Boomkat Product Review:
Returning from a self-imposed musical hiatus, Silvia Kastel materialises on YOUTH with a long-incubated follow-up to her 2017 'Air Lows’ album for Blackest Ever Black. It’s an oddly rendered trio of soundscapes somewhere in the vicinity of Madalyn Merkey, Lucy Duncombe or Maja SK Ratkje - beatless - and far from straightforward.
Inspired by Toshiya Sukegawa’s Bioçic Music series, which Kastel describes as both calming and eerie, ‘Mantide’ manifests a mix of raw directness and conceptual subtext. Featuring loud birdsong recorded outside her Berlin apartment, Kastel foregrounds her subjects against strafing choral motifs in a way that refuses to inhabit new age environmentalism. It’s all genuinely unsettling - on paper it reads like a calming listen, but instead plays into something much more angsty, and hard to define.
On 'Spoons' Kastel takes pointers from electronic music pioneer Carl Stone (who is supposedly working on his own version of the track for future release), as well as "Îles Resonantes", a short documentary about Éliane Radigue. It’s a slowly keening smear of quizzical chords and ribboning tendrils that wrap up into what she intends to “sound and feel like a long goodbye hug…surging and overdriven at times, quiet and soft at others… “
Xantharmony closes the EP on its weirdest flex, constructed entirely out of layered and processed vocal elements. It recalls Lucy Duncombe’s clipped theatric melodrama and Maja Ratkje’s more guttural vocal acrobatics, but follows its own hackle-raising logic, acting more like a cue, or trigger, for sudden and overwhelming feelings of unease.
And in our book - that’s high endorsement for continued, closer listening.