Those of you who are familiar with the immense Russian underground have surely, at some point, reached the very interesting drone / ambient label Vetvei. It was an initiative signature for its really nice and minimalist packaging and raw but atmospheric music that was mostly inspired by nature. However, at some point it simply disappeared, both the label and Vresnit, the solo project of its owner, Sergey Ilchuk. That’s why when I heard that he had returned under a new moniker I was quite excited. Ilchuk is currently publishing music through the now resurrected Moonsun Productions, and his new project is called Siyanie. I heard several snippets online, and a month later, I opened my mail to find his first releases.
Shining of Unity was put out last June and it’s the début Siyanie record. The first thing about it that struck me out of nowhere was its artwork. I don’t know what the reason was, but it seems Ilchuk has totally reconsidered his concepts and now — at least in terms of visuals — he had decided to follow quite a weird and flamboyant direction. The packaging is closer to what Vetvei used to publish in terms of production, but the design…this stuff is just too much. The CD with the music is trapped in a crazy vortex of colors, new age trance mumbo jumbo, stars, space, birds, flowers… everything. I’d really appreciate not only linear notes about when and how the tracks were recorded, but under the influence of what drugs (or sects) the artwork was designed.
Music-wise, Siyanie is not a bad project at all. Its sounds are mellow and meditative for their stillness and comforting lack of development. Almost all pieces in Shining of Unity are collaborative works with Neznamo (and Kshatriy in the first piece). Over the pleasant and melodic, but still quite sterile pads and synths, here you can experience a lot of chimes, flutes and field recordings. The sound is generally warm and nice, but after 20 minutes the sound sources become too familiar, predictable and insufficiently various for cautious listening. Maybe they are really efficient for opening your chakras, or sleeping, but if you like ambient music to be provoking your imagination by unfolding and hiding layers of interesting sounds than this release is surely not your thing. The best part of the record is the subtle use of vocals and voices. They are able to add that taste of mystery, whose lacking is quite killing Shining of Unity for me.
Homo Multidimensional comes half a year after Shining of Unity, and for this one Sergey Ilchuk was joined by another musician namely Dmitry Shilov. Again, the artwork is attacking us with an insane and intense combination of colors following a suspiciously similar logic to the Shining of Unity release. I really appreciate artists whom firmly follow their aesthetic concepts, but those designs are really too overwhelming. The amalgam of butterflies, colors and geometry makes me really wonder if they were put together to depict a certain idea, because to me they look more as a quite random and generic colorful collage, that is solely striving to look as psychedelic as possible. The inlay is carrying an unusual metaphysical textual explanation, but again it wasn’t convincing enough to provoke any images in my head. Not even the ‘Composition. Milk, Carbon-execution. Incarnation’ sequence. I have to point out that here on Heathen Harvest we’re certainly not dedicating our works to dissecting the design decisions of the artists, but still packaging is a huge part of each release and this one here is quite officious to be left undiscussed.
In terms of music Homo Multidimensional is pretty much offering us an expected sequel to Shining of Unity. Slow and trancy pads, chimes, field recordings, subtle bass pulsations (which are actually cool) and heavily reverberated vocals are the main sound sources. The pieces themselves are quite skillfully built and produced in the most appropriate way, but this is exactly my problem. The record is just too ordinary and shares music, which is nothing more than what you already heard, not only in the previous record, but in hundreds of other ones. I guess it would be politically incorrect to compare Vresnit to Siyanie, but Ilchuk’s previous sound endeavours were surely far more diverse and challenging. Not to mention that they weren’t bound by such a worn out concept. Maybe it’s my mistake that I’m trying to comprehend a new age ambient drone record sober, at home and not in the middle of a mushroom field.
Still, in this psychedelic madness there’s one gem called “Incarnation Mystery”, which I admit I’ll be listening to a lot in the future, and I’d like to see Siyanie digging deeper in this direction. It’s a great piece, with a lot of volume, diverse textures and mesmerizing utilization of voice. It feels like an oasis in the middle of a record which I would hardly come back to again, but it’s nice enough to make me replay Homo Multidimensional, thus hoping the project will evolve into something more creative, especially when two musicians are now on board.
Shining of Unity:
01) Skazka ob Istoke – The Tale of Source (Feat. Neznamo & Kshatriy)
02) Rassveta Kolybelnaya – Sunrise Lullaby
03) Siyanie Edineniya – Shining of Unity (Feat. Neznamo)
04) Serdce Prostranstva – The Heart of Space (Feat. Neznamo)
01) Evolution Tracery
02) Spaceship Human Body
03) Dimentions Womb
04) Incarnation Mystery
05) Blissfu Dolphin
06) Goddess Birth
07) Realm of the New Measure