Through / Out

by Moonshine Blues

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"Through / Out" is a tape release by Moonshine Blues for GRAINS OF SAND RECORDS, released in 2015. It unites two EP's, "Through", originally released in 2012 digitally via Hidden Vibes, and "Out", a brand new EP, recorded specially on the occasion of this release.
"Out" includes samples by Amandus Schaap, Kristijan Petreski and Jose Acuna.


We have already heard much from Ukrainian musician Oleksiy Sakevych, but time and time again his sparse, textured, and beautifully ambient orchestrations cause a stir. His last album under the moniker of Endless Melancholy was nothing short of a masterpiece, and while he might have swapped to a different name for his latest release, the quality of his work is still as high as ever.

Hidden away under the title of Moonshine Blues, Sakevych’s new nine track tape, ‘Through / Out’ is a masterclass in drone melodies. Release through Grains of Sand Records, the tape encompasses everything that Endless Melancholy built, carrying forward the evocative, seemingly incidental sounds that linger between direct rhythms and ambient noise.

A complete sonic soundscape, there is a noticeable freedom of movement throughout the length of ‘Through / Out’. It is far from the static, two dimensional releases that often fill the ambient genre, instead there is warmth and constant evolution that makes the album continually captivating. There is beauty in the simplicity, and echoing serenity in the more textured elements, with tones that begin as solemn overtures in ‘Ages’ and ‘Spaces’ quickly shifting into more melodramatic anthems like ‘Revelations’, before spiralling into the shuddering, droning calls of ‘Celeste’ and closing anthem, ‘Dreams in Malachite’.

It is nearly impossible to view the release as anything other than beautiful noise. Its sparse arrangements are deceptively complex, and the complete world of unique musical moments that it creates is consistently brilliant. It’s wonderful to see Sakevych’s work find a home with Grains of Sand Records, and it’s incredible to hear yet another collection of his songs that are so perfectly put together.

(c) Anthem Review

Since first hearing Endless Melancholy—a neoclassical / ambient hybrid from Ukrainian composer and musician Oleksiy Sakevych—I have been secretly hoping that he would at some point evolve his own sound into new droning depths while retaining a fascinating talent for melody and harmony, exploring the genre in a more drifting, blurred, and occasionally even static direction.

Then, in 2012, while not exactly anonymous and yet keeping a low profile, Sakevych presented Moonshine Blues. After two digital releases on his own Hidden Vibes imprint (which actually started as a music-sharing blog and managed to transform into a mostly digital label with quite an extensive catalog for its young age, with some releases also receiving a highly limited physical edition) and over two years of silence, the drone blues are back.

Moonshine Blues’ return is through a very limited tape that has been issued by Russia’s Grains of Sand, an odd, young underground label whom you may remember for their release of bands that have traditionally explored the extremes of hardcore punk and metal. Yet, the label has also gone into more minimal directions by re-releasing Saåad’s Delayed Summer on vinyl and publishing the triple-drone beast that is Different Streams, which I have also reviewed for Heathen Harvest in the past. In other words, Grains of Sand is a curious label with a big heart for the warmest of drones.

Through / Out is not just warm, but simply fantastic. The tape is actually a collection of two EPs, the first originally released in digital format in 2012 on the aforementioned Hidden Vibes, and Out, which is brand new material from Moonshine Blues. The record as a whole is massive, not only in length—spanning over an hour—but also through sheer scope of sound. The music is deeply textured and highly melodic for a self-professed drone release. Through / Out has the capacity to reach epic climaxes where overtones and reverberations sculpt pulsating monuments of sound, which often disintegrate and fade out in their own volatile reflections. Dominating here are synthesized soundscapes which are warmly distorted yet somehow cinematic, but it seems that there are guitar layers swimming in Moonshine Blues’ sea of drones as well.

