Bitum - Raskolnikov [Reason Art Records - 2016]Raskolnikov is a two C50 set from Russian walled noise project Bitum, and it’s themed around the infamously bleak-yet- Philosophical novel Crime & Punishment by respected 19th-century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Crime & Punishment was first published in 1866 and has gone on to become one of most celebrated of Dostoyevsky's works. It tells the story of Rodion Raskolnikov- an impoverished ex-student who decided to kill a pawnbroker. The book focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Raskolnikov about the murder, as well as his capture & sentenced to eight years of penal servitude for the crime. I’ve not read the book myself, but I know it’s universal prised for its portrayal of crime & it’s impact. This release features four twenty five minute tracks, that bring together barren & often skeletal bass bound ‘walls’, which are ribbed moody & at times creatively textural detail.
Bitum is one of the projects Sergey Pakhomov – an Elektrostal based noisemaker, who over the last year or so has been gaining a fair bit of praise within the walled noise scene. His other projects included- Train Cemetery, Kara, Serp, he is also the mind behind Reason Art records, that put out this release. The Bitum project has been active since December 2016, and has thus far put out around ten releases- taking in stand-alone releases & splits- either in cassette or digital form.
The four tracks here are simply listed as parts I- IV, and each is as grim & hope grinding as the next. Starting off the release we have “Part I”, and this sees a bleakly heady blend of a central low-end rumble ‘n’ roast, with gritty & thinner static jitter, and taut insectile like scrapings. The track sets the tone for the rest of the release nicely- and lets you know you're going to get bone & hope grinding wall-craft all the way.
“Part II”- sees the crudely skeletal meeting of slightly beaded & deep motor purr ‘n’ judder, with constantly rattling & cutting junk metal sub tones. This track really feels akin to being dragged along behind an antiquated motorbike at high speeds- with your face & head get slowly mangled, ripped, and torn by the rough & pot marked road.
Moving onto "Part III", and this ‘wall’ feels a slightly more bleakly moody, open & murkily hazed in its feel. We get a constantly rolling drone of blunt & muffled low-end, which is played over by a subtle shifting select of smaller snapping, popping, and scrapping textures. This track feels akin to the sonic equivalent to been lost & overwhelmed in a nerve whipping, fleshing stinging, and eye-blinding snow storm. Towards the mid-way point, the low-end seemingly get more compacting & grinding in it’s feel, while the snapping/popping textures become rougher.
And last of the second side of tape two we have "Part IV"- and with this ‘wall’ we find of deep ‘n’ continual pelting grind of the low-end, topped with thinner & subtle shifting network of rattle, jumps, and judders. By the mid-way point, the rattle & jumps have become a lot thicker in their attack- bringing together a feel of both barren dragging, amped-up fire noises, and crude cluttering.
Fitting the themes of Crime & Punishment Raskolnikov is a bleak, starkly chilling & bitterly hope-less venture into unforgiving walled –noise. Yet for all, it’s crushing & feasting presence, Pakhomov managers to inbred each of the four tracks with both a feeling of atmosphere & entrancement.