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- Grusha by Lumpen Nobleman
8/10 Mike Staff review, 07 July 2011
This new offering from Lumpen Nobleman is posing as a film score, with the back cover stating, "While the master reels of Kundrei Mylov's Grusha are sadly lost, a silent version of the film still circulates in the Eastern Bloc and provides the inspiration for this soundtrack", however it doesn't take a lot of googling to figure out that both the film and its maker are fictional. The album, however, is definitely real. I've got it right here next to me. It's another synth album. We like those. In contrast to all the densely layered kosmische stuff we've been getting in lately this is largely really stripped back, minimal stuff. The references to John Carpenter et al are totally unavoidable, with the insistent, pulsing beats and simple melodies obviously owing a great debt to '80s horror soundtracks, and I can't really say that it sounds particularly Russian. The first side's centrepiece is a track called 'Red Mist' which takes everything right down to just a sinister bass throb, closing on a couple of minutes of high-pitched tones. Not all the record is so ambient, though, and the likes of 'Scaling the Yablonois' really turn on the Carpenter tension with its insistent beat and stabbing melodic flourishes. It really does give the impression of people sneaking around under cover of darkness. It even sounds like there's a bit where they nearly get caught. There's a lot of bass on this record...at times it sounds like really skeletal instrumental grime or dark Berlin techno without such a reliance on ever-present beats. 'The Deleted Monastery Scene' has some dead tasteful electric piano arpeggios and some awesomely synthetic-sounding string sounds. It doesn't get too repetitive, either. When he does stick with an idea it tends to be based around tone building (such as the aforementioned 'Red Mist' and the B side's longest track 'Avalanche'), rather than any attempts to drag the simple melodies out to any point where they might outstay their welcome. Good stuff.
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