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Zola-Zemlya[engl] The flourishing Eastern European post-punk scene has given way to a boom of dark, rhythmic, and powerful new activity. One of the most original and captivating artists to recently emerge from this scene is Kiev, Ukraine's Morwan. The solo project of Alex Ashtaui, Morwan evolved from an earlier post-punk project, 563 (Pyat'shest'tri). Searching for a new direction, Ashtaui circled back to his half-Ukrainian, half-Arab roots, arriving at the perfect crossroads - a sonic aesthetic informed by both ethic tradition and the familiar territory of dark, driving post-punk. Ashtaui cites additional influence from contemporary Russian groups Utro and Shortparis, as well as the industrial/experimental sounds of Swans. Zola-Zemlya, Morwan's second release, is an exceptionally original piece of work. It is an album that reaches to the furthest corners of post-punk, further revealing a deep connection to the ethnic sounds of both Arabic and Slavic tradition. There is a profound reverence for nature in Morwan's lyrics - as Ashtaui best explains, "The nature in songs acts as a fundamental force, a given from which you cannot escape. With the help of metaphors associated specifically with nature I tell about some of my personal experiences and stories." Zola-Zemlya is equal parts primitive and contemporary, as traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation and structures are woven through driving, modern post-punk rhythms. Morwan's genius shines across all five tracks, a sound both genre-expansive and futuristic.
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