Review: Yrii Samoilove – Bad Memory Pillow (Invisible Animals, Sep 15)

Unsurprisingly, the music on Bad Memory Pillow is just as, if not more, cryptic than its enigmatic title and cover art. I don’t know much about Yrii Samoilove—other than that as an artist he is quite prolific, having put out over 19 releases in just the last two years—so I can’t speak to how Bad Memory Pillow fits in with the rest of his discography, but on its own it is a bewildering journey through a very singular method of sound processing. Samoilove’s abstract constructions hover just on the edge of familiarity, but anything organic is coated by a layer of artificiality that causes the music to reside in a sort of sonic uncanny valley. Alien electronic transmissions, distorted low frequency rumbles, and uncanny, organ-like synth patches (or maybe it’s an actual organ that’s been manipulated, I really can’t tell) trace out a space with a distinct structure but barely a semblance of anything recognizable. Also threaded throughout these stuttering, simmering pieces are what sound like field recordings that have been plasticized, stripped of their evocative properties and enclosed in an ersatz shell. I’m still unsure of what Samoilove is referring to with the phrase “bad memory pillow,” but after wading through this bizarre release that’s the least of my concerns.