Kedr Livanskiy finds the fantasy on the enchanting third album, ‘Liminal Soul’
There’s a dazzling sense of fantasy to the music that Russia’s Yana Kedrina conjures up, like modern folk songs that are told through the intersection of man and machine. Folding her saccharine voice like shards of crystal into layers upon layers of buzzing, gloaming, and ebbing electronica, she creates a sort of fairytale avant-pop landscape that finds its inspiration in both the natural world and a sparkling mysticism. Her third album as Kedr Livanskiy, Liminal Soul, is released via 2MR and explores the dance between voice and machine more deftly than before, finding Kedrina occupied with enchanting and elliptical melodies chopped, looped and intertwined in her ocean of sparse synthesisers. It marks a return to the early enchantment and ethereal quality of her debut Ariadna after 2019’s Your Need, which saw Kedrina experiment with club forms on what remains her most accomplished work to date. This sort of etherealness is immediately established on the album’s introduction, Celestial Ether, which layers echoed loops of Kedrina’s vocal arias amongst syncopated half beats and icy synth chimes. It recalls Björk’s work on Biophilia, and in a sense Liminal Soul echoes that album in the way it looks toward the synthetic to express the magic of the organic world.
On Stars Light Up, cavernous, glacial pads glitch like tumbling ice rocks behind a looping chord progression and a beat that surfaces for fractions of a moment before ducking below the waves again. Storm Dancer uses a modulating eurodance synth riff to interpolate the rapture of thunder, while plucked shamisen-like strings recall scattered rain drops. These strange, preternatural moments are grounded by more straightforward pop melodies, like on the deconstructed garage leaning My Invisible or the balladry of Teardrop. The album, like Kedrina’s previous work, is sung entirely in Russian with the exception of the song Boy. A sort of early 2000’s throwback pop ballad with programmed strings and a Ray of Light style breakbeat, Boy breaks away from Liminal Soul’s nether-realm for a moment. It’s lyrics “I can’t be with you boy,” may be rudimentary to the point of ambiguity, but the outing is carried by Kedrina’s voice and melodic prowess which make the lyrics feel secondary to effect. Night (featuring Synecdoche Montauk) is another slight stylistic breakaway, with a sparse, kudro leaning beat and subtle accents of ravey hoover synths.
Liminal Soul returns Kedrina to the liminal space between reality and a world where fairy creatures might exist among the splendours of the natural world, but takes the energy she found on the dancefloor with Your Need and applies it to this realm. It’s an album full of rich layers and textures that reveal themselves more and more with each listen, enchanting you with Kedrina’s sparkling voice and daring you to believe in magic for just a moment.
Download Liminal Soul here and watch the album visualiser below.
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