This album was supposed to come out in March 2022, but Ukrainian artists Gamardah Fungus obviously had other priorities at that time.
"This is probably our roughest album to date. It was recorded before the war in our country and seemed to foreshadow the mood that would be inherent in us in 2022."
Gamardah Fungus is a band from Dnipro, Ukraine. They produce slow, viscous drone ambient, sometimes adjoining meditative electroacoustic and gloomy dark jazz with field recording.
The album Metamorphosis was influenced by the Dao and Zen philosophy that Gamardah Fungus has been interested in for many years. The works of Heidegger, Sartre, Camus and Kafka also served as considerable inspiration.
Metaphorical transformation of a person into an insect, psychological and spiritual regeneration of the personality, interaction with society and with one's inner world. Searching for harmony between following destiny and creating your own path. All of the above topics, passed through the perception of Gamardah Fungus, are reflected in this album. Therefore, the music on it is changeable, sharp and viscous. Nervous and insecure at times. Sometimes quite straightforward and absorbing. From the first track to the last, there are sound metamorphoses, as changes in the human personality occur throughout existence.
The album was created during audio explorations in the studio and improvisations on granular and modular synthesizers, acoustic and electric guitars, etc.
Review by Spenser Tomson in The Wire magazine:
"Though Ukraine's Gamardah Fungus are mythological in name, it's this term worlding that connects their latest release to Salvaggio's record. Metamorphosis was recorded before the recent Russian invasion of Igor Yalivec and Sergio Berry's home country, yet it contains an appropriate sense of abrasive doom and fuzzy foreboding. The album's sleevenotes describe a narrative which mirrors that of Franz Kafka's novella of the same name, the 'transformation of a person into an insect, psychological and spiritual regeneration of the personality, interaction with society and with one's inner world'. 'First Stage' sets up a bank of subtle simmering electronics which melt and morph in disorientating translucence. As the five tracks progress, there is an increasing sense of dislocation and dread - by the time the album finishes with 'Final Stage' the electronic tumult has descended into full chaos, echoing Kafka's description of a man's regression into insect, but also the madness and suffering currently in Ukraine. While Salvaggio's pieces are concerned with the optimism of worlding and the positive potential of new symbiosis, Gamardah Fungus explore the concept's dark reverse, when the structures break down to expose the barbarism lurking beneath the surface of humanity."
Review by Frans de Waard in Vital Weekly:
"Here we have a duo from Ukraine, with an album recorded just before the war broke out and initially intended for a release in March. That became a little bit later. The duo consists of Igor Yalivec (modular and granular synthesizers) and Sergio Berry (electric and acoustic guitars). This new album is inspired by Dao and Zen, but also Heidegger, Camus, Sartre and Kafka. I kept thinking about the band Metamorphosis, who released one great album in the mid-80s. Oddly, maybe, there is a connection between that band and this album. One of freedom of playing and interaction. Whereas the UK band of long ago was more akin to experimental post-punk, but with a strong love for the experimental side of music, with Gamardah Fungus, there is an experimental approach to ambient from the perspective of improvisation. There is a bit of drone, jazz, electro-acoustic, and free guitar strumming, and the music is quite dark throughout. It is easy to see this in light of the events in their country, but perhaps too easy. Their musical interests are neatly divided so that one piece is a bit jazzier ('Second Stage'), a bit more open and post-rock-like ('Third Stage') or spooky drone music ('Fourth Stage'). Some of this music easily fits the soundtrack of a spooky movie, some of this is all about music for meditative home-listening ('Final Stage'), which is the place where I like them best. Here, the music reaches an excellent combination of ambient, tension, darkness and freely improvised sounds, blending perfectly. I have not heard any of their other music, but this release made me curious to investigate some more of them."
Review in Khatacomb translated from Ukrainian to English:
"Many artists, now releasing releases written before the war, note how much their mood predicted future events. Gamardah Fungus prove this point with their album Metamorphosis, which offers a fairly clear, albeit multi-layered concept of transformation; on the one hand — inspired by Kafka and existential philosophy, and on the other — reflecting the internal process that every resident of Ukraine goes through in one way or another.
