Kedr Livanskiy

Ariadna

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Russian indie electronic artist Kedr Livanskiy (real name: Yana Kedrina) first came to public attention with her 2015 single "Sgoraet" and 2016 EP January Sun, both of which combined lo-fi house and jungle beats with a distinctive pop sensibility, resulting in extremely catchy Russian-language electropop tunes covered in wintry layers of echo. After January Sun received critical acclaim, Livanskiy toured extensively and upgraded her musical equipment. Instead of composing and recording everything using software program Ableton, she has a small arsenal of Roland and Korg synthesizers, allowing music-making to become more interactive. As such, the tracks on Ariadna are a bit more polished and vibrant than Livanskiy's earlier material, and certainly don't sound as frostbitten, even if chilly reverb is still present. This time out, the beats aren't quite as booming, and they lean toward electro as well as house -- there's no jungle this time around. The opening title track combines punchy beats with swirling synths and an infectious vocal hook, instantly capturing the listener's attention. The following tracks continue featuring haunting melodies, cold synth tones, and shadowy vocals, conveying feelings of isolation and longing. Eventually the album becomes a bit more playful -- "ACDC" unexpectedly features an echo-shrouded Martin Newell reciting a familiar William Blake poem before giving way to bouncy, chunky breakbeats and slightly trance-like synths. "Za Oknom Vesna" and "Love & Cigarettes" are also upbeat, tempo-wise, but there's still a persistent feeling of being subdued or shut out, as if Livanskiy is attempting to use dancing as a form of escape, but can never quite shake the loneliness. As with January Sun, Ariadna is a powerful, instantly memorable work from an exceptional artist. [The CD edition of Ariadna generously includes the entirety of the January Sun EP, which is nearly the same duration as Ariadna itself.]

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