Meklabor

Ars Sonor – 124C 41+ // NMMREM XXV

Ars Sonor is a project headed by Laetitia Schteinberg. Laetitia has lately become a bit of an internet sensation following the news of her being forced to leave Sweden back to Russia. Her being a transwoman it is causing a serious threat to her well-being (http://www.change.org/Petitionen/save-laetitia-a-transwoman-being-deportated-to-russia).

Musically her main project Ars Sonor is some sort of industrial ambient project. Tracks have lucid ambience but also steady beatwork and often vary between ethereal and ethereally sinister sounds. I love the fact that Dmitry Vlasov from Meklabor makes an appearance in two remixes as these two go together like peas and carrots.

124C 41+ has been released by three weblabels in 2012, Sirona-Records and Sounds From Inside Out as a free download webrelease, and the now defunct Dark Meadow Recordings as a CDR. The title of the album is likely taken from an influental Science Fiction novel Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback; wordplay from “One to foresee for one another”.

The album consists of 10 tracks. Some tracks have just ambience and some have hypnotic beatwork to go with it. The beats are used tastily, only Hold My Hand picks up tempo to technical beats. There are whiffs of dark ambient dubstep too, The Shed is a clear cut example of it (don’t expect any pop hooks). Three of the 10 tracks are infact the same track The Saints remixed. However, it does not really matter as two of those remixes sound entirely different and the third re-uses the elements freshly.

124C 41+ is a good and smooth album, though not all too memorable or catchy. But occasionally it stands out; usually that is when there is a hypnotic beat on effect. Best examples are Disintegration, Hold My Hand and The Saints [New Flesh Mix]. Also The Saints [Oil Mix by Meklabor] has very stylish melodywork. All of these influence spontaneous head nodding.

CoverI’ve been pairing 124C 41+ with a horror novel and it is a good symbiosis, definitely not for the faint of heart. In fact, 124C 41+ works too good with a horror novel, I’ve had a few nights of constant anxiousness because of this combo. I just stopped the album before the finisher cause I need to relax. Also lovely background music for nightly bunker exploring!

7+/10


Free download:

http://archive.org/details/siro394ArsSonor-124c41

http://sfio.bandcamp.com/album/124c-41-lp (name your price in case you want to donate)

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Meklabor – Raw Reeds // NMMREM XIII

Very black metal

Meklabor’s is yet another interesting artist from Russia who is also involved in the martial & dark folk projekt Ostov. He states himself that Meklabor is bagpipe music with hardware-made ambient, distorted drums and drones. Certainly a very unusual combo for a Russian artist who says to be inspired by slavonic folk traditions! Judging by this release the inspiration doesn’t stop in folk but goes deeper from folk straight into mystical terrains.

Meklabor’s Raw Reeds serves as an intro that could well be based on a sludge record. Based on this, it would be too easy to just entitle this record Meklabore. The second song Fields already proves this wrong with odd rhythm and a fine melody with a… Bagpipe? A definite !?! upon the first listen. The sounds aren’t top notch, for example the record would agree with a deeper and more organic bass sounds; somehow the sounds lack the final punch. The third, Bessarabaska continues the interesting experiment comprising an Alamaailman Vasarat-like klezmer-melody and applies a discobeat later. I still might not play this at a summer fest.

After three first tracks peak to a mildly annoying hippie-klezmerfest At The Gates, suddendly things go down the drain to dark ambient. Salamandra (Oil Edit) is mighty convincing dark ambient, but it is absolutely in the wrong place for the average Johns and Jacquelines. Bad trip, man. Multinational corporations in their oil-greed did this, man.

Salamandra does mark an imaginary B-side mark though, the following Thousand Years Beyond Kaspia continues the surprising industrial touch that Salamandra hints towards. Best of all Meklabor seems to be very natural with their industrial-side! The illusion breaks at 0.40 with, a very original, Meklaborish melody, but the industrial beat continues to throb on top of this mystic melody. After a month I somehow find myself thrilled by this melody though it didn’t impress me initially and it does repeat too much. I would have definitely lived without the 1.43 trance-interlude too

Haze is a bagpipe song and impresses less than its predecessors. Largely that is because its driven by another very Meklaborish melody, which you have just listened for 20 minutes; and for me this melody is the worst of the record. It does try and I feel the hook at 2.40 and 4.00 would be a memorable one, if only the melody wasn’t off my game. So unfortunately the album closes up in less memorable fashion than it started.

In the end Fields and Thousand Years Beyond Kaspia are the top cuts in the album, reclaiming the potential that other tracks only hint towards. The soundscapes in Raw Reeds are possibly more interesting than the melodies. There are lots of unique clever beat work and low-bass sections which throb in the back and may go unnoticed but still add in to the atmosphere. Also kudos to Meklabor for having the second edition of Salamandra as a clear bonus track.

Raw reeds encompasses a mystical atmosphere which adds to the value, it could be a swan song for a culture that never existed with its own glyphs, prophecies and gods. Music impresses and at the same time fails to capture its utmost potential. Still a very worthy release that surely people with an ear towards mystical ambiance and modern beats can appreciate!

7½/10

Free download: http://archive.org/details/siro318Meklabor-RawReeds