THE WIRE (u-cover version)
His work has a Biosphere-like iciness that suggests deep-space psychic isolation rather than flashy sci-fi, along with a faint whiff of nostalgia for an age when we all thought we’d get to go up in a rocket one day. What sets Gagarin apart is the ease with which he improvises with a small range of materials; small clusters of notes are configured into melodic themes and variations, samples are constantly worried at with filters, reverbs and delays, and the complex, skittering electronic rhythms are the result of hand percussion techniques applied to midi drum pads. Often these beats are surprisingly street and tuff, flirting with trance, drum ‘n’ bass and particularly Grime, yet refracted through an abstract, chilly sensibility that both entices and unsettles.
Glitchy beats, nice ambient touches and moody melodies. Some quite lovely drifting moments and glimpses that make it stand out from the crowd making new genres like this. 8/ 10
THE WIRE (Geo version)
Originally prototyped as a CDR on the innovative U-cover former Ludus drummer Graham Dowdall's latest solo release has an asymmetric feel to it. Neovo 5-10 is all busyness and suspended effect nagging at the attention, grabbing the listeners ear and then refusing to disclose anything. Its hard at such monents not to feel like an intruder - the working of electronic rhythms can become that introspective and intense. For every slow and easy exhalation like 120cms theres a thrusting and jagged Merkage to keep you at arms length. Things grow a little more relaxed on Sullum Voe and Biodaig.
Listening to an album so full of micro-sounds and disciplined melodic layers, requires a high fidelity system or a tranquil listening on headphones. It is in fact the little digital inserts and the elaborate velvet textures of the beat to catalise the attention of “Ard Nev”.
When I was at school our music teacher used to play us Stockhausen. Annoyingly, if Mr Jackson heard Gagarin, he’d say it was low culture and (more than likely) “Complete B*ll*cks”. And yet it’s the same ballpark - Arhythmical and often Atonal soundscapes that perplex and fascinate - conforming to all genres and none. At times, it sounds like dirty garage and at others like the soundtrack to a coma - ethereal yet unsettling covering the whole spectrum of audible tone.
Gagarin plays synthesizers and drum machines and creates highly moody electronic music, which is never far away from the likes on Expanding Records or Highpoint Lowlife. Highly melodic, highly moody and melancholic. He created however a great album. (FdW)4
The melodic atmospheres and minimalist sonic landscapes show a cinematic touch. Low deep programming of electronic percussion. He is in the superleague of British IDM.
This amazing album is based around some exquisite melodious atmospheric textures and equally mesmerizing beats.
“Ard Nev” is an exceptional example of how warm electronic melodies and beat-driven electronica can work together to produce a beautiful collection of haunting and poignant cinematic ambiance.
Also reviewed in Raveline (Ger ), Blow Up (Italy), Free Music (Czech), BLACK (GER)