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Stanislav Vdovin
Unit 21 selected discography | November

November /
CD + digital album, Peace Technologies, 2007

The one and only solo album by Unit 21, released on a CD in 1000 copies.

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Keith Baker, Igloo Magazine

«... like being surrounded by a large warm audio blanket with a big fluffy pillow after being fed copious amounts of chicken soup...

I keep falling asleep while listening to this album.

While this may sound like a terrible thing to say and maybe even one of the worst opening sentences you could imagine reading for a review, the truth is that it's a very good thing. Mainly because the music is the most soporific I've ever heard and it gives you such a feeling of comfort and relaxation it's difficult to stay awake while listening.

In a nutshell, Eastern European artist Unit 21 has created an album which almost simulates being inside the womb, with rain softly pouring outside (as simulated by vinyl scratches and pops) and someone warmly humming to you over the top (the synths). All in all it's like being surrounded by a large warm audio blanket with a big fluffy pillow after being fed copious amounts of chicken soup. Musically November is a very textural and enveloping ambient/dark piece of work. It's soothing, smooth, biological and reassuringly crispy like an old dusty record revolving on a turntable.

Since receiving this album I have used it to lull me to sleep more than once, including once when horribly hung-over and desperately in need of shuteye and it has not once failed me. I heartily recommend this to insomniacs and stress sufferers everywhere as its sleep inducing hums and crackles are perfect for winding yourself down after a hard day; just don't listen to it in the car on the way home or you might (literally) crash.»


«An album permeated by themes of seclusion and remembrance, November offers a compelling portrait of Unit 21's (Stanislav Vdovin) deep, ambient style. Imagine the ancient crackle of Philip Jeck's decayed vinyl exponentially multiplied until the crackle becomes a smothering howl and you're in the vicinity of Unit 21's sound. The droning tones in “Baltic Morrow” might originate from planes but it's nearly impossible to determine when they're buried under a mountain of static and noise. Likewise, the title of “Longway Railpull” suggests trains as the source but again it's hard to tell when the sound is an amorphous roar. Don't mistake that for a criticism, by the way; Unit 21's music is hypnotic and engrossing, and remains so throughout the latter piece's fourteen-minute duration. Like Jeck, Vdovin builds mood through repetition; loops cycle endlessly while the surrounding mass slowly intensifies in density and volume. “Flesh” surges like a lumbering beast that ever-so-slowly consumes the track's initial sounds and replaces them with a shimmering wall of tonal slivers. Vdovin's music sometimes calls to mind other electronic pioneers: shuffling rustles in “Get Home” and the oceanic smear of “Snow on Your Bed” suggest a kinship with the Vladislav Delay of Entain and Multila, and the merging of coagulated textures and minimal techno clicks makes “To the Temptress” approximate a Chain Reaction-Pole hybrid. The hint of other artists' voices in November doesn't render it any less effective for sounding at times 'communal' instead of wholly unique.»

Dutton Hauhart, Connexion Bizarre

«Cyclical, introspective and delicate, “November” by Unit 21 is a seamless ambient experience that aptly foreshadows the long, bleak months ahead. Another noteworthy project affiliated with the Russian Lagunamuch community, Unit 21 captures the essence of this seasonal shift, as autumnal decay gradually gives way to stark winter landscapes.

Minimal, but far from featureless, Unit 21's atmospheric and enveloping compositions transition effortlessly from one to the next, lending “November” a cohesiveness unmatched in many similar ambient recordings. It is also characterized by a rough-edged quality. Gritty textures recalling analog reverb and the familiar, crackling hum of an old 45 seem right at home in the vaguely unsettling ebb and flow of darker atmospherics. The album's distinct quality of low fidelity wraps the listener in a cocoon of warmth and comfort. Until the final, fading note, “November" provides the sustenance required to endure until the days lengthen once more.

From the outset, “Baltic Morrow” gains attention with a softly ringing alarm bell that soon melts away against the lo-fi hum and caressing shades of a frosty dawn. As this first track diminishes near its end into the muffled roar of a distant train, it segues smoothly into the next - the epic and mesmerizing “Longway Railpull”. Like a lazy, spinning turntable, the piece creates an extended evolution to the metronomic, marrow-deep reverberations of “To the Temptress” - the first real rhythmic element on the album. This more sinister trend continues in “Flesh”, where breathy bass pulses hint at something monstrous lurking below. Steadily a machine drone overtakes the track, applying a thick layer of noise until the resurgence of the rhythmic elements. The shuffling paperwork interlude of “Get Home” provides a chance to regroup before the sedative, oscillating drones and tones of “Snow On Your Bed” breathe like shifting air and the howling of lost souls. In one instant the listener is both lulled to sleep and feels the prickling skin of gooseflesh. Finally, “November” trails off into the subconscious void with the disarming and impressionistic harmonies of “Call Up the Silence and See”.»

Cuemix Magazine

«A complete album based on soundscapes, no rhythm or bass-lines as you normally know it. Unit 21 is capturing moods, moments and stories like a photographer with his music. “November”, his first “physical” debut, attaches where his last mini album “September-October” has ended. It is a quiet and calmness-dispersing atmosphere going out from these musical snapshots. There are also some disquieting moments and elements in the background, but they never take control of the whole atmosphere. You must allow “November” to come to your ears, it takes time to open op your mind for these beautiful soundscapes. But then the bewitching sounds of “November” will take you far away in a land where dreams and reality are one. Great music, for open-minded people. Wonderful!»

John Gore, Chain D.L.K

«Unit 21 is Stanislav Vdovin and November is an extension of previous releases on net label Thinner entitled “September-October”. According to the info included on the insert “the tracks are built on looped micro samples from soviet vinyl records, home microphone recording, drum patterns and processed white noise”. As you might expect this has a scratchy lo-fi feel about it in places, but it isn’t all about that. There are tracks that have little or no crackle to them at all. This is post-everything. Droney, noisy (but not overbearing), and, as you would expect from all the loops, very hypnotic. The pieces build layer upon layer creating a sense of expectation, or even creepy dread at times. I particularly like his use of white noise. There are beats here but they do not dominate. Maybe I should change the word beat to rhythm instead. You can hardly dance to it. Maybe twitch a little, but definitely not dance. The feeling here is cold, but not lifeless, like the difference between a winter day in November on Earth rather than on Mars.»

FdW, Vital Weekly #579

«Lagunamuch is one of the interesting Russian labels, judging by the few releases I heard from them. Their artists don't dabble in industrial or gothic, which I guess to be a good thing. Unit 21 could, name-wise be mistaken for an industrial or gothic act, is one Stanislav Vdovin, who plays music since 2003, mainly doing techno and house remixes, and later 'non dance solo albums'. For 'November' he uses 'looped micro samples from soviet vinyl records, home microphone recording, drum pattern and processed white noise'. Although this CD is indexed with seven tracks, which are all quite different from each other, it listens as one pleasant, mildly experimental piece of music. At the first the static crackles of vinyl skipping is perhaps just a bit too easy, but as the CD progresses, and the other sound sources are added, we are uplifted in a spiral form of rotating sounds, a swirling mass of static hiss, a bit too much reverb, but also drum machine patterns that aren't exactly groovy, but which work quite relaxing and field recordings of a highly obscure nature. Quite a nice CD, not a really big surprise but nevertheless very nice. Ambient glitch, might be the best description, but less based on the digital variation.»


«It’s not very often that we get ambient music from Russia. Unit 21 is a pure ambient project composing in a very experimental way. “November” has been built up with looped micro samples from soviet vinyl records. When you first listen to the album, you feel like visiting a pure soundscape of an experimental-ambient collage. It might sometimes remind to the most experimental work of Wim Mertens, but definitely darker and minimal sounding. The tracks are quite long during and sometimes a bit too monotonous. It’s a minimal experience for die hard fans of the genre!»

Larry Johnson, Earlabs

«For many of us, depending upon the hemisphere and latitude in which we live, November is a month of uncertainty. It’s the transition month between autumn and winter - as the days grow shorter, the diffused sunlight brings on a little sullenness; decay is in full swing as the bright green of summer is replaced by varying hues of yellow, brown, and red; steadily diminishing days of hazy warmth intermingle with cooler temperatures and some frosty mornings; stretches of gloomy, overcast days can be accompanied by sadness. There’s a sense of relief because the long days of summer heat have disappeared but, also, a feeling of trepidation in anticipation of the months of cold and isolation that will invariably follow. November is a musical metaphor of both the changes in the physical landscape and of the changes in our psyche during this month of transition.

Technically, the individual tracks are built from a minimal setup: looped microscopic samples taken from old soviet vinyl records, noises recorded on a microphone, manipulated white noise, bass-guitar lines, and synthesizer generated sounds. Overall, musically, there’s a layer of cozy, static, vinyl ambiance effervescing beneath cinematic drones, simple repeated melodies, processed recorded sounds, and, on two tracks, some industrial rhythms.

“Baltic Morrow” begins with what might be the ringing of a telephone or possibly the chiming of an alarm clock. A repetitive melody arrives blending in with synthesized strings (violin, cello) allowing for a melancholic tone to glide above a layer of misty static ambiance. As the track draws to a conclusion, the roar of a train accompanied by crossing warning bells build in which seamlessly transitions into “Longway Railpull”. As the sound of the train fades, the track evolves into a peaceful drone of vinyl crackle, static tones, and a repeated bass line. “To the Temptress” is a steadily intensifying piece of near-ritual ambient with dark rhythms and a machine-like hum which transforms into “Flesh” - a powerful industrial anthem with pounding beats, reverberation, glitchy noises, and what reminds me of the stretched out sound of a train horn. Paper-rustling, white noise, and assorted found sounds (clanks, thuds) greet the listener on “Get Home” and persist until a steady choral-like drone builds in during the last forty-five seconds to serve as transition into “Snow on Your Bed”. The most brooding and coldest track on the album, “Snow on Your Bed” conjures images of plodding through dry snow with a howling, icy wind chilling the bones. Near the end, a deep, rolling bass riff fades which leads into the atmospheric “Call Up the Silence and See” - a heavily synthesizer-based piece consisting of harmonious tones and sad drones. Organ-like chords build and swell as if in search of an apex but never quite make it and the track dissolves into quiet.»

Kerval Edgar

«The music of the ever enigmatic UNIT 21 in the shape of Russian organism Stanislav Vdovin, transmit the necessary musical patterns to gives you the entrance to a cold, dismal ambient release. With an introspective trip to unknown winterly landscapes through 7 compositions, which are created with the interesting and well executed uses of drone sounds, reververations which floats in each one of the tracks, which sometimes would sounds a bit monotonous to you, but be sure these repetitive drone oriented patterns creates a spectral ambience piece, spacious and cold with a sinister structure. Music seems to collapse itself due to symmetric and static sounds and reborn again and again in each minute, second as a block of ice crawling into a cold foggy forest. A very good techno experimental release. “Just find & light out the candle, and look in the window…feel free to get some sleep if it’s warm enough inside”.»


«Das russische Label Lagunamuch, das mir absolut neu war, uberzeugt mich auf diesem Album sofort. Russische Experimentalisten haben nicht zu unrecht einen so guten Ruf. Stanislav Vdovin, der u.a. auch schon auf Thinner, Night Drive, Monotonik und anderen Netzlabeln veroffentlicht hat, geht hier noch einen Schritt weiter in seinen sehr rauschig dichten Sound, der fast immer extrem aufgeladen klingt, lasst die Beats weit in den Hintergrund verschwinden, falls er sie uberhaupt braucht und entwickelt so einen Sound, der fur mich weit eher das Erbe von Dubtechno aus der Chain-Reaction-Schule antritt, als so viele Leute aus Detroit. Definitiv eine Entdeckung.»

Gottskalk, Heathen Harvest

«Somewhat ice-laded dark beatsy-ambience from Moscow, Unit 21, that is Stanislav Vdovin, has laid 7 tracks on “November”, two of which exceed 11 minutes, so all up roughly under an hour of production.

Web listing states: “Stanislav Vdovin was born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The main creative object for Unit 21 is to find a balance between unexpressed-by-words emotionality and delicate sound design, based on minimal structures of techno and ambient music.”

I certainly liked this release. Contemplative, subtly sample-driven with thoughtful, white noise washes. Sound design does certainly have an intricacy about it. Beats are low(ish), not overriding the controlled synthetic musings. As a cold, wet and rainy Melbourne Winter lashed outside I was reminded quite strongly of something more icy. Snowed-in roads and the iced boughs on remote pines, wave after wave of them. The air crisp and the hint of a dwelling industrialism, train tracks, cold and smooth metal. Clangings of machinery.

Born in Novgorod, and having studied piano at music school for 8 years, when 13 years old, electronic music production began with a certain Ensoniq TS-10. Thus, Unit 21 was formed in 2003. This release is the first “hard-copy” release, up to this time U21 has proliferated via downloads from Thinner alongside a plethora of other atmospheric electronic purveyors and creators.

The insert notes on “November” state the following: “...the tracks are built on looped micro samples from Soviet vinyl records, home microphone recording, drum patterns and processed white noise.”

Autumn of 2005, and Stanislav joined the collective Sleepy Town Manufacture. From there a series of live shows in Nizhny Novgorod, Izhevsk, and Moscow with other electronic-ambient producers ensued, Selffish, 0id, Lazyfish, Planet Boelex, Secede and Kettel. And we are lead to the convergence of history and effort into this CD release...“November”.

According to Vdovin, “Now I work practically only with samples: digitize old vinyl, record noises on microphone, sometimes take some passages on bass-guitar and Ensoniq TS-10; then I cut, stretch and mix recorded fragments. The principle of sound concentration is close to may way of thinking.”

November, a contemplative and highly visual disc... I enjoyed thoroughly. Not sure if I would play it at a club, but that's not what all music is for. I look forward to hearing more and more from this producer, check out the artist and label websites for more.»

pi micron, Sound Proector

«This is the first work on CD by Stanislav Vdovin, a musician from the city of Nizhni Novgorod, who is known for releases on several net labels such as Green Rat Records and Thinner. Those listeners who have already had some experience in his earlier works, of course should remember a peculiar feature of the music - it's depth, fantastic depth and thickness of the sound. The note on the CD says that all the tracks are built from microsamples of Soviet vinyl records, home microphone records, percussion fragments and processed white noise, and in this release the musician continues to develop the conception started in the previous works.

The album begins with a rough ambient deprived of percussion - “Baltic Morrow”. You fall down into cold, lead-coloured dark water and start going further and further down, from sunlight cutting here and there through a dark swamp of heavy clouds. The sound wraps you tighter and tighter and by the second track “Longway Railpull" the surface of the sea which covered you disappears and turns out to be forgotten.

Along with developing sound textures you can also hear bass drums, as beating oout somebody's pulse. Rustles of old vinyl sound are everywhere, the noise is very soft and... I'd call it viscous, deep, dark...

“To The Temptress” and dynamic beating “Flesh” are rhythmical and logical continuation of the previous tracks, which increases the speed of our moving along dark spaces of that deep sound substance. Coming up to the middle of “Flesh” we have a fantastic feeling as if we got into an impetuous stream which made us rushing at full speed and only “Get Home” coming next is returning us back.

“Snow On Your Bed” is a coming up the surface, unrhythmical ambient, eventually becoming more and more pellucid. We rise up listening to the same rustles of old vinyl and white noise and by the beginning of “Call Up The Silence And See” we can find ourselves on the surface, listening to our impressions from the diving and dissolving in the sound.»


«Еще один релиз от лейбла Lagunamuch records. Unit 21 был создан Станиславом Вдовиным. Музыку он играет с 2003 года, но, если верить интервью музыканта, были и более ранние эксперименты. Еще когда папа приносил домой разные записи, будущему музыканту очень нравилось пальцем раскручивать пластинку Stars On 45 до скорости в 1000 оборотов в минуту. Видимо, любовь к издевательствам над винилом осталась с ним навсегда.

Музыка проекта комбинирует шумы, микросемплы с старых «пластов», иногда применяется синтезатор Ensoniq TS-10 и бас-гитара. Полученные звуки сжимаются, растягиваются и всячески преобразуются…

Генератор белого шума усердно создает волны этого самого шума, на которых покачивается вся композиция в целом. Пощелкивания, