Out Tomorrow: Yair Etziony + Shasta Cults

Yair Etziony | Ensemble (False Industries: CS/DL)
Shasta Cults | Shasta Cults (Important Records: LP/DL)


It’s always one of my favorite opportunities to follow-up on an artist’s work who I have heard somewhat recently to find any new motivations in their trajectory. Last year I reviewed Yair Etziony‘s Albion Remixes which I particularly enjoyed for its sense of sci-fi production. And even more recently I delved deep into the synthesis of Shasta Cults on his (Richard Smith) Configurations. Both artists deploy and employ their personal vision within the gigantic scope of electronic music. So, since these are coming out on the same day it makes sense to distill their pulse a bit.


Shasta Cults‘ eponymous recording is featured on one of our recent podcasts offering a mind-numbing soundwave separation that simply levitates from the Prologue to Chinook. Thanks to his work with the official Buchla & Associates his familiarity with his instrument is not just fine-tuned, it’s a bit of a revelation. It’s also a jumping off point from where he left off with Configurations. For the casual listener this may seem like an introspective work, and to a degree it is, though once Smith is midway his reach is undeniable in terms of boundless nuances in the Buchla Touché.

On these half dozen tracks his sheen is most lucent on the ranging Incline. The way he’s modulating the chords is like rocking the cradle of a full grown being in the middle of wide-eyed contemplation. There’s this morphing presence that glides.

DA3 is slightly darker as though viewing an oil slick at dusk, just as daylight is waning slowly. This record fall between the cracks of the orchestral and the foreign (think sci-fi, lost galaxies and vortexes). Some of his sounds come off like a set of bagpipes or huge church organ – though set in an alternate reality. Perfectly pensive.


Yair Etziony has turned over a new leaf on Ensemble. Though it has nu-classical leaning, I would consider this a true hybrid between the world and that of contemporary electronics in a way that each world is sated, and at times mirroring their similarities. It’s a bit more emotional than his previous work that seemed slightly punctuated and detached. 39c At Templehoff Feld is a shimmering opener, a work that I would love to experience in a live a/v sitation – with these slight inflections that remind me of the sound of a performer on a thin tightrope. It simply perfumes the space with a peculiar sense of atmosphere.

With Etziony’s pliable use of synths, dotted with electro-static the listening environment is full absorbed within his tactile vision that uses fleeting aeration and surface hiss. Considered the third part in his “Berlin Trilogy” I’m drawn to his minimal signatures that have inordinate patterning, sometimes isolated, sometimes asymmetrical and dislocated. Though not quite completely abstract, Etziony seems to truly reign in the potential for this to move into a noisier space (Teufelsee), keeping his tender intonations intact.

To create the recording he returned to tools of his previous tradecraft including Nord Modular and MAX/MSP. The way he’s deploying the soft/hardware never seems to act as a buffer from what he is trying to accomplish. Instead the apparatus sort of disappears from consciousness the deeper you drop into the listening experience — and my prediction is that most people will fall into the daze of these intensely hermetical chords and cadences here.

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