Electroshock Records: Review:  
(Electroshock Records 2000, ELCD 019)
06 tracks. Total time - 72:59

With this album Anatoly Pereslegin seems to be trying to find the spiritual in electronic music, and I guess he might has succeeded as there is a church-like quality to all the tracks on the album. That is helped, of course, by having all the tracks titled after extracts from various books of the old testament. "Isaiah #1" has a choral feel to it, with the synths sounding very crystaline and glacial. "Isaiah #2" is a longer piece with a rather more brooding theme that develops satisfactorily over fourteen minutes. "Ezekiel #1" retains the echo-laden atmosphere of the previous tracks, mixed with a looping crystal riff that evolves over the track. "Isaiah #3" is a slower paced (to start with) piece that gradually becomes frenzied with some demented J. S. Bach-style keyboard motifs weaving in and out of the track. "Ezekiel #5" is another track that sounds as if it has been recorded in a crystal-lined church - the music fairly shimmers as it darts between quiet reflection and agitation. "Ezekiel #6" pretty much brings together all the sounds and styles from the other tracks into one sixteen minute epic. "Download the God" probably won't appeal to all electronic music listeners - the sound is extremely stark and minimalist and every note demands attention. But the album is impressive and well worth exploring.

John Peters ("The Borderland")

"Download the God" is a suite of electronic music inspired by two Biblical men who spoke with God, Isaiah and Ezekiel, composed while Anatoly Pereslegin was living in Israel. The music is all synthesized, 73 minutes of intense atmospheres. Because talking to God is not something you do peacefully, Pereslegin's music is maelstromesque, a fast-paced journey where themes are developed quickly and go through many variations and transformations. His sense of drama is acute: "Ezekiel #5" feels like a short movie in its own right. His sound palette is very percussive - this is not contemplative music - but its basic tone colours don't change much and it can become tiresome when the album is listened to in one sitting.

Francois Couture ("All-Music Guide")

The CD "Download the God", from Anatoly Pereslegin, is so unique, startling, and powerful a musical statement that even though I have read at least six reviews of it, I still have no idea how to write mine. So, itNs time to just slice open a vein and see what comes out on paper, I guess. Drawing inspiration from the books of Ezekiel and Isaiah in The Bible and that special connection that exists between prophets and their gods, this CD is one of the most in-your-face slices of electronic music I've ever heard. Yet, with all the electronic percussive fireworks (amazing crashing cymbals, snares, and tympani!), church organ-like runs of notes, and bell-like crescendoes and explosions, the music remains (almost unbelievably) human. Not human in the normal sense. But human in the sense of flesh and blood that is driven to the point of religious exultation combined with madness. The raw emotion of the songs on "Download the God", which can best be described as an almost manic-depressive sonic voyage, makes this album an almost impossible "casual" listen. Put this on in the background and you'd probably wind up getting nothing done. Talk about commanding your attention. There are six cuts on the album, three named for Isaiah and three for Ezekiel and the CD itself is over seventy minutes long! Listening to this all the way through may prove exhausting - but what a wild ride it is! On my first listenings, I made a mental comparison to Wendy Carlos at her absolute most frenetic and then I tilted the scales even more in the direction of minor key tonalities. The songs have very little "space" between them (i.e. the cues between cuts last about a half-second, if that) so that even though each one does have its unique character (for instance, the second song has a more classical feel to it at its start with an abundance of synth strings) but for my money, this plays much more like a cohesive whole. The organ and bell-like synths predominate throughout a lot of the recording, along with those synth snares and other electronic percussion. The synth strings, when used (and their usage varies a lot), are beautifully full and lush and when the music quiets down (relatively speaking, at least) the emotional feeling is one of beauty leavened with sadness. However, the preponderance of fast tempo rhythms produces an almost orgasmic rush sometimes (the organ and percussion elements sound like they're sexual partners in the throes of ecstasy). All this translates into "Download the God" being almost "anit-ambient" music. Heavy metal music would be easier to ignore than most parts of this album. Now that I have tried describing the music (rather pitifully, I know, but I did my best), I want to state that I love the album! The twinkling bell tones are like crystalline icicles shimmering in a bitterly cold moon of Jupiter and the rhythms hyper-kinetic pace jolts my brain cells with some kind of electric adrenaline. But what I really go nuts for is the juxtaposition when the music quiets down even while the undercurrent is still this feeling of barely reined-in explosiveness. Plus, the keyboards themselves that Anatoly uses are gorgeous to hear. The album is not truly atonal or discordant (except very rarely), in my opinion. It's actually comprised, at times, of millions of tiny snippets of very melodic runs of notes that repeat or evolve and the emotional impact of the recording is somewhat depressing and a bit disturbed yet it's also brimming with life, energy, and moments of almost blindingly bright-light beauty. The strings soar, swinging from romantic to almost tragic; the bells flit in the air like crazed fairies; and the drums and cymbals pound out (sometimes with shattering loudness) a percussive rapid fire beat. ItNs altogether an amazing recording to listen to and submerge oneself into. I found myself tapping my feet, nodding my head and keeping time (or trying to), especially on cuts like number three ("Ezekiel #1") which is uptempo maximus as it begins. One other thing worth mentioning is the recording technique for the whole album, which imparts quite an echo-effect at times. This adds an off-kilter texture to the music that I can't explain but I enjoyed immensely. While a lot of the album is not ambient at all, there are stretches where the music approaches an ambient sensibility (the rhythms either disappear or subdue and the synth strings predominate, via more traditional washes of sound), but even then the almost oppressive minor scale tones/chords make it difficult, I think, to allow your mind to "drift". Plus, you can be sure that the song will eventually pick up the pace before too long. In trying to make any further comparisons (and have them be the least bit valid), the only album in my memory that sounds remotely like this is the experimental fusion soundtrack to the film Death Wish by the musical genius Herbie Hancock. However, many moments on that record were more traditionally structured and more accessible. But, if memory serves, some of the cuts had the same sense of urgency combined with a controlled chaos, if you will. I only throw in this comparison because I don't know who else to mention! The more I listened to "Download the God", the more I realized that this was one of those ultra-rare truly unique albums. As such, I applaud both Anatoly and Artemiy Artemiev ("Electroshock Record's" main man). Anatoly is a remarkable talent! Between his composing this music and performing it as well, I was aghast at how he made all this work so well! What a stellar achievement! This album is supremely powerful stuff and definitely not for the timid. From its cover art of a windmill silhouetted against a dark and stormy sky to the ecstatic electronic mayhem within, "Download the God" is a recording you will not soon forget. I know I won't.

