Electroshock Records: Review:  
Dmitry Mazurov: “Creature on a Lavatory Pan” (Electroshock Records 2010, ELCD 052)

11 tracks. Total time - 78:00.

This has got to be one of the most interesting albums I’ve received in the latest batch from “Chain D.L.K.” HQ. Dmitry Mazurov is an artist on the cutting edge Russian “Electroshock Records” label, and his eclectic album, “Creature on a Lavatory Pan” certainly fits within Electroshock’s roster. The title is much creepier than the music, which is a mixture of dark ambient, semi-classical and cinematic soundscape. Although Dmitry’s artwork for the CD cover does show a bizarre creature on a lavatory pan (actually, it looks more like a toilet) I think it is more macabre and overt than the music, which is subtle and sublime. Opening with a brief piece titled “Abyss” which sets a ghostly dark ambient tone, more light is shed in “Luminos” which follows, as medium tempo piano arpeggios play over a sustained nebulous background of strings. It adds an aura of mystery. Sparse piano melody follow, accented in places by the string ensemble. Gradually, a theme develops through more orchestration. Way cool! It is like the soundtrack for a movie in the imagination.
               “Burevo” plunges the listener into a fantastical environment where many subtle elements (both musical and noises) coalesce into an other-worldly soundscape, a subterranean hive of activity and elemental movement. I could imagine this as background of a mysterious (not your “shoot-em-up” type) video game. “Depths” goes even deeper with very low frequency drone, subsonics and bubbling liquid. One gets the impression of a number of aliens creatures moving through this environment, although what they may be up to is oblique.
               On “Surovitsa” you get the impression of something slogging through some type of pebbly terra, finally reaching an area where strange lifeforms hold sway. There is such a collage of different, yet purposeful sounds, some acoustic, some electronic. An eclectic guitar (by Jury Starosotnikov) plays a suspenseful sustained tonal rise (think “Pink Floyd” in “Umma Gumma” days) that culminates into a brief resounding “Blang” for lack of a better description. Frenetic string scrapes on the bridge leading into a wailing entity while low, slow moving orchestration fills in the background.
               “Lethargie” puts the listener on more solid footing, as a melancholic slow-moving theme plays out with higher strings accented by the occasional chime. Very classical sounding. There is a sweet and sad feel to this piece, and understated drama. “Mask for Delicate Aesthetes” is the longest track on the album at 14:35. It begins atmospherically, but soon a rhythmic sequence comes into play. It comes and goes as synth ambience fills in the background. This may be as close as it come to anything conventional (and I use that word loosely) in the realm of IDM, more Autechre-style than anything else. Eventually the sequence disappears and is replaced by more ominous electronics think Klaus Schulze being kind of “out there”. An Enoesque melodic passage follows, and I have come to realize that this album is absolute cinematic genius. I don’t think I have ever heard anything like it. A stronger melodic theme develops toward the end with some phantomesque violin courtesy of Oleg Huhua while sporadic noises erupt in the background. Magic, pure magic.
               “Oblivion” uses a subtle industrial loop and floating sustained chords and electronic pads to create an atmosphere that is both cosmic and tremulous. “Reminiscences” puts the piano upfront again with supporting orchestral elements, developing a theme, then playing a fantasy on it. I am reminded of Harold Budd. Then dramatic percussion kicks in for effect. Sometimes I hear strains of Satie, sometimes Wojceich Kilar, surely other soundtrack composers too; you are bound to come up with your own parallels.
               The final two tracks on the album, “Awe” and “Sisters of Gloom” are no less enthralling but I am running out of descriptive adjectives. If you’re not checking into where you can buy this CD by now, I suppose there isn’t anything more I can say about it. But you should buy it. It’s that damn good!!!

Steve Mecca (“Chain D.L.K.”)

I’m not sure if this album title was intended to be humorous but to the British sense of scatological humour it does offer a smile or two. That aside this is a very interesting album by composer and multi-instrumentalist Dmitry Mazurov. The opening tracks “Abyss” and “Luminous” are gentle orchestral pieces full of melody that build up to a brief crescendo intimating some sort of Doom. This is sort of resolved on “Burevo”, which starts with the orchestra and then transforms into an electronic soundscape. Many of the tracks (the electronic ones) tend to be just on the crest of normal playback hearing levels, suggesting unseen ... Lovecraftian horrors, perhaps - at other times it sounds like it is the lost soundtrack to a Hitchcock thriller. You really do have to work at listening to this album - the shifting perceptions of the sound is unsettling, to say the least - but not unlistenable. There is definitely a strong impression of this being a soundtrack for a non-existent movie (or even movies) across all eleven tracks. It is a very enigmatic album, continually switching between orchestral and electronic elements, always leaving the listener wrong-footed as to what to expect next. I am not sure how often I will listen to “Creature on a Lavatory Pan”, I think it is a mood piece and the listener really needs to be in the mood for it.

