Multi-instrumentalist and composer Emin Guliyev, who’s the artist behind the project Violet Cold, in addition to being gifted with extraordinary creativity and musical sensibility, is also an extremely prolific composer, at the point that honestly, it’s becoming every year more difficult to stay up to date with all of his releases. Active since 2013, he published three EPs in 2014, a compilation and a debut LP in 2015, two other full-length albums in 2016, another in 2017 (the impressive and acclaimed Anomie), a triple-LP in 2018 and now – that’s only February – we have his first LP for 2019, the brand new Kosmik. Dear Emin, I had the chance to spend a few days in your beautiful Country (Azerbaijan), and also in your city (Baku). This is one of that rare places in the World where we can find a beautiful environment that’s deeply rooted into an ancient and varied culture, with many different influences that have found a magical point of balance. Now, my question is: how much time do you spend in your recording studio? Why don’t you try to stay a little more outside and enjoy all the beauty that is around you?
I’m joking, it’s clear. But to some extent, I really feel that last year, for example, I couldn’t enjoy and appreciate the Sommermorgen trilogy with the patience and dedication that it should have required. Also because Guliyev’s music is far from being easy to listen, or superficial. First of all, because in Violet Cold we have together lots of many different components, and from extremely distant genres spanning from jazz to post-rock, and including ambient, noise rock and also depressive black metal. Secondly, because the songs are all made to be appreciated with the maximum possible concentration. The experience of listening to Violet Cold with the lights off, ideally with high-quality headphones and the music at a sufficiently high volume, remains one of the most beautiful you may have with music. These aren’t songs made to be played with the car stereo while driving in the traffic. Listening to Violet Cold demands for special environmental conditions, and enough time to dedicate to music and nothing else.
Everything I said in general for Violet Cold, it applies also to Kosmik. It is a profound and immersive record, full of many interesting elements to discover. For his new work, Guliyev has returned to insert large quantities of black metal into the music, with the album easily classifiable as post-black metal or blackgaze. There is however a persistent elegance in all the tracks of the album since the brutal and dark aspects of black metal have been mostly filtered out. What we hear in the songs of Kosmik is basically a number of overlapping layers of distortions and tremolos, on top of which Guliyev introduces melodic atmospheres and far away screams. The result is a contrast between different opposites which creates a feeling of suspension, and transcendence. At times we hear voices reciting verses in a foreign language (presumably Azerbaijani), creating an intriguing and very particular effect.
Differently from the typical structure of a post-metal song, where there is a crescendo of intensity that culminates in an explosion of noises and energy, in the songs of Kosmik the sonic attack is immediate. And as we advance into each song, the walls of sounds slowly turn into something more melodic and atmospheric, leaving at the end of each piece a sense of positivity that is, in the end, one of the main notes that emerge from the album. A further confirmation of this aspect is the fact that 36 minutes journey of Kosmim culminates with a beautiful and dreamy reinterpretation of the famous Aria on the fourth string by J. S. Bach, which transfers the feeling that the cosmic voyage through the chaos and the noise of the outer world is over, and we have reached a dimension of pure light and peace.
In summary, Kosmic is definitely another valuable entry in an impressive discography from one of the most prolific authors of recent times. The style of music is extremely particular and it has the potential to attract lovers of at least two different genres of music (ambient and black), but also to disappoint both. As far as I’m concerned, I’m very satisfied with this new record from Violet Cold, and my overall rating is 7/10.
My favourite songs are Ultraviolet and Black Sun.