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CD Feature/ Zavoloka: "Viter"

img  Tobias
When will the cold robotic entity of software, synthesizers, samplers, plugins, processors and pedals start sounding like a band? For her fourth album, Kateryna Zavoloka has invited a group of guest musicians to her digital domain, recorded their input and shaped a hybrid of man and machine both metronomically precise and organically pulsatory to find out. Your brain keeps telling you that these seven pieces, between a mere seconds and four and a half minutes in length, were created in the studio and that their motion is dictated by systems, sequencers and symbols. And yet your body helplessly surrenders to their groove, swing, soul, sweat and sweetness.

The term “cross-over” would seem like the adequate standard cliche for filing the album, but “Viter” extends well beyond the narrow associations connected to that concept. By definition, Zavoloka operates in the realms of electro-acoustic music, dabbles her feet gently in the waters of contemporary composition, plays with Jazz (Anton Zhukov’s magnetic contrabass!), borrows loop techniques and thematic minimalism from Techno, draws from the traditional music of her native Ukraine (Olga Potramanska’s Violin, Dania Chekun’s Vocals) and builds her pieces on a foundation of euphorically broken beats known from styles like Intelligent Dance. But in the ecstatic forward motion of the result, all influences are effortlessly swept aside, reduced to nothing but words by the force of playful imagination and the arousing physicality of her relentlessly rocking rhythms.

Despite her pervasive eclecticity of influences, moods ranging from depressed solitude to pastoral romanticism and the wide spectrum of techniques applied here, nothing seems forced, complex or out of place. There is a programmatical principle embedded into the work, which was conceived as the first part of a series revolving around the fundamental elements of nature, but Zavoloko never lets this idee fixe get into her way – field recordings of wind are – thank god - nowhere to be found on this record and even alternatingly calling tracks “Exhale” and “Inhale” represents more of a soft structural theme than a grand intellectual design. Instead, your angle decides what you will see in “Viter”: A futuristic kind of Folk, a hippie-club-version of 20th century Avantgarde or a sexy, digitally charged Improvisation orchestra.

Some have doted on the relative hype around the artist in supposedly “hip” magazines, but if this is really a small-scale sensation in the making, then it must surely be one of the most unobtrusive and quiet ones around. “Viter” certainly doesn’t aim for a revolution or the founding of any kind of movement, school or tradition. Its subversive compositional zest, however, never fails to creep up on you regardless of whether you are spinning it in the background or listening with attentive ears. When will electronica finally start sounding like a band? It starts right here.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Zavoloka
Homepage: Zavoloka at MySpace
Homepage: Kvitnu Records

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