The musicians reproduce the process of metamorphosis through the construction of a floating sound space devoid of structural or tonal landmarks: the entire album is the movement, flow and transformation of sound sources. Fragmented guitar improvisations are woven into a dense flow of granular texture that simultaneously resembles the buzzing of insects, cosmic noises and the electrical impulses of the human body, thereby allowing the musical intention to be read at any level from the microcosm to the macrocosm. Given the impressive layering and detail of the soundscape, it is quite possible that this is the band's most accomplished, most academic and most avant-garde work to date."
Review by Giuseppe Vitale in Radioaktiv:
"Con oltre dieci album negli ultimi dodici anni, i prolifici Gamardah Fungus rappresentano uno dei nomi di spicco dell’underground dark ambient. Il duo composto da Igor Yalivec (synth) e Sergio Berry (chitarra) è sempre stato affascinato da sonorità lente, oscure e meditative; non a caso una componente fondamentale nella loro musica è la filosofia, come dimostra anche l’influenza del Taosimo e dello Zen nell’ultimo album Metamorphosis, in uscita il 12 settembre 2022 per Esc.rec.
Inizialmente previsto per marzo e poi rimandato a causa della guerra, il nuovo album del progetto ucraino è composto da un unico lungo movimento diviso in cinque parti. Ad essere ancora protagonista è la fascinazione per l’elettroacustica e per i droni, arricchiti da field recordings e strizzate d’occhio al dark jazz.
Ognuno degli stadi dell’album racconta qualcosa e lo fa principalmente attraverso una serie di cambi d’umore. Intendiamoci: l’atmosfera è costantemente nebulosa ed opprimente, ma la bravura del duo sta proprio nello smarcarsi da questo schema rigido ed esplorarne tutte le possibilità.
Così, se l’iniziale First Stage appare come un’introduzione necessaria nel mondo dei Gamardah Fungus, già da Second Stage a percepirsi è il concept del disco: la metamorfosi evocata dal titolo, concepita nella sua accezione più spirituale e psicologica, è una metaforica trasformazione da uomo ad insetto resa attraverso un sapiente utilizzo di synth modulari e l’alternanza tra chitarra acustica ed elettrica. Third Stage è perfetta nel dare la sensazione di un corpo in mutazione, la chitarra acustica ricama sulle pulsazioni liquide del synth e prepara il terreno per quello che è a tutti gli effetti non solo l’atto più importante della trasformazione ma anche il brano più riuscito del disco. Fourth Stage, infatti, è un climax maestoso che, districandosi tra la nebulosità dei synth e le incursioni della chitarra, giunge nel finale ad una rara apertura sonora dal sapore space. Chiude Final Stage, sicuramente il pezzo più organico del disco.
Metamorphosis è un album in cui ad emergere incontrastato è il tema extra-musicale e addirittura si ha quasi l’impressione in diversi momenti che la musica venga messa in secondo piano. Tuttavia, i Gamardah Fungus hanno una consapevolezza invidiabile e riescono a dar vita a paesaggi sonori dall’innegabile fascino. Un altro centro."
Review by Guillermo Escudero in Loop:
"Gamardah Fungus is a Ukrainian duo from Dnipro who formed in 2009 by sound designer Igor Yalivec and guitarist Sergey Yagoda. They have several albums released in Ukraine and England. The band's musical approach is based on the philosophy of Zen Buddhism and metaphysics and its own meditative practices. Regarding 'Metamorphosis', the duo states: 'This is probably our hardest album to date. It was recorded before the war in our country and seemed to presage the mood that would be inherent in us in 2022'.
To be released in September 12th. on the critical acclaimed label from Deventer, The Netherlands, this album showcases improvisations on granular and modular synthesizers, acoustic and electric guitars, and other instruments. The duo proposes a combination of drone, contrails approaches to jazz, electroacoustic and experimentation that unfolds an ambience of disturbing and dark atmosphere. The different layers of 'Metamorphosis' include electronic textures with almost inaudible microscopic sounds, acoustic explorations of guitar and flute (or similar), along with synthesized lines that show both smooth modulations and organic noises.
Gamardah Fungus with this album invites us to reflect on the dark drift of human foolishness corrupted by ambition and that can be noticed by the sound environment created by this duo and that surrounds this new instalment."
released September 12, 2022
Modular and granular synthesizers – Igor Yalivec
Electric and acoustic guitars – Sergio Berry
Artwork by Ave Libertatemaveamor
All proceeds of this release go to the artists to help support their lives in Ukraine. Please feel free to pay more if you can.