“Pastoral” reviewed by Resonant Strata

“Pastoral” from Arturas Bumsteinas the latest release on the portuguese Crónica label starts off quite eerie. A haunting piece called “Boletus Satanas” offers exactly what the title suggests: A sonic exploration that oscillates between field recordings, shamanic rituals and drones forming a dark and brooding sound monolith. Voices whisper and mumble in the background, slowed down noises echo left and right, while woodwind and brass instruments resonant and swell in a constant stream.

Dough, the second track, presents itself in a lighter mood. Situated somehwere between textural works in the vein of La Monte Young and early free jazz recordings, Dough is a live recording of a small ensemble – disjointed rhythms flicker in the background, strings clash against eather other forming dissonant clusters.Although being based on samples, the third piece titled “Violin, Viola & Untitled” sounds more like an early study in synthesized sounds. Whirring tones, beating harmonics shifting against each other forming a dense textural cloud.

After those three intense pieces, Bumsteinas closes the album with a soothing meandering 24 minutes long drone track that ventures along beautiful harmonics and provides a perfect counterpoint to the more intense first half of the album.

At first “Pastoral” might seem to lack a little structure or direction, but the different approaches complement each quite well making Pastoral a really stunning work. Arturas Bumsteinas’ “Pastoral” is a brillant joyride through various themes of modern and post modern music ranging from drone works and ensemble recordings to dense atonal textures. As usual Crónica doesn’t disappoint and releases a great album that shows how important well curated labels are. Given the fact that this release is available for free and for donation, this shouldn’t be missing in any record collection.

via Resonant Strata

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