Artemiy Artemiev

Transfiguration

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In 2002, the Russian composer Artemiy Artemiev released his second collaboration with Peter Frohmader, Germany's master of dark ambient. Recorded over 11 months by sending the tapes back and forth by mail, the album follows the same vein established in the 2000 CD Space Icon. Artemiev brings in lush keyboard patches, eerie singing voice samples, and drum programming. Frohmader adds more keyboards and samples, plus occasional guitar and bass (although he has been downplaying the latter lately). Transfiguration presents five pieces. Despite their numerated titles, they don't form a single work, although the mood remains rather homogeneous. Space Icon came very close to a space rock affair, but this one plays it smoother, abandoning hypnotic beats and swirls in favor of more complex and rich textures. The music gains depth, but it doesn't completely fill the gap left by what's been lost in excitement. The 30-minute "Transfiguration V" is a good example: The keyboard textures are lush, but the occasional beat sequences and recurring sound elements (a short twinkle, particularly) are enough to justify the duration. The album still has its good moments ("Transfiguration I" and "Transfiguration IV," both song-like), but it feels a bit weak coming from these two artists.

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