(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

Lost Cities (2011), 5/10
Dreams Of A Sick Man (2011), 6/10
Fragments Of Human (2012), 6/10
Obscurant (2012), 6.5/10

Na-Hag, the project of Ukraine's prolific IDM producer Andriy Symonovych, debuted with an avalanche of impeccably produced albums of bouncy instrumental dance music. As it is often the case with prolific artists, each album contains promising ideas amid much fluff.

Lost Cities (2011) is relatively light-weight entertainment, running the gamut from theatrical horror (Leave It) to Middle Eastern joy (Lost Cities), and from the mindless techno acceleration of Having A Knife to the locomotive beat of Pray For Your Obscure Walks On Broken Roofs, haunted by howls and hisses from the steppes. Half a melody finally surfaces in Iron Bird, but too little too late: most of the album is a frigid machine.

Dreams Of A Sick Man (2011) was a more psychological work that yielded the sinister quality of the polyrhythms and drones in Just Can't Sleep Sound, the highly suspenseful post-raga Hypnos Whirls Dizzy My Saltation (the rare "song"), and other disturbing atmospheric pieces like Oh My Eyelid Hold My Eye and Just Can't Sleep Sound. The nine-minute Useless Attempt To Hold On The Edge marked the rare venture into the psychedelic realm, and the main tabla beat is wed to neoclassical flute and strings before a grotesquely thumping electronic beat sweeps all the graceful gestures away for the grand theatrical finale in front of a cryptically croaking deity.

Highlights of Fragments Of Human (2012) are: the pounding horror-industrial Delusion a` la Nine Inch Nails, the frenzied post-raga delirium of The Scales Fall From Eyes, the cinematic sci-fi soundtrack Die Die Die People Nation that picks up steam and turns into a thundering syncopated dance, and The Lowest Degree Of Intelligence, a cross between African tribal dance and factory machine metronomy. Na-Hag reaches an emotional peak in He Was Nobody that intones a Morricone-esque melody amid a hypnotic panzer beat.

Obscurant (2012) opens in Na-Hag's lighter mood with the machine's heartbeat and frantic skipping beats of You Worship Me, that are simply meant for the dancefloor. Mindless late-night entertainment is also provided by Sew Your Face To My Face; and, after all, the album ends with the tribal post-Goa post-house dance Ninth Fragment Of My Body. But the album mainly delves into the post-apocalyptic landscapes painted by the miasmatic multi-layered industrial ballet Atavism and by its more lenient counterpart Praying On The White Mountain (which is perhaps even more spectacular as a percussive kaleidoscope), and into the psychological inferno depicted by the tribal orgy of The Demon Inside Me. Next to the acrobatic beats of the rest, the one dark ambient piece, Washing Blood-Stained Hands Under The Rain stands out with its moribund choir and strings.

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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