SiJ (Vladislav Sikach) is a dark ambient artist from Ukraine. He has built an impressive body of work, with over thirty compositions since he embarked on his journey back in 2011. SiJ creates many tracks which feature other ambient producers, including Robert Rich in his more recent work. For Cryo Chamber’s latest release, Reflections under the sky, SiJ teams up with Textere Oris (Ilya Fursov from Moscow) for both of their debuts on the label. Their first interaction involved Oris re-mastering the title track of SiJ’s album The End. It is from this re-worked song both artists forged an ambient duo. This album marks their first full-length joint effort.
Reflections under the sky uses a plethora of field recordings to envelop listeners in an atmosphere which inspires and isolates. SiJ & Textere Oris paint backdrops with nature’s elements such as rainfall for crisp, organic textures. Water flows in constant tone as footsteps crunch on a gravel shore, behind warm guitar and bellowing synthesizer hums on “Near the Dam”. “In the Rain” features what sounds to be droning cries akin to a flute. The harrowing breath secludes you in trickling rain, but the song’s uplifting tone welcomes you to embrace loneliness under its grey sky. The duo also splashes inklings of natural sounds. A tweeting bird, chirps of night crawlers and crickets in overgrown brush, a tea kettle scream as it rises to a boil. These familiar sounds invite you to bask in the album’s coziness, though its dark ambient undertones push you into chilling territories.
SiJ also folds piano and his own voice into some tracks. This is best exemplified in “First Snow”. Warm tape noise crackles in the background while low piano notes hum in the storm. In flickering moments, the song opens up and inspires awe, only to relapse into beckoning moans and the piano drenched with melancholy. The closing track, “The End”, is marked with similar style. Glistening synths twinkle like stars in the dusk of the setting sun as a static voice stirs with crazed, hopeful excitement. Although it’s difficult to determine which voice is SiJ’s, the tracks boast the delightful compositions this duo can create. Under the earth’s azure canopy, Reflections under the sky strikes a serene dark ambient tone which instills wonder as you gaze into the space above.
Score: 7.0 / 10.0
Listen to “First Snow” above; purchase Reflections Under the Sky here.