The Lost World is kind of like that blind date. I’m aware that it’s well-done. The organic elements combine nicely with electronics. There’s clearly a lot of thought that’s gone into the construction of each piece and I appreciate it any time a musician obviously cares about the details of his music, rather than just going with what’s easy. But as I listened to the album, my mind was forever looping back to the same thought: I’m just not feeling this.

SiJ is Vlad Sikach, a Ukrainian artist who’s amassed a considerable catalogue of recordings since he started releasing music in 2011. This album is his take on the 1912 novel The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (and may I say, kudos to you sir for making your audience aware that it was a book long before it was a movie). The book is set largely in the unexplored Amazon rainforest and features surviving dinosaurs, a pack of British adventurers, and a war between primitive humans and nasty ape people, which is settled when the adventurers introduce their twentieth-century firepower on behalf of the humanoids. It’s an old-fashioned fantasy romp, and if I were imagining a musical interpretation, I think I’d go with something considerably less peaceful than what SiJ has created. That doesn’t make him wrong, of course, because that’s the beauty of interpretation, and there are elements of the album that I could relate to the story of The Lost World.

For instance, there’s the aforementioned blending of acoustic and electric sound—a mixture of the ancient and the modern. The sound reminds me a lot of the wave of ‘tribal’ or ‘ethno-industrial’ that happened in the early to mid-nineties with artists like OYuki Conjugate, Jorge Reyes, Hybryds, and Alio Die—music inspired by (usually non-specific) ancient cultures that knitted those influence into an electronic or experimental frame. Like much of the music of that time, SiJ’s interpretation of the ancient world (or lost world) is surprisingly gentle and pastoral. Its rhythms are relaxed, its melodies flow, and there are no jarring elements to interrupt the idyll. Maybe it’s my usual negativity seeping in, but I feel like this sort of dreaminess conveys very little of the life of the ancient world.

This is the sort of album I can imagine listening to in the bath with a glass of Pinot Grigio at the end of a trying day. I don’t especially like any of those things, but they’re inoffensive and they don’t require anything of me. That might be a great recipe for relaxation, but when you want to focus on music, it should be engaging. It should rattle your nerves a little. It should demand that you listen to it actively and with excitement.

SiJ’s sound has an undeniable technical quality to it and some moments of real beauty, but to be more memorable, it has to offer a little more intensity; it has to shake things up a little. It needs to discover its own inner fire and to do that, it needs to find the spark.

(c) Kate MacDonald

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