12-inch, A Library
Morwan is Alex Ashtaui from Kiev. For a one-man band, this release is exceptionally full sounding. Ashtaui has great ear for a bassline, and some of those drums sound crisply live. He’s Slavic singing is often doubled, with a groan-drone reverb to the chanting style…but the chanting is more aligned with a holy man on an adrenaline binge. Guitar is thin and rattly, maybe a Soviet fender icing through a dark-wave of synth. Old Cure fans could easily re-dye their hair pitch black while listening to Волны. Ashtaui’s synth work often is cloudy with arrows of faux flute piercing it. That last track, Где-то там вдали almost has an Anatolian kind of vibe, just for reference I have no desire to start a holy war over its flavor. Apparently the combination of Arabic and Slavic, old folk and post-punk are the mesh that makes this quick five-track fix so mesmerizing. Perhaps, Alex merely worships rock, stylized rock as the cover image, looking like an asteroid hewn into the rough shape of an ancient saint or future visitor. Alien, familiar and inviting sounds here. The album title translates as “Ash-Earth” so maybe that is a self-portrait on the cover by this multi-talented artist (and professor?).We got this imported by Feel It Records to the USA in 2020, but originally it was on an interesting Russian label Sierpien Records in 2019.