Review: Genrietta – Park Kulturi

DRAGON’S EYE.

Genrietta’s debut EP is named after a subterranean metro station in her originating city of Moscow, which was opened in 1935 with the first phase of the city’s metro line. Track titles make further references to specific locations in the vicinity, such as “Bitsa” (one of Moscow’s largest natural parks) and “Parehod” (the maze of underground passes connecting metro stations and shopping centres). Coupled with the fact that Genrietta is now based in Israel, Park Kulturi acts as an approximation of a city as rendered through distance, contrast, protrusive memories both sensory and emotional – a mix of field recordings that revive the actual experience of occupying these spaces, and electronics that poetically mimic architectural contours and atmospheric hues. Some of these depictions have no doubt been exaggerated by the cinematic vibrancy of memory: the long drones on “Perehod” zigzag like someone navigating the underpass and getting hopelessly lost, while the beeping synthesisers constellations on “Tets 26” deliver a certain ominous sci-fi intention to the power station to which the title refers.

Rhythms are everywhere (memory and rhythm of course in kinship, both working with notions of circular time): the muffled slow-techno thumps that power the city from the bottom-up, the soft pips of arpeggiators that act as some sort of recollective sonar, painting the outlines of objects, hillsides and interiors through acoustic reflections. Speaking of which, the EP is a hub for all of the symbolic possibilities of reverb: as an evocation of specific texture (concrete, glossy tiling), the smeared illumination of lights in the dark, wisps of memory that emerge only in the blurred spectres of people, trees, lampposts, shopfront signs. The release’s brevity is also to its strength, sidling into existence as a daydream of a distant and former home, evaporating as the mind turns back toward the immediate here and now.