(New Album Review) Murkok- So Little Music

Murkok is Ilya Glebov, a musician and sound artist from Russia whose growing catalogue of ambient electronic music (mostly self-released, so far) evokes pastoral calm through a torpid, droney haze. Like Japan’s Hakobune, whose influence he acknowledges, he layers sound carefully, with great textural attention to detail; somehow, artists like Murkok and Hakobune make new age-esque music that avoids indulgent prettiness in favor of a genuine emotional pull and sense of mystery. Murkok’s newest, So Little Music, came out in January off Amsterdam’s always reliable Shimmering Moods Records; let’s take a look.

A downtempo electronica-like feel permeates this one, amid densely-layered atmosphere. On fine tracks like the opener “Dress My Mind Like a White Hill” and “A Glorious Tomb”, tactile volume swells and faintly echoing loops give a sense of rhythm to the beatless ambient waves. It’s an engaging detour from more ambient-leaning past releases like Dialectic and Pangea, that is for sure. Each individual part feels like something of a poem, a self-contained meditation of sorts. Even moments that superficially seem fairly similar, like, for instance, the dreamy, reverb-soaked-guitar-driven closers “The Lightbird” and “The Memory Crater”, are emotionally distinct enough in subtle ways to invite individually re-visits and pondering. Gorgeous stuff. Good for studying and winding down, but not meant to be background music– So Little Music holds up well to the re-listenings it warrants, especially if you happen to be an ambient head.

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