W. Zabarkas is a Russian-based musician who taps into the ironic tagline of the Glistening Examples record label that released his project: “Barely Evident Since 2006.” Zabarkas doesn’t have too much of a website and his social media presence isn’t particularly extroverted. Nonetheless, The Origin of Dreams is a glistening beauty. Each track builds a massive, shimmering wall of sound that drones on for a rather long period of time. Upon first listen, it’s hard to gage the level of contrast between these four tracks, but the aura of the project certainly inspires deeper listening. After gaining more of an understanding of the elements that Zabarkas cloaks beneath his veil of shimmering glory, it’s clear that his ability to subtly incorporate various rhythmic and melodic structures into his dense sound environment is unique to say the least.
The album fades in with a very wide drone, accompanied by a swaying back and forth bass sound. Ever so slowly a high, almost guitar sounding melody enters the room. With loads of distortion in tow, the pseudo-guitar fits into the central aspects of the song, but adds a bit more strain into the major third bass motion. A lot of structural components at play here are due to return later on the record. The fact that the melodic element is only panned to the left comes back quite frequently and helps give each track a sense of depth. Also, the momentum that the drone sound achieves through its glittering overtones gives the impression that the volume is constantly increasing, making the ending feel larger than life.
“Forest-91” follows with a slightly thinner drone sound, at least to start things off. This track is all about rhythm. It seems like Zabarkas first has bit of a specific sound, but as the whole space expands, natural waves occur, making sort of mini, off-kilter grooves. Eventually Zabarkas comments on this with more intentional keyboard melodies played beneath the surface and the track actually ends off with the exposed synth melody. Again, all of this action is sort of collaged into one general kaleidoscope, but as opposed to the first track’s straining melody, the action hear is more rhythmically driven.
The third track is probably the best example of a particular juxtaposition that Zabarkas is working with. As a whole the album is very steady, but a lot of the rhythmic motions within the overall structure tend to be more erratic and unpredictable. “2094” showcases this rather clearly with the almost shaky keyboard sound that comes into the right ear. Seemingly bubbling and fidgeting at completely random intervals, the sound offers a nice sense of tension to contrast the blissful energy of the first sounds. The last track, “Whereof One Cannot Speak, Thereof One Must Be Silent,” works a bit as a summary track, capturing all of the devices on the record one final time.
It’s certainly fair to mark down this project a bit for lacking contrast, but the subtleties that Zabarkas brings make for a truly capturing aura. Melodic elements both collage themselves into the shimmering landscape and stretch deep into the background. Rhythmic elements, whether intentional or accidental juxtapose the notion of stability, making for a not so one dimensional experience.
Certainly want to hear more from this artist.