This latest release from Aleksandra Zakharenko is a "selection of soundscapes created by throughout various stages of last year" described as "subliminal moments, suspended fragments, caught between time zones." While that description could admittedly fit quite a lot of Perila's music, 7‚Äã.‚Äã37‚Äã/‚Äã2‚Äã.‚Äã11 has a far more intimate and informal feel than this year's previous release on Smalltown Supersound (How Much Time It Is Between You And Me?). That uncluttered, sketch-like approach suits Zakharenko quite well, as it brings out a bit more distinctive character than her more layered and produced work. Given that Perila is one of the more consistently intriguing artists in the ambient-adjacent abstract electronic milieu, there is plenty to like (or love) about that more produced side too, but I found this more stark and simple side easier to connect with on a deeper level, as these six songs distill Zakharenko's vision to its most pure form without sacrificing any of the beauty.
The opening "long dizzying air through a balcony door" sounds exactly like I would expect Perila to sound when filtered through the beautifully murky melancholia of Vaagner's house aesthetic (or at least curated with that aesthetic in mind). It is one of the more minimal pieces on the album as well, as it is essentially a spoken-word piece over a little more than a ghostly hum that rises and falls like a slow exhalation. The words are compellingly poetic and vaguely confessional, as it Zakharenko seems to be haltingly recounting fragmented and enigmatic memories from a past spring burned deep into her psyche. It strikes quite a mesmerizing balance of eerie and sensuous and is easily as strong as anything I have previously heard from Perila. In fact, I would have been thrilled if it was followed by five more pieces in the exact same vein, but only a fool would expect that, as Zakharenko's music has long featured a strong element of unpredictability. In keeping with that theme, the following "amorphous absorption" sounds like deconstructed dub techno sourced from dripping stalactites and chopped, hallucinatory voices, while the blearily melodic reverie "haven't left home 4 4 days" evokes the melancholy of a rain-soaked and cloud-darkened afternoon. A similarly drizzly atmosphere returns for the two pieces that close the album, but "this story doesn't make any sense" detours into a gently seething and bubbling experiment in disjointed, deconstructed, and unconventional percussion that feels like it is fading in and out of focus. It is an enjoyable piece, but the two pieces that follow even more impressive. I especially enjoyed ‚ÄúCrash Sedative,‚Äù which feels like a stoned and stumbling twist on classic Bill Evans-style jazz piano. "1 room" delves into a similarly noir-ish jazz vein, but feels too haunted and texture-focused to exist outside an especially creepy David Lynch film.
Nearly everything on the album is both good and distinctively "Perila," however, which makes this modest release an unexpectedly satisfying and absorbing album. On a related note, Vaagnar has also issued a considerably shorter sister EP (Memories of Log) that compiles strays from one of Zakharenko's stronger collaborators with Ulla. I expect anyone who likes 7‚Äã.‚Äã37‚Äã/‚Äã2‚Äã.‚Äã11 will enjoy that one too, as I certainly did (particularly Ulla's sublime closer "falling water lullaby").
Samples can be found here.