Boomkat Product Review:
Outstanding, darkly poetic collab from conceptual artist Richie Culver & electronic shapeshifter Pavel Milyakov (Buttechno) - a bloodletting for the times RIYL Blackhaine, Teresa Winter, TG
Landing in the slipstream of Culver’s surprise ace for Superpang, ‘A Change of Nothing’ presents the Hull-based multi-hyphenate meeting an ideally cranky foil in amorphous artist Pavel Milyakov, who relocated from Moscow to Europe with his Ukrainian wife earlier this year for obvious reasons.
Both artists bring their respective realities to the fore in utterly compelling style on ‘A Change Of Nothing’, meshing Culver’s spoken word observations and Max/MSP patches to Milyakov’s ravishing guitar and synth textures in visceral forms that speak vividly to their shared backgrounds in the brutalism of Hull and the former Soviet capital. It’s not a union that we might have readily predicted, but it proves a vital meeting of minds and energies, underlined by a soberly mature emotive intelligence and ability to divine beauty from harshness, or, at the least, a certain artistic truth.
As with Culver’s preceding Blackhaine collab ‘DID U COME YET / I’M NOT GONNA CUM’ and solo debut for Superpang, his lyrics are wryly realist, autobiographical observations on life in Hull, from the perspective of someone who grew up there, but found themselves rotting away, and moved cities to pursue his art, before moving back as a different person, sans addictions. Pavel’s perspective is similar but different, having grown up in Russia during the challenges of the ‘90s, then witnessing an autocratic ruler execute imperialist ambitions, effectively pushing him to abandon his home.
Where that combination of experiences could precipitate sentimentality, the pair hold a to a fine line between catharsis and disciplined restraint in five starkly evocative, open-ended works, with Culver’s unapologetically DOA Humberside vowels uttering junkie proverbs and punchily plaintive observations to Milyakov’s freeform textures. At times resembling the emotive orchestrations of Fennesz, at others like Kevin Drumm’s skull-scrape ambient tones, or with the bite and roil of Shapednoise; it’s a real deal expression of contemporary dread that’s going straight in our special folder of North Sea doom music.