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CD Feature/ Five Elements Music: "VarunaGhat"

img  Tobias

To the food industry, water is increasingly turning into a lifestyle product. For Russian artist Sergey, it is source of great purity which should be treated thoughtfully and with respect. On “Nameless Droplet”, his recently released and already all but sold-out Mystery Sea debut with his main project Exit in Grey, the metaphors were still covered by dark clouds and hidden in musical metaphors. The album represented a shoreless sea slowly being sucked down a vast and increasingly vociferous vortex. Under his “Five Elements Music” disguise, however, the metaphors are facing themselves in a Kirlian mirror, their souls exposed and their true nature revealed.

Samples of various water recordings, therefore, are at the heart of “VarunaGhat”. For an artist who holds the traditional drone ethos even higher in his solo work than in his collaborational activities (which, on “Nameless Droplet” allowed for diversifications such as sombre guitar figures), this can hardly come as a surprise.

With its complexly vivid inner pulsation and a constant outward frequency, after all, the sound of water is essentially a drone itself and compliments the suspended harmonies of the genre perfectly. On the other hand, Sergey is not content travelling to the same places others have already visited. Just like Exit in Grey caused minor erruptions by fluently shaping their intangible compositions into very concrete textures, Five Elements Music finds a niche between a traditional and a progressive use of its field recordings.

Rhythm especially plays a vital role in this concept. There is a very simple logic behind this thought, as water in itself is silent and only becomes audible through movement. Whether it isparkles from a fountain, rushes through a ravine, gallops like fugitive horses or murmurs peacefully, Sergey concentrates on its pulse as well as its irregular gravitational centre. He doesn’t need all too many exterior extrapolations to achieve this effect and instead choses to leave most of the natural emmissions intact. His work lies rather in developping the samples through timbre and by allowing different sources to overlap and form new patterns.

Simultaneously, he contrasts these waterscapes with the expansions of his drones. The vast, twentytwo minute long opening track takes this to extremes, as a single recording is awarded emotions ranging from aggression to tranquil zeal, while the sky is increasingly covered by black cumuli and distant lightning flashes.

On the second untitled track, a sinus tone is softly stretched, forming a tender, wooly surface. Here, the basic technique is most apparent, as organic and surgically dissected material are brought together, while immobile frequencies clash with the underlying stillness.

One has to see this as a decided step against the arbitrary use of water in electronic music. Many recent releases have both shown the great effect it can still have, as well as the danger of ending up a cliche. On “VarunaGhat”, no drop of water is carelessly spilt. It relies on the beauty of its path through nature, yet changes its course whenever this offers a chance for creating new sensations. You need to listen closely to this album to actually become aware of this seemingly insignificant but really quite important shift. If you do, however, there are great rewards lurking underneath its surface.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Five Elements Music
Homepage: Mystery Sea Records

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