Review: Surprisingly, Space of Variants' latest limited edition CD release doesn't come from boss man Sergey Barkalov (AKA Mr Cloudy), but rather a previously unheard talent. DAS is Andrew Korotkov, a Russian producer from Lipsetsk city. Musically, he inhabits similar sonic waters to Barkalov, delivering long, slowly shifting soundscapes that draw on ambient, drone and dub techno for inspiration. As debut albums go, Transcendental is quietly impressive. Over the course of three long variations, Korktov delivers a meditative experience rich in effects-laden field recordings, slowly shifting chord progressions, gentle beats and, on occasions, decidedly cosmic aural textures.
Review: Some three years on from their sole 12" release, Italian twosome DT-90 finally return to action with a thoroughly atmospheric debut album on Space of Variants. In keeping with the label's suitably horizontal, head-in-the-clouds ethos, "Kone" offers an attractive, heady and pungent blend of manipulated field recordings, spaced-out electronics, dub-wise rhythms, mind-altering ambience and hypnotic, Deepchord style dub techno. Highlights are plentiful, from the head-nodding ambient dub skank of "Motion Fluid" and ambient techno/dub techno fusion of "COAS", to the drifting aural clouds and glimpse of audio sunshine that is "Gravity". "Northern Wood", an ultra-deep, reverberating meander through mid-tempo dub techno, is also inspiring.
Review: Prolific producer Sergey Barkalov rarely puts a foot wrong, despite releasing new material every few months. His latest impressive full-length excursion, Inspired, is a slowly shifting movement in four interconnected parts. He begins with a long, drawn-out sliver of spacey ambience, where fluttering electronic melodies drift in and out of a sound space thickly laden with field recordings and drone style textures. As the album progresses, the rhythmic pulse of dub techno slowly comes to the fore, before making way for more intoxicating, dubbed-out ambient voyages. It's not vastly different to the majority of his work, but that doesn't make it any less appealing. After all, few producers are capable of making electronic music that's this atmospheric.
Review: Perceived, Sergey Barkalov's fourteenth album under the Mr. Cloudy guise, first slipped out back in 2014, though this is the first time it's had a "proper" CD release. Like much of Barkalov's work, it offers an evocative fusion of deep space ambient, droning textures, dub influences, and impeccable sound design. It's arguably one of his strongest and most aesthetically pleasing excursions, with the continuous, six-part suite subtly shifting in emphasis and focus across the album's duration. While Barkalov's looped synth motifs are undeniably deep and spacey, on occasions they also sparkle, giving the album a positive feel that's impossible to dislike. If Pete Namlook had made a record with Deepchord, it would probably have sounded like Perceived.
Review: In recent times, Sergey Barkalov has begun to look back over his vast discography and re-release selected albums. Space of Variants first surfaced on Germany's Confineless Recordings back in 2012, and here gets a deserved reissue on the Russian producer's own label. It's undoubtedly amongst the ambient and dub techno heavyweight's finest releases, and offers a near perfect balance between deep space textures ("Intention"), dubbed-out ambience ("Reduce", "Cloudy Spaces"), and minimalist dub techno ("Space of Variants"). Like the original CD release, it also boasts a trio of reworks of "Space of Variants": a thrillingly horizontal dub techno rework from Sub Made, a more fluid and positive ambient dub rendition from Desove, and a quietly hypnotic and trance-like rearrangement by Arkhaious.
Review: On this fine compilation, Sergey Barkalov has decided to showcase the dub techno side of his Mr Cloudy output. Bar a couple of previously unheard versions, all of the tracks were previously featured on limited edition, hard-to-find 12" singles. Although there are a couple of scratchy, experimental workouts, for the most part the tracks featured on Planets are far more melodious and ear catching than you'd perhaps expect. Barkalov's interpretation of the dub techno blueprint is a little looser than some of his contemporaries, with numerous ear pleasing electronic elements complimenting the heavy basslines and hazy sonic textures. It's these subtle tweaks, not to mention his impeccable production skills, that makes Planets such an enjoyable listen.
Review: It's been three years since Sergey Barkalov AKA Mr Cloudy released Perceived, a set of spacey ambient, far-out drone textures and dub techno shufflers that some critics believed was his strongest work to date. For this sequel, he's decided to take a slightly different approach, offering up two long workouts, each accompanied by a remake by longtime friend and occasional collaborator Toki Fuko. It's quite a nifty trick; while "Magnetik Tide 1" is a largely beat-less soundscape built around gently morphing chords, Fuko's "ReDub" re-casts it as a chunk of hypnotic techno. Foki's version of "Magnetik Tide 2" is even bolder, rhythmically, dragging Barkalov's floatation tank sound design towards early morning dancefloors.