Review: Согра – Кудрявая кассета (Sketchbook Sounds, Mar 11)

I don’t speak or read Russian, and as we all know Google Translate can be pretty suspect, but to the best of my knowledge the single phrase that adorns the page for Кудрявая кассета roughly translates to “a few jammed moments…,” which seems pretty appropriate (the title itself means “curly cassette”). From what I can discern, Согра (“Sogra” in English) is one of the many aliases of sound artist Vitaly Maklakov, who also releases music as Light Collapse, Obozdur, Corpuscle, and many other monikers. Far from the subversive lo-fi wall noise of his untitled CD on Perpetual Abjection a month ago, Maklakov’s new digital release for The Sketchbook Sounds (which may or may not be also run by him) consists of more than a few jammed moments; it’s a set of two 25-minute tracks of soupy tape manipulation and effects pedal fuckery, materializing in some elusive no-man’s land between earthy and ethereal. “A” begins with a torrent of looping feedback that steadily becomes fuzzier and quirkier before dissolving into an undammed flow of indiscernible tape recordings and hiss, a hypnotic current within which time seems to stand still. The ascending and descending layers of “B” are even more fitting for the release’s titular quality, as tendrils of warbly electronica twist and tangle around each other.

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