Ivan Somov makes music out of the Ural Mountains’ eastern foothills. His home is Serov, a small Sverdlovsk Oblast mining town of about 100,000 Russians. It would be presumptuous to say that where he lives has a great deal to do with the rather austere electronic music he makes under the name NotNotice. That said, it’s hard to imagine there is no connection between the two.
Конструктор – which translates as Constructor – is a darkly atmospheric recording that mixes music and spoken word to paint a vivid picture of 21st century Russia. Song titles like “медленная скорая” (Slow Ambulance), “культура потребления” (Consumption Culture) and “машина сновидений” (Dream Machine) add colourful detail. Somov’s compositions are a heady mix of social criticism and escapist fantasy.
There is plenty of darkness here, no question. But Somov tempers that with a series of complex beats and samples that give the production real energy. He describes the work as “slightly noisy techno canvases.”
The release comes from ФАКТУРА (Faktura), a cassette label dedicated to the Ural electronic scene. Twenty-six-year-old Artem Dultsev, a local DJ and music producer reached out to promote the release. He calls Faktura a community: “Our main goal is to find Ural identity in sound and music, understand it and explore.”