Russian Girls Night - спокойствиe
(2013 Lo-Fi By Default)
Here's an example of one of those short EPs that you'll listen to, puzzle over and accept as beautiful over and over again. спокойствиe is the debut release by Kansas' Russian Girls Night, the dynamic duo of Taylor Munroe and Lo-Fi By Default label founder James Collver. It's a fractured, possibly hurried effort that packs multiple ideas into songs that rarely stretch over two minutes long, yet that's where the entertaining aspect of the EP lies: in finding the gaps between ambient experiments and shoegazey soundbites and embracing their all-consuming dreamy noisiness.
The album title translates to the English word "calm", an astute description of the 5 songs on display here. The title track opens things, bursting to life with whirling, gelatinous ambience. It reminds me of the soundtrack to one of those nature documentaries you'd watch at school, where sped-up video of a flower blooming is shown on screen. Monroe's wife Inna makes a guest appearance in this song, doing a spoken word voice-over. I don't know any Russian, so I can't tell you what she's saying, but it sure sounds nice. The shoegazey "Bering Strait" follows, sounding much like Wild Nothing covering My Bloody Valentine, with a nice balance between cavernous reverb and vacuum cleaner-like noise. Next up is "Слава", featuring Ilya Shipkin, vocalist for lo-fi folk project The Floor's Trick. It's the most accessible track, centered around a laid-back, minimalist guitar groove. Finishing the EP are "UVB 76" and "Rasputin", the first of which is a haunting instrumental built from simple synth strains and samples, very reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. "Rasputin" begins similarly, but surprises by breaking down into a cacophony of techno madness. Don't let the length of спокойстви fool you, there's a lot of substance in this relatively short listen.