And wet palms at the bottom,
They have land,
Your gaze is fixed on the bottom, afar.
In the pulsating heart of Eastern Europe, amidst the burgeoning chaos of dark, rhythmic, and potent new creativity, emerges an enthralling creative force from Kyiv: Morwan.
Alex Ashtaui, the prodigious force behind the outfit, first unleashed his first brooding collections of songs in 2015. In 2019, the project took flight, as it effortlessly infused the raw, visceral energy of post-punk with the mystique of Arabic and Ukrainian motifs.
Whispered beneath the veil of twilight, his latest offering, the LP “Svitaye, Palaye,” unfurls as the third sonic offering from Morwan, out now via Feel It Records. Like a ritualistic dance, the music is as rapid as it is dark, as unique as it is captivating. In Morwan, Alex Ashtaui has crafted a musical fusion that bridges the gap between ancient traditions and contemporary darkness, a testament to the enduring power of creativity and the boundless depths of human expression. We hear shades of Killing Joke, The Chameleons, Lowlife, Blitz, and The Mission in their sound, infused with a Middle-Eastern flair.
The original intent for this brooding masterpiece was to weave a lighter, more melancholic tapestry, interspersed with danceable rhythms that would honor the essence of Morwan’s previous incarnations. Alas, the shadows of war cast their darkness upon the Ukrainian lands as the Russian invasion swept through, stalling the creative process and transforming the very soul of the album.
The war instead became the heart of “Svitaye, Palaye” – not through explicit tales or detailed chronicles, but rather as an ethereal, emotional embodiment. This opus captures the fleeting sentiments, ghostly moods, and the visceral emotions evoked by the harrowing events. Transcending the language barrier, we feel the anguish of loss, the depths of sorrow, the tremors of fear, the flames of hatred, and the raw, unbridled aggression.
The album commences with the resonant lament of “Журба,” featuring echoing vocals, acoustic guitar, and droning synths, which transitions into the atmospheric folk sounds of “Сяєш.”
“Полетіли” showcases mournful guitar strumming and a melody seemingly lost in time, evoking a bygone era, before giving way to an Eastern-inspired guitar reverie and driving bassline.
“Грім” is driven by percussion and continues the captivating feel of its predecessors, at times resembling the Polish post-punk act Siekiera.
“Тополі” exudes sorrow with otherworldly medieval synths, guitars, and drums. “Відчуваєш” presents a spectral, industrial darkwave feel, and the album’s driving closing track “Земля палає” concludes the collection of songs with an uneasy discordant mix of somber cacophony and fervent cries.
Listen to the album below and order here:
Two masterpieces have been birthed into existence since Morwan’s inception: the evocative “Ubila Mogila” (2019) and the hauntingly atmospheric “Zola-Zemlya” (2020). The project is a phoenix that rose from the ashes of Ashtaui’s previous endeavor, 563 (Pyat’shest’tri), as he sought new avenues of expression, ultimately finding solace in the embrace of his half-Ukrainian, half-Arab heritage. The result is a sonic tapestry that weaves together the threads of ethnic tradition and the brooding shadows of post-punk.
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