Composers for modern day classical music have such a rich palette of sound to choose from, I really like to find out some of the more abstract and unusual ones that combine other genres into their music. Say hello to Dmitry Evgrafov whose new album “Comprehension of Light” is both spooky and enlightening.
Dmitry combines a lot of drone effects and industrial noise to his classical compositions. “A Gleam” opens with a horror movie like darkness as eerie vocals shiver behind a static sheen from a revolving tape. “Tamas” adds in woodwind and percussion to the drones that hint at glimmers of light in the arrangement but actually each instrument is twisted and wounded. There’s guttural bellows of brass and the whole track feels like the final belches of a battle worn soldier. That unrested feeling continues through the track “Ungrounded” but it’s also where the beginnings of some light start to be shed. The strings in this album represent streams of light and they play a character throughout. It’s here where they start to mingle with the dark, dank industrial clangs and moans of the deep. It’s in “Wandering” where they take to the fore. It’s a stop/start arrangement and the whole track has a heavy weight that feels oppressive to the ear and the heart.
“Rajas” opens the album up to a rested piano piece that slowly builds up speed, passion and power as it thumps out note after note. It’s a unique track in that instead of presenting a static mood, it’s like an ascension through several of them. What’s interesting is the track lifts you up and then slaps you back with a reflective outro into the Akira Yamaoka tinged “Through the Gloom” which could fit into any Silent Hill game of movie. It’s haunting atmospherics are alien and off-kilter in its melody. It bleeds into “A Chance to Change” which is the most classical and European of all the tracks. Stiff piano and strings make for a lamenting piece that’s like it’s playing out a death scene. It starts to go for a big finale but seems to back away from doing so, which makes the track feel slightly underplayed, but that makes the more euphoric and upbeat “First Crop” feel more of a nadir moment on the album.
For the final few tracks, some guests join in. “Kintsukuroi” has Benoit Pioulard as a guest and the two create a beautiful shimmering piece of tranquillity and stillness. It’s a standout on the album and I could listen to it on repeat for ages. “Znanie” features Abul Mogard and continues the dreamy landscapes of electronic noise and beautiful synths. Both these tracks have a beauty to them because they are like sweeping afterthoughts brought to life, with the latter being more like a sci-fi space odyssey. With our transition from dark to light complete “Rootedness” gives us an asthmatic pipe organ that signals the arrival of an uplifting piano and string piece which finally does give us that overwhelming sense of arrival and achievement of survival. It’s a wonderful moment where everything seems to pull together. “Sattva” closes the album in a more reflective and sleepy mood with subtle bass lines, keyboards and bird song.
In terms of melody, Dmitry’s work is not where you’ll find the most complex and epic stuck in your head moments. Where Comprehension of Light really comes into its own though is through the audio journey you take as you listen. It’s the really dark and twisted pieces, and the more ethereal spacious pieces I loved here, not the more classical tracks – but as a package, they all feel necessary to get you to that finale. Not for everyone, but if you want to close your eyes and let your imagination run wide, this will be right up your street.
Recommended Track : Kintsukuroi