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|19 November 2016||
Stanislav Tolkachev - When You Are Not At Home
"Now, tell me, can creative output truly bring the bliss? See my point? The human isn't a statue. The statue can be attached to a pedestal. For human being, this is not the case. In order to stand, we must constantly resist the urge to fall, the urge that each of us is burdened with. Day after day we resist with all our might, by times years on end, without any real headway. This is a torment that each of us subconsciously strives to escape from. It's just that some of us need a motivation, while the others… the others are born with character."
With these words, the album starts. It's a speech from the 1981 USSR film titled Всем - Спасибо!. If you don't mind a bit of techno history, this isn't the first time Tolkachev uses a film quote to start off a release. Before that, there was Takecare - a very limited mini-CDr with a single track on it that began with a speech from Серебряные Головы - another high-brow, scientifically-inclined film that ponders our existence. When You Are Not At Home is the second full-length by Stainslav Tolkachev, and as you would expect, it's a demanding album, which doesn't go for simple rhythmic structures, easily-synthesized elements and common key signatures. The artwork used on the album, as is the case with many Tolkachev's releases, is his own photography; you might not have known this, but photoart is his second passion that is as recognized as his music - exhibitions with his photographies are being held all over the world. There's one other thing we should mention before going into our actual review - unless stated otherwise, the tracks have atonal basslines and are paced at 135 BPM. Having said that, let's dive deep.
Misfire comes in startlingly, awakening the listener from reflections caused by trying to make sense of the words from Intro: vast, satisfyingly roaring acidic bassline that resembles a laid-back solo on electric guitar by times casually springs out, blasting drops of acid into higher ranges, as short, seemingly statically running 4/4 hats, arranged with additional, covert layer repeating in the left channel, get reverberated with sandy sweeps; this minimalist piece could've seriously used some hammering kicks and oscillating bass to become a psychedelic dancefloor number, but they never arrive. Titular track When You Are Not At Home has immediately stricken us with a familiar melody - a look into the dusty archives revealed that the melody is borrowed from Grain 01, a loop from Tolkachev's experimental, beatless LP titled Grain, which was released on Ukrainian physical-only label ~taqueOT in 2009; this time, however, it's supplied with galloping, but muffled 8/4 kicks, densely arranged, dry hats, broken beat bands and additional, short, tupleting bassline pattern that gets slightly modified in gain across the run of the track. With Mostly Harmless, we get measured 4/4 kicks, supplied with an additional kick every 4 bars, two timid 3-note and 2-note stab loops, simple 4/4 hats that for periods of time get joined by a layer of shorter, quarter a bar shifted hats, and high-range, clicking micro bands at 8/4 that quietly pop in a manner of vinyl artifacts, as they are being delayed in between the channels to achieve a better stereo effect. Your nervous system will be tested with high levels of pressure when the tempo skyrockets to 180 BPM in Scar - an off-the-charts-speeding piece that doesn't have kicks, but instead uses 4/4 noise-shaped bands and half-bar shifted 4/4 claps, 6/6 hats that by times change places with a set of hats at 16/16, two distressed, 8-note bassline loops - a more subtle one and a detuned, brighter one, all going above an intense, mid-to-low range oscillation which the oppressed mind, in attempts to identify and explain away, associates with sound of boiling water; good luck putting this one in your set. Apexcordis returns from utter weirdness to weirdness of the regular kind: 4/4 kicks that double the last hit every 8 bars, one at a mid range, slightly confused (or is it confusing? probably both) and one playful, jaunty micro fractured bassline at high range, all of which run under paper-thick hats scattered in a non-stagnating manner. Disposable Killer creeps up with a disorienting bassline that gets repeated in a left channel with a slight delay, sharp but not too heavy, doubling 4/4 kicks, branching and doubling 5/4 hats (everything is doubling here!) with another set of open 1/4 hats. 138 BPM, breakless piece The Proof suddenly and without warning unleashes its slightly cycling in gain, attacking 6/8 kicks together with a stressful, rapid bassline, while the arrays of 8/8 claps and arcing ambient fields slowly rise up as the track unravels. And Then She Fell, a 136 BPM piece that calms down in both tempo and energy, brings back familiar 5/4 kicks, engaging an estranged, elevated and yet mundane 8-bar bassline loop, all-dry, multiple sets of thin, inconsistently running hats