In the murky haze of post-industrial noise, Moscow’s Cisfinitum has blazed a singular trail away from its manifold competitors. Classically trained violinist and sole member Eugene Voronovsky achieves a cinematic level of artistry throughout much of his extensive discography, regularly hitting that sweet spot between soothing atmospheric beauty and a darker, noisier dissonance. So familiar is Voronovsky with this point of perfection, he probably rents a holiday home there.
A Frankenstein’s monster of a release, cobbled together from a range of recordings spanning a decade, Industriewerke: 2002-2012 sees Voronovsky cherry-pick the choice cuts from his industrial output. Industriewerke is industrial music with a lower-case ‘I’, a collection of ambient tracks bolstered by a litany of samples and effects traditionally associated with the genre, primarily consisting of fuzzy drones and cold, mechanical synths rather than fully automated industrialism.
‘Audiochemie’ blasts into science fiction-inspired chaos shortly before the three-minute mark, bursting with bleeps and bloops reminiscent of old-fashioned spaceship sound effects. With its pulsating bass and recognizably melodious synth, the track not only stands out as the album’s most straightforward ‘song’, but also as its most engaging few minutes. It gives way to ‘Curse’, a plodding, criminally uninteresting ramble through sampled screams and industrial stomps propped up by dull bass fuzz. It only serves to cast the spotlight in an even more fixed manner on the preceding ‘Audiochemie’, like a beautiful yet conniving individual intentionally taking a selfie with a less aesthetically gifted victim.
This significant discrepancy in quality stands as a shining example of Industriewerke’s main stumbling block, as it ultimately loses its struggle to establish a cohesive tone, either sonically or conceptually. Tracks flirt with harsher industrialized snippets of noise before delving back into comforting ambience, and these transitions are rarely handled majestically. Such is the case with album opener ‘Slide’, which only reaches its mechanized crescendo after three minutes of listless atmospheric synth. Even more jarring is the editing job, or lack thereof; ‘Curve’ outstays its welcome, whereas the bouncy ‘Viderunt Omnes’ could have easily continued beyond its five-minute curfew.
Readers familiar with Cisfinitum’s diverse catalogue may consider ‘Satellite’ the most typically ‘Voronovsky’-like six-and-a-half minutes of Industriewerke, with its images of a titular entity floating aimlessly through a cosmic vacuum. Despite evoking feelings of peaceful aimlessness, the song careens straight into the ground as baffling vocal samples pop up in all their distorted glory. Imagine a poorly Photoshopped shot of Stanley Kubrick in a tinfoil hat interrupting 2001: A Space Odyssey’s final scenes for a similar level of ill-conceived anachronism.
Cisfinitum excels at capturing a certain vastness, a seemingly boundless sonic wilderness which sets the project apart from the litany of noise acts obsessed with inspiring claustrophobia or discomfort. Records like 2005’s Bezdna or 2013’s fascinating The Bog display an almost holistic approach to post-industrial music, with the latter’s amphibian theme elaborating on the breezy, expansive soundscapes detectable throughout Voronovsky’s discography. By contrast, Industriewerke is a weak entry primarily because it needlessly stifles this signature vastness for little reward.
Eugene Voronovsky completionists may enjoy scouring these tunes for his sonic flourishes, and the album is not totally without merit, but the occasional hints of greatness we expect from Cisfinitum are too few and far between to satisfy anyone else.
07) Viderunt Omnes