Review: Пустая Волна – Пустая Волна (Бегущий Человек, Jul 24)

Like fellow dial-twiddler and object-botherer Daniel J. Gregory’s album Heard Under Orphan Eyelid, Пустая Волна’s self-titled debut tape (the name, appropriately, translates to “Empty Wave”) feels simultaneously active and passive, participatory in the most understated and innocuous of ways, small but noticeable kinks injected into apathetic everyday occurrences. “Пустая Волна,” the eponymous multi-part piece that comprises the majority of the release, is an extended radio improvisation that feels densely physical, as if we’re placed inside the car or small room in which the dead air and garbled voices are actually located. Interludes such as “Код 112” provide spatial and textural diversity between the successive segments, turning the lens toward wider public areas and hints at more sweeping expanses before diving back into the static-soaked sarcophagus. Parts five through eight may be the strongest slice of the extended centerpiece track, each individual fraction uniquely illustrating the amazing, diverse sublimities that can be coaxed from such a simple process: empty frequencies hypnotize ghost-tones and other hallucinations into unsuspecting heads, a motorcycle ignition is briefly fiddled with, and just about all of language itself breaks down, all within the confines of the aforementioned vessel, the identity of which likely to remain unknown. The “Звуковой Объект” (“Sound Object”) series brings further complexity to the table, and it’s the first section that provides the most enduring contextual basis for the whole release: Пустая Волна, whomever they are, is both portable recorder–toting field recordist and active musician, creating their own self-contained, imperfect environments that tightly focus even the most inconsequential of sonorities, whether they are produced, observed, or both.