Sunday, 3 February 2013

Umez and Kostoglotov now on sale - plus reviews

The Kostoglotov and Umez tapes are now for sale from the paypal buttons on the right, plus Kostoglotov's tapes 'Louis Althussar knows why my heart is asunder' has already received two favourable reviews from A Closer Listen and Soundblab, see below:

Louis might be aware of Kostoglotov’s malady but having died in 1990, the French philosopher isn’t really in a position to say. The music on this tape captures a mood of ineffable sadness though, so we are definitely aware that hearts are asunder, even if we’re not sure exactly why. Opening with the mournful arpeggio of an analogue synth, he gradually introduces layers of texture into the arrangement; a drone, a bassline, the clang of percussion, which reaches a swell of sound before swiftly dissolving. The second side unveils a puttery keyboard pattern that seems to be playing the rhythm, but not the tune of “The Gonk” from, before splitting amoeba-like into multiple synths which eventually coalesce into a beat and a swirling cloud of atmospheric texture. The tape takes us on some journey, for despite remaining fairly downbeat and introspective throughout, it’s an immensely pleasurable listening experience. If you love cassette releases, grab this now, to these ears it’s an early contender for tape of the year. 

A Closer Listen

London-based knob-twiddler, Dalston clubnight maven and (full disclosure) Soundblab contributor Kostoglotov aka Daryl Worthington gained some exposure last year with a plethora of releases. He kicks off 2013 with this new one on Liminal Noise Tapes. Divided into two long pieces of music, each one split into three sections,Louis Althusser knows why my heart is asunder is, as its title suggests, inspired by the life of post-modern Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, although I don't think you necessarily need to know that to enjoy the music. 

'Side A', then, begins with twinkling, utopian synths and warm washes, very much in the vein of Vangelis, and stays like this for a good few minutes before some unsettling rhythms emerge, leading to a new section where desolate pads underpin an echoing siren-sound. Kostoglotov expertly builds the music here, layering textures to maximise both an emotional depth and a sense of a wide, barren space. After the flat emptiness comes what sounds like a brief evocation of a busy city-scape, which in turn gives way to a longer final section of recurring chimes and burbling synths, recalling Cluster at their most pastoral. 

'Side B' continues this bucolic theme, beginning with airy, vapour trail synths chuntering along in a blue sky. Here, the music unwinds and builds slowly, again adding textures in the style of Tangerine Dream at their most 70s kosmische. Eventually, this falls away as the music moves into a sparser, stiller phase, with only minimal, clict thking beats to give a sense of movement. The following section, however, feels as though it begins almost arbitrarily, with no build-up. It's the one time Kostoglotov's production skills seem to fall short. That said, the music itself remains lovely, so it's not a huge deal. 

Overall, the music on 'Side B' is cinematic, widescreen, with a travelogue feel that recalls Dam Mantle. It feels like a sincere attempt to filter some 70s progressive influences through a modern lens and in this it succeeds.Louis Althusser knows why my heart is asunder could maybe do with a few more peaks and troughs throughout, but 'Side A' is a never less than interesting listen while 'Side B' is simply gorgeous. Definitely an artist worth keeping an eye on.


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