Compilations / Mixes
Selected Funbient Works 1-4
Selected Funbient Works 1-4 assumes somewhat of the character of an epitaph, given that Dmitriy Tolmatskiy's life ended in 2009 when the Saratov-based journalist and musician was only thirty-nine. As a result, the collection can't help but be heard as a defining portrait of the man and the industrial music be brought into being in post-Soviet Russia under the DMT alias. After initiating the DMT project in 1995, Tolmatskiy issued a number of limited-edition cassette releases and eventually built up a stockpile of “Funbient” material that he intended to release in four separate parts. Obviously a change of plan occurred, and Tolmatskiy, having settled on a double-album release, selected the best of the material for the release in question.
DMT's evocative sound world is a maximal zone filled with whirring machinery, oscillating pitches, swollen bass throb, and an occasional beat pattern or two. The release—over two hours in length—finds him exploring the darkest corners of the ambient-industrial spectrum, with moody atmospheric sketches accompanying noisier workouts. The tracks are anything but becalmed; rather they're pulsating and convulsive set-pieces that Tolmatskiy presents in five- to seven-minute installments, with each forming distinct chapters of the larger whole. They're not unmusical, however, as Tolmatskiy keeps a keen eye focused on the tracks' arrangements and dynamic range. On disc one, rhythms occasionally emerge but more often than not a given track focuses on a combustible flow of rippling patterns and fluttering textures.
Disc two's “Third Untitled Track from “Funbient 4”” shows that Tolmatskiy could generate immense, surging clouds of ambient design with the best of'em, while the nimble beat pattern thumping through “Some Little Outdoor Fears” proves that the DMT style also could accommodate a clubby, techno-styled treatment. Beats play a larger role in the second half, with tracks such as “Going Out” and “Walking through the H, pt. 6” also adding subtle propulsion to their dense, reverb-soaked fields of whirr and click. “On the Sacred Mountain” marches like an exceptionally boisterous if not drunken marching band; in “Preparation of a Mermaid,” kick drums pound and cymbals tinkle amidst synthetic sputter and splatter. Selected Funbient Works 1-4 is a challenging listen, in part because of the material's density but also because, at 130 minutes, there's a lot to take in; one might be well advised to split the listening session into halves. Even so, the collection amounts to a dignified tribute to Tolmatskiy and the artistry he shared through his DMT productions.