Tape obsessives Vlad Dobrovolski and Vasily Stepanov (AKA P_SH) reunite as SAD for their latest sonic adventure, Super Sounds II, an LP put out by the prolifically strange and wonderful Russian label, Udacha. Focusing on manipulating and demagnetising sampled tape sounds into something else entirely, this new material stays very much within the same experimental framework, serving as the album-length follow up to 2015’s Campanology.
As one would expect from a musical endeavour that takes such a collagist approach to its compositions, Super Sounds II is a relatively mixed bag in terms of content, although there are unique and splendorous moments in abundance throughout its 40-minute running time. Opener ‘Goodie Goodie’ is a prime example. Initial dubby wobbles and acid-line squelches becoming the disorientating backdrop for some beautiful harp strings that in turn weave a swooning melody. ‘Wo Tiri Nkwa’ is another intriguing offering – inspired by Andrey Mitenev’s “dusty art studio in the centre of Moscow, where raw rock and free jazz concerts happen,” the woozy nature of its hallucinogenic rhythm helps conjure images of a peyote-ridden desert plain way out west.
Other sampladelic highlights include the warped jazz of ‘Mmefie Adiro Mgbayalu Ama Di’ and the similar strain of mangled woodwind sounds in ‘Osuru’, both of which are accompanied by some genuinely fascinating electronic idiosyncrasies. ‘Adex’ is the album’s impressive conclusion – a 10-minute melting pot of eerie noises and tribal instrumentation that creates a trippy experience like no other on the record. As Super Sounds II fades to a close there are many things that will run through the listener’s mind; repeat listens may grant some further clarity, but the intentionally elusive nature of SAD’s music will certainly always defy straightforward reactions.
Super Sounds II is out now on Udacha – buy the vinyl here.