Creation VI & Ugasanie - Birds Of Naukan
Located somewhere on the edge of the world, where it seems that not only life, warmth and civilization end, but also time itself stays frozen for centuries, lies the ancient land of Yupik peoples, the land which is soaked with those natural powers and grants them its true sons and daughters. The sounds that is flowing out of my speakers today is a fragile attempt of two Russian based projects, deeply imbued by the spirit of this mysterious place, to transform at least a small piece of their impression into the form of music and present it to their faithful audience and other fans of the drone/ambient genre.
I am not sure if our comrades had been traveling to those distant lands to gain the knowledge and collect various field recordings, but even if not, they have definitely studied the subject in depth. And I would advise every listener to read at least few articles that can be easily found on Wiki, because it is really important in order to feel the whole spectrum of spiritualism that is hidden inside the music of this album while Birds of Naukan brings us a sound visualization of the millennia of history which must be preserved as a part of human culture. Historically Naukan was an old settlement of Yupik peoples which existed for many centuries and until 1956 was the most eastern human settlement in Eurasia, before the USSR government relocated it. Creation VI & Ugasanie take us on unforgettable journey into the exotic lifestyle and culture of this small endangered tribe binding field recordings with drones.
Even while being a kind of a continuous soundtrack, the album
structure can be easily recognized because each and every track has its own
dedication and theme. The first one is dedicated to "Nuneangan", an abandoned
Yupik village which once was the most eastern human settlement of Eurasia
before the USSR government destroyed it for some unknown political strategic
reason. Sounds of water and rain, of wind and birds' twits are supported with a
distant background hum that adds an extreme depth to this composition and a very
meditative mood ensures an easy and natural flow. "Yttygran" takes us to a
distant island, windblown and surrounded by cold ocean waters, lost between nowhere
and the edge of the world. This track promises an even deeper immersion into a
solid piece of drone music when a soft melody of a ritual flute joins the game
somewhere in the middle. The island
is famous for its mysterious Whale Alley, the alley which was built from bones
and skulls of the whales that had been hunted by the locals for centuries; the
alley was a central point of ritual gatherings of hunters for many
centuries. The whole mysticism of the place is being projected into the third
track of this wonderful album with a slow and dark droning melody backed up by
the same wide spectrum of field recordings.
Needless to mention, that even after the first half of the record I was completely blown away by the spiritual, magical tunes, but the next composition called "Pegtymel" proves that there is still a long road ahead. Named after a big river in Far East Siberia, this track is the most authentic in the whole album carrying the direct visions of the local culture projected to the sound of vargan, a very common local instrument, and a monotonous shamanic chanting. It tells the story of Pegtymel rock art images painted a thousand years ago on the Pegtymel cliffs, conjuring primal figures from an endless oblivion to dance near the campfire together with a spiritual tribe. And I truly believe that the closing track is a direct dedication to those brave, modest and strong people that continue to keep their culture, continue to preserve their way of life and their beliefs to the sound of vargan flowing in the frozen air, against all odds.
Once again I succeeded in finding a great interest in nature based ambient music. The theme, the highest level of performance and sound construction creates one of the best drone ambient albums that I heard during the last year. Sometimes it seems that nature itself whispered in the ears of the guys behind Creation IV and Ugasanie to compile a really solid and sophisticated record. My dear reader, I am sure that with a little help of “Birds of Naukan” you will be permeated by the spirit of northern nature as never before.