Stanislav Tolkachev needs little introduction: a true techno pioneer from Ukraine, decidedly admired by the top DJs in the genre. His music, authentically eccentric, delves into far-flung experimentation which makes it some of the most inaccessible out there. Yet it has captivated minds and electrified dance floors from its beginning.
Stanislav has released on a plethora of labels which issue dark hypnotic, psychedelic cuts - from the well-renowned Semantica and M_REC LTD, to lesser-known labels like, Pohjola, Energun and more recently the emerging Moscow-based, Ghost Instrument. When I saw Tolkachev was going to be releasing on Mord I guess I was a little surprised at first – how’s his eerie minimalism going to fit to a label identified with a full-throttle industrial sound? But then recalling the abrasiveness and paranoia in releases like Echologist’s Inside Dimensions EP and Radial’s Inverso Mundi, and reacquainting myself with hard-hitting tracks like, ‘That’s Where The Dog is Buried’ and ‘Song about my Neighbours’, I guess Tolkachev is a perfect fit for a label that’s taken a spotlight in 2016 for its sonic range and incredible unforgiving techno.
Sure, a lot of the tracks on this album are similar to much of what he’s done before. But, Tolkachev is a highly distinctive artist who’s already displayed unquestionable creativity ability in the uniqueness of his sound and the variety of compositional structures. This is definitely not an album intending to push any of this further. There’s no pointed new direction – I think for such an unconventional artist, such intentions aren’t chosen. Tolkachev doesn’t have a set of parameters from which he works, and the sense of the surprise you get in each track allows each to be appreciated in and of itself. The album is a whole-bodied insight into the mind of an artist relishing in playfully twisted techno.
This playfulness comes out in the bounciness of ‘Apexcordis’ and is literally in full swing in ‘Five Grams Will Be Okay’, with its pulsating off-kilter kicks, creepy atonal synths and provocative jabs. The intensity of the album is set up nicely with the progressively polyrhythmic title track, followed by ‘Mostly Harmless’ unleashing a disarray of wretched plucking, escalating kick drums and typical atonal keys, that, while continuing the dizzying pace of the album, could actually work as a nice builder in a club setting. ‘Disposable Killer’ on the other hand is full-out agitated Tolkachev: eerie synths, jagged syncopation and scathing hi-hats.
As dynamic as the album is, I would say it lacks the emotional sentimentality that dwells in previous ambient excursions. Nowhere do we feel the perplexing calm of ‘In The Rays Of The Artificial Sun’ or ‘Optical Illusions’, nor do we experience the melancholy of ‘Path’. Instead the album is typified by the unnerving dread of ‘See You Tomorrow’. And, of the other ambient cuts we do get, ‘Vat I Vse’ is the only one displaying any kind of serenity; yet, coming across like an experiment in creating bleepy soundscapes, it lacks sincerity. What the album lacks in ambience, it does make up for in affective abrasiveness, so typical of the label here welcoming Stanislav to their roster.
As with every Tolkachev release, I think there can be unified agreement on the brilliance of his track titles! A final note should point to the well suited album cover - one of Stanislav’s own photos capturing the paranoid aesthetic that has come to typify his music, (as non-descriptive as that comment may be)!
By Fred Day | Loose Lips
A3 When You Are Not At Home
B1 Mostly Harmless
C2 Disposable Killer
D1 And Then She Fell
D2 Five Grams Will Be OK
E2 The Story Of Someone
E3 See You Tomorrow?
E4 A Small Fortune
F2 Vot I Vse