Now we travel to Russia with a treat from a Russian label and a Russian artist; Black Mara Records and Paul Minesweeper respectively.
Paul Minesweeper’s work goes slightly beyond typical ambient/soundscape music. He creates dense sonic pastures that increase and decrease in intensity, meander and ebb and flow from time to time.
I asked Paul about the equipment he uses and his reply was this: “I used jaw harps (sometimes distorted), my processed voice and some field recordings…a bunch of ethnic instruments samples (taken from some old documentary films), my electric guitar and a bass. The choice of instruments differs on each track of the album and depends on atmospheric sense.”
Much of the time Paul creates multi-layered dense textures with the dynamic of high/low notes that seemingly travel often at different paces. As noted above, he makes use of a variety of instruments to accomplish this.
Some ambient/soundscape albums provide the listener with a sense of gliding or drifting upon some ethereal or oceanic field. However, the work of artists like Paul Minesweeper envelopes the listener and takes them along… well, in this case through the Last Frontier. Often you are gliding, sometimes ascending and sometimes descending along the sonic plane…. sometimes delicately and other times very dense; sometimes subterranean and others-above the world. Moreover, the listener’s attention is held within the ten tracks of the album as opposed to one or two overly-long soundscape tracks.
People like Robert Rich and Steve Roach who traditionally compose very long pieces definitely have their place. But the world needs guys like Paul Minesweeper who can provide solid and dynamic releases that read like books with a number of “chapters” or tracks.
The DigiPak edition of Last Frontier is still currently available and has a hard book binding, a digital download and inserts – photos and cards. It is also available simply as a digital download. Black Mara takes an incredible amount of pride in their physical releases (not to mention in the quality of the music they release)