Electroshock Records: Review:  
Electroshock Records 2000, ELCD 016
08 tracks. Total time - 73:10

I understood that there was something special about Stanislav Kreitchi the first time I heard a work of his, on "Electroshock Presents. Vol. 1", and that impression gets even sharper contours on his solo CD on Electroshock, which he calls "ANSiana". Here is a man who has a solid artistic position amongst the likes of Bernard Parmegiani, Francois Bayle and - Gottfried Michael Koenig. Yes, I find his style a combination, a merger, of the experiences of both the French and the German schools of electroacoustics, and this is high praise in my mouth! Here is a Russian composer of electroacoustics who plays in the same league with the foremost heroes of electroacoustics of Europe. Not bad! There is a shortcoming here, though, and that is the gruesome lack of information. I'd sure like to know when the pieces were composed and recorded, and I'd like some bio on the composer. I'll have to talk to the owner of the label, composer Artemiy Artemiev, about this. The information would add greatly to the worth of this very anonymous CD. Maybe Mr. Kreitchi is so widely known in Russia that info isn't called for, but to me and certainly many others, he's a new acquaintance - and a pleasurable one! How often do you encounter a good composer of electroacoustics that you didn't already know of since decades? Not often, I dare say, because this genre is crowded with lousy examples of electroacoustic dilettantes. Kreitchi isn't one of them. I'll take another Swedish ginger cookie (pepparkaka) and a beverage of the Christmas/Chanukah season (julmust), and enjoy the music! According to the little info there is on the sleeve Kreitchi started experimenting with the Russian ANS synthesizer back in 1961, and then he took it from there. I suspect that some of the tracks on his CD here are pretty old, but that only makes them more interesting! Clearly Stanislav Kreitchi stands his own ground, but I can find some analogies on the first track - "Birth of Vertical" - to Franqois Bayle and his "Motion - Emotion". It's a highly diverse and exciting exploration, clearing the path with old-sounding electronics. It's a piece I will go back to many times, I'm sure. Track 2 is "Triptych Ocean", which I already reviewed on "Electroshock Presents. Vol. 1", when I said this about the piece, when I put it in relation to another, not so impressive piece of his on that same CD: "Kreitchi's second piece is "Triptych Ocean", and it starts of more interestingly, with piercing electronic high shrill sounds, moving over into olden studio sounds from way-back-when; the sort of basic experimental sounds that Konrad Boehmer and Herbert Eimert worked with in late 1950s, early 1960s, and I like these early, historic sounds very much. The CD booklet doesn't give any clue as to when the pieces actually were composed, so maybe this is old music. As opposed to his first track here, this Kreitchi piece is very interesting. Percussive instruments emerge here too, but this time around they fit into the electronic fabric, heightening the experience. Very good!" Track 3, "Ellipsiada. Part 1", introduces high pitch percussive metal sounds, in a beautifully shaped soundspace, soon giving way to eerie metallic scrapings in the style of Iancu Dumitrescu and the spectral subterraneans of Romania, and Kreitchi keeps this more rough and edgy idiom going for quite a while, pleasing friends of musique bruit. You name it, we like it! If you like Iancu Dumitrescu and Horatiu Radulescu, you'll appreciate this piece. Track 5 has the impressive title "Six Days of Creation". It starts with a rumble, and then something new is introduced on this CD, not inherent on earlier tracks; the voice. It's a female voice, belonging to Anna Kolleychouck, talking in Russian, and Kreitchi permutates her voice in glorious sonic settings. I must admit that this piece immediately rose to the top of my personal "hit list in the head"! I've worked a lot with sound poetry, and listened to that kind of stuff since I don't know when, and even in that context Kreitchi gets full points! Great stuff! It's a sound poetry piece with layers of delicate electronics behind the voice permutations. The last piece on the CD is number 8, and that's the title track: "ANSiana". It has a smooth, high pitch emergence, like the soaring sonics of airplanes through the higher atmosphere, bordering the stratosphere, and I suppose it's the famous ANS synthesizer that provides some of the drawn-out delicatessens here, because it cannot be a processed ovaloid, since the ovaloid is used only on tracks 3 & 4. The ovaloid is an acoustic instrument constructed by Russian designer Viatcheslav Kolleychouck. Again the lack of information irritates me! What is an ovaloid? Description, please!!! I feel like a disguised voice in the sounds try to break through from another dimension, through a crack in the space-time continuum. More machine hall sounds emerge, and I envision a large - but empty - Russian factory, where long-since silenced sounds get an opportunity to once more share their acoustic vibrations with human tympanic membranes. This CD is a must!

