Kurs Valut — Veselo (2018)
Have Tychyna’s groves ever murmured electrically? In the “Veselo” album of Kurs Valut they move us back into the reality after the excursion among abandoned Dnipro-based plants. It’s a music of cataclysms, persistent depressions, unable to lull a baby to sleep, though, gives a reason to smile.
The debut album of the Dnipro-based band has been released on Pincet, the label from Ternopil. The aesthetic is simple and artistic: the cover shows the singer’s occiput; the font is similar to pre-electoral propaganda.
The project’s idea builder is Eugene Gordeev, an in-migrating person from Pokrovsk (Donechyna), who has developed from fine art to music and explores pop-triggers of his band Kurs Valut and the solo act MC Brekhunets. As a conclusion, in the interview to Liniya Vtechi Eugene mentions, that Brekhunets is accepted but only among the narrow art scene. The question about "Kurs" is still opened: what will happen if to put the lyrics, familiar to every subject of an experiment in the imaginary cage called Ukraine in anyone at all wrapping? Seems, like a splash: radio stations turn Kurs Valut on more often than The Prodigy, the concerts in Lviv, Ternopil, Kyiv, Zhytomyr and Odesa are played, the live streams from Telebachenya Toronto, 20ft radio and Radio Aristocrats take place along to the appearances among Beehype’s and Glavred’s tops of the year; the best social album award from Aprize 2019. Besides, they release the music video to the song "Ni" – a sharp-cornered music projection on the time-image canvas.
The trio is completed with Konstantine Balakin, DJ and electronic musician, who uses few knobs of Moog at concerts and Yevhen Kasyan, who operates Microkorg synthesizer — "you can do almost everything" with it. Guys are related to the Abstract Beats promo agency, they found a space to create the Module club. The founders are two men with the same name Yevhen: Kasyan and Goncharov, the present art-director. However, as for working on LP, it’s mentioned on the Bandcamp page, that the composer and the writer is exceptionally Gordeev.
Seems like, the arsenal of sounds used for an album is limited by totalitarian state structures: as much it’s minimal and, at the same time, capacious. Classic dance rhythms are present in almost every track along to punchy bass with a particular character. The vocal imitates electric impulses, as, tries to learn their nature to bring a human closer to the piece of iron.
The concept of the band Devo comes into mind, de-evolution, in other words — degradation, limitation, society’s ridiculously, robotization. The associations appear — The Man Machine theme from Kraftwerk, the inner view on factories in the Dziga Vertov’s "Man with a Movie Camera" film, collective farms and the atmosphere of the Orwell's "1984", the global idea of "The Matrix" movie.
Kurs Valut is an answer to the external consumerism, to the control of state structures, it’s a resonance to calls of posters to "borrow money" and "choose the "Intercity" trains". Herewith, the reaction is neither positive nor negative, it is a sort of comic retranslation, the repeating of familiar slogans, similar to that, as some people remember and play advertisements in roles for fun.
Careless moods of the album are contrasting with the dark ferroconcrete music and seem unique with it; it serves a kind of sun ray in the darkness of the similar electronic music scene. The all-prize name (Kurs Valut means "Currency course"), seen from each corner of a metropolis, the fake promotion of Shvydko Hroshi firm ("tr. Fast Money – a sort of payday loan firm), a sample from Verkhovna Rada hall and hyperbolized straightforwardness of the lyrical hero prove that it’s really "Veselo" (tr. Funny).
The basis of Kurs Valut’s music is monotonous bass and industrial vocal. Other sounds are accouterments, the number of which is directly proportional to the hit quality of a composition, for example, the song "Intercity" has chorus lines of string synths, which are so beautiful, that we need to beg Ukrzaliznytsia to turn it on when trains arrive at platforms. The chorus in "Shkala" stands out with its charming melody, namely, vocal harmonies, and truly Kraftwerkian synthesizers. These tracks prove "dnipropop" tag.
The love theme of the album is very cold, and it seems like the hero intentionally distances from his love, sees a sin or suffering in it, and therefore, builds a steel "inspector" or soldier of him, as though without feelings, who feels like "prisoner" without meetings and "sees only her in front of him". The album "Veselo" with its almost kraut-rocky rhythmicity and the topic of love-industry could easily become the soundtrack to the German silent movie "Metropolis" (1927) the dramaturgy of which develops in a similar way.
The music of Kurs Valut is adapted only for live listening, for home parties and dark clubs, one of which — Module — is the band’s practice place. I don’t know in what cases it’s worth to listen to it using headphones: maybe, when the whole Earth’s surface will turn to ashes of a meteor or napalm, or, drifting through the tunnels of the underground, or, maybe, while touring around the metallurgical plants. At the same time, the music of "Veselo" is able to unite people on a dancefloor: not only IT-specialists with transgenders but all alive creatures who have a temporary wish to wander around supermarkets.
Can we think of this project as a guiding one? In all probability, it’s an experimental post-consumerist, post-marketing canvas, the view of the project’s idea keeper through the transparent nape of his neck in the denseness of thoughts, which are unable to adopt in this era. The project fixes a certain state of human: Dnipro, as an environment is a closed industrial city, emerges with its square corners in the music. Therefore, let’s equalize the album "Veselo" to the self-portrait of a Dnipro citizen, written, as it happens, by the city guest. It follows, Eugene saw this spiral of topics and, involving local soulmates to it, showed this obvious, widely recognizable music.
At the same time, Kurs Valut borrows the poetry of Tychyna "The grows are murmuring" (Гаї Шумлять), the word "Veselo" in which acts as a certain dominant. As we remember, though, the spirit of Pavlo Hryhorovych flew through time and space, his body was pushed from all sides with the party presses, what violently made a ghost from human — a punishment, which is more horrible than death for a writer, who had to work against himself all life long. As the last song of the album, it’s the key to understanding all the previous songs: all of them were the environment, but only here the human appeared. It feels merry right away: through the suffering to the happy end.
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