In 2007, when Miasmah was a label almost entirely dedicated to neoclassical writers or ambient terrorists, the label surprised its followers with the release of “Kasha Iz Topora”. It was the new album of Russian composer Gultskra Artikler, a character who already had experience and a career behind him on the European scene, but who for practical purposes was a real unknown. It was a strange album, dominated by a sort of experimental, decadent, elusive folk quality that sounded like many things at the same time, but nothing in particular, and which consciously distanced itself from fellow musicians on Miasmah. Perhaps for this reason the album went more unnoticed and caused less of an impact than other of the company’s titles - or maybe it was because it was more difficult to digest and assimilate, who knows?
Anyway, back again, Artikler makes it clear on Abtu Anet that he has no intention of lightening or softening his recordings, just in case anyone was wondering. He is still doing his thing: short songs, halfway between folk and dark ambient, without any sort of defined structure, with a certain taste for improvisation and instrumental drifting, and with a very tense general atmosphere. Once more, everything is designed and executed in such a way that it is hard to escape from the feeling of discomfort that his music transmits, and which affects the listener explicitly. There is no possible truce or rest; it is an insidious, bothersome album that obligates you to focus to the utmost on what it is trying to set out and generate. On the other side of the world from gliding, misty references, the Russian composer is an irritating fly, this being understood as a positive quality in the area where he moves.
But it is also fair to emphasise that in “Abtu Anet” everything sounds tidier, more defined and spacious, as if he wanted to express greater refinement and stylisation in his own music. In songs like “Shtoj Ti Delaesh” or “Pobochnoe Deistvie” the spirit of the more folkie Popol Vuh peeks out, all very clear and evocative. In “Berezka,” the opening song, one might go so far as to think that a latent softening of the forms occurs. But these are only certain sporadic reactions of controlled loveliness, within a work that — let’s not fool ourselves — tends at all times towards opacity, crypticism, and gloominess. A solid recommendation for the label’s usual followers and those on the outskirts, as well as for folk adventurers at war with clichés and the commonplace in the genre.