Ingvar loco Nordin ("Sonoloco Records Reviews")

Stanislav Kreitchi is one of Russia's first electronic composers. A specialist of the exotic ANS synthesizer (an optical synthesizer best documented on the CD "Electroshock Presents: Electroacoustic Music. Volume IV. Synthesiser ANS. 1964-1971"), he has been rarely documented on record. "ANSiana" is therefore an important release. The eight electroacoustic pieces presented here are performed on keyboards, the ANS synthesizer and the ovaloid, an acoustic instrument which seems to be metal-based and mostly played with a bow. Except for the disappointing "Six Days of Creation" a conventional speech-based piece, each track takes the listener into an alien sound world. Although Kreitchi's techniques are similar in part to "musique concrete", his music sounds very different: it has a glass-like quality as sounds seem transparent and shatter at the touch. "Triptych Ocean" is a three-part evocation of nature, the second part being made of processed African percussion. "Ellipsiada" (in two parts) is the most striking piece. The ovaloid is revealed in all its strange sonorities, recalling the works of some German experimentalists like Stephen Froleyks and Michael Vorfeld. "ANSiana" is a disquieting ethereal piece somewhere between washes of synthesizers and strong wind whistling through the cracks of an old house. "ANSiana" is another sonic world, somewhere between electronics and electroacoustics, between the 1960s and the 2000s. Recommended.

Francois Couture ("All-Music Guide")

Stanislav Keitchi is one of the veterans of the Russian electronic music movement. He was one of the first musicians to use the very first Russian built ANS synthesiser back in 1961. It's fair to say that of all the musicians on the Electroshock label Mr. Kreitchi is one of the most experimental, his sonic explorations stretching the concept of what is music to the very limits. On "ANSiana" Mr. Kreitchi has created a range of 'tone poems' that collect sampled sounds, sonic architecture, sequence loops and what remarkably sounds like someone running a steel bar along the bars of a heating radiator! The overall feeling is of spaciousness, both cosmic and physical - a range of sonic landscapes that one is hard pressed to describe in recognizable terms. It's an extremely clinical sounding album with an audio mix of almost zero tolerance accuracy that left me correspondingly cold. I don't think this is an album one would listen to for pleasure - unless you were a computer!

Jon Peters ("The Borderland")

"ANSiana", by Stanislav Kreitchi, is a faithful heir to the Darmstadt legacy. This in itself indicates the scope of the Electroshock project, this label's willingness to make connections across the unnecessary boundaries that still hamper the appreciation of new music - and the result, here, is a strong collection of pieces that, up to a point, could have been released three decades ago, but are certainly none the worse for that. Perhaps "Six Days of Creation" is the most distinctive, with its manipulation of a spoken Russian text echoing the strategies of Luciano Berio (in works such as "Paroles") - however, there is a spare beauty about the entire CD, and it is clear that this musician has mined his particular seam successfully. The monophonic nature of Kreitchi's compositions, on the whole, is redolent of Darmstadt, of the making of marks on tapes the size of fairground wheels in white-coated laboratories - but this music takes this lineage forward into the present day. And the use of the ovaloid - an acoustic musical instrument constructed by colleague Viatcheslav Kolleychouck - enables a warmer tone to be struck at times.

