Boomkat Product Review:
Holy moly! Ukrainian/Estonian archival label Shukai extend unmissable introductions to Valentina Goncharova’s incredibly free synthesis of electro-acoustic, noise and new age tropes in a frankly jaw-dropping first compendium of her work - highly recommended to disciples of Pauline Oliveros, Deathprod, Daphne Oram, Michael Ranta, Keiji Haino
Recorded between Tallinn and London during the late ‘80s and into early ‘90s, but sounding like it came from another time and planet entirely, Goncharova’s music is little short of elemental genius. These 10 tracks mark the first time we’ve even come across her work, and serves to pitch us into a deeply personalised, worldly style of composition that draws as much from conservatory classical as deviant contemporary composition, jazz, and DIY experimentation. It’s a whole musical world unto itself, brought to life with an abundance of textures, tones, and unusual spaces that speak to a richly curious mind steeped in the convention-challenging examples of C.20th composition from Stockhausen, Boulez, and Xenakis, yet dead keen to push deep into her own world.
The sort of stuff that makes following strange electronic music so rewarding, Goncharov’s ‘Recordings 1987 - 1991 Vol. 1’ frame an artist operating far beyond the usual hotspots of modern composition. From formative studies as a violinist under soviet rule, in Kyiv then Leningrad, Goncharov’s interests in rock and jazz led her beyond the conservatoire to somewhere far more interesting. Embracing tapes and electronics as well as her violin in a highly disciplined, improvised pursuit of creative freedom, Gonacharova developed a musical language of her own that’s remarkably only now coming to a wider light.
With a singular democracy of space and the frequency spectrum, Goncharova renders a series of vivid musical ecologies ranging from eschatological drone (’Symphony of Wind’) to iridescent ambient magick (‘Higher Frequencies’) and simply incomparable hybrids of opera, feral free jazz and spectralist tekkers such as the 18’ of ‘Metamorphoses,’ but proving just as adept at taut, locked-in minimalism (‘Contemplation’) and cosmic doom jazz (‘Dynamics’.) Heads will fall off necks after this one, simply a doozy for anyone whose tastes dwell at the outer limits.