Electroshock Records: Review:  
Antanas Jasenka: "Deusexmachina"
(Electroshock Records 2002, ELCD 025)

09 tracks. Total time - 55:30.

Up to this point in its existence, the label "Electroshock Records" had established a rather specific esthetic for Russian electroacoustic music, an ethos that drew part on French "musique concrete" and part on new age electronics. Then comes Antanas Jasenka and his "Deusexmachina", a disc of fantastic noise art. The album goes from moments of tensed-up silences and slow-building background noises a la Francisco Lopez to outbursts of finely chiselled harsh noise the likes of Merzbow or Sickness. A lot of action takes place between these two poles, cinematic scenes that pair found sounds with digital treatments to produce captivating sonic environments. In "Accsident" [sic] strings, brushes, and a voice sample are arranged into a post-rock interlude that degenerates in screams, electric guitar, and another build-up of tension. Jasenka has the artistry but most of all the flair to orchestrate an album in such a way that it anticipates the listener?s reactions. He is constantly two steps ahead of you. The music of labelmates Artemiy Artemiev, Stanislav Kreitchi, or Anatoly Pereslegin sound highly distinctive because it has developed in a closed-up universe. Jasenka seems to be of a post-Glasnost generation that followed the underground currents of '90s European electronic music. Fans of "Doc Wor Mirran", the post-Industrial, drone, and atmospheric noise scenes owe themselves a listen to this album. The only downpoint is the inappropriate track indexing: the nine movements of the work end up packed into three giant tracks.

Francois Couture ("All-Music Guide")

Out of all of the recent batch of new Electroshock albums Antanas Jasenka's Deusexmachina is probably the hardest for me to find anything to like in it. The album contains music in its most abstract and confrontational form - music that is barely recognisable as such. The opening track "Silence" is the most approachable in the sense that its ambient mix of low-key drones, buzzes and what sound like wooden percussion blocks do set up a palpable atmosphere of ambience and mood. Unfortunately, the remaining tracks sound like the sound effects you'd get on a fairground ride through the tunnel of mirrors. A mixture of sampled voices, atonal keyboards and percussion, topped by loud stabbing bursts of electronic static (not unlike a demonised chainsaw) permeate the remaining tracks. Indeed, it sounds like music composed by and made for machines by machines. There's no denying that the contents of this album are extremely dramatic sounding, but easy on the (human) ear they are not and I can only recommend "Deusexmachina" to the listener who appreciates the ultimate challenge. There is no way I shall condemn this album because I didn't like it, the composer/musician obviously lives in a very different world to mine, but one visit is more than enough for me.

John Peters ("The Borderland")

"Deusexmachina - a denouement which occurs as a consequence of unexpected situation. Sometimes in a scope of antique tragedy the denouement happens after interferation of a god, which appears on stage as mechanical figure (with help of machine)": this is the definition of the famous Latin words that Lithuanian Anatanas Jasenka provides on his first CD: 55 minutes that for some weird unexplainable reason are divided into 10 tracks on the cover but only into 3 tracks on the actual CD - 55 minutes of noise ranging from ambient noise to industrial noise. As a matter of fact, if you think about what Electroshock roster of artist is like, it's not easy to file Jasenka in their catalogue. A record like this would probably look better on the shelves of Ant Zen, Staalplaat, Multimood, Drone or other similar labels. But regardless of that, if you are vaccinated for harsh noise but that's not all your are looking for, don't miss out, listen to this as you may find a number of new dimensions usually left unexplored by those who perform the most extreme arts of sound. In fact, even though occasional bursts of violence are part of the wide range of moods to be found, this CD represents much more than just another Masonna album. It's a complete composition of compositions, composed by blasting decomposed sounds and very quite composite noise. For example, beautiful ambience with manipulated and reversed vocals on soft ethereal string-like grounds are to be found at the other end of the spectrum as well. My only discontent is about the length of the tracks, even though the evolution takes place slowly, it is a little too slow at times, in my humble opinion. In other words, dynamism is key here, so be patient and let yourself in on some multifaceted noise art.

Marc Urselli-Scharer ("Chain D.L.K.")