Norman Jope ("Stride")

This is Stanislav Kreitchi's first release with "Electroshock Records". You will hear eight songs of highly experimental music. This album is definitely a difficult listen. I never heard anything quite like this before. A strange, creepy, spooky CD. It sounds like the soundtrack to the "Forbidden Planet" movie (yes, it's that out there). In order to create such bizarre soundworks, Stanislav used: the ANS synthesizer (A Russian synth which appeared in the early fifties), keyboards, and the Ovaloid (a Russian acoustic instrument constructed by Viacheslav Kolleychouk). Some of the tracks fall into near-ambient territory with meditative undertones, others go into spacey minimal ambience and others sound like a crossover between electroacoustic and musique concrete. Finally, some songs are just too weird to describe. One of the reasons why I started Mastock, was to hear such outerworldly music. The strangest release from "Electroshock Records" yet.

Francois Marceau ("Mastock")

For those that don't know, here's a little history... In the 1960's Russia, isolated pretty much from the technology in the West, was responsible for developing one of the World's first programmable polyphonic synthesizers, the ANS. An enormous studio based instrument, it was capable of acoustic modelling and transformation (synthesis) of almost anything. Amongst its spec were mechanical oscillators and glass discs for storing and mastering sound. The best-known explorer of the ANS was Edward Artemiev (and the other cohorts he worked with) and Alfred Schnittke performed his only electronic work on it. Due to the non-conventional nature of the instrument, almost everything I've heard with the ANS has been bizarre and totally otherworldly. A new name to me, Stanislav Kreitchi worked in the Moscow Experimental Music Studio from 1966 to 1972, and co-composed the work "Cosmos" with Edward Artemiev. On this disc he is represented by works featuring the ANS alongside an acoustic musical instrument called the "Ovaloid" designed by one Viatcheslav Kolleychouck, which seems to be some metallic sound sculpture or similar device. This is fascinating abstract music that always seems distant and surreal, scuttling around with an unfathomable array of sound textures, so much so that it defies description. On occasions it can sound like anything, from the weird ambience of a sci-fi film spaceship to fragmented industrial soundscapes, onto textured electronics and percussives in the region of Morphogenesis or AMM.

Alan Freeman ("Audion")

"Birth of Vertical" paints a picture of a cosmic barren alien landscape with its compelling, dark avant-garde electronics with tremulous shimmer, reverberating strings and ghostly voices. "Triptych" has three movements, all of which have a background of avant-garde spatial electronics reminiscent of The Clangers. The first movement has waves, wind and tropical birdcalls within it, whilst the second sees impressive Indian tribal drumming added. The final movement sees the inclusion of dolphin speech. "Ellipsiada" is in two parts. Resonating metallic chimes evolve into dark, gloomy avant-garde scraping and bowing of metal. At times piercing and with knocking sounds. Far too long and tedious. "Six Days of Creation" consists of a Russian voice which gradually becomes more and more mangled, resonating over cosmic electronics. Again, far too long and wearisome. "Confession" is eerie, ghostly voices over unearthly avant-garde electronics. "ANSiana" is a compelling listening experience of cold, dark avant-garde electronics. Overall, intellectual avant-garde electronics which I mostly found too abstruse for my taste.

Robert Maycock ("Lockjaw")

Remember those early pioneering days of "Tangerine Dream", when they were nought but a name, with a few albums under their belt? Well, those early exciting days of electronic pioneering seem to be one of the mainstays of the "Electroshock Records" label. There's five newish releases out on Electroshock that underline the fact that this label is one of the leading ones when it comes to originality. I know there's some great labels out there who've moved on from these early soundscapes, but I like this stuff, and the more there is, the better. The first of these new releases is from Stanislav Kreitchi and is called "ANSiana". It consists of eight tracks, a couple of which are split into parts, although these parts don't actually count as tracks, if you know what I mean? Kreitchi isn't exactly well known, although in his native Russia, he's written several pieces for several projects. His claim to fame for this release, however, is that the majority of it was composed for the ANS Synthesiser, and the Ovaloid. The former instrument is an absolutely fascinating piece of equipment, consisting of whirling glass recording plates, flashing lights and all manner of things related to classic fifties SF films. I wrote in detail about the ANS a few issues back, and it is still one of the most astounding musical instruments I have ever heard. Can't say too much about the Ovaloid, however, but it was invented by Viacheslav Kolleychouck. The album, as a whole, is just brimming with sounds and effects from the outer limits of imagination, washes of sounds erupting with undulating whistlings and subatomic ruptures. The first track, "Birth of Vertical" sets the standards for the rest of the album, and never once lets up. "Tryptych "Ocean"", the title track, and "Confession" are simply beautifully evocative and speak volumes for truly creative and adventurous electronic music.

