Cluster Lizard | Prophecy
Cluster Lizard is the duo made up of regular Kvitnu collaborators Kateryna Zavoloka and Dmytro Fedorenk which becomes their second official release, Prophecy. From the metallic glean of the cover to the twisted synthetic drone vibes of the content, this one sticks out in a crowded field this month.
Each of the half dozen tracks on this recording have lengthy titles such as the (at first) gentle opener, The Sun’s Light When He Unfolds It Depends on the Organ That He Beholds It that blends an melodic and orchestral layer atop what becomes a quasi industrial abstraction. Both fall away in due time to make way for an intriguing futuristic theme that moves into pockets both quiet and a bit eerie with depressed high tones and then a bit of softened rock percussion.
The track has an attitude bathed in a granular substrate reminding me some of the funk/rock side of Olaf Bender’s Byetone (w/hints of late 90’s Aphex Twin). Moving into And Those Burning Tears Shall Melt, Dissolving; and Maybe Blossoms Will Come Up, Unfolding the setting is slightly murky, with a dragging dull beat made for a funeral procession. The low-flying drone rumbles away, holding many secrets. They trip an alarm system and keep going.
At the midpoint we delight in the abstract divide of Fighters of the Fight, for Their Home and Their Heart. It’s modern music redefined by the fusion of electronica, classical and the continued industrial noise breakdown. In this mix there is this reckoning of how to reshape minimal techno. There are erasures, blurs and elongations of a would-be funky core, distorted so you may witness the detritus in its wake. They offer an odd blend of brute tribalism and retro effects. It is a sound that divides any typical perspective of rational outcomes. When you think things will get smooth, they uptick into a short-lived frenzy, when you count on quiet the duo diverts to an intoxicating overtone of rhythm.
The experimental lasers that open The Evening Beam That Smiles the Clouds Away, and Tints Tomorrow with Prophetic Ray trigger a whole range of sci-fi references, but Cluster Lizard moves ahead with a sonically reclusive approach. It is a restrained techno, therein lies an incredible amount of pent-up tension that is palpable and infectious. The bouncy percussion in the latter half of the track, along with the crystallizing static give this its own signature.
While no overt it’s a distant cousin to some of the progressive electronic rock music of the mid 70s. And when the finale This Has Happened Before and It Will Happen Again comes the mood once again shifts into a cool, low-rise space. The thin filtered layer of distortion is quite effective as this explores punctured beats defining their own unique course amid an otherwise lively set of acoustic parameters.
This will be as alluring for fans of Spiritualized as it will be for those who indulge in the entire trajectory of the Raster & Noton releases of then and now. There’s something here that just pulses its way from start to finish, a presence, an exquisite sense of detail, an adept sense of varying between genres with style and substance.