Esam by Ligovskoï

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Ligovskoï | Esam
Field Records (LP/DL)

The French duo of Nikolaï Azonov and Valerio Selig are Ligovskoï. The two formed in 2010, releasing one full-length back in 2013 and a few remix eps since. Their first effort for Amsterdam-based imprint Field Records is Esam and you can get a sneak peak listen here before its release on November 12. The record is saturated in ambient passages that are immediately sedative.

The recording opens with Thessalonians, employing a winding and dappled synth, a font of pleasure for the eardrums. The atmosphere is doused in soft layering effects that are silky with fine static edges. It’s over before too long. The eight tracks here are all under seven minutes, most averaging the typical length of a pop song around 3:30 or so. But unlike most ambient works which are best played from end to end as a single track, the transitions here are identifiable, and the content per track each have their own characteristics.


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We spend a lot of time exchanging thoughts and feelings about the experiences we had while creating and listening, like old friends looking at clouds and discussing the shapes they see. By publishing our music, we hope that listeners will recognise their own feelings and that they will understand or feel something in common with us.”

Mungu softly rises with a subtle repeated thumping beat, and dazed electronics. The low-end is intense and elongated. It’s a bit chilling and mysterious, like shadowy figures lurking behind several veils. Next is Fairbanks, and the theme seems so familiar, or is it a déja vu – have I been here before? A wavy, spare set of electronic programs merge so effortlessly.

The duo deploys a breadth of sounds including samples, synths, vocals, feedback, guitar and field recordings to create their immersive sound. On Benhaim and into Dautz their production starts to become adrift in abstract washes of delusions and broken loops. I’m intrigued by the slow progression of such shifts and how they are introduced throughout the recording. The noodling guitar just hinted at the end of Dautz is unusual and very much submerged deep in the overall mix. And then the title track emerges like a mirage, so beautifully rising upward, revealing its surface without any pomp or vanity whatsoever. In fact, it’s more like the best sleep concert, drifting, floating, so casual.

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The final two tracks here are Bjanka and Cortege. A more somber setting has been cast. On the former there are two layers playing on each other, one is an embedded singular stretched drone, the other is a flirtatious melody, like a toy instrument just swirling with a sense of joy. There are sweet pauses as it just glows throughout. On the latter piece and closer, Cortege takes us into a dark crater of sorts, it’s an uncertain grey area with a bright spot, dead center. This center drone circulates outward, pulsing slightly, reminding me of those identity light discs from Tron somehow. The ambient gaze turns upward into the beyond as the harmonics shift with added whitenoise, breaking up the otherwise sweet gauzy exterior, and these sweet tones just slowly fade away.

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