all of which have their own, randomized time signatures, with just a single set going from start to finish unevenly hitting twice every 4 bars. Suggestive of drug consumption, Five Grams Will Be OK stands as the longest composition of release, it crosses a mark of 10 in a tracklist and makes use of a lively, spacey and childishly explorative bassline that all throughout 8'40" keeps it fresh by always going new directions and never locking into a pattern, and with that, being quite indifferent towards the rhythms of simply arranged 4/4 kicks, half bar shifted 4/4 hats, and almost inaudible set of 8/8 hats; your local drug dealer advises - take a point from the title and be sure to never hold amounts that exceed what constitutes for personal use. Schizophrenic bassline of Bring will put you into paranoid state of having a bad trip, as the thudding 4/4 kicks, randomized hits of dry hats and dense, sweeping 8/8 bands will do their best to significantly enhance your freak out. A loop of strained, subtly roaring, restrained plucking of cybernetic strings together with a subtle, innocently exhaling notes that quietly ping-pong in a background are the main accent in The Story Of Someone, with striking 4/4 kicks aside the almost imperceptible, static clicks at 8/8 serving as the only percussive elements. What might be misinterpreted for infinite build-up on See You Tomorrow can make one lose patience in anticipation for the main sections, but two ethereal, calefacient basslines won't be accompanied by any percussion this time, which is also the case for a late-in-the-game, abruptly ending 1'40" interlude titled A Small Fortune, that uses one of the two basslines to create semblance of acidic hats, while the other one revolves around mid-range and creates perpetuating energetic impulses. With Idiom, you get your fair share of clicking and panning 16/16 bands, 5/8 hats, fluting stabs, low-range, ears-lowered upchirps of a bassline that masters courage to spread its wings a little in the middle of the track, and sharp 4/4 kicks that start unexpectedly, not only because the previous two tracks were left without them, but because they get engaged only after the first minute. Vot I Vse, which is a transliteration of Вот И Всё, is yet another number that leaves the percussion out of the game, instead utilizing a mid-range, hasteless oscillation together with contrasting bassline loop that spellbinds with its fluid, high-reaching notes paced in allegro; through the title, Tolkachev bids adieu to the owners of the vinyl copy, because the next three tracks are only present in a digital version.
We've given a bit of contemplation regarding the last three numbers and how they ended up being bonus material for this album. If we had to guess, we would say that they were probably meant for another release, perhaps a scrapped one, perhaps an EP that was intended to feature more than three tracks, but admittedly, it's all mere guesswork triggered by natural curiosity. Whatever is the reason for them to appear in this bonus capacity, despite what their names might suggest these three are not variations on the same subject; while none of them are provided with kick drum pattern, it's about the only thing these tools share in common. No Matter What They've Told You [A] is made of short, quiet and resonant clicks, hissing 6/9 bands and multiple layers of high-range acidic stabs, some of which are repeatedly echoing to others, and having a heated argument over who can reach a higher notch on the spectrum. Paced at 131 BPM, No Matter What They've Told You [B] verges on rhythmic noise - it's an abrasive, metallic, high-energy 7-minute piece that is reminiscent of Sonar work, in particular his remix of Critical Mass by Orphx; it's a great tool to put over something that has a hefty kick drum pattern but was left short on other elements and it can be very and very effective in an industrial set. Seemingly arrhythmic anomaly No Matter What They've Told You [C] takes a U-turn from what came before it, bringing on a resonant yet introspective bells-shaped bassline, which continuously keeps itself from being caught in a loop, turning to other note just when you expect it to take the one it went with previously, and while it keeps its improvised run, the background gets slowly occupied by soft gonging toms and acidic stabs that hit in the right channel and flow more naturally in the left, on occasion supported by non-intrusive clicks; this one is paced either at 90 or 180 BPM - depending on how you count it, and it definitively ends the run of the album.
We hope you've enjoyed your flight with ST Airlines. We'll be entering Aivazovsky Waves Airport in a few minutes, please keep your seatbelts fastened and remain seated until we come to a complete stop. Upon disembarking, please proceed in an orderly fashion, make sure you don't forget your luggage, stay safe and have an exSTatic day.
Release Type: Album
Release Date: 19 November 2016
Release Format: Digital ● Vinyl
Record Label ● Catalog: Mord ● MORDLP002