S. Pakhomov – Insect Cult

Sergey Pakhomov has received what some might see as undue attention on Archaic Triad lately, but there is ample reason for it. Here is another one. With the 3xCDr set Insect Cult, the brilliant Russian has created a truly unsettling piece of extremely low key ambient/HNW/ANW/DNW that should tantalize the tastes of many a harsh noise wallhead. Each track is based on an almost completely monotonous synthesizer drone, overlain with various noises. Awesomely enough, many of these are of the same type as the wet, crackling, mysterious noises used by Pakhomov on the seminal 1 by his project Shishanote (a few copies of which remain available at the time of writing).

This is all very muted and civilized, though the slightly dissonant, droning notes combined with the rasping, bubbling, minimalist noise attack will certainly work the nerves of anyone not really into the genre. Each track is exactly 30 minutes long, and the precise proportion between noise and drone vary. The EQ effect has also been in use, so that lighter, bubblier noises accompany the drone on the first and second tracks, while murky bass dominates the noises on “3” and “4”. This is not absolutely constant, and on “4” there are also small, limited bursts of static intruding into the periphery of the song.

The synth drones, in all their simplicity, are also rather different on each composition. On “5” the sound is pad-like, and has certain qualities similar to dark ambient. Any expectation of the latter is deconstructed through the very peculiar, very concrete and “close”, high pitched but soft noise resting on top of the drone. It sounds like butterflies trying to assault a microphone next to the keyboard, using only their wings as weapons.

“6” pulls a similar stunt, starting up with a synth voice that sounds like it’s about to go epic on yo’ bottom. Almost immediately the butterflies are back, though they’ve brought some of their scratchy, Shishanote friends this time around. This is by far the most dynamic track, with a flanging sound moving about as the untiring synth note and the noise keeps on holding the line, even intensifying at times. Picking a favorite among these tracks is difficult for many reasons, though perhaps the third CDr is the best. Suffice it to say this is an amazing release, which remains a testament to Sergey Pakhomov’s untiring dedication to doing strange things to an already very strange genre. The set is available from Reason Art Records, and it would indeed be great if more people got their wallets out, so we can one day see limitations higher than 15 on great productions such as this.

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