Stuzha "Siberian Sketches Pt.II" CD
Stunningly immersing journey through remote landscapes of Siberia continues!!! Daniil Kazantsev, the sole creator behind Stuzha and Algol, who is now based in the UK, returns with another chapter of his enveloping sonic travelogues focusing on his beloved picturesque mother region. The original demo "Siberian Sketches" was released 10 years ago, then reissued twice, firstly on Snowy Tension Pole in 2011 as a CDr, while the 2016 digipak CD reissue on Ksenza Records featured also a very limited wooden boxset (13 copies). A true collector's item indeed!!! Stuzha is also known for the masterful "Butugichag" CD album (released in January 2015 on Ksenza) telling the story about Kolyma, one of the most frightening Gulag labor camps during the Stalin era. "Siberian Sketches Pt.II" is out again on Ksenza Records, since November 15th 2017 and comes in a catchy 4-panel digipak with original photographs taken by the artist himself.
7-minute "В Метель" or "Into The Blizzard" immediately sets the atmosphere of vast frozen expanses with rustic villages, when carefully amalgamating engrossing field recordings with sparse, yet deeply evocative strings, both electric and acoustic, and occasional enigmatic vocals by Daniil. The cover art of the album precisely interacts with Stuzha's aural insignias and the listener is confronted with all the beauty, mysteries and contrasts of these uniquely majestic sceneries. The next piece "Транссиб" ("Transsiberian") as indicated by its title, dives deeply into the magical adventure of traveling through Trans-Siberian Railway, with over 9 000 kilometers the longest railway line in the world. Again the array of location recordings, this time railway-driven works with expressive stringed arrangements, no matter if slightly rawer or lyrically evocative. "Зимний Лес (Пробуждение)", in English "Winter Forest (Awakening)" juxtaposes humming organic symphonies with glitchy traceries, scattered strings, percussive subtleties and rural blankets. But stringed narrations, as much serenely captivating as colorfully warm, soon steal the center stage. Beauty!!! "Зимний Лес" ("Winter Forest") continues the ride through untouched snowy terrains, where sounds of squeaking snow continuously commingle with almost poetic quietudes of acoustic and electric guitar. "Здесь Нет Жизни Без Oгня", translated as "Here Is No Life Without A Fire" moves into more mysterious paths and coalesces intangibly solitary piano and stringed patterns with ear-tickling fire crackles and glimpsing tenser horizons. "Зимний Лес (Засыпание)" or "Winter Forest (Slumber)" bridges rawer, yet secluded field recordings with balmily embracing stringed poignancy. "Узник Подземелья" ("Lost in the Catacombs") delves deeply into nebulously intriguing domains powered by sparse, but titillating high-pitched embellishments and halcyon blend of strings and harmonica. "Ночь В Деревне" means "A Night in the Village" and this track closes this profoundly rewarding journey with warmly balladic strings, lulling village sound fragments and male vocal yarn.
"Siberian Sketches Pt.II" album, clocking to 49 and half minutes, is a truly immersing sonic postcard from some of the most immense, breathtakingly beautiful, remarkably kaleidoscopic and the most sparsely populated regions in the world. A truly adventurous exploration of Siberia awaits here, so don't hesitate to experience the soundworlds of Daniil Kazantsev aka Stuzha!!! And definitely don't miss also his other project Algol, focusing on deep space voyaging, or his Black Wanderer outcome, diving into oracular dark ambient territories. "All These Worlds Are Yours" by Algol and "Hostile Territory" by Black Wanderer are out on Ksenza Records.
Richard Gürtler (Jun 24, 2018, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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