I still find it really mind-boggling (shocking, actually) that Screenatorium a) isn’t HUGE (even though it has a large and dedicated fan base in Russia for whatever reason) and b) is distributing all their music for free. Including this new gem of a release, eagerly awaited by yours truly among many many other fans of quality electronica. I knew I was going to like Flyentists before hearing a single note of it. Djeh & Co is a sure freakin’ bet. Creating a good trip-hop record is a balancing act – limit yourself to minimal beat with some vocals thrown on top and you gonna end up with a forgettable snorefest, a disposable dime-a-dozen Bandcamp fodder. Overload your sound with every single bell and whistle your music-making software is capable of producing and you’ll get an irritating un-listenable mess. Screenatorium can walk this fine line with the eyes closed after 10 shots of tequila. Flyentists is a very slow and quiet record that is also extremely intricate in its construction and… not boring. If it wasn’t for the overall melancholic tone of the album, I would even call it “fun”. But the tone is very gloomy, with the saddest trumpet you’ve ever heard (courtesy of Manu Aurousset), so I’m just going to replace “fun” with “entertaining”. According to Picasso “good artists borrow, great artists steal”, and there isn’t much borrowed in Flyentists. Screenatorium develops the whole “stealing music” concept very cleverly throughout the entire record, and nothing is what it seems. There’s nothing stolen in the opening “Gran Theft Audio” despite the title, but there is a suggestion to “keep a pretty close watch on these guys”, and if you do so you could get tons of extra enjoyment out of Flyentists. And I’m not talking about “Raiders Of The Lost Art” (I might just borrow that title for my next trip-hop mixed CD), where music is crafted from samples from trip-hop dinosaurs of the past and lyrics are quilted from titles if their hits – it’s a “red herring” in the Flyentists’ complicated plot (and I found that particular track more amusing than actually good). I’m talking about tracks like “Hypnosapiens” where all the same trademark elements of trip-hop’s founding fathers – from Archive‘s piano to Morcheeba‘s country guitar are masked so craftily with the sharp beat that we can’t help but fall under the tracks hypnosis (womp-womp)… I’m probably reading way too much into this, but doesn’t the very fact that a trip-hop record can produce such thought process make you want to listen to it, like, RIGHT NOW? It also plays with the concept of time a lot (you can here that clock ticking in more than two tracks), but I will spare my theories here. Nearly every track on the record is pure trip-hop gold, it’s really hard for me to pick favorites (but the title track is undoubtedly one of them). Even the last track – the 29-minute long “Soundtrack Of My Day Vol. 2”, a concept that has all the chances to go wrong – sort of music version of exquisite corpse, where multiple musicians (namely Kesakoo, Superpoze, Berry Weight, Asa Zen’Seï, Degiheugi, Mobster & Mr. Grandin) draw their sketches on the canvas of continuous beat, – ends up being an extremely captivating mini-adventure into sound (I really want to know who picked up the 20-minute mark, because that, my friends, is the work of genius and just that chunk alone makes the whole album worth listening). Get your copy here and don’t forget to thank me later.
R.I.Y.L. Hugo Kant, Alif Tree, Georges Simenon novels
personal favs: “Flyentists”, “Hypnosapiens”, “Soundtrack Of My Day Vol. 2”