: A certain melody falls, colors intense, drops of rain filled with oceans, everything else forgotten.
Leave your world, descend Peckham Rye station's steps and open the door onto Neutral Paradise Sound Salon: a cavernous space echoing with Viktor Timofeev’s improvised loops and Bryce Hackford's poly-fi dance rhythms, lit up by video artists Ivy Meadow’s analogue dreams.
Marking the release of publications Topophilia and Topophobia Neutral Paradise Sound Salon’s experiential cave and viewing room bring together performances by Timofeev, Hackford and London based Known Ocean, the current catalogue of New York-based WHIP Records and recent collages by Ian Campbell and Timofeev. Firing emails across the Atlantic we caught up with the two friends and collaborators….
Killed in Cars
: The biggest surprise for me in this lo bit landscapes package was Viktor Timofeev's release, GIVE HEALTH999.
Nihiti gravitates toward melancholy and surreal landscapes, but most of their music still functions in relatively conventional tonality, gravitating toward minor keys with dissonant and textural passages. In contrast, Timofeev mostly transcends the major/minor duality and dives into bleak, yet very addictive walls of sound.
Like Nihiti, Timofeev uses a wide range of instruments toward the production of rich atmosopheres, though all varieties of beat-oriented percussion are absent. The emphasis here is on the building of layers that don’t use much percussive delineation—postrock sounds serve as a brief jumping-off point, but most of the album trends closer to drone music, alternating focal points between distorted guitars, voices, synths, and found sound/field recordings/samples. The opening and closing tracks are heaviest with guitars, accompanied by some distant piano stabs in the opening “December 22nd,” and blended more evenly with oscillating frequencies in the closing “July 28th. ”
In between, my favorite two tracks are the longest: both of them build slowly to nightmarish, oppressive walls of sound and slowly thin out again. There are some legitimate, though still very dark, melodies played on clarinets in the 14-minute “Flying Zonogons,” which are gradually stacked upon themselves through overdubs and heavy reverb. Voices are used over sounds of moving water in a similar overdubbed, reverbed, and delayed fashion to create the center portion of “WorldWideWaterWorld,” eventually adding a ring modulator or similar filter that obliterates pitch into metallic densities that rise and fall with the pauses in the vocal overdubs.
I really enjoyed the less-effected vocal buildups comprising “1. 1. 1. 1. ,” too, which evoke some of the best moments in modern choral writing like that of Gorecki or the micropolyphony of Ligeti. It’s this blend of modern classical, drone, and guitar noise approaches that impresses me more with each listen. I’m captivated by it now, and I suspect this music will continue to reveal more of itself with time.
Tiny Mix Tapes
: Viktor Timofeev’s 15-minute epic paints a pretty desolate landscape.
The press release compares “Flying Zonogons” to Godspeed You! Black Emperor as well as Norwegian black metal, and it’s apt — I haven’t heard burned-out guitars screeching this menacingly in a while. It’s total in-the-red, bristling at the edges, visceral droning horror. Haunting shit. Don’t miss the the full album, titled GIVE HEALTH999, when it comes out September 14 via Lo Bit Landscapes.
: Viktor Timofeev is probably better known as a visual artist, this NYC resident hails from Latvia, and has been making a name for himself in the art world, but he also counts himself a sometime member of electro synth-wave downer poppers Nihiti, and painted the very distinctive cover of the first Nihiti, his solo record is something totally removed from Nihiti, on his own, he instead traffics in expanses of layered drones, and looped riffage, of atmospheres and ambience, but active ambience - sounds blurred and tangled, rhythmic without actual rhythms, the label drops names like Stars Of The Lid, SUNNO))) and Godspeed, and we do definitely hear elements of all of those, it's droney and dirgey and haunting and almost classical sounding in places, but the tracks are super varied, while retaining an oblique cohesiveness, the opener is all dirgey blackened atmospherics, reminding us a little of Blackwolfgoat, looped and layered riffage, lurching and stuttering but super hypnotic, ultra lo-fi, muddy and murky, but the sort of thing we would have been into seeing fill up both sides of the record.
The second track is totally different, instead it's lush and shimmery, a dreamlike dronescape laced with streaks of feedback and a haunting distorted melody that runs throughout.
The final track on the A side begins with field recordings, birds and running water, all beneath a series of warped and woozy tape experiments, lush chordal swells, repetitive and mantra-like, finally transforming into an almost orchestral looped industrial outro.
The flipside is separated into three tracks, but they seem to be woven into one sidelong epic, a cinematic symphonic landscape of drone and melody that almost sounds like a black metal Arvo Part, droney and dirgery and dramatic, sinister and ominous, the vibe menacing and super intense, the sort of track that broods malevolently, but is totally hypnotic and mesmerizing, the whole side is like a sonic black hole, the listener immersed in the dense deep blackness, until the last few minutes, where the track finishes off with a strange bloopy almost new wavey sounding outro.
Definitely recommended for fans of dark drones and droney darkness, and for sure has us wanting to hear more sounds, and see more art from Timofeev.