... Worthy of special mention is the complex, diligent, always boldly experimenting composer Antanas Jasenka, whose full-length electroacoustic work, suggestively titled "Deusexmachina" was released this year by Moscow-based "Electroshock Records" label. The composer has been working for some time in the spheres of electroacoustic & noise music. "Deusexmachina", however, is the first of Antanas Jasenka's electroacoustic music on CD to be truly acknowledged by the International music media. It has been played as a whole, or in separate parts, by radio stations in The Netherlands, USA, Croatia, Canada, Germany, Australia & elsewhere. In this work, Jasenka adapted his newly acquired knowledge of computer-aided composition, combining it with his own familiar electroacoustic, collage & cut-off technique.

Veronika Janatjeva & Daiva Parulskiene ("Lithuanian Music Link")

"Deusexmachina" is a large, complex, multi-faced work, whose controversial ambiguity is encoded in its every title. The antithesis of its meanings also lies in the symmetrical-oppositional sound construction, wherein the composer frequently combines totally contradictory textures: gentle elegiac piano tones & somnambulist whisperings are "bombarded" with sharp electronic noises. An ambient impassive tranquility is annihilated by expressive surrealist outbursts, while maniacal passions are tamed by the halters of an exalted prayer.

Raimundas Eimontas ("Tango")

Antanas Jasenka's "Deusexmachina" (ELCD 25) is a bit of a subtle beast. It kind of lays in the background, even taking the piss out of subtle! The opening track, "Silence", isn't, obviously, but there's little going on. A basic electronic hum that varies now and again, with the occasional thud of a drum. Yes, okay, sounds crap, but actually it's really intense. The track listing is a little odd, in that there's supposed to be nine tracks, yet the CD player only sees three. The total playing time (just over 55 minutes) is right so I'm presuming that the third track includes the rest, thus making it a massive piece? In some respects, Jasenka's work is very experimental, using a variety of drones, samples sound effects and percussive morse code, he weaves a complex work of textures verging on dark and menacing. Whilst this particular album didn't actually grab me straight away, I know it will open up in time as it's definitely a grower, albeit an experimental one!

Dave W. Hughes ("Modern Dance")

Lithuanian composer Antanas Jasenka's works have been performed extensively on radio and festivals, and he has taught music composition in his home country. On "Deusexmachina", Jasenka presents an electroacoustic journey that is quietly subtle but elusively varied in it's development and execution. Jasenka moves from slow melancholy passages to futuristic bleeping cosmic engine rooms, all the while dabbling in avant-garde ambient and noise constructions. Spacey atmospherics and image inducing soundtrack stylings quickly transition to dense noise assaults, dramatic avant-classical movements, and a parade of experiments in sound and aural mood manipulation. Excellent spacey sounds, some ambient and many quite harsh, make for a menacing sci fi soundtrack and sometimes fast action upside-down video game chaos. I really dig the last section of the CD which has a kind of Aphrodite's Child "Killing of the Beast" theme, though far more understated in it's intensity. The aliens are approaching... and they may not be friendly.

Jerry Kranitz ("Aural Innovations")

"What is it?...Is there anybody out there?...I'm feeling as if something awful may happen to me right now...or quite soon!" Mmm, that's what any unprepared listener would say in regards to "Deusexmachina".. You know why?: Cause this resounding opus takes the audience patience to the extremes... to the limit... beyond any known boundaries. It's divine intervention: All of a sudden, a mighty God falls down heavily over every creature like an unexpected floodlight; but in shape of mechanical "amped & wired" device. However, this may be true only for faithful believers: Those of us who are -unfortunately- agnostic or plainly atheist don't need that sort of gasping explanation... For us, "Deusexmachina" is the perfect bringer of "Apocalypse repertoire": Tons of suspense, anguish, despair, distress, paralysis, sadness and fright, BUT JUST in a "mythical display" way, mainly on 3 final portions: "Accsident"... "Across" and "Silence" where my imagination finally open its gates... wide open : It suggests, evokes or implies to me just one terrible scene: Lieutenant Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) aboard of a ruined "Nostromo" and been mercilessly persecuted by that viscous and cruel "Alien"... fatally closer and ready to kill her!!! Even more: "Across" is the most accurate approaching to maximum horror which anybody should feel in presence of "Hand of Doom" , I mean: in the Greek sense of that phrase. Mr. Jasenka reminds me -powerfully- the unfathomable composer Gyorgy Ligeti and his disturbing opus "Atmospheres" , included in Stanley Kubrick's "2001... The Space Odyssey "... Suggested themes: "Accsident"... "Across" and "Silence".

Rene Atilio Araya ("Extraco Revoltijo")


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