First things first, this split LP is absolutely gorgeous. Each side has its own artwork for each side of the sleeve, and the vinyl itself is blue/grey marbled, and everything looks absolutely beautiful.
Now on to the music. Russian artist Gultskra Artikler gives us three tracks on the first side. I'll admit this side didn't do it for me at first, but it's definitely grown on me. The first piece, "Pervie Gusli", starts out with some heavily reverbed sounds that seem to meander about, but do form a distinct pattern. Some other bizarre loops are mixed in, including what sounds like a manipulated recording of bells, but it's hard to be sure. Some mangled guitar notes seem to start to pick out some different notes, but then the piece gets a little more heavily reverbed, and then fades out. The second piece, "Figase", is a pulsating drone with another heavily reverbed instrument playing away in the background; I can't tell if it's a violin or maybe some sort of horn or something. After this drone fades away, the most rhythmic and melodic piece on the side, "Berezka Take 2", begins. The piece blends acoustic guitars and electronic blips and whirrs similar to artists like Fennesz, but the melody is more akin to something out of an old Vangelis soundtrack. Really beautiful and sweet.
The Lanterns side is excellent as well. The majority of the side is taken up by "Snake Ice", a fantastic drone which manages to shine through its incredibly muddy, lo-fi sound. The other track on the side, "Dir Tup", is cleaner sounding, but isn't nearly as stunning. After a flute intro, the acoustic guitar stumbles upon a rhythm upon which some violin scrapings and bird sounds are laid on top. Pretty, but not my favorite song on the record.
On first listen I was sure that the Lanterns side was my favorite, but now I think they're both pretty amazing. Both artists find unique ways to blend acoustic and electronic elements, as well as structure and improvisation. Given both the quality of the music and the artwork, there's much for fans of experimental music to enjoy from this record. 8/10 -- Paul Simpson (22 October, 2008)