Finding hope in a Dystopian future with the Nowhere EP

Russian producer Evgenii Popov paints a bleak, grayscale world of the not-too-distant future with his new release- Nowhere EP. An uncluttered sonic approach, utilizing mostly his modular synth to drive the album, creates a cohesive and convincing landscape of deserted dissonance, rich arpeggiations, and even some glimmers of hope.

The EP opens with the track ‘hiding from the storm’ which gradually introduces the listener to this kind of post- apocalyptic reality. With subdued pads and and filter sweeps gradually giving way to rich stabs of electricity, the track feels warm but with an underlying air of instability.

’White Sun’ builds on this false sense of security with an almost inviting first couple minutes of slowly morphing synths and deep reverberations. But this is not the world we once knew, and just as quickly a maelstrom of electronic modulations are unleashed upon the unsuspecting listener. All the while Popov maintains a solid balance of rich melodies amongst the arpeggiated chaos.

Lastly ‘bridges’ leads us through an epic 9 minute journey of peaks and troughs complete with otherworldly voicings and delayed serpentine synthesis. At moments it feels as though this is just a dead end, and humanity is destined for disaster. But the contemplative and melancholic last few minutes hint at a sense of resolve and even hope for the future. A future that perhaps we are heading aimlessly towards, but we are certainly heading somewhere.

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Get to know yourself with Semena Mertvykh's debut EP

There is a sense of resigned solitude on Semena Mertvykh’s debut EP. It’s a feeling not uncommon in Russian art, where Mertvykh hails from, and it fits quite well with the thick, syrupy detuned chords that sludge their way through the EP. Those chords, echoing the same analog synth patch techniques of Boards of Canada, are sometimes harmonic, sometimes slightly dissonant, but always lonely. Perhaps it makes sense, then, for Mertvykh to not only self-release this EP, but self-title it as well. Even in the video for ‘Decay’, the airiest of the tracks that reminds me of Dedekind Cut’s more recent work, not a single soul is visible. Clearly, this is music made for the self — self-reflection, self-evaluation, self-control, self-actualization. Watch the video for Decay above, and you’ll see. Just make sure to do it by yourself.

You can check out the rest of the EP as well on Spotify, or pay what you want to download on Bandcamp.

— review by autonomy

Semena Mertvykh on the web: