Thursday, 15 August 2013

Review: Хладогорье / Hladogorie (Cold Mountains)

Родных просторов вольный глас (Rodnyh prostorov vol'nyj glas) (2008)
I download a lot of music; many albums fall by the wayside after the first listen, never to be heard again, whilst others manage to find a foothold in the crevices of my brain, and become favourites to be enjoyed again and again. It is safe to say that this release falls firmly in the latter group, and has become one of my most listened-to releases in this genre.

Хладогорье / Hladogorie (the name means Cold Mountain(s) in English) hail from Russia and this 3-track EP/demo was their only release, though their Myspace page has another track from a "upcoming album" that presumably never happened.

Musically this is another artist that falls somewhere between Dungeon Synth and Winter Synth; whilst it does feature some of the bolder rhythmic elements of DS these are fairly muted, and the whole atmosphere is that of the natural world, with samples of insect noises and birdsong providing background texture to the synth melodies.

There is more than a hint of New Age music to the synth sounds, something that I often pick up in this area of music (in fact I think the term "Dark Age" would be a good catch-all phrase for both Dungeon Synth and Winter Synth, but I digress). This is especially evident on the final track, with an especially New Age-sounding synthesized Pan flute sound.

Providing rhythmic accents to the music are various percussion instruments, ranging from deep but muted timpani to high rasping guiros. These percussive elements never overwhelm the drifting melodies however, and the whole EP has a very relaxed and atmospheric feel.

This great EP/demo can now be streamed or downloaded for free from the Dungeon Lore Bandcamp page, where the bandname and song titles are presented as English translations (something I strongly disagree with - I prefer transliteration):