Restored 15 June 2017, originally published 04 June 2014
When the good people at Dusted Wax Kingdom release an album from their talented pool of artists, I always check it out. Always. This week (when this article was originally published), I was pleased to discover Viktor Van River of Kazakhstan on his EP Almost Human.
The first track, appropriately named “Introduction”, threw me for a loop. It starts with a sample I know I’ve heard before (someone suggested Alfred Hitchcock) which says “Just stick that needle in what is known as my flip-side.” The needle thing freaked me out for a second, but when I realized what was going on, the track had already dropped in a sweet bass line oozing with feedback and some dude crooning the word “Monday.” The drums are solid and provide pointed sonic contrast to the bass’ continuous blobbiness (yes, blobbiness). The background is an ever-changing soundscape featuring bells, brass instruments, pianos, harmonicas, samples – the space-y one at 1:52 and again at 2:27 is especially entrancing – and various other elements. It’s a juicy opening track which aptly sets the mood for the rest of the album.
The second track, which shares its title with the album, is hypnotizing. The background is filled with gentle white noise, while in the foreground there’s a heavily, almost harshly, played piano striking somber notes. When the drums come in, they are slow and steady. Soon, there’s a build-up of tension in the form of feedback. When it breaks, we’re met with a hot sample saying, “Welcome to the next level.” The timing and appropriateness of the phrasing drives home the point. A twangy guitar comes for a stretch and leaves entirely too soon. Overall, it’s hard and heavy, yet also a mellifluous track.
You know, hearing the music, its serious yet soothing tones, and thinking about the title bring to mind the idea of a late-night music club for ghosts. And maybe zombies and Frankenstein’s monster.
In all seriousness though, it’s a great album. There’s much that could be said for the last three tracks as well, but I’ll leave them to you to experience.
Viktor Van River – “Introduction”
Viktor Van River – “Almost Human”
Almost Human (EP) release page