Kopeikin - "Shadow Trap" (Falšata-Galia 1999)

From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)

Out of Moscow, Russia, Alexander Kopeikin's body of work: Shadow Trap is a completed score for Earth's despondent film. Take a look inside of the detached soul of a claustrophobic existence and report your findings. In one unique report, there could be found results of a fallen red giant. One that comes face to face with all that is finest and most frustrating in Russia. Moscow culture is as evident as the extreme tensions of a city coming to terms with the confusions of a rapid social change. More so in Moscow than anywhere else in Russia, does the Soviet past collide with its seemingly capitalist future! Throughout Kopeikin's work are imbedded messages that can be extrapolated from the densely eerie and menacingly wry tones that pulsate about. These tones are definitely Inland-Arctic Industrial impressions at their most ill omened. It feels as if these enigmatic pulses turn on dim reading lights for only a partial look at a landlocked existence: Moscow, Russia.

Tracks on Shadow Trap are divided into, what is deemed on the release, locations. "Sonic Attack" is Location 4 and probably presents the most audibly unrelenting and nihilistically unearthed sounds that pummel forth on this title. At this moment Kopeikin showcases his use of used computers and tone generators in their various states of decay, nicely. "Sonic Attack" can be thought of as a piercing scream to the western world saying, "The Eastern world shall be recognized for its potent importance and shall not be written off or pushed asunder no longer." You have a young man, Alexander Kopeikin, living on the mainland of Russia surrounded by so many borders: Norway, Finland, Balctic Sea, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Black Sea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, China again, North Korea, Pacific Ocean and Arctic Ocean. In addition to these bordering lands are the immense ethnic groups in Russia: Russians, Yakuts, Bashkirs, Mordvins, Tatrs, Jews, Kalmyks, Koreans and others. A better understanding of this album's setting gives the listener a better appreciation of content provided on all 11 Locations. These doomed textures reflect the permafrost in the climate and the search for one's identity in a considerably neglected region of the world; a region repudiated by the propaganda of a commercialized western world. Imagine dumping dry ice into frigid bath water and bathing in it. Inevitably one's skin will peel during this event; hence, one's identity becomes tarnished. This is the shadow trapped in the frozen surface of Kopeikin's Russian soil: the human born into the massive land of Eurasia trying to become visible and understood.

For some, the term "space music" is familiar. "Space music" usually associates itself with a philosophy, visual aesthetic or sound connected to the surreal, planetary mythology, extraterrestrial life, scientific technology, etc. Shadow Trap is the antonym of these themes. It provides titles such as "Headstone Lane," "Mirror," "Handful of Dust," "Inversion," "Downstairs Somewhere," "Amusement Chamber," and "Shadow Trap" to communicate internal reflection, mortality, introversion and unashamed angst.

Overall, Kopeikin's 1997 recording of Shadow Trap is a solid piece of work that provides its listeners with a lesson in humility: conflicting emotions humans contend with when alone. The only two outings on this release that stray away from the core feeling of the album are "Location 1: Headstone Lane" and "Location 2: One-Legged Spider." "Headstone Lane" instead evokes emotion of Siberian dance music drenched in an Arctic acid bath and "One-Legged Spider" is its resulting consequence. Shadow Trap conveys the feeling of only having an identity inside of a box. It's a rough and claustrophobic installation that would have been great additional soundtrack material for Derek Jarman's last film Blue.

For more information you can visit the Kopeikin web site at: http://www.libfl.ru/nihil/.
Email Alexander Kopeikin at: alex.kopeikin@usa.net.
Visit the Falšata-Galia records web site at: http://www.falcata-galia.com.

Reviewed by Rashad Salahuddin

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