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Catacombs & Stalactites (Antenna Non Grata 2023)

by gintas k

introduction 01:20
Overture 04:45
Somewhere 02:23
Mystery 03:47
Local Beings 03:10
Stalactites 03:11
. Catacombs 05:06
Movement 04:49
To the end 04:14
Epilogue 02:13


Album originally released by Antenna Non Grata antennanongrata.bandcamp.com/album/gintas-k-catacombs-stalactites

Gintas K – Catacombs & Stalactites
Posted: 2 November 2023 in Albums
Tags: aalbum review, Antenna Non Grata, bleepy, Catacombs & Stalactites, electronicaal out therre, Experimental, Gintas K,
Antenna Non Grata – 8th September 2023
Christopher Nosnibor
Bloody hell, he’s at it again: Lithuanan soundmachine Gintas K has yet another album out – and this one is different again. While Catacombs & Stalactites does, almost inevitably, feature rapid, bubbling, bibbling, watery electronic skitters, which sound like flurrying insects, bubbling water racing around a drain., and R2-D2 fizzing in malfunction, the dominant sonic feature here is not the microtonal bleeps which have been the focus of many of his albums, but heavy, grating synth sounds which buzz, scrape, and distort.

Things begin comparatively gently, but by the third track, ‘Into deepness’, we’re into pretty heavy territory. There are hints of tune to be found in places – dark, gothic synth motifs briefly emerge from the thick haze. It feels loud, and the listening experience is oppressive, like pressure being applied to either side of your skull, and the track really tests your mettle over its six minute duration, because there’s simply no let up, and the thick buzz presses at your brain relentlessly. It’s the same thick, hazy sounds which blare forth on the next piece, ‘Somewhere’ – only rent with tearing laser blasts and distortion which scratches and scrapes at the speaker cones, threatening damage, before it culminates in a crackling blast.

‘Wandering Joy’ wanders through dissonance and discord, warping and scraping through tearing walls of noise and aberrant glitches, spiralling around and spinning through territory shared with power electronics and the more experimental end of industrial (in the Throbbing Gristle sense, not the latter-day Industrial metal of Ministry et al). For all of its wandering, whether or not it brings joy is a matter for discussion, I suppose.

The bold, buzzing, abrasive synths sounds are broad and bassy, and the grinding lower-end oscillations are evocative of Suicide, only amped up to eleven. ‘Atmosphere / Voices’ crashes in on a wall of feedback and overloading distortion. At this point, things reach a new intensity, and the crackling, fizzing buzz at the edges of this enveloping blanket of noise simply adds to the tension which rips from the speakers.

There are lighter moments, which are more quintessential K: then flickering flutters, clicks and pops of ‘Mystery’ are almost playful, sounding somewhat like the pouring of carbonated mortar with twangs and deadened thwaps creating a muggy texture, and ‘Local Beings’ brimming with zaps and squelches which fly every which way before trickling down to a dribble resembling a fast leak.

This is very much Gintas K’s way: his approach to ‘composition’ is very loose and geared toward improvisation.

The album’s title derives from the ninth and tenth tracks, ‘Catacombs’ and ‘Stalactites’ which both in their way evoke the subterranean, darkness, tunnels, claustrophobia. ‘Stalactites’ shutters and reverberates, grates and gyrates, the frequencies registering around the navel amidst another squall of fragmented, glass-like shattering, and ‘Stalactites’ hangs heavy amidst blasts of noise. ‘Catacombs’ fractures and disintegrates as it leads the listener down, down, down. In my mind’s eye, I’m drawn towards recollections of the Paris catacombs – endless miles of tunnels lined with bones, neatly stacked, row upon row of old skulls, fibulas and tibias piled high and all around to forge cavities of death. Few things hold a mirror to mortality more powerfully than infinite piles of dank bones, and K leads – or moreover drags – us through these gloomy tunnels, while still electronic sparks skip and flash like damaged lighting or split cables before explosions of sparking white noise collapse into nothingness.

We’re grateful for a few light splashes and bubbles near the end, but the chances are the trauma has already taken hold.

Catacombs & Stalactites is a harsh and heavy album, and one that isn’t easy to lay to rest, to move on from.

Vital Weekly #1405
The full name is Gintas Kraptavičius from Lithuania, and since 1994, he's been active in experimental music. First in industrial music as Modus, and since the start of this century, mostly as a computer musician. One can say he holds the fort for laptop music. Strangely enough, one could also label his work as improvised music, as everything he does is recorded live, "using a computer, midi keyboards & controller". Over the years, he played at many festivals, did various residences and has a lot of releases. 'Catacombs& Stalactites' is his latest collection of short works, as many of his releases are. I don't know how Gintas works, if these works are culled from many hours of doodling, or if he sits down with a very defined plan of what to record, how to execute, etc. Listening to the music, I didn't have a clearer idea. Certainly, Gintas K owes quite a bit to the world of musique concrète, but he is playful and open in his work, sometimes leaning towards actual noise. I didn't notice that on his previous works, so maybe there is some kind of expansion here. He has thirteen pieces in forty-eight minutes, ranging from just over one minute to just over six minutes. In this music, he bends and shapes, pitches and granulates, and the result is, as before, quite some intense music. That makes this album quite a sonic tour de force, one that is quite a challenge to hear and something that only, after repeated playing, opens with layers beyond and below the surface. Uneasy listening music that requires your most total attention. (FdW)


released November 3, 2023

All music player, recorded live, using computer, midi keybords & controller by Gintas K (2021)
Cover art and design by Maciek Jaciuk
Released by Antenna Non Grata
ANG CD30/2023
released September 8, 2023


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gintas k Lithuania

Gintas K (Gintas Kraptavičius) a sound artist, composer exploring digital, live, computer music, granular synthesis sound aesthetics. Participant of Transmediale.05, Transmediale.07, ISEA2015, ISSTA2016, IRCAM forum workshop 2017, xCoAx 2018, ICMC2018, ICMC-NYCEMF 2019, NYCEMF 2020, Ars Electronica Festival 2020. Winner of Broadcasting Art 2010, Spain; 2019 USF International Call for Scores, USA ... more


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