MARGENROT – A PEAL OF THE ARMENIAN PAST

Margenrot – Zangezur (Klammklang)

Eastern Europe, while not well represented in the West, is rich in art and music. Lusia Kazaryan-Topchyan is one of these standout musicians. She was part of the trio Fanny Kaplan before setting out on her own. Born in Omsk, Siberia with an Armenian heritage, she now resides in Moscow. creating sounds that on this album are directly influenced by the folklore and civil rights struggles of Armenia.

Kazaryan-Topchyan’s debut release on Klammklang, Zangezur, is a deeply personal look at her own heritage and its translation it through music. The title is both the name of a region in Armenia as well as a term taken from Armenian folklore – the story of a sabotaged alarm bell (some accounts say it was melted) that helped Timur conquer the Syunik province (zange zure translates to “the ring is in vain”).

The album starts off with an earworm of a bass line that is resonant and driving, then ends with a simple synth drone with minimal percussion. Mixing 80s and 90s industrial with old scratched records and analog synthersizers, Kazaryan-Topchyan creates a dark ambient sound that is simultaneously inviting and cold. The melodies and sounds are, like the culture of Eastern Europe, a hybrid of West and East, creating something new.

This diverse album spans from sounds reminiscent of early Yello to Burzum-style synth epics, mixed with dusty field recordings. Throughout Zangezur you hear rhythmic factory beats juxtaposed with ritual folk sounds, metal clanging with duduk phrases, modernity mixing with antiquity to create a crackling, furrowed mediation on the past and present.

Available on 10″ LP and digital on Klammklang (https://klammklang.bandcamp.com/album/zangezur) and cassette tape on Akoazm (https://akoazm.bandcamp.com/album/zangezur)

– Jeff Brown

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