KP Transmission/ Омутъ Мора – Split (C60, Ciel Bleu et Petits Oiseaux Records)

ambient, dark ambient, Noise, Review

Honestly, I don’t know much about KP Transmission or Омутъ Мора  besides what I can get from the Internet. KP Transmission is Karina Kazaryan from Moscow and Siberia, a dark ambient and self-described illbient artist; Омутъ Мора (AKA Omut Mora) is a Russian experimental/dark ambient/folk project as described by the artist’s VK profile. KP Transmission has had a couple of releases, mostly splits, and over the years Омутъ Мора has racked up a number of album credits. On this tape split on Ciel Bleu et Petits Oiseaux Records, they both spend about 13 minutes per side.

First up is KP Transmission, and it’s clear how she fits into the illbient subgenre tag; ignorant about what that was, I did a search of the tag to find it was first created to characterize Brooklyn DJs in the 1990s, describing a trend in ambient music that features both ambient atmospheric sounds and accompanying beats. KP Transmission works in dark, noisy textures, sometimes less ambient than they are droning and subtly harsh. The first track, “Pranicheskaya Ataka”, features a rumbling dark tone that marches forward, almost like the sound of a continuous roll on a snare drum with the snares untightened. There’s a quiet bass pulsation moving forward, and KP Transmission works in electronic alarums and gentle maneuverings to add rhythm to the drone.

Her next three tracks almost feel like continuations of each other. “Pristup I” and “Pristup II” are certainly titularly linked, but “Pristup II” has a direct lead-in to the vocal-tinged sounds of the longest track from KP Transmission, “Kain.” “Pristup I” is a crackling tone that continues to disassemble as KP Transmission unfurls ambient textures out of noise; then, “Pristup II” adds a layer of slicing feedback underneath it all that comes and goes within the rhythm.

“Kain” features the most open ambiance of the four tracks, seemingly incorporating found sounds like bird calls, spoken word, and lilting, ghostly melodies that sound slightly muffled; notably, this is a collaboration between the two artists, and it certainly feels very akin to the dual natures of these projects.

KP Transmission’s tracks are often enchanting, and it’s interesting to hear how she works her way through rhythm and noise. These aren’t particularly difficult tracks, and often they can be quite beautiful. But there’s a layer of darkness winding its way through the first pieces that I find particularly attractive.

Омутъ Мора encompasses a similar technique on the second side, starting with “Chernaya Astma.” That’s a crumbling bit of static that eventually morphs into a filtered ambient texture, quite like KP Transmission’s “Pristup” series. The other two tracks are a bit longer to allow for the ambiance sonic space. “Nedra” is a ringing, often shuddering warble that builds to a loud climax in its last minutes, ghostly and sometimes shrill but featuring solid movement throughout – though it ends a bit abruptly. The final track “Kak Cherv” opens with some muffled instrumentation before introducing more sustained notes and echoing plunks in the background. It’s quite a bit different than the previous ambient piece, with a wind instrument carrying a sloppy melody while reverb effects threaten to overtake the sound.

The biggest issue with this release is not the tracks themselves but the C60 tape it comes on; it leaves a lot of blank air towards the end of both sides, and I’m not really sure why that was chosen. Otherwise, though, this split from KP Transmission and Омутъ Мора is a great offering for fans of dark ambient and noise, deserving of a listen.