Dave W. Hughes ("Modern Dance")

The ANS synthesizer was created by Evgeniy Murzin over a 20 year period, from 1937-1957. Only one copy of the instrument was made and still exists to this day. Russian musician Stanislav Kreitchi, a contemporary of Edward Artemiev, has been experimenting with the ANS since the early 1960s, and "ANSiana" was created using the ANS, keyboards, and a stringed instrument called an Ovaloid, created by Viatcheslav Kolleychouck (who also plays Ovaloid on a couple tracks). Much of the music on "ANSiana" has an intense electronic chamber music feel. Kreitchi creates dark worlds of wailing tones, the sound of raking piano and other stringed sounds on the Ovaloid, amidst a fascinating mix of orchestral and purely electronic sounds. Something like the Kronos Quartet gone space electronic. "Tryptich Ocean" and "ANSiana" are two of my favorite tracks. "Tryptich Ocean" is an aptly titled aquatic piece that places the listener on the beach, the ocean waves pummeling the shore. But the aliens are hovering overhead. Bleeping and shooting efx conjure up images of flying saucers and their musical dance. But things take an odd turn as tribal percussion is introduced, and now we see the aliens landed and dancing around the fire in communal harmony with the natives. Simultaneously eerie and trippy... and mucho freaky! The title track is an exploratory electro space freakout piece that bombards the listener with a banquet of bleeps, high pitched tones, and alien aircraft drones. A good fun track that takes us along with Kreitchi as he explores all the ANS' possibilities. "Ellipsiada (Parts I & II)" is another highlight that begins softly with lightly clanging bells, playful raking across the Ovaloid, and deep crying drones. This too has a chamber music feel, but is more experimental, utilizing all manner of sound to create avant-classical styled themes. There are some harsh, brain-piercing moments that made it difficult to listen with headphones, the world Kreitchi has created feeling like a desperate apocalyptic future. And the intensity goes sky high as he bangs, clangs, and bashes out a percussive symphony. A great track for exploring pure sound and frightening imagery. Also notable is "Six Days of Creation", which features Anna Kolleychouck's voice fluttering rapidly from left speaker to right Laurie Anderson style, to the accompaniment of the Ovaloid and tripped out spacescapes. In summary, Kreitchi's creative use of the ANS has produced an absorbing set that fans of both electronic space and avant-garde classical music are sure to enjoy. Musicians and equipment freaks will be particularly interested in hearing the sounds produced by the ANS. Recommended.

Jerry Kranitz ("Aural Innovations")

Recently, I reviewed a collection CD of music made using the ANS synthesizer. This device is one of the earliest synths and is capable of a surprising range of sounds. One of the artists featured on that CD was Stanislav Kreitchi, and here he is again using, primarily, the ANS to create this alien and often darkly textured sonic wonderland. Kreitchi's resume is very interesting. He started using the ANS back in 1961, has done various soundtrack pieces, worked with Moscow's Experimental Electronic Music Studio, and composed music for a puppet show, "Fire of Hope", which was based on Pablo Picasso's work. That last bit, I can't even begin to visualize what it must be like! ANS, as I mentioned, is capable of a vast array of sounds, and Kreitchi uses a lot of them including electronic birdlike sounds, bell ringings, cries of the damned, symphonic tones, and an untold number of clicks, buzzes, and whirrs. You can hear the experimental/avant-garde aspects of his career in the way he composes. The song, "Six Days of Creation", on the other hand, contains sampled and altered vocal of spoken word that give a somewhat organic feel to the disc which contains very few humanistic elements. Not speaking the language, I have no idea what's being said, but it works very well. Though not for everyone, this work would appeal to fans of arcane avant-garde electronica.

Loren Beacon ("Electronic Shadows")


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