Bill Bunkelman ("Wind & Wire")

Anatoly Pereslegin's "Download the God" is a single composition in six sections, based on the prophetic works of Isaiah and Ezekiel and composed in Jerusalem during the mid-Nineties. There can hardly have been a more positive example of "Jerusalem Syndrome" during the decade - this composition is millennial in the very best sense. It might not have succeeded but, in fact, it is an extraordinary success - probably one of the dozen or so most powerful pieces of electronica (or post-classical) music I've ever heard. If it has a point of departure, it would be Messiaen - it has the same carillon-like quality, the same chromatic lushness and the same non-linear ecstasis to it - although the dark maelstrom of Ligeti's "San Francisco Polyphony" is also suggested, as is the percussive minimalism of Reich and the op-art patterns of Glass and Riley. It's obviously been composed with extreme care, although its architecture is designed to let in maximum space and light - perhaps its most remarkable feature is the way in which it combines gravitas with delicacy, power with swiftness, to produce a musical analogue to the prophetic experience that is totally convincing.

Norman Jope ("Stride")

Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? On this album, inspired by the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel and recorded in Jerusalem and Moscow. Russian musician Anatoly really goes out on a limb and produces six long tracks of very hard going, experimental music that mixes elements of electro-acoustic music, systems music, minimalist motifs and dark abstract sound manipulation. There are sequential bases of sorts but this is electronic music at some of it's most adventurous and daring and, like any music of it's kind, is strictly an acquired taste, it's certainly not for the faint of heart of those, looking for any kind of accessable melodies. Quite how this fits with the religious subject only the composer knows but this is definately one for the more experimentally minded amongst you.

Carl Jenkinson ("Sequences").

I've never been sure how to take ambient music. It's best handed to me when I am at a state where I can relate the music to my own personal experiences. I need to find time to listen to it and, most of the time, it is as I drift off to sleep. "Download the God" is no different in that respect but the ideas housed behind this recording demand attention be paid. According to the Bible, there were two men who talked to God and they were Isaiah and Ezekiel. Anatoly has put this spiritual experience to music and taken me for a ride I could never have expected. God never appeared as anything soft and weak. He always appeared as something malevolent and powerful such as a burning bush in order to strike fear and demand respect. With this in mind, "Download the God" becomes somewhat hostile and turbulent throughout the recording. Stereotypically speaking, one would expect this to be tranquil and soothing but much of it, though maintaining its spiritual qualities via soft bells and chimes, has a rough exterior. All of the songs are named after Isaiah and Ezekiel and even though at a glance these songs all appear the same, careful analysis will reveal that the songs are quite different. Of course, the listener must make the final evaluation. Each song will teleport listeners to different places and although you may wish to perceive this as a lovely listening experience, the slightly harsh layers underneath the derma will cause you anxiety and, when heard within the sanctuary of sleep, dreams that will not be forgotten too soon.

