Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD), Cassette
The most immediately striking aspect of Kedr Livanskiy’s music is the freeness with which it flits between genres and styles. Yana Kedrina, the Moscow-based musician performing under the name (which is Russian for “Lebanon cedar”), went from fronting punk bands to producing lo-fi and ambient-influenced electronic pop music, later bringing in flavors of jungle, progressive house, and shoegaze. She continues to wander wherever sounds beckon on new album Liminal Soul, exploring spaces between the acoustic and electronic, fantasy and reality, imagination and memory.
“Celestial Ether” opens the record as a statement of intent, its first few seconds introducing Kedrina’s staggering, otherworldly falsetto only to puncture it with loaded stabs of bass. A bell melody ticks overhead, drums are injected into the stream, and the formless begins to take shape. This potential courses through the album, with Kedrina’s cold voice that freezes moments and stops time counterbalanced by the dark euphoria of music that threatens to burst into blistering breakbeats as soon as the world resumes its rotation. On “Your Turn” it manifests as 2-step/garage, while “Teardrop” channels trance and “Boy” sits over on the Smashing Pumpkins side of things. A meditation on an impossible relationship, “Boy” also happens to be one of the first songs Kedrina has written in English. Its sepia-flushed mix of band instrumentation (rather than purely digital textures) stands out in contrast to other highlights such as “My Invisible,” an urgent electronic cut on which Kedrina takes the role of IDM diva. Its lyrics echo the moods of the rest of the album: nebulous, cosmic, and elemental. These themes culminate in the album’s closing chapters, where beats are cast aside for even more distorted and intoxicating vocals and synths.
There is so much energy and wonder imbued in the songs of Liminal Soul that the record couldn’t sit still if it tried. Kedrina is always moving, and what makes her latest album such a celebratory listen is how readily she embraces her own wayfaring nature.