Electroshock Records: Review:  
Anatoly Pereslegin: "Fastgod : E-psalms"
(Electroshock Records 2002, ELCD 028)
09 tracks. Total time - 75:26.

Israelo-Russian electronic music composer Anatoly Pereslegin continues to explore Biblical themes on his second album for the label "Electroshock Records". While "Download the God" only hinted at the words of prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel through tormented instrumental pieces, "Fastgod: E-psalms" (note once again the juxtaposition of the sacred and modern technology in the title) uses direct quotations from the Book of Psalms. More liturgical in essence, the nine songs use selected passages sung by tenor Ivan Jmaev and baritone Yuriy Valenkov. The melodies are woven into synthesizer tracks, along with occasional cello (by Alexander Zagorinskiy) and treated spoken words. If the inspiration remains similar, the resulting music is quite different from the first CD. It relies less on rhythm and troubled atmospheres. The first songs have a sense of peace in them - even "Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me" conveys the serenity of acceptation in its mournful disappointment. "The Lord Pays for Debts of Mine" stands as a highlight, thanks to its spellbinding melody. "Turn Thee to Me" comes back to the material on "Download the God": electronic percussion and a darker atmosphere close to the music of Artemiy Artemiev. At almost 17 minutes, it is too long to sustain interest, especially since shorter duration works very well for the other tracks. This album of Gothic electronic music "new age" in its original, least pejorative definition is not for the faint at heart, but it remains an easy listen, especially for those who prefer tonal music.

Francois Couture ("All-Music Guide")

The inspiration for this album is taken from the Bible and more specifically David's Book of Psalms. The nine tracks musically illustrate a selection of quotes and feature a variety of electronic backings with what sounds like tape loops of various male baritones singing phrases from the various psalms. The music is multi textured, for most of the time it is quite propulsive and throbbing with energy. The synth 'voices' are churchy to some degree - chiming bells, organ, deep drones, shimmering synth loops. The music has the circular feel of Philip Glass to it, looping back on itself, layer upon layer until it threatens to implode. Indeed, there's a strong flavour of Old Testament Hellfire and Brimstone searing through this music - this is no oratorio based on the 'happy clappy bible' favoured by most born again christians. I can't be definitive here but this album sounds like it has been influenced by Brian Eno, Klaus Schultze, the aforementioned Philip Glass, early "Kraftwerk" and perhaps even Karl-Heintz Stockhausen. This album challenges the listener's tolerance of what can be considered to be 'musicality' throughout its length - you can't put this album and let it settle in the background. Anatoly Pereslegin has created something that is literally a musical monster. The jury is out as to whether it is a masterpiece.

John Peters ("The Borderland")

As if we didn't have enough pseudo-priests trying to evangelize us in this world oppressed by Christianity (and other religions), Anatoly Pereslegin's second release (composed, arranged and performed in Jerusalem, Israel; while edited, recorded and mixed in Moscow, Russia) brings you some more words from the Book, precisely from David's psalms (Anatoly even thanks David, for the inspiration I guess). If I try real hard to put aside my bias against Christianity and the lies of the beautiful tales that the bible tells, I will tell you that we are dealing with an interesting electronic neo-classical album with somewhat medieval influences and an experimental approach to the blend of the ingredients. Looped sequences, churchy synthesized sounds, soft string pads holding long chords, organs playing lines, harpsi-chord-like sounds playing fast sequences repeating forever, heavenly bells punctuating high chords or creating intertwined textures in the background and ghostly synth voices are the main sounds you will hear, but this record is made unique by the addition of a cello (Alexander Zagorinskiy) playing sad but lovely melodies and by the tenor and baritone vocal performances by Ivan Jmaev and Yuriy Valenkov, respectively... The nine tracks (with awfully long titles, taken from the bible itself) will take you into a decadent vortex of claustrophobic and dark atmospheres that, if anything, will make you think about hell rather than paradise, which gives it a weird twist, considering the used lyrics's origin. Very discomforting, sombre and nightmarish, tonal dark paranoia, rather than solar, this is not church music or anything like that, to me it's more like the soundtrack for a trip through eastern Europe's regions forgotten by god or, alternatively, a Roman Polanski or a William Friedkin movie.

Mark Urselli-Scharer ("Chain D.L.K.")

As with his previous release - "Download the God" - Anatoly Pereslegin draws on the Bible for his theme, this time basing his work on David's psalms. Pereslegin handles all the keyboard duties with help from Alexander Zagorinskiy on cello and guest vocalists. An intense avant-symphonic feel prevails throughout, along with operatic segments as Pereslegin makes full use of his guest vocalists (though I really dig the Hawkwind-like robotic voice sequence). He also uses the quirky patterns that were a trademark on "Download the God". The pace typically moves along at a steady desperate clip with multiple keyboard and percussion constructions running alongside one another. The atmosphere is darkly orchestral and the vocalists are often responsible for adding the experimental elements to the music. We're also treated to more ambient symphonic segments combined with playful keyboards that communicate a sense of lightness to the overall intensity. Kind of like a mixture of the Residents and Laurie Anderson backed by an avant-garde symphony. I also hear shades of early "Tangerine Dream" and "Ash Ra Tempel", though Pereslegin is more composed than freeform exploratory. But overall, it's the fast pace and continually shifting themes that kept my attention throughout the CD's 75 minute length. I was also impressed with Pereslegin's ability to straddle the line between avant-garde orchestration and symphonic keyboard driven progressive rock. Lots to hear on this recording.

Jerry Kranitz ("Aural Innovations")

Amazing Grace. The mysteries of Faith & Passion carefully sublimated into beckoningelectronic treatments. A compulsive piece of Gothic metaphor strongly enriched with a sublime "Gospel accent" from Ivan Jmaev & Yuriy Valenkov's vocals who provide certain "relief" by means of quiet, sober psalms in the middle of overwhelming sonical textures molded by an overscrupulous Anatoly Pereslegin. He has shaped a strong "wall of sound" in "Fastgod: E-psalms": A rarefied "Holy Climate" sometimes as opressive as a python embrace, but hypnotic.. very, very hypnotic too. A virtual place where self-conscious Human Spirit is raising a desperate lament... dirge or prayer to the empty skies. A disruptive chant in order to achieve a scarce piece of mind: Anyone stays weak in presence of The Lord... and humble too. I nearly forgot it: Pay special attention to Alexander Zagorinskiy's cello: his adds soft touches of emotional colour in some passages... Suggested themes: "Turn Thee unto Me" (p.25;16)" ... "The LORD pays for debts of mine; or I'm naked to death" (p.152;17)"... "(Our trangressions) Thou Shalt Purge Them away (p.65;3)...and "Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? (P.22;1) Assumed Alive In Fear Mortal as If in an Attire Dear (p.152;5) Be not far from me; For trouble is near (p.22;11)"

Rene Atilio Araya ("Extraco Revoltijo")


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