Michael Johnson ("Starvox")

With a religious concept, and made by a Russian in Israel (1994-95) it would seem, this is a very regal and pompous affair to contend with. Largely we have organs and orchestral sounds, with growing progressions, motifs, solos, and grand swirling flows of digital synths. Even by the second track, though, I start to find it all a bit too convoluted and increasingly one-dimensional.

Alan Freeman ("Audion")

Of all the Electroshock material I have heard so far, this CD by Pereslegin is far and away the best of the lot. There seems to be a relation to Artemiy Artemiev, who produced "Download the God", but all the music is by Pereslegin himself. Right off the bat he hammers home the credo "I am different!" Drawing upon contextual inspiration from the Old Testament books of Ezekiel and Isaiah he presents a stormy sea of dramatic and tension-filled imagery. Every selection here is integrated, as if to tell the same stories from every possible point of view. Contrast is where I think Pereslegin really excels; amidst the driving repetitions of accentuated patterns the listener is surrounded by a hovering, echoing sonic aura that is downright haunting. Percussion propels the sound into higher and higher peaks of frightful intensity. It is about as far as one can get from the primitive-meets-modern construct of your typical Steve Roach type of ambient music. You will not be spacing out and relaxing through this one I can guarantee you! In fact "Download the God" really does not speak as electronic music at all, but more as orchestral music. It's a heck of a lot of 'sturm und drang' to sit through, but I don't think you will find many other composers with the audacity of Anatoly Pereslegin.

Mike Ezzo ("Expose")

Six flowing movements of synthesised electroacoustic/neo-classical music inspired from biblical texts from The Book Of The Prophets, namely Isaiah and Ezekiel. By no means do you have to be religious to enjoy the monumental electronic symphonies on display here. The dignified glistening rhythms emit a warm and vivacious glow. The closest comparison musically would be Phillip Glass. "Download the God" is an incredible piece of sprightly, majestic instrumental ambience. A masterpiece which comes particularly highly recommended.

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. Anatoly Pereselegin's "Download the God" (which I think's a cracking title) is their fourth new'2000 release. Anatoly's not a new name to Electroshock, he's appeared on the label before, but only on one of their compilations. This time he's allowed to stretch and show us his capabilities on more than one track. A combination of "Isaiah, 1 and 2", and "Ezekiel (1, 3, 5 and 6)" give us six tracks. The main impression is one of a deeper mood. More reflective and has a sharper taste of improvisation to it all. The titles don't help too much in painting the listener a pallet from which to kick off the imagination, although some might argue this isn't needed! Similar to some Schulze's work, there's quite a lot of percussion featured throughout, although it has to be said it doesn't exactly hit you over the head like Schulze's can. I'm also reminded a little of Steve Riech and maybe even Glass, although Anatoly doesn't tend to stick to the same patterns for as long before a change occurs. It's a difficult album in some respects to grab a hold of, as far as I'm concerned, it's a credit to both the man, and Electroshock for showing that it isn't just a vanity label, and even with what some might class as a limited field, this electronic album is, again, well out there.

David W. Hughes ("Modern Dance")

Recorded in Israel, "Download the God" draws on inspiration from the Old Testament as its six tracks reveal, all titled "Isaiah" and "Ezekiel". The music is primarily orchestral electronic, with Pereslegin developing thoughtful, emotional themes that keep the listener at attention as the music evolves through it's various motifs. Pereslegin quickly establishes a trademark sound, utilizing quirky, somewhat minimalist, repetitive melodic patterns, reinforced by intense orchestral walls of sound. There's actually quite a bit of development to the music so the minimalist categorization may be tenuous, but Pereslegin does a good job of laying down slowly evolving patterns that rely on accompanying layers of music and sound to keep things moving along. Pereslegin also continually focuses on percussion, which for this listener always makes purely electronic music more interesting and enjoyable. A recurring theme is the full volume, fast paced runs that create a symphonic carnival atmosphere while still being highly passionate and intense. I also hear sections that sound like a cross between Keith Emerson and Vangelis... prog rock fans who frequent their local symphony hall step right this way. Overall, a solid orchestral electronic effort that includes healthy doses of classical avant-garde experimentations and a fair number of spacey passages.

Jerry Kranitz ("Aural Innovations")


Reference to "Electroshock Records" website is obligatory in case of any usage of printed & photo materials from the site © "Electroshock Records", 2004