Vague Voices | Гробник
Amek Collective (CS/DL)
This tape wastes no time to inhabit the space, filling up the room with smouldering drone and suspense. Vague Voices are Bulgarian sound artists Stefan Bachvarov (Cyberian) and Angel Simitchiev (Mytrip) and this is the duo’s debut full-length recording via Amek. The collection of ten tracks is immediately immersive, elongated ambient textures and encoded granular static on opener Crimson Wings. The sort of process cgi cover art puts its figure in an impossible futuristic gaming-style space where nature, man and history collide (presumably a ‘water prison‘ as heard on track three).
The two play with sound effects just short of would-be techno on Irregular Warfare with plenty of swooshes, swipes and other tranquil twists. Their elusive cadences are intuitive and are somewhat post-apocalyptic in their slow unfolding nature. The blend of beats and airy melody offer something in/tangible, anodyne and otherwise oddly dramatic. And though I tend to err towards their softer side, the way in which they incorporate percussion actually enhances the stylized low-end. The overall sound is short of full maturation, though they breath a lot of innovative flair into this. With each crack/hiss, and in the echo chamber of tracks like Machine Immunity and especially Extinction Is The Rule where they fortify their sense of minimalism most clearly, one can begin to see their P.O.V. melding.
Bachvarov and Simitchiev seem to indulge in this limbo-like half space for most of the central tracks here, that is until they rev up Beserk. It is here that their techno tendencies are most fully fleshed out. And it’s really really good. The low-range funk reminds me some of Frank Bretschneider or Byetone, maybe slightly less calculated and rigid, but that sense of driving minimal beats is built-in – though not carried out elsewhere. Instead they channel a hallucinatory celestial chorus with a darker bottom end on Armor.
As the duo closes Гробник with the ten-minute Shadow Archetype whatever may have seemed apparent in progression seems to dissipate, making way for a more moody, ambient/industrial mix in flux. What sounds as though they might be playing with saws is matched to a variable blend of slightly tweaked drone and layers of pensive mise en scène, like a documentary of the aftermath of a shipwreck. Perplexing.