TheLetterElectronic Music Guide

Atom TM & Lisokot - Walzerzyklus
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Like a zany stage production for home entertainment, Walzerzyklus or "Waltz Cycle" from AtomTM & Lisokot is a thoughtfully conceived and carefully orchestrated EP that weaves together various ideas to form a cohesive whole. Some of the press release blurb proves worthwhile reading to set the scene:

Winter, or a time which represents that season, in a metropole that appears to be Moscow. The visitor is taking metro no. 6 at Leninsky Prospect as he is on his way to the ballroom close to Gorky Park. The air is icy, the sky is grey. A cat, previously hidden among the dirty snow, is crossing his way. The closer he gets to his destination, the clearer he can hear music, music that reminds him of future days.

The dimly lit room is only sparsely filled. On stage a graceful singer, capturing the room with her presence. Captive voices merge with chords played on yet unknown instruments – machine rhythms cycle in 3/4 time. The vigorous peasant dancers, following an instinctive knowledge of the weight of fall, utilize their surplus energy to press all their strength into the proper beat of the measure, thus intensifying their personal enjoyment in dancing. Here, in the transhuman ballroom, time stands still and values are being dissolved by numeric progressions. Spiritually allied, the visitor, the singer and the peasant dancers short-circuit the present moment while the last falling snow slowly turns into rain.

So, the graceful singer is Russian performance artist Varya Pavlova, aka Lisokot and the visitor is German abstract Electronic visionary Uwe Schmidt, aka AtomTM and together their paths spiritually cross, resulting in a magical music made for dancing.

The music they're making is repetitive, as indicated by the track lengths, ordered in the following sequence, which represents the ¾ time signature found in a classic waltz:

Track title Track length
Leitmotif I 2:00
Transhuman Melody 3:00
Be Bop a Lula 3:00
Leitmotif II 2:00
Maschinenwalzer 3:00
Alliiertenwalzer 3:00
Leitmotif III 2:00

And this cyclic concept is continued with the identical hiss of white noise on the opening and closing tracks, making it quite easy to listen to the seven tracks on loop and get lost in the exquisite melodies and scintillating electronics.

With her haunting, operatic-tinged vocals Lisokot adds a regal sense of majesty fitting for a modern-day period drama, bolstered by AtomTM's fine control of cutting edge sounds and effects - a mashup we need to hear more of. Even the update of the Gene Vincent classic Be Bop a Lula makes contextual sense. It's all wonderfully weird but never silly - just the type of thing we should expect from AtomTM.

To top everything off, the pair have produced an accompanying art work that contains a vast level of absorbing detail. Beyond the obvious contemporary take on traditional Flemish outfits and masterpiece painting composition, there's many finer notes to provoke discussion, like the tuning fork, the glass sphere, the mismatching reflection in the spectacles, the weird triple orbs to the top left, the elongated coke can, the black pyramid... the list goes on! What does it all mean? I'm revelling in it.

Atom TM & Lisokot

  • Rating: 10/10
  • Listens: 22
  • Highlight: Maschinenwalzer
  • Label: Raster
  • Release Date: Digital and CD - 8th Dec 2017, Vinyl - 12th Jan 2018

Walzerzyklus is the third and final part of Atom TMs Raster series, initiated with Liedgut and followed by Winterreise. It's already out on digital and CD but a special, laser-engraved vinyl edition limited to 300 copies will be available on 12th January.

Atom TM & Lisokot - Walzerzyklus

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