On their intriguing new album The Mold Legacy, the noise duo Cernichov work to conceptualize a world in which mold and mushrooms are the dominant organisms.
Scroll down for a Q & A with Cernichov about the process of creating the record!
There’s a definite sci-fi vibe in the music thanks to the expansive-feeling and poignantly shimmering tones, which seem reflective of some kind of spacey void. The sounds all feel quite grounded — there’s somewhat of an earthy vibe in the tones, like traveling through woods.
Although the tones largely feel somewhat somber, much of the music isn’t particularly abrasive or harsh. Instead, there’s a sense of stumbling across some broad expanse — full of mushrooms, perhaps — that sparks feelings of both wonder and ominous unease. There’s not a particular sense of uncertainty or chaos, because the music feels stable — at least relatively speaking, and in place of these feelings, Cernichov have cultivated music that feels persistently exploratory.
There’s a consistent forward movement as the duo’s almost orchestrally broad tones slowly pulse across the stark songs. Mostly, the tempo stays slow, which helps expand the atmosphere. Combined with the relative stability, this forward-moving energy gives the music a subtle bright feeling. Many of the tones definitely feel weighty, coating the sonic world in a kind of grime, but the force of the progression through the thicket remains moving.
The Mold Legacy begins with a weighty cloud of gently pulsing ambiance, and as the journey proceeds, the music feels like it gets more tumultuous, but the guiding undercurrent largely remains in force, like an overgrown stream that keeps moving as surrounding woods gradually degrade.
To use the duo’s concept, the music feels like it might reflect an experience of breaking through a blinding canopy of mold overgrowth and seeing the sun after a long time in the dark. As it turns out, however, you’re still stuck in the grime, and the peek at the sun is a fleeting glimpse. Most of the music feels like a solemn processional — it’s grim in a rather direct way, and the sonic dirt covers the journey. Overall, the music feels subtly adventurous, as though journeying out to some unfamiliar environment, and there’s an oddly moving sort of bliss in the sound.
Cernichov is comprised of Marco Mazzucchelli and David Gutman, who are originally from Italy and the U.S., respectively.
Listen to The Mold Legacy in full below, and pick up the album on CD from Dornwald Records at this link:
Read the Q & A with Cernichov in full below!
Inspirations for The Mold Legacy
Captured Howls: Thanks for your time! The new album is very compelling. In the absence of lyrics, how would you characterize the emotional or thematic core of the album? What sorts of guiding themes, so to speak, do you feel run through the record?
Cernichov: Thanks to you for the opportunity Caleb!
The concept runs around the idea of a reign dominated by some organic rules. Human choices are driven by the external environment, such as the ecosystem or the economic social frame, but, due to its inner structure as a widespread organism colony, it might also be affected in the decision process by such a sub-universe from a subconscious perspective. Mold and mushrooms are the largest living organism and we have tried to imagine if all humans obey to their reign.
As for the absence of the lyrics, well, we tried to make up for it in two ways: by working meticulously on the songs, on the atmospheres and the sensations and, secondly, we did a careful work on the graphics and on the concept of the album. We believe that these aspects are also important and communicative. Words are not necessarily the only and effective means of communications and sometimes it’s better to shut up and allow other senses to perceive and elaborate the contents.
Crafting The Mold Legacy
CH: How did you tend to put together these songs in the first place? For instance, are there particular elements or effects that came first in the process?
Cernichov: We usually start by creating the core of the sonic content, usually a noise flow, that somehow becomes the ground for the structure, at embryonic level. Then we move on to the tailoring of the rhythm and movements of the piece, making the harmonies emerge out of the noise flow. Only at the end, we move on to a finishing phase, the edges are rounded off and the excesses eliminated. It is at this point that the piece really takes shape, when the work with the samples begins and we start playing with the full and the empty, with the light and the dark.
CH: Are there guiding themes that you used for the construction of the songwriting? For instance, were you after particular sounds, particular feelings – or maybe some of both?
Cernichov: We always try to start from the concept of the album, from the primordial idea and then we let ourselves be guided by this mood — we immerse ourselves in these sensations. As we told you before, it is important for us that the music, the concept and the graphics communicate and are coherent.
On the first record David had the idea of sampling a short and monotonous hum, emitted by UVB-76, a mysterious Soviet radio station, a hum that repeated 25 times a minute, non-stop, starting from 1973. In The Mold Legacy, instead we introduced a sort of rhythm, a beat, as if we wanted to describe the sound of the kingdom of mold.
CH: Are there particular reference points that you used for the sound of this record? For instance, in terms of the tones and sound of the album, are there particular other artists – noise or otherwise – who were inspirational?
Cernichov: No, or at least not consciously. The creative process is very natural and simple, we don’t aim for anything other than doing what we like, creating a record we like to listen to. So… yes, indirectly we are always conditioned by our musical tastes. Remaining in the noise field, Marco really likes Infinite Body or Sissy Spacek for example, while David is more ambient-linked with artists such Irisarri, Ambarchi, and the 12K label.
But our tastes range a lot, from black metal to screamo, from math to djent, and so on.
Foundations for Cernichov
CH: What sorts of things led you to creating this kind of noise/ drone music in the first place? The style that you work with is, of course, quite unique – so is there something in particular that you find inspirational about the format?
Cernichov: Let’s say it was a concatenation of events that led us to work together as a duo.
David has been present in the “ambient” scene for several years with his numerous projects, the collaboration with Marco (who has never approached music except as a listener) has led him to experiment with a less refined version of ambient than the one that he was used to doing, but more noise, more drone.
Overall it’s the curiosity for the creative process per se that leads us towards such paths. The aesthetic is more driven by the tools available that can allow us playing this creative interaction together. For sure, if we didn’t have 1000 kilometres between us we would be exploring other kinds of sonic aesthetics, based on the possibilities triggered by the physical proximity.
CH: Is there something in particular that you would hope would come across for listeners? Is there, for instance, a particular journey that you have in mind as unfolding across the album?
Cernichov: Everyone has their own way of listening to music and therefore for sure those who will listen to The Mold Legacy will always find something different. As David likes mentioning from Patrick Ness’s words: the Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking. That somehow describes quite well the listener contribution to the fruition, no matter of what.
From our side, we have tried to leave clues in the titles of the songs, in the choice of the artwork and (where possible) in the explanation of the concept, to direct the listening experience towards certain themes and certain sensations, as if these quotes were of the echoes of our music. To conclude, we can say that the album is still set to be listened to in its entirety, as a real trip… if we can give some advice, for sure an interesting way to listen to The Mold Legacy is to do it at night, in headphones, perhaps with a slightly altered mental state.