Spaces – be it record stores, clubs or art complexes – provide the perfect setting for exchanging ideas. Though a lot can be said for solo projects and their successes, it’s collectively that artists often elevate themselves to a higher plain.
Consider this when listening to Flaty’s new full-length on Gost Zvuk x NII imprint, an album that puts collaboration first. As a tribute to a space that has shaped much of the Moscow label’s sound – the nightspot known as NII in the creative district of Moscow – the experimental producer kicks off a new release series expressly focussed on the creativity that this venue has given rise to.
Named “New Suggestions”, the St. Petersburg force is joined by Gost favourites OL and Lapti, as well as John’s Kingdom head honcho Buttechno among others. And while many of the records these artists are associated with are rooted in more functional house and techno, much of the music on this album isn’t anchored to any conventional beat.
"While many of the records these artists are associated with are rooted in more functional house and techno, much of the music on this album isn’t anchored to any conventional beat."
In actual fact, this is a record with several complex dimensions. From track to track, a continuously dreamy ambience is cut with disintegrated drum patterns, raw reverberation and recycled noise in different measures. This, at times, dosed up sound, is at its calmest during the first track, ‘Rest- Intensive’, opening the proceedings on a distant planet of serene synths and hushed atmosphere, like warm water gently washing against the shores of a land unknown.
The abrupt, machinelike ending of the track provides a preview for the more acutely energised sounds to come. Indeed tracks like ‘Chelector’ – its long gated snares slam down with pure purpose – and ‘Smoke Figure’ – with its lightning storm surges and polyrhythmic flurries – show that light and shade are accounted for in equal measure.
From start to finish, you really get a sense of how these artists interact. Flaty seems to give each producer as much space as can be afforded, like the perfect team player. This is most easily picked up on in ‘Parallel’, a collaborative effort with Buttechno – who, as expected, brings his trademark sound to the party. In a warped amalgam of impulsive experimentalism, techno-tinged thumps and electro-informed jolts – this truly is a hydra-headed monster of a track.
"Occupying trance-inducing territory via ambient techno pulses, this is the sonic equivalent of being willingly engulfed by quick sand."
Spontaneity is an enduring feature of the entire record. Almost as if the whole thing is constructed from live takes and barely edited before being submitted for mastering. A slightly more restrained mood emerges in ‘Celestial Bow’ – combining 8ousy8oy’s and Muzzlebusf’s ideas with Flaty’s – yet this live feel is still present. Occupying trance-inducing territory via ambient techno pulses, this is the sonic equivalent of being willingly engulfed by quick sand.
And even if each track has been painstakingly considered, the album sounds as raw as they come. The production value is, by all accounts, extremely high – just lock into the darkened beat science of ‘Essence’ – featuring Flaty’s Ocurob alias – which nods towards a stripped back drum and bass sound injected with an exploratory futurism.
Indeed, it’s all in the balance. For every unhinged motif, there’s an ambient antidote. And balance is exactly what collective music should be about.
Photography by Ildar Zaynetdinov
1. Rest Intensive (feat Piper Spray)
2. Aliyans (feat Lapti)
3. Gulls Over Dump (feat Burago)
5. Wasted (feat Midnite Cobras)
6. Chelector (feat Wrong Water)
1. Smoke Figure/1-4-Jejer (feat Muzzlebusf & Low808)
2. Dismissed Relations (feat OL)
3. Parallel (feat Buttechno)
4. Celestial Bow (feat 8ousy8oy & Muzzlebusf)
5. Sponge (feat Pfeiffer & FFAA)
6. Essence (feat Ocurob)
7. Elusive Garden (feat Dada Ques)