Thanks to Yeah I Know It Sucks for this review of Kostoglotov's 'Louis Althusser Knows Why My Heart Is Asunder'.
"Awhile back I reviewed an album by Kostoglotov titled The Worst Love Songs Ever Written, which was a blatant lie of a title if ever there were one… the pieces as part of that collection were truly some of the most amazing and lovely love songs I’d ever heard, and I came away with the definite impression that Kostoglotov was brilliant and worth as much of your attention as you can afford. Today, I’m writing another review of this London-based artist for Yeah I Know It Sucks. The title of the work, released on tape by the wonderful Liminal Noise Tapes label, is Louis Althusser Knows Why My Heart Is Asunder. Oh… and, as you might expect it is a beautiful album too!
The first half begins with a shimmering ambient feel, warm chords swell in the background while an abstract synth sequence sparkles up the mix. Strings swell in, and the melodies, harmonies of sound are so nice! I can see why the artist receives comparisons to Vangelis. It feels like an unheard Tangerine Dream album, maybe early Jean Michel Jarre even or some obscure post-Kosmische electronica. While it’s very dreamy, there’s a subtle urgency to it. I could be on a monorail in a cyberpunk dystopia, attempting to evade agents who are after the chip I’m carrying in my briefcase, or something like that. But the lens of the mind’s eye refocuses and I’m able to see this too as the perfect soundtrack to life’s many micro-pleasures, like laying in the back of a vehicle during a gentle rain and watching the drops as they trail slowly down the windows. When the chords change, I detect a low bass tone… there are several layers to this that are impressive and very gorgeous, highly textural but crisp, from the brilliant strings to the popcorn-like synth sequence. The piece moves, evolves, developing complications while remaining stunningly simple and heartfelt. As the sounds blur and trail off, a distorted, wailing bit of electronics comes in and repeats, the mantra of a damaged machine. The sonic frequencies pull you through a portal into a vast realm of sound. There’s what might be an organ modulation, there are several bright noises and a stringlike dirge in the background, plus bass sequences. I hear liquids, a light touch of 303 acid, though it’s still very ambient. There are choirs, like the sound of the wind singing to us, carrying us through this world. Strings surge back into the mix toward the end, accompanied by low bass feedback and subtle undulations, and the sound is enchanting and mystical…
… then we come to the second side of this work, which begins with a synth sequence of chords with very low decay so that it sounds very clipped. As it goes, you fall under hypnosis… after a little while, the release is lifted on the sounds, or perhaps more reverb is added so that they sound more sustained. A perfect blend of iciness and warmth. The ambiance of the background surrounds us, like a choir of subdued timbres. The shifting chords carry you along… it’s tangential love. There’s a rhythmic click, like an 808 kick with only a trace of presence at first, but it gradually brings itself more to your attention as the sweeping pads fly through and the swells of ambient textures grow. Then there’s a hat on every off beat for a little while, but disappearing quickly with many of the other sounds as the music changes. There’s a clap, some electronic bubble magic brewing. These modular sequences are amazing, engaging you sensorially until all else disappears. There’s a harplike quality to them. For a moment the mix turns solely to deep liquid sounds, then a bell pad creeps in, a lush synth horn pad as well that’s very pretty… this is very sci-fi! A light popcorn sequence starts up. It ends very softly, with ambient textures.
It would be worth it to have this on cassette, I am sure. I can envision listening to it on a walkman while leisurely taking a stroll through isolate back alley streets… and there would be an accompanying feeling that a gathering of cosmic love is lifting your feet, that your heart is beating to the world pulse. Naturally, I’m going to strongly suggest you grab yourself a copy of this one while the supplies last!"