Last updated on January 6, 2022
ARANANAR‘s kosti is a mysterious record. The details are not complex: ARANANAR is a collaboration between Aran Epochal (Gnu) and Anar Badalov (Metal Hearts, Travels, New Dog). They explain that the “album is a collection of odes and laments to the borderlands of the Czech Republic, shrouded in Czech mythology and symbolism.”
Truly, this 11-song, 26-minute collection is a work of art. Those odes are not traditional acoustic ones: the pieces are dusky, spartan, icy, mysterious electro pieces that work together as a unified whole. The approach to each of these songs is similar (but for one): Aran Epochal delivers the vocals in something between a whisper and a talking voice over wiry, icy synths that are bathed in reverb, delay, and other effects. The results are like looking at ’80s electro through a fractured lens. Opener “Leden (January)” is a perfect example of the style.
The most upbeat versions of this concept are the rattling beats of “Doly (Mines)” and the almost cheery arpeggiated squiggles of “Sekaná, dvě piva (Meatloaf, two beers),” while “Dnem (Through the Day)” is morose, glacially-moving post-everything reminiscent of CUTS’ grim forebodings. The majority of the tracks fall between these poles: beats, synths, bass, and vocals with lots of space, lots of atmosphere, and lots of mystery. This is a rare, unusual, intriguing release that fans of adventurous music would do well to check out.