SiJ "The End" CDr
Behind SiJ is hidden Vladislav "Vlad" Sikach, an Ukrainian dronecarver, based in Sevastopol, Crimea, as the main protagonist, although also visual artist Alena Perepadya is often mentioned as additional member. Vlad Sikach has begun his recording career during 2011 and since then SiJ has released over 40 solo and collaboration albums, singles, EPs and compilations, mainly available as digital downloads through SiJ's Bandcamp site. My SiJ exploration has begun much later, only during the autumn of 2014, but since then I closely follow this project and SiJ remains to me as one of the biggest revelations of 2014 and one of the most emerging, glowing and prolific dronescapers. "The End" album is certainly the best proof of this, but SiJ has released during the last few months several other outstanding new albums and collaborations across the globe. "The End", written by Vlad Sikach mostly during the end 2013 and the beginning of 2014, was originally released in the middle of March 2014 on Italian Batenim netlabel, but later self-reissued by Vlad on a CDr format in a very small run, as far I remember in a limited edition of 12 copies only. Packaged in a standard jewel case with transparent tray featuring original stunning sea shore photographs of The Black Sea at Batiliman, Crimea, by Margarita Yablonko with artwork by Vlad, while the cover design is completed by Alena.
Short intro "Breathing" immediately sets the atmosphere into serenely drifting zones permeated with enigmatic breathy enhancements. "Sweet Melancholy", as displayed by its title, straightly delves into utterly warm and hauntingly mesmerizing drone oscillations reinforced by ear-tickling chimes, all strikingly wrapped by sibilant wistfulness. Profoundly encircling piece!!! "There" brings to the stage two guests, Donakor (Sergey Stukov) & Wid (Anton Kozlov), on electric guitar and synth. As much droning, organic and mindscaping as its predecessor, although slightly less intense, but more sentimental. "Sorrow" dives directly into obscure cavernous realms guided by stunningly gripping monochromatism, powerfully drifting and intricately augmented by glimpses of mind-bendingly perplexing vertigos. The Drone Eden is unlocked!!! "The Beginning Of The End" is ignited with cacophonously biotic intro, then transmuting into sonic anxiousness wrapped by hissy blankets. "There Is No Life Without Love", a 15-minute epic composition recorded in 2012, unfolds with enthralling urban noises and female voice samples, gorgeously bridged with breathtakingly expansive washes drifting through utterly heart-warming nuances, where extremely embracing memories awake and appear as a dazzlingly beautiful slideshow movie. I have been deeply fascinated by this composition since the very first time I heard it and its magic still keeps on blooming. Although I haven't heard complete discography of SiJ, "There Is No Life Without Love" must be SiJ's magnum opus, a pure sonic medicine to my ears and an instant nominee for The Drone Hall of Fame Award!!! Bravo & thank you, Vlad!!! The title track "The End" belongs to the shortest on this album, but with its gracefully infinite choir-like drifts coupled with gently natural traceries also to the most expressive. Longer "I Saw The Light", clocking just over the 11-minute mark, unveils with exquisitely drifting tension, again masterfully magnified with ephemeral fragile organic rumbles. Soothingly crescendoing density at its most mind-blowing, this is undoubtedly another, all-inclusive drone escapade!!! I saw the light too, as it glimmered the path before it completely evanesced, but all trails lead to The Drone Pantheon... "Without Breathing" is a brief closing track, painting softly hypnotic helixes occasionally perforated by crystalline urban noises.
I should mention that digital version of "The End" features two additional remixed tracks, "The End" by Ilya Fursov of Textere Oris and "Without Breathing" by Paul Mineev of Paul Minesweeper. In any case, "The End" album is an absolutely triumphant recording!!! Unfortunately, there is no justice in the world when a masterwork like this is available on CDr edition only, so I will always pray for a glass mastered version of "The End", because this hugely gifted guy really deserves our immediate support!!! Trust me, if you don't know SiJ yet!!! But fortunately, Vlad can be proud of his most recent pressed CD, because Swedish gterma label has released his long awaited collaboration "Zhang Zhung" with Sergey Gabbasow, a jewel case edition accompanied by 16-page booklet. Also another three CDr albums were released during the last few weeks, the first is a pro CDr reissue of "Vale of Forgotten Sounds" on Swedish Reverse Alignment label in 6-panel digifile, the second one is "The Earth Shrine" CDr, a second "Shrine" chapter, an artful edition packaged in cardboard envelope with additional three postcards inside, released on Russian ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ (Pantheon) label. The most recent one, delving into dark ambient-infused terrains, is a collaboration with Ptarkh, a Moscow based project of Valentin Ozerov. This one is entitled "Kapalika" and it's released on US label Darker Days Ahead (from Minneapolis). It comes as a spray painted CDr in a clear slipcase with artwork. Last but not least, Vlad Sikach has most recently joined also acclaimed Relaxed Machinery gang with his newest album "Plæntágose". Not sure, if this will be available on physical CDr format, but I really hope, because it features gorgeous paints by Vlad's wife Anna. Definitely enough reasons to explore fascinating soundworlds of SiJ!!! My new drone guru is SiJ, he has a truly bright future ahead of him!!! Keep on droning, Vlad!!!
Richard Gürtler (May 10, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)