With “plavyna” Katja Zavoloka has managed to put an interesting and admireable piece of work in the large empty space that exists between harsh noise and free form avant-garde, between glitches and minimal. Though most of the other projects I have heard, which attempted to do the same, turned out boring, but this CD is lively and full of humourous dynamics. Moreover, she introduces a few surprising elements and shows that there is still a lot of potential hidden.
Beautiful surprises await at the end of the road for those able to walk them out. Like almost something like a melody halfway through this record and an almost “folk” song at the end. But let’s take it one after another.
Zavoloka is actually Katja Zavoloka from Kiev, Ukraine, who has been around the mostly virtual world of mp3-posting on various places for some years now next to her occupation as a graphic designer. More important, though, she has modelled her very own, unique universe of sounds, mainly bleeps and feeps with a little glitches here and there, held together by her more than unique feeling of structure and rhythm. Inspite of all the unexpected events, the unknown and strange surroundings and the sudden changes, the atmosphere of “plavyna” is warm, gentle and playful. Which is not at all bad for a “debut”. Since I don’t regard proper mp3-albums as inferior to regular CDs, I can’t really call this a debut as such. If anyone of you reading this wants to discuss the importance or ranking of music-storage formats with me, I’d politely decline and casually mention, that I’d rather talk about the music on them (especially when judging the global importance of electronic avant-garde music on an objective scale.)
The movements of the sounds to be found on “pavyna” reminds me of the dance of butterflies or the way the wind may swirl a piece of fluff over an empty place, with all its seemingly random yet hidden control of directions. The kind of stop and go in aesthetically motion that makes you wonder, if they are based on accident, on a set of rules, or on the random interplay of rules? So it is like the old postmodern mathematical science put into sound. Or is it just a special female touch that is invading noise-avantgarde? Songtitles translate as “little flower” or “painted berries” among others. If compared to Kotra’s “dissillient”, to choose an example from the same label, “plavyna” seems to be a walk in the park with a couple of little children. But only to people, who have never tended to small kids, an occupation most people would describe as “beautiful but exhausting”. Such a female influence would be very much welcome, though I don’t care if the actual, biological gender of an artist is male or female.
The music is mainly single notes and sounds, that fly across the aural scape in random movements. It takes Zavoloka into the middle of track five, “plavyna” to introduce something like a melody and to track six, “Kosytsia” to start something as a steady rhythm. Both dissolve into the rest of the sounds quite quickly or get osmotically sucked into a new dimension. The vocals in track seven, “Kolyskova”, come as a surprise. First there are some spheric noises and discordant bells, interferences and so on. Suddenly that lulling voice sets in, which sounds like an aged, old voice at first. So much that I started to doubt it was Zavoloka’s. It also sounds like a very old melody, maybe even a traditional song of some kind. The title of the track translates as “Lullaby”, so that spawns more suggestions toward old songs. The incorporation into her almost free form sound-scapes is to me one of the highlights of this record.
Now get this: the next track, “teche voda ledov” or “cold water flowing”, starts with pure and simple flute sounds as beautiful as might be found on any new age CD. Even the melody is soothing and simple, almost like that coffee advertisement on tv. The glitches and noises in the background soon destroy that impression, though they are in now way disharmonic or nerve-killing on the listener. The effect is startling nevertheless. The flutes are soon displaced by metallic sounding percussions that heat themselves into a desperate frenzy. Is it meant to be an up-to-date rework of the “Moldau”? With the flutes signifying the beautiful spring of the water and the metallic percussions the lead pipes of its industrialization? If so, why do the flutes return in the third part of the track? Maybe because Zavoloka is relaxing in a hot bath: The flute will return again later as well, so there is no need to inhibit your connotations and thoughts to any small confinement. There actually never is.