Review: Gultskra Artikler – Abtu Anet

Galatika was not the music of this planet. Gultskra Artikler’s previous full length resided within its own humid alien jungle – it chattered with the cyber-calls of mutant birds, and wafted in an electronic mist that clogged any empty space, leaving the listener to wade through a thick and oppressive darkness. Even the tornadoes of Gregorian chant felt otherworldly, spun into a quivering panic that goes in stark contrast to the stillness and contemplation they are traditionally synonymous with.

The materials that comprise Abtu Anet feel more familiar. Acoustic guitars are probably the most consistent presence, and are even utilised in a manner evokes modern song; strummed into repetitive chord progressions and yearning for blissful simplicity of structure. But these melodies are constantly threatened by the anarchic improvisation and abstract noise that jostles for the remaining audio space. They undermine the guitar’s faint etches of harmony and organisation with free-flowing dissonance and jerky arrhythmia. The warmth of melody suddenly feels deceptive and fragile in the context of such eerie accompaniment (wavering cascades of music box, electronic babbling, improvised drumming, aimless lounge piano), and despite Gultskra Artikler using a far greater amount of recognisable instruments on this occasion, they are rendered extra-terrestrial by the manner of their implementation.

It’s a psychological alienation this time round. Galaktika was alien in its landscape’s imaginary construct – it evoked a place that felt far from planet earth and stranded the listener within it. But with Abtu Anet, the listener is left distrusting of the objects that once symbolised home. The voices of conventional instrumentation become warped by hallucination, hauled out chronology until they speak over each other in a relentless, inundating collage. The end result doesn’t feel quite as “together” as Galaktika (which bore into its atmosphere over its nine tracks, becoming increasingly vivid all the while), but its mercuriality is essential in heightening the listener’s sense of self-doubt and psychiatric derailment. Pretty good.