AMN Reviews: Jagath – Svapna (2022; Cold Spring Records)

Jagath is a Russian collective that produces ritual ambient music, but does so in an unusual fashion. They eschew digital processing and layered synth, and instead record in abandoned resonant locations – underground sewers and tanks for example – to create a soundtrack for industrial decay.

The four long tracks on Svapna are driven by custom acoustic instrumentation, found-object percussion, and voices. The rhythmic structures go beyond the typical pounding patterns found in most ritual music and instead incorporate aleatoric elements. Coupled with largely improvised playing of atypical stringed, wood, and metal instruments, this gives the album a sense of unpredictability. The beats rarely follow any particular tempo or cadence, yet are densely structured with several performers contributing. The voices vary between chant, drone, and spoken song. This results in a uniquely haunting effort – it is as if human-made formations are crumbling to a melancholy soundtrack of acceptance.

Svapna will be released on September 30 by Cold Spring Records. If you have not yet tried ritual ambient, this would be an excellent place to start.