S. Pakhomov - Cousteau [Ominous Recordings - 2017]Cousteau is a half-way house between lower case static texturing & set ambience. The release came in the form of either three C60 box set( which is now sold out), or a digital download.
S. Pakhomov is one of the projects of Sergey Pakhomov- a fairly prolific Russian based wall noise, ambient, and experimental artist. He has a few projects but is probably most known for his often creative & texturally detailed walled noise/ static texturing project Train Cemetery. He also runs the excellent Reason Art Records- which has put out all manner of walled noise & experimental fare.
As the title of the release suggests the theme/ focus of the release is Jacques Cousteau- the celebrated French driver, explorer, film-maker & Scientist- whose lives work was to explore the seas of our planet. The physical tape set came in a long see-through cassette case- this took in a great Ďní moody close Ėup black & white photo of Cousteau face smoking a Cigarette, with a nice eye-catching yellow texts for the releases lettering. As mentioned in the reviews opening paragraph this is sadly now all sold out, so one's the only option now is the digital download.
The release features six thirty minute tracks- one per side of a tape. And each of these tracks is a blend of controlled & subtle textured noise and set/ looped ambient drift.
The tracks noise elements are an often detailed, though seemingly mostly fixed, selections of snaps, pops, clicks, crisp rolls, and insect like scuttles. The ambient elements are fairly simple & firm in their feeling of hazing & hovering harmonic shimmers - I'm guessing these have been created either with stretched & melted synth tones, or just some form of digital sound modification.
I think the important & most distinct thing about all of the tracks here is the very subdued, pared back, and minimal feel present. At times the juxtaposition of the two key elements is quite jarring & attention breaking- as one's mind either tries to fix on the ambient element or the textured element. But after repeat plays, I think the most effective way to play the set is to let it sit in the background- like classic ambient sound-scaping or music.
I canít really say any one of the six tracks really stood out to me- each shows Mr. Pakhomov talent for creating & selecting textures well, though there is not as much depth or detail to these elements, as with his more wall based work. The ambient elements are fairly simplistic & fixed- they create a nice feeling of hovering Ďní drifting ambience, but beyond this donít really stand up to much closer inspection.
Cousteau is certainly both an original & distinctive release from Mr Pakhomov. And I respect & praise his attempts at to try & blend together lower cased textured noise with ambience- I just wish there was more substance to each of the key elements- be it more detail in the textures, or more eventful/ shifting ambience, but of course if there was it would have somewhat defeat the point of the release. So, in conclusion, Iíll have to say I appreciate what heís trying to do here, but Iím sorry to say it didnít do much for me. But please donít let that put you off..Still give it a sample on line, who knows it make click with you!Öand I guess ultimately thatís the interesting & difficult thing about reviewing experimental music- it is often down to each individuals take on it.Roger Batty