John M. Peters (“The Borderland”)

Creature on a Lavatory Pan” is Russian composer and musician Dmitry Mazurov’s first album for the “Electroshock Records” label. All music on the CD is composed, arranged and performed by Mazurov, except for guests on guitar and violin on a few tracks. The album is an interesting mix of orchestrated pieces, space ambience and abstract sound experimentation. Some tracks focus on one of these styles while others bring them together with varying degrees of success.
               The more orchestral tracks pack an emotional punch. “Luminous” is a piano and orchestra piece that moves along at a gradual pace but tugs at the heartstrings. “Reminiscences” is similar, alternating between intensity and serenity, but at all times highly emotional. “Lethargie” is a light and very beautiful piece. And “Sisters of Gloom” is a lovely violin led melodic track that includes fun abstract sound experimentation.
               With “Burevo” we get into more experimental territory as Muzurov marries spacey soundscapes with light clattering sounds for the intro, but then transitions to howling static drones and radio signals and other electronics. Other highlights include “Depths”, which gets more abstract, with airplane sounding drones, static, and all manner of electronic sounds. It’s all very sparse as Mazurov moves from sound to sound rather than layer them all together, but in the last minutes goes for the intense soundscape finale. “Surovista” is a very cool track that starts off with spaced out atmospherics that create a windswept landscape feel. The storm quickly recedes as Mazurov creates quietly bubbling electro sound patterns and atmospherics. Jury Starosotnikov is credited with electric guitar on this track, adding some really cool spaced out “Hawkwind” “Space Ritual” sounds. At 14+ minutes “Mask for Delicate Aesthetes” is the longest track of the set. It starts with cool electro rhythmic patterns backed by dark, quiet drones and soundscapes. The groove patterns shift around a bit and as the soundscapes move increasingly to the forefront the sounds become less rhythmic, though there is an interesting musical quality to the proceedings. Around the 8 minute mark it becomes completely musical, but accompanied by howling spacescapes and other sounds that make for an interesting contrast between conventional and abstract elements. And “Awe” is a similar blend of sounds and styles that provides much for the attentive listener to wrap his/her brain around.
               There’s a lot happening on this album and while I sometimes wondered if Mazurov is cramming too many themes into single tracks, it is, nonetheless, an adventurous effort and provocative listen. And no review would be complete without mentioning Mazurov’s cover art for the album. “Creature on a Lavatory Pan” depicts precisely that….. A huge mutant fish sitting on a toilet. It’s comical for its absurdity, but the color and tenement like setting give it a disturbing quality as well. Pretty damn cool!!!

Spaceman33 (“Aural Innovations”)

In this album, Dmitry Mazurov has created very original, disquieting, and also attractive music. Of an electronic nature, the music flows along a variety of paths. On the one hand there are some melodic themes or passages with a romantic and at the same time an enigmatic air, among which most remarkable are “Abyss”, “Luminous” and “Lethargie”, where in a masterly manner the composer unites symphonic and classicist elements with otherworldly atmospheres. On the other hand, there are themes that tackle the concept of the mysterious in a much more radical way. In the latter, the music progresses between “dark ambient” and “electronic experimentation”. Most noteworthy is the great ease with which the artist combines apparently disparate elements. This skill allows him to strengthen the personality of his music.

Jerry Kranitz ("Aural Innovations")

Artemiy Artemiev is undoubtedly a generous and spirited character and his devotion to promoting new electroacoustic works through the "Electroshock Records" label is to be applauded. Particularly as many of the artists documented on Volume IX of "Electroshock Presents: Electroacoustic Music" series are cognizant of the ways in which sound-rendering can illuminate new portals for electroacoustic music. There's a spine-tingling charm to the way Gottfried Michael Koenig slides piercing tones up against droplets pooled in reverb, and Mark Cooley's "Recomposition #4" really sidles up to your ears and thumps you across the head, as more typical slice of electroacoustic music is rudely and deliciously interrupted by some detourned Fahey-esque folk finger-picking. English artist Simon Wickham-Smith, perhaps best known for his collaborative work with Richard Youngs, offers "jusKidding", which breaks down into four constituent parts, alternately busy and burbling, or buzzing with nervous, gilded energy. Perhaps received wisdom of electroacoustic music leads it into an area where dialogue with other musical currents is frowned upon. But with artists like Cooley and Wickham-Smith, all sound is grist to their mill, which is precisely the open-ended spirit more musicians - in all fields - should be embracing.

Pascual Durado (“Amazing Sounds”)

All of this music was composed, arranged and performed by Dmitry Mazurov (a “Liechtenstein” native), though some guitar and violin is provided by others. This album reveals many different things at once. It starts in an ambient, experimental, electronic mode with abyssal textures, then later features an impressionistic piano solo. In between, “Creature on a Lavatory Pan” goes from sweet instrumentals to artsy noise and German-style electronic music. The fantastic variety on this CD is complimented nicely by the typically top-grade artwork that “Electroshock Records” furnishes. Dmitry Mazurov is a rising star in this field, so keep an eye on him.

(“DWM” Music Company)


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