“Synthesizers help me maximally feel the present moment,” says Kedr Livanskiy, real name Yana Kedrina. Her debut album, ‘Ariadna’, marks a change in recording approach: her critically acclaimed breakout EP ‘January Sun’ was written and recorded completely in Ableton, while ‘Ariadna’ was written using the Roland SH-101, Roland Juno 106 and Korg Minilogue synthesizers, then mixed down in Ableton. According to Kedr, “This is way, one gets into a flow of live interaction, here and now, with the instrument.”
To her, this interaction is more raw and sacred than actually mixing the track down, which seems like mere formalism in comparison. There is a definite leap in production values this time around, but Kedr manages to keep true to her sound despite the greater polish and depth.
She expresses a desire to experiment with different styles of songs and to depart from the dance format all together with the tracks ‘Mermaid’ and ‘Sad One’. Though of course, most of Ariadna came out in a dance vein anyway.
Her inspiration for this record comes from the Izhevsk (sometimes referred to as “the capital of Russian electronic music”) sound of the 80s, including groups like Stuk Bambuka V XI Chasov (Bamboo Crash at 11AM) and Samtsy Dronta. The movement in Russian experimental music is especially inspiring, with acts likes Valery Chkalov, Sergey Kuryokhin and Pop Mechanica; in general, the late-Soviet period was very inspiring with all its figures in music, cinema, their energy and their approach towards life and art.
Albums and artists she is inspired by in general:
Cluster & Eno
Biosphere – Shenzhou
Some albums by Coil
NEU, Kraftwerk, Huerco S.
Muslimgauze, Psychic TV, D.Å.R.F.D.H.S.
Mono Junk – Gloom
Anthony Rother, Varg
+ Robert Turman
Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin are of course eternal companions and an endless source of inspiration.
Kedr also channels the places in her neighborhood on the outskirts of Moscow (affectionately dubbed by her as ‘ORDER MOSCOW’). There’s a river there where identical Soviet high-rises stand on both sides, with a bridge and garbage processing plant adjacent. Where nature and industry meet. The whole scene looks very apocalyptic, but also mystical and mysterious, especially at twilight.
A busy tour schedule since the release of ‘January Sun’ has lead to feeling isolated from home and friend, the feeling of loneliness overwhelms her even, but she enjoys this condition. When she’s roaming alone in a new city, she sometimes feels like a hero from the era of romanticism: as an alone, proud, free person who feels this acute tension with her surroundings. The experience of loneliness becomes mystic.
That’s the feeling she wanted to convey in the album cover. It’s inspired by paintings of the German artist Caspar David Friedrich and the values of Romanticism in general. It’s one of her favorite styles and themes, whether it be in poetry, painting or cinema. She aims to uncover similar emotions in her music ‘Ariadna’ and ‘Mermaid’ in particular explore mythical and fairytale themes, and mythological imagery has appeared before in her songs, for instance, ‘Sgoraet.’
Kedr considers this album to be divided into a couple of different parts like how one person can contain many different moods. The first half revolves around mythological themes, and the second takes cues from the urban and suburban environments around her, all the while in the middle of everything is the hero who experiences real feelings and emotions.