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Perila - How Much Time It Is Between You and Me? Music Album Reviews

Perila - How Much Time It Is Between You and Me? Music Album Reviews
Recorded in a mountain village, the Russian ambient musician’s debut album molds field recordings and hushed vocals into a form that’s richly textured and occasionally unsettling.

Ambient music has a reputation for being soothing. That only intensified during the pandemic, as many artists and listeners turned to the genre as a coping mechanism, using the music to ward off a looming sense of darkness and despair. Perila, however, has always reveled in darkness, and her debut album, How Much Time It Is Between You and Me?, is more unsettling than comforting.

A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Perila (aka Aleksandra Zakharenko) relocated to Berlin six years ago, and she’s found a spiritual home in the community surrounding Huerco S.’ West Mineral Ltd., though she has yet to record for the label itself. Alongside like-minded artists such as Ulla, Exael and Special Guest DJ—all of whom she’s collaborated with—Perila has carved out a unique strain of ambient that’s miles away from the astral grooves of ’90s chillout rooms or the woozy stylings of today’s Balearic and new-age revivalists. Richly textured, uniquely visceral, and mildly unnerving, her work—which includes numerous self-released EPs, along with previous album-length efforts for labels like Sferic, Motion Ward, and Boomkat Editions—is streaked with a feeling that peril lurks around every corner. (Full disclosure: Perila has previously released a cassette on Paralaxe Editions, a label run by my wife, Dania Shihab.)

It’s not that Perila’s music is overtly scary. She’s not creating new-school horror soundtracks (or imitating the classic ones), but she does tap into a primal sense of danger. Like many of her releases, How Much Time has ties to nature—it was recorded last year in a mountain village in France—and though there are moments when the record captures the majesty of the outdoors, it also communicates the fear that can accompany being alone in the untamed wilderness. On album closer “Fallin Into Space,” she bathes in soft static, her gentle vocals and lulling melodies creating a picture of quiet serenity—an effect that’s amplified by quick flashes of birdsong—but the track is also punctuated by the intermittent creak of old wood, a sound that can seem absolutely sinister in a remote cabin in the middle of the night.

“Untilted” also has a creepy underbelly, and though its warbling brawn makes it one of the LP’s sturdier offerings, its incidental crackling and rustling evoke unseen vermin scuttling their way through darkness. These tendrils of dread and solitude are all over How Much Time, yet the album remains a distinctly intimate listen that often lavishes attention on the tiniest of details. “Time Date” is essentially a distortion-laced spoken-word piece accentuated with jittery bass notes, while the spacious “Vaxxine” contains little more than Zakharenko’s heavily reverbed voice, every tiny click and pop in her throat ringing out across the song’s soupy ether.

Perila does occasionally go a bit bigger. The blustering tones of “Air Like Velvet” build in intensity, suggesting a tear in the fabric of space-time opening up in the corner of your bedroom, while “You Disappear You Find Yourself Again” offsets its wispy tranquility with thick waves of droning bass. The immersive “Blanket” and “Cradle” have a definite floatation-tank vibe, but as Zakharenko fills them with fluttering, almost tactile bits of digital decay and sonic detritus, it once again becomes clear that conveying a sense of relaxation isn’t high on her list of priorities.

For those acquainted with Perila’s previous work, all of this will likely ring familiar. Despite being released by Smalltown Supersound—a larger label than any of those behind her other recordings, and one not necessarily known for ambient music—How Much Time is more of a continuation than a departure. Zakharenko’s musical vision remains intricate, ethereal, and just a little haunted. There’s beauty and bliss to be found, but anyone looking to nurse a fractured psyche ought to proceed with caution, as How Much Time probably won’t heal the soul—it’s likelier to gnaw at it.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Perila - How Much Time It Is Between You and Me? Music Album Reviews Perila - How Much Time It Is Between You and Me? Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, July 06, 2021 Rating: 5

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