Understatement is a powerful tool, especially in music with strong artistic character. It’s often the case that more can be said with the bare minimum: remove the unnecessary and let the essentials take hold.
Cassette-obsessed imprint Klammklang – based in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia – have stripped things back with their latest release. In keeping with their previous formula, the latest in a string of absorbing projects comes from minimalist Nikita Bugaev, and his most recent full-length entitled “Sonm”.
"Somn feels altogether more complete – building on his previous work with comprehensive excursions that nestle somewhere neatly between the peaceful and the compelling."
Hailing from Irkutsk – a city of over half a million in southern Siberia – Bugaev’s talent for playful sound art was demonstrated most beautifully early last year with his debut, Keila, put out by Danish label Phinery. Though this selection of crisp bleeping noises and abstract-leaning drones illustrates the Siberian artist’s core abilities in shaping corridors of ambience, Sonm feels altogether more complete – building on his previous work with comprehensive excursions that nestle somewhere neatly between the peaceful and the compelling.
While each individual composition holds its own, it’s as a collection that Bugaev’s artistry can be most acutely appreciated. Unfurling like a slow breaking wave – each sublime texture brings its own light and shade, melding together in a cohesive journey through grainy, mesmeric structures, subtly pulsating noise and bright, richly crafted spaces.
Plunge deeper still into Sonm, and the level of precision is, by all accounts, remarkable. Bugaev brings together each piece with just enough contrast to excite and mystify, before it vanishes into the deep expanse, leaving the next to sweep in delicately and build steadily with bold, luminous tones.
"Plunge deeper still into Somn, and the level of precision is, by all accounts, remarkable."
The strength of ‘Sonm IV‘ is quite stark – a broad block of resonance that gently swells and contracts with a Steve Roach-like futurism; and at just over four minutes, no single track extends much beyond that mark – each is given ample time to breathe while slowly forging addictive traits.
Bugaev assuredly proves his understanding of timing to be masterful: the drifting close of the ninth and final piece, ‘Sonm IX‘ (video here), seems the perfect length. Almost tidal in its soft rhythms – metallic pads wash over then calmly fade, delivering an immersive experience that expresses far more with three simple chords than most tracks do with many more.
Sonm is out now on Klammklang, order a cassette or digital copy from Bandcamp.
1. Sonm I
2. Sonm II
3. Sonm III
4. Sonm IV
5. Sonm V
6. Sonm VI
7. Sonm VII
8. Sonm VIII
9. Sonm IX