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Rishikesh. FIVE ELEMENTS MUSIC -Sergey Suhovik-
(Unfathomless 2012)

I just had a conversation with a fellow artist about how today media and culture seem to have been creating an atmosphere of fear and terror: we talked about how science TV shows tend to focus on the potential hazard that nature presents to us: from rare diseases that can kill us in a blink without any warning to catastrophes of massive proportions that potentially can destroy all life on earth.

Even the conspiracy theories seem to be just another medium that fear and terror find to spread in the ‘collective mind’.

We are in a point where we are all scared but where also nothing could really surprise us anymore: from drugs that turn people into flesh eaters to the terrorizing images of the Tsunami in Japan, we seem doomed to an imminent catastrophe and we just seem to be getting prepared for.

Visual artist and theorist José A. Restrepo wrote on an essay:

‘about postmodernity and its relation with the sublime and the catastrophic: a conservatory vision where the sublime is associated with the terror and absolutism or a renewing vision where the sublime is an essencial aesthetic characteristic recurrent on all art forms that pretends to be a testimony of the unrepresentable.’

Now what does that have to do with Sergey Suhovik project Five Elements Music and the ‘Rishikesh’ work?

Sergey Suhovik is an artist, curator and publisher from Russia well know for his project Five Elements Music and his labels Semperflorens and Still*Sleep. For ‘Rishikesh’ he traveled to India to capture sound and in his own words to“…portray an intangible atmosphere…”.

Although the release is named ‘Rishikesh’ the sounds were captured in the city of Rishikesh and in the city of Vrindavan, the city where God Krishna was born.

Going back to the conversation I had with this fellow artist, he send me a few links to videos that lead me to a video of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad the founder of the Hare Krishna movement.

[Image of God Krishna from an unknown artist]

The fact that I was about to write about a release captured on the city where God Krishna was born and the fact that earlier I listened to some words by the Hare Krishna leader about his notion of machine and progress, seem to reveal a potential poetical and metaphysical relation between anticipation and coincidence, between the clues we follow and the clues that follow us.

‘Rishikesh’ is a release that seems to work on a deep level, on a level where the cosmological and genealogical seem to convey: where our origin and the origin of the universe convey as one.

Formally ‘Rishikesh’ works somewhere between film soundtracks, ambient music and musique concrete. Fiction and fact melt into an extraordinary experience where doom seem to prevail over the first piece ‘Rishikesh’ and through most of the second piece ‘Vrindavan’ until minute 18 when the gloomy sounds fade out to recordings from chants giving to the whole work some sort of messianic character. The artist although not necessarily a redeemer seem to connect people with meanings and messages that are invisible to the ordinary eye / ear.

The fact that Suhovik traveled to India to capture the sounds in what seems a formal quest, reveals deep and meaningful questions: why India? why the city where God Krishna was born? Why capture all the recordings between 11 PM and 3 AM when most people are sleeping?

On ‘Rishikesh’ Suhovik’s role is that of the truly successful sound artist linking the present with the past and the future while giving a pertinent sense to the formal and conceptual questions made on the creative process. The artist operates as medium between the present time and a timeless universe  where past, present and future collide into a vision that the artist envisions and make tangible through the sensible experience with his work.

The many sounds he captured on this trip from the most textural and gestural ones to the more environmental and anthropological-emphasized ones, puts the listener in touch with something that I’d call of a sublime nature. Sublime in the sense that José A. Restrepo mentioned on the fragment of his essay I quoted.

‘Rishikesh’ is a beautiful release that can reach deep inside the listener, creating a sense of relation with things and the world that couldn’t be more valid and pertinent today: the expectations we have towards an apocalyptic event while this apocalypse is already an essential part of ourselves.

-John McEnroe

Sergey Suhovik discography
Unfathomless website