Artemiy Artemiev


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In mid-2002, Artemiy Artemiev simultaneously released a handful of collaborations (four, to be exact). This one, with England's gothic new age project Karda Estra, is the most unexpected and satisfactory of the lot. Sure, it does not stand as the Russian electronician's most cutting-edge work. Honestly, on listening to it one could not care less. Equilibrium is a brilliant album of spacy pieces with gothic and soft prog rock overtones. Artemiev provides most of the background textures: vaporous synths, slightly disquieting samples and atmospheres, occasional electronic percussion. Karda Estra's main man, Richard Wileman, adds soft guitar lines, usually slow melodies faded in with a volume pedal and soundscape loops -- think of Richard Pinhas' softer music. Iliesha Bailey provides wordless vocals on some tracks (especially the opener, "Preliminary Steps") and Caron Hansford some oboe and English horn. The title track reaches a surprising level of inner piece, shimmering delicately. "The Curtain Falls" brings the collaboration to a close, both artists' roles firmly camped. This is beautiful music, slow-flowing, intelligent, and creative, yet very easy to listen to. It can have the lightness of a Gandalf flute melody or the darkness of Peter Frohmader's basslines, all in the same 20-minute track. Recommended.

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