Review: Foresteppe – Mæta (Eilean, Jul 7)

I first came across Foresteppe, the alias of Siberian musician Egor Klochikhin, through his collaborative EP with you c, Seven Sleepers. The hypnotic atmosphere created by his reel-to-reel tape loops drew me in instantly, and led me to discover other great releases on the short-lived label ШАΛАШ, including Foresteppe’s other album with Bisamråtta and Nikita Bondarev’s epic three tape set Untitled. Mæta is Klochikhin’s newest release, and sees him finally reaching the full potential of his unique musical toolkit without assistance from collaborators. He’s come a long way since No Time to Hurry; here, the loops are the driving force on the tracks, providing a woozily beautiful basis for added layers of metallophone, bells, synth, and strings. Each section of the fifty-eight minute album is lush in such a delicate way, the pieces floating along at a reserved pace, with new elements naturally fading in and out and introducing just enough variation to remain engaging. Mæta is only as substantial as you want it to be; it’s just as well-suited for background music for reading or studying as it is for focused, active listening. It’s quite the achievement to make such a quiet ambient album so enthralling; the stylistic honing Klochikhin has been performing since he began making music has paid off in the best way. I can’t wait to fall asleep to this tonight and then wake up to it tomorrow.