In late Summer 2016 I somewhere, somehow ‘discovered’ another excellent great Russian label (actually residing in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, close to the river Ob, and ‘only’ about 350 kilometres away from the border with Kazakhstan), called Black Mara, sort of specialised in Dark Ambient, Drone, Esoteric and Ritual Music. They did release some stuff for great acts such as Paul Minesweeper, Creation VI, Ugasanie or Carst, and this review deals with Welcome Black, a project led by Alexandr Smirnov (who took care of mix and mastering duties as well).
Sun is a three-track album with quite lengthy compositions: sixteen to twenty-five minutes, with a total running time of more than an hour. It is ‘dedicated to all and everything. This music will immerse you in thoughts. You will see your life and the life of the environment as a whole. This sound-picture does not leave to be indifferent.’ The concept is that of the relationship in between life and death, about feelings, thoughts, dreams, wishes and spirituality, of birth and passing away.
This Russian one-man band did create something very intriguing under the Sun-moniker. Let’s focus on the first act, for instance, which lasts for twenty-five minutes. Sun Act One is a long-stretched, deeply-rumbling piece of guitar-based drones (no synths used!), overwhelming, even asphyxiating, yet immensely ominous and obscure in both execution and atmosphere. No, the ‘melody’ won’t stuck in your mind afterwards, but the impressing heaviness will remain. Those guitar and bass lines result in a dense, harsh and misty sonic veil of solitude, discomfort and confusion, seen from the most attractive and beautiful aspects of these states of mind. And in a mostly organic way the very same path continues by means of Sun Act Two and Sun Act Three. Actually this album can’t be seen like a collection of three individual compositions, yet as one single journey divided into three related chapters. In a hypnotising way, little monotonous (and at the same time dynamic!) layers of string-heaviness crawl forth, slowly yet unstoppable, piercing your mind, manipulating your Inner Eye, taking you through unknown dimensions of utter bleakness and emptiness. Compared to the past recordings, Sun is even more oppressive and bleak, and at least as mysterious and mystic as before.
Life seen as a passage in between birth and death, a rollercoaster of emotions, tragedies and dreams, that’s the elementary core of this sonic adventure. Make sure you’re traveling with the composer to those untrodden dimensions – for it’s worth it! Coming in two different, yet quite exclusive and limited versions, so hurry up and don’t come crying afterwards; I’ve warned you…
Oh yes, there’s a video available (more than one, actually) on the net, which surely creates a visual impression on this Ambient Drone Obscurity. Recommended!