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Vitaly Maklakov - Abstract Expressionism, Part 1 [Heart Shaped Box Productions - 2014]

Heart Shaped Box Productions presents Abstract Expressionism, Part 1 by Vitaly Maklakov. The Russia-based sound sculptor is perhaps better known for his HNW output under the guise Light Collapse. This pro-pressed CD-R was released last November with only a slim 15 copies made.

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect with this release. The beautifully hand-painted cover of the release, with itís expressionistic brush strokes, doesnít scream HNW, but rather alludes to a different beast altogether. A little further investigation informs us that the covers were made with the help of children, adding a jovial element to the whole production. Is Abstract Expressionism, Part 1 dark warrior music or playful noise explorations you ask? Perhaps itís a little of both.

Abstract Expressionism, Part 1 is a single, hour long track of electronic drone and freeform noise improvisation. The track starts out with some trance-inducing electronic pulses, which slowly, but surely, begin to layer with other repetitive sounds. Sprightly spinning gears become interwoven with pulsing sonic waves. Early on I canít but help compare this piece to something in the same universe as Juice Machine, which my friends is a very good thing. Ten minutes in and some ambient synth is introduced, but is quickly displaced by the a spurting tone that ebbs and flows. Thereís a definite slow build going on here with lots of sounds coming and going. Layers appear then recede: phased-out buzz saws, death-ray pulsing, blinking and stuttering synth tones, with sounds entering freakout mode as we cross the 41 minute marker. Things never really get into the harsh noise realm however, even in itís most aggressive passages. Things start winding down, both literally and figuratively, as freaky deaky noise moments descend into sci-fi wave warbling and knob-tweaking, until we finally bliss out in the albumís final moments.

I have to admit, I approached this release with some trepidation, as Iím not the biggest Light Collapse fan in the world, however Abstract Expressionism, Part 1 was a very pleasant surprise. A little too active to be considered drone, but never really treading harsh noise territory, Maklakov managed to produce something the perfectly resides in that sweet spot middleground. Itís quite an enthralling listen from start to finish and itís a piece of work Maklakov should be proud of. I canít wait to hear Part 2.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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