Side B, where the new tracks that make up the Out portion of this release can be found, is also quite special because it features guest contributions from Jose Acuna of EUS, Amandus Schaap of Equal Stones, and Kristijan Petreski of Fydhws. ‘One layer per artist, one layer per piece’, as Sakevych described it during our short conversation about Through / Out over Twitter.

All of these guest musicians have managed to expand the sound of Moonshine Blues and allow the project to dig far deeper into Sakevych’s own ambient explorations. The sound here on the Out side of the tape is more raw and not quite as light or positive as the Through side. Its compositions rest somewhere beyond one-sided emotions—somewhere where feelings, life, and memories become an ever-changing, homogeneous mass interpreted through sounds. I’m especially fond of how, in ‘Celeste’, there’s a piano tune floating through in the drones that eventually disappears and doesn’t reemerge until the EP’s very last track, ‘Dreams in Malachite’. It’s like a subtle hint that we’ve resurfaced from our journeys with Sakevych and have appeared back in the physical world, but this return wasn’t really a simple undertaking.

For sure, Out is the stronger material on this tape, but I find it to be meaningful that with only one release you can get a solid glimpse of Sakevych’s growth and development as an artist and musician. Through / Out is really like a time machine; it’s akin to a before-and-after snapshot, and I hope the record does hold promise for Moonshine Blues returning at a time when his music will have gone even further.

(c) Angel // Heathen Harvest

Che qualcosa stesse mutando nel registro espressivo di Oleksiy Sakevych lo si era avvertito già nelle ultime pubblicazioni a nome Endless Melancholy, laddove il romantico minimalismo che ne aveva originariamente caratterizzato il progetto è stato affiancato da dense masse di elettricità statica, fino ad esserne, a tratti, del tutto sopraffatto. Non stupisce, dunque, vedere Sakevych sviluppare un percorso parallelo rispetto a quello per il quale si era fatto dapprima conoscere, un percorso nel quale poter sviluppare il lato più oscuro e dolente della propria tavolozza musicale, rivolta con sempre maggiore decisione a una suggestiva elaborazione ambient-drone.

Nasce così Moonshine Blues, alias che compare adesso su una cassetta a tiratura limitata, le cui due facciate riassumono anche fisicamente la duplice natura del loro contenuto, del resto confermata anche dall’ambivalenza del titolo. “Through / Out” è infatti articolato in due parti ben distinte, ancorché tra loro legate: i cinque brani della prima, pur realizzati già nel 2012, appaiono ancora molto vicini allo stile recente di Endless Melancholy, con le parti di archi modulate ma ancora ben evidenti nella loro essenza di ariosa elevazione e nei loro sinuosi aspetti cinematici (“Revelations”, “We’re Going To Rise Up Above”), in filigrana ai quali si manifestano comunque già pronunciate masse di rumore nebuloso (“Spaces”).

La seconda facciata, costituita da quattro brani di più recente composizione, scoperchia invece un abisso claustrofobico grondante frequenze magmatiche (“Into A Deep Blue Cavern”, “Float Weightlessly”) eppure ancora evanescente nella sua contorsione (“Celeste”). Anche sotto questa nuova, fosca luce, le composizioni di Sakevych conservano una notevole ampiezza di respiro, suggellata dalla sinfonia dronica di quasi nove minuti che chiude il lavoro (“Dreams In Malachite”) in un crescendo di cupi riverberi, che torna a essere rifinito dagli archi, disegnando sogni ricorrenti di un nero tanto assoluto da apparire brillante.

Si tratta di un esito in fondo coerente, soltanto realizzato attraverso mezzi diversi, con l’approccio compositivo di Sakevych, decisamente rivolto a suggestioni emotive anche nella nuova dimensione di orchestralità ambient-drone.

(c) Raffaello Russo // Music Won't Save You


released October 2, 2015



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Endless Melancholy Ukraine

Endless Melancholy is a music project from Kiev, Ukraine, producing minimal piano and ambient sounds.

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