Review: The Snail – Mgnovenie (Shift Lines, Aug 9)

The first release from Russian CDr imprint Shift Lines since 2019, Mgnovenie is the second release by mysterious project The Snail in 2021, and perhaps in any year, since I can’t find anything before Zaimka’s Vnevremennoe in April. It was most likely produced using a similar approach as that tape, which was “designed to periodically slow down the passage of time. The ability to stop and stare at the pixels of everyday life smeared on tape. The author of the project captures unique situational soundscapes. Recording is made directly to the master tape in an accelerated high-speed mode. Then the recording is replicated on cassettes in real time. No mastering is applied.” The normal, and therefore slowing (snail-ing?), playback of the material creates a multitude of strange effects that embed themselves deeply within wider currents: lethargic churns and lo-bit warbles the dense soup from which all other elements sluggishly surface. Many stretches of Mgnovenie tend toward the familiar sonic profile of wall noise, settling into moody, muddy, stagnant sewer slithers in between unpredictable disruptions of reverb-drenched clangs and hornets-nest hums. Something to get more than lost in: more like submerged, entombed, tar-fossilized. Also, if anyone knows what the hell that thing on the cover is (because I’m pretty sure it’s not a snail), please enlighten me.

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