review by Bill Binkelman

One of the last things that fans of the recordings on Electroshock Records expect is the urge to smile while listening to a release from that label. More often than not, the music from the Russian label is dark, sinister, noir-ish, even experimental and avant garde in the extreme. However, after last year's terrific Midway (from Valery Siver and Kiryl Trepakov) that married trippy glitch beats with new age-style guitar, I, for one, shouldn't be that surprised, I suppose, by anything that comes down the pike from them. However, no amount of open-mindedness could have prepared me for the sheer joy, delightful loopiness, and abundant good fun of Antarctina from the trio Yney (comprised of Yuri Orlov, Andrew Kireev & Igor Shaposhnikov). It is so much fun that I can't even begin to tell you how infectious and outrageously entertaining it is.
Even more difficult, however, is attempting to describe this music and do it justice. Elements of ambient, lounge, jazz, glitch, trip-hop, breakbeat, and all manner of quirky playfulness coalesce into this amalgam of audaciousness. And all of it is so accessible! "Appearance from Above" kicks things off (after a brief swirling ambient opening) by slowly merging oscillator-like blooping, finger-snapping toe-tapping triangle rhythms, bass drum beats, high-hats, and rapid fire glitch beats, followed by the main "instruments" (those being short burst-notes of retro synths, whistling tones, and some stuff you have to hear to believe). It all flows together seamlessly, as weird as that is to believe, because the assorted percussion anchors it so solidly. At twelve minutes in duration, this is the longest piece on the album, but it seems to fly by because the artists are always tweaking the assorted synths, beats, textures and whatnot to produce subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) variations.
It's with track 2, "Stroll," though, that Antarctina hits its stride. Again, after a short abstract opening, the song evolves into more accessible motifs, such as midtempo slinky rhythms on both electronic and trap-kit drums, ultra-delicious cheesy Hammond B3 organ blurts, and chugging kicking bass beats. This is seriously funky shit, folks. You cannot help but get your butt shaking to this one. When they dial in the 1950s SF spacy sounds, it sends electric impulses to my face and commands me to grin! Track 3, "Invitation" takes less time to wind up and let fly, which it does with pulsing synth bass beats, hyperkinetic cymbal rhythms, bongos galore, and sexy sustained organ chords. It plays out like some tropical island-jam from a Lex Baxter retro-futurism album of the 1950s! Cool!
But the highpoint for me is "Flight Over the Continent" which somehow mashes together glitch beats with a funky sexy bass line and a churning B3 refrain that screams "LOUNGE!" and damn but this is some seriously good time stuff. During the bridge, the organ cuts over to a whole new sound that is so delightfully retro I wish it would just loop it forever. And then, as if that weren't enough, they throw in some jazz trumpet riffing followed by more '50s SF movie sound effects. It's all just too fucking wild, man. There's a cool techno-ish number here as well ("Fly Out") that interweaves all these retro synthesizer tones with the pulsing bass/high-hat beats. Things move closer to "normal" Electroshock soundscape territory with "Return to Bosom," although not to the degree that it derails the album. Antarctina closes with another techno dance tune, "Light of the Antarktina Star" although this one is, believe it or not, minimalist techno-music (you'll understand what I mean when you hear it).
You're not gonna find a more bizarre yet accessible, or a more fun-filled yet unconventional recording than Antarctina without scouring the planet, folks. Bring your sense of humor to this party and you will have a blast, almost without fail. If the catchy rhythms don't get you, the quirky blend of retro electronics with lounge/jazz organ and SF synths will. Hats off (and thrown high into the air, for that matter) to both the group members, as well as Artemiy Artemiev for having the presence of mind to release this fascinating and enjoyable trip into uncharted musical blurred boundaries. Absolutely my highest recommendation.
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