Uhushuhu, Zemlevedeniye, Russia, Zhelezobetn, CD + DVD ZHB-XLVII (2015)
Oops, I bought this set three years ago from the old Aquarius Records in San Francisco (before the shop closed) and have been listening to the beautiful and eerie nature-based soundscapes on and off since then but I only realised just recently that I still haven’t reviewed for TSP! My age must be catching up with me. Finally I dusted the CD disc to give it a spin. After three years, the music still sounds as mysterious and wondrous as ever and if I hadn’t known the recording had been released in 2015, I might have guessed it to be a recent release.
All tracks are layered with ambient drone wash, nature-based found sound recordings (birdsong in particular) and have a lush feel of dripping forest canopy, the smell of rainwater and rising mist, and spirits slowly awakening to greet the change of day from midnight to dawn, or later afternoon into twilight. There is much that sounds so unearthly, listeners might be forgiven for thinking they had landed on a distant jungle planet wrapped in layers of cloud. Tracks don’t develop so much as become louder, more layered and more intense until the space between your ears and around your head are full of the noises of these soundscapes.
Of the four tracks, “Glinyanaya Polyana / Loam Glade” is the most strange and intriguing with ghostly quivering drone, a lone voice that may be sighing in the background and other weird moans and mutterings that combine to produce a most mysterious and sometimes heart-rending work of longing. Admittedly all the tracks could be joined up together and listeners might not really notice many changes in mood from one piece to the next – but the resulting tapestry would still be a fascinating immersive sound experience.
The DVD is initially interesting to watch with animated geometric patterns and textured patterns of colour twisting and changing along with the music but it really only bears a few viewings, as not a great deal happens that might suggest a narrative or theme different from or complementary with the music on the CD.