Info Unfathomless U05 Zeltini 
by Revenant
Unfathomless (U05)
"Zeltini [edit 1]"
"Zeltini [edit 2]"

Revenant's URL


fn issue October 2011
'N-Plants' - Biosphere
'Sky Snails' - The Electric Golem
'Echo Park' - Willamette
'Gramophone Transmissions' - Broken Harbour
'Negative Space' - Blue Sausage Infant
'Home Patterning' - compilation
'Polychromatic Integers' - Richard Lainhart
'Generate Records' - compilation
'Sung In Broken Symmetry' - Aquarelle

Revenant is an open-membership project involving a shifting cast of location recording specialists. On this occasion it comprised ever-present John Grzinich, with co-workers Maksims Shentelevs, Eamon Sprod, Kaspars Kalninsh and Felicity Mangan. The eponymous informing environment of Zeltini is an abandoned former Soviet army base in a Latvian forest - large horizontal bunkers where missiles were stored, one of which was used in a semi-transcendental experience in which the participants dispersed in almost total darkness, “feeling my way through the space by hand and by ear,” as Sprod remarks.

No instrumentation is mentioned, a notation on the sleeve stating, “Final piece edited from 4 synchronized binaural recordings”. There’s a prevailing oppressive note, the mind's eye filling the ear with images of cold, clammy surfaces, enmossed walls, moribund machinery. Movements through the bunker space are heard, diverse toyings with various found objects - glass, stones metal. Not a random scattering of debris, but listening and interacting with each other and creating music with non-musical objects. There are ineffable overtones to be found here (wind? pipe blowing?), enhancing textural variegation. The keynote sound is a dull, metallic drone, as if there were a sputtering engine at work somewhere down the corridors and the clanking of light metal objects, linked like chains, skittering across the foreground ("Zeltini [edit 1]"). Small rhythms unearth themselves: soft-mallet taps with a vaguely gamelan feel, faint voices, and, what's this? A jew’s harp? Yes indeed - strumming away in a loose rhythm ("Zeltini [edit 2]"), lending a rare moment of primitive melody, continuing for the final section of the work, accompanied by mounting clatter, till a slow dissolve of sounds amid the mechanical chirps and the inevitable aqueous sloshes. Zeltini is the most 'live' sounding and least treated of the whole Unfathomless bunch, and, as such, proves to be somewhat short on those unfathomable mysterious moments and tracts that characterises the best of what is otherwise a compelling series of audio documents.

Review by Alan Lockett


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