by Angel S.
I try to stay as much up to date as possible with the Flaming Pines catalog because field recordist and sound artist Kate Carr has managed to turn her imprint into one of the most personal and diverse sources of experimental music. However, Ukrainian experimental duo Gamardah Fungus somehow managed to slip under my radar and it wasn’t until August 2017 when we actually played a show together in Kyiv that I was reminded I had to catch up. Just a few months later, they put out their second album, Fairytales, on Flaming Pines.
At the show in the Ukrainian capital Igor Yalivec and Sergey Yagoda arrived with a broken guitar due to an accident en route, so pulling off their gig like this was pretty big a challenge. This was all the more so because their music is centered on the dialog between modular synthesizers and Sergey’s unique approach to guitar. They managed to save the day but it wasn’t until I played Fairytales that I realized how difficult it must have been, because even though we’re talking about experimental music, the melodies and harmonies are the key to the structure and essence of their work.
In Fairytales, however, there’s another element at the heart of the music: the sound of Ukrainian forests. The band started working on this album after they had to spend a night in an abandoned manor due. Everything that Gamardah Fungus managed to capture there forms the backbone of the record. Over those mysterious sounds they recorded in the woods, the duo recorded layers of guitars, synths and even their own DIY Intonarumori, an instrument built by Yalivec and inspired by legendary Luigi Russolo.
The music in Fairytales is no longer just a dialog between acoustic and electronic instruments. Fairytales is a conversation enshrouded in a mystic and free form ambiance existing that surrounded the duo on that special night. The record is predominantly melodic and atmospheric, but also demanding of its listeners. I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I’m really curious to see Gamardah Fungus experimenting more with rhythm and percussion. I’m curious to see if and how they will manage to find a place for this in their already very busy and multi-layered music.