Having released his soundtrack to ‘Sea,’ a contemporary dance production coming to Moscow, earlier this year on Terminal Dream, Raumskaya now returns to present his debut album on the prolific Hyperboloid imprint. Core sees Raumskaya move away from the frenetic footwork sounds that he and his St. Petersburg collective ‘Beryoza’ first rose to prominence with, replacing it with an eclectic spread of reference points ranging from vintage hardcore to cutting-edge sounds such as wave music.
This LP clearly demonstrates Raumskaya’s unique style, switching up different sounds and masterfully blending them into a cohesive atmosphere. Serene futurist synth tones rub up next to broken beats and distorted vocal samples in a way that still manages to be highly congruent. Core opens with ‘Large as Hundreds,’ a dynamic track which ebbs and flows in intensity in a way reminiscent to an Aphex Twin ambient track. As if the listener is lulled into a false sense of security by this calm opening, in stark contrast ‘Dead Air’ is a nightmareish hard house affair crammed full of distorted string samples, driving kick drums and a restless synth melody. Despite their differences, these two tracks, as well as the remaining eight, share Raumskaya’s cinematic, larger-than-life approach to production.
Elsewhere on Core we’re treated to a few songs which definitely nod to garage music, albeit Raumskaya gives a truly unique spin on them. ‘2191’ incorporates brooding sci-fi synth sounds and ethereal pitched up vocal snippets over an ever-changing 2-step beat, which is often completely dropped from parts of the song. ‘Supermassive’ similarly plays with the typical garage form by including a middle section that forgoes the skippy UKG beat introduced at the beginning, replacing it with a heavy 4x4 kick drum. This playing with form and genre creates a dialectical sound that’s both familiar to us but at the same time completely unique to this artist. It’s obvious from this melting pot of references that this is a release that could only have been made in the age of the internet.
Raumskaya rounds of his release with ‘Trance Music,’ an emotive storm of tri-wave synths and stuttering trap high-hats we’ve come to expect from the emerging group of artists now making wave music. This closing song’s poignant melody is almost melancholic in the reaction it evokes. If ‘Daymé,’ recorded for Gilles Petersen’s Brownswood recordings, was described by Raumskaya as a ‘soundtrack for life filled with emotions and kindness,’ then potentially Core can be seen as a musical allegory for the turbulent times we now live in, filled with moments of extreme optimism and complete doom.