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Szkieve, "Ekranoplanes"

This concept mini-CD accurately represents its subject, massive plane/boat hybrids known as ekranoplanes, in sound. Dmitri Della Faille (Szkieve)'s passion for his material is evident on this 22 minute homage to, and study of, these anomalies of Russian scientific technology.  The opening "Le Songe de R.E.A." evokes an ominous mood, conjuring up images of the metal beast preparing for take off. Sharp, shrill electronic tones and analog synthesizer miasma cut through the sounds of slowly chiming bells. "Le S.M. 2P" focuses on whirring and chugging sounds that recall those made by an engine working to keep the large entity afloat or aflight. The cycling rhythmic patterns and steady moaning tones of "Le K.M." mimic the steady flight of the vehicle soaring through the air as a plane. "L'Orlyonok" gathers the various strands presented in the shorter tracks into a piece that seems to be a musical response to the other tracks. This is the only track that features beats and a melodic theme running through it. "Le Lun" perfectly captures the feeling of a plane that was once steadily flying at a fixed altitude suddenly dropping as it prepares for landing. For the first three of its four and a half minutes the persistent sound of the vessel sailing through the sky is realized by the sound of one loud, all-encompassing drone. As the sound fades out gradually during the last minute it reveals layers of engine hum and the pitter patter of various working parts. In creating such a vivid aural description of his subject, Della Faille presents a full experience in a short amount of time. Although this is a 3" CD, the tracks don't feel incomplete. Instead, Ekranoplanes is the musical equivalent of a short film, and is successful on several levels. As a tribute, it forms enough of a picture to be directly connected to the subject, yet it allows the listener enough space to place the story in any setting the imagination can invent.



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Review of the Day

You'd be hard pushed to realise that samples from classical music form the core of the second Illuminati EP, as they've mostly been utterly distorted and pulverised beyond recognition. A middle aged electrician commented that this reminded him of Soft Machine which is odd because Dave Clarkson of Illuminati and Planetsounds is a big fan of theirs, but I'd never have thought it was something that sounded similar. When I mentioned the comparison to Dave he asked if it was the third track, "Glass Box Trap" which chucks a melodic keyboard jitter over thrumming double drone backbone, and a nasal voice muttering disgruntled and nebulous. If I was going to fling comparisons at Illuminati though I'd have to mention Throbbing Gristle, particularly "DOA," but I think I did that with the first EP. This one has the same picture on the cover, but inverted to negative and in some ways this a darker and more menacing trip. A deep singular pulse beat opens the strange door onto a microscope resolution for "Midget Germs" which vibrate ominously in hell spawned misery. Feedback screams and muffled moans punctuate this tortured cancerous eyeball injection. The poor germs don't stand a chance when "Argenteum Atavism" squirts beatnoise bleach all over them. Crunching along in hectic overloaded abandon, this is what it might sound like if Aphex Twin tried to put one over on Non. Just as the melody creeps in one final crash collapses into semi-ambient bleepscape gurgling. The fourth and final track swings "The Strange Door" shut and desperate knocking can be heard from outside as the germs shut outside slowly fizzle to their demise, and a new dawn of lush angelic keyboard bursts across the blackened sky. Distant thunder rumbles.



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