Label feature: Full of Nothing

I’ve been following the Russian label Full of Nothing (FON) for quite some years already and a curious thing is that I never actually wrote a review of their impressive (not so much in terms of quantity, but as of quality) output. One reason is because they manage to present each and every record so perfectly that you don’t want to do anything but just play it… and I mean play it hard and a lot.

Full of Nothing (based in Republic of Karelia in Russia) is ran by Anya Kuts and Ivan Zoloto, musicians (Anya is a visual artist as well), who you might know for their work as former drone improv and now more electronic beats-driven duo Love Cult. And the same way they pour love and real humane dedication to their own project that’s exactly how they treat all artists on Full of Nothing.

Why I do this label feature now? Well, I woke up today with a mail from them informing me they have just put out two new tapes and they do sound as special and unique as everything this boutique publisher has ever put their hands on. Another reason I rush into writing this is that usually whatever they put gets sold out in no time and I guess you may want something for yourself sooner.

(fon46) Tikhie Kamni – Zemli

‘Zemli’ is a record closer to the early Full of Nothing (and Love Cult if you want) sound. It’s a record by Anastasia Tolchneva (Lovozero) and Fedor Pereverzev (Moa Pillar). They created it while hiking. So in ‘Zemli’ you’ll hear a lot of field recordings, lo-fi drones, minimalist piano tunes, obscure microsounds and percussion, even a somehow ritual singing. According to the liner notes this album wasn’t really created to be released and it does sound like that. Besides the obvious exploration of the Russian landscape the music on the album is a deep self-exploration, but shared between two individuals, who had nothing else but themselves and the road.

At some point the album gets a bit more psychedlic and neo-hippie for my taste, but even for a second it doesn’t really sound planned. It’s just how it happened and because of this I can accept it whatever direction Tikhie Kamni let it take. And it’s truly a gem, a very intimate sonic diary, which I really don’t know how Anya and Ivan managed to convince its authors to share with the world, but I’m glad they did.

(fon47) Hmot – Barricades

The second new tape on FON is on the other side of the planet Music. Barricades is a record synthetic to the bone. Modular synths, analog beats, sparse but preciesly controlled ambiances – Hmot is a master of minimal and abstract techno and really manages to manifest this in the 40+ minutes of this album. The man behind the project Stanislav Sharifullin is quite an important figure for the Siberian scene. Formerly running Gimme5, a Russian label quite signature for the area, where he used to operate and currently working on a tape publisher called Klammklang. Stanislav is also responsible for bringing the cult Berlin CTM festival to Siberian towns of Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk.

It’s quite a jump if you go from Zemli to this record, but I think it really helps the album shine, because it wastes no time but changes your mood right away. From the cold valleys of Russia you’re thrown somewhere in the sterile but comfortably nostalgic concrete landscapes. Yes, expect not only club killers lined up after one another in album. Hmot sometimes get quieter, based more on microsounds and okay… maybe almost an IDM approach to sound. Okay, but just as a structure and feeling.

As you can see Full of Nothing have quite some discography so as soon as you’re done with those two records (at least for the day, because I’m sure you’ll get back to them) here’s a bunch of my personal favorites you might want to check out as well.

(fon24) Banana Pill / Calypso Borealis – Split

Russian – Finnish – French split. Lo-fi psychedelia, crunchy minimalist guitar melodies, simple synth melodies, an album of abrassive ambient and folk lullabies. Released in the distant 2011.

(fon1) Keijo – First Time

This is the first ever Full of Nothing release and it’s insane. A weird mixture of blues, folk music, sometimes backed up by almost jazzy basslines. It’s like a digital encounter of a few street musicians playing together and talking to each other with nothing else but music. A record completely free of… everything.

(fon38) Woodpecker Wooliams and Golden Cup meet Love Cult

That’s an album I think you can’t stream anymore on the FON bandcamp, but it’s definitely my all time favorite from the label. Few years ago Woodpecker Wooliams, Golden Cup and Love Cult briefly toured Russia and this record documented two of their improvisations. It’s an absolute proof people can get to know themselves way better if they use nothing else but music. If you manage to find a copy of this somewhere… don’t miss it – an absolute Full of Nothing & Love Cult classics.

Make you sure you follow the label on Tumblr, the stuff they post…

Angel S.

Freelance journalist and full-time copywriter from hell. Playing ambient & drone music as Mytrip, teaching Sound Art, booking shows with For The Kids & Amek Collective. Always in for a cup of coffee.