“Full of ethereal beauty…emotive…haunting.”
“A glistening, glowing, otherworldly thing of profound beauty…”
“Immersive…Like re-entering the womb. Ambient synth sounds that float weightlessly, above bass drones and twinkling arpeggios.”
“One of the best albums I’ve heard for a long, long time…”
Steve Barker, BBC Radio
Self-taught composer and sound-designer from Kyiv, Ukraine, Oleg Shpudeiko presents a new solo LP as Heinali, an evocative avant-ambient journey through what he describes “a period of recovery from an emotionally dark place…a kind of personal therapy.”
Anthem is rich with timbral abstractions, combining breathtaking beauty with an esoteric otherworldliness. Crushing waves of distortion that bring to mind Ben Frost or Oneohtrix Point Never surround radiant sound-design in the mould of Jon Hopkins or Andy Stott. Pulsing, fluttering synth-worlds like those of Emeralds or Popol Vuh orbit through a galaxy of texture not unlike Clint Mansell’s Moon score. The ghost of piano-and-string chamber music is apparent through the record as a haunting melancholy, though minimal in its corporeal presence. The emotional deliverance of film score is felt here as a dark and cathartic resonance, its swells of orchestral lushness created by vibrant layers of electroacoustic sound rather than multiple musicians. Shpudeiko also constructed the soundtrack to PlayStation’s 2016 videogame Bound, and echoes a similar sense of digital storytelling in Anthem.
The album’s stylistic and compositional elements – sometimes familiar, sometimes alien – are the results of years of sharpening, a new meeting point of Heinali’s creative voyages. Shpudeiko has sailed through a multitude of musical ports in his previous works. Much of his commercial and commissioned work for film, television and dance (dating back to 2009) evokes the string-orientated subtlety and tenderness of Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter or film score great Hans Zimmer. But by the mid-2010’s Shpudeiko felt Heinali had completed the “shift away from the modern-classical aesthetic”. His output now embodies as much processed-sound electroacoustic explorations as gentle solo piano; as much challenging music as sombre or serene music. In November 2016 his score – described as “a stunning electronic soundscape” – for A Thread by choreographer Jean Abreu was performed at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre.
Oleg produced and recorded Anthem in his own apartment in Kyiv over a period of a few years, using a substantial arsenal of hardware and computer processing, ranging from heavyweight Korg and Moog gear, to the beloved and vintage homemade SoundHack and AudioMulch software, to “old Soviet digital effects, glitchy as hell.” Anthem was mastered by Taylor Deupree of 12k Mastering.
Released 10 February 2017. Cover art by Slavomir Zombek.