3 in from School of the Arts, Barcelona, via Stellage in Moscow! On hand, & shipping immediately
by Ivan Zoloto
Black cassettes in clear cases, dubbed and assembled in Barcelona and Saint Petersburg. Covers printed on Risograph by Risiko Press in Antwerp, and by Esh Print in Moscow. Each copy is unique and numbered by hand. Unlimited edition
Ivan Zoloto, a Karelian musician and artist based in Barcelona is releasing his new album “Pleasure Prison” on the freshly-minted label School of the Arts. Recommended if you like: dark drone and ambient, experimental electronics, raw minimalism, noise, and free-floating strings.
Just like Zoloto’s previous release, “Ghosting” on the Russian CANT label, “Pleasure Prison” is deeply immersed in psychogeography: before relocating to Spain just before the pandemic the artist has been constantly on the move. The new long-play has been composed and recorded in Russia and China but finalized in Barcelona. It’s important to note that there are no field recordings, but some of the compositions have been recorded live and later reassembled in the studio.
The title track is a 35-minute-long composition for laptop, live electronics, and an improvising violinist. It was recorded with Russian-Finnish multi-instrumentalist Sasha Kretova in Petergof, with Zoloto performing in his favorite mode: as a dub engineer, with a laptop, a mixing desk, and some Soviet and handmade effects. It fuses his two main passions together: the raw and improvised side of drone music (think Vibracathedral Orchestra) and heavily processed electronics moving at a glacial pace with distant bass explosions.
Tracks “Problem no. 1” and “The Door Is Open” document Zoloto exploring another side of his heritage: here he’s playing jouhikko, a Karelian-Finnish bowed lyre, in a very aggressive and rude manner. He then treats it via half-broken tape recorders, conjuring some funeral noise-folk dirges.
The “Voice Message”/”Elevator Scene” suite starts off with LSS (also known as L.I.E.S.-affiliated artist 51717) whispering “pleasure prison” in a Facebook voice message and follows that with almost-techno-sounding hi-hats, ice-cold chords, and crude electronic loops performed live in Shanghai through assorted guitar amps. The result has been described by one listener as “Tim Hecker meets Hijokaidan”.
The overall mood is summarized in the following epigraph:
“I drive around the perimeter of the city like a dog marking its territory, over bridges and under bridges, the way I used to stalk the edges of my small hometown. This is mine. Nothing bad will happen here if I patrol the streets like a crazed vigilante. I drive my mother's car like it's a Panzer and the streets are my enemy, and I'm feeling bad and stupid and mean.”
⏤ Miriam Toews
Ivan Zoloto: electronics, CPU, strings (2–3), tape (2–3)
Sasha Kretova: violin (1, 6)
LSS: voice (4)
Dale Cornish: CPU (6)
"Pleasure Prison" recorded by Dmitri Zherbin in Petergof at Horizon Festival, 2017. "Problem no. 1" and "The Door Is Open" recorded in Barcelona, 2020. "Elevator Scene" recorded by Gabriele de Seta in Shanghai at B64, 2016. Voice message by LSS sent over Facebook in 2018. Mastered by Moa Pillar. Artwork by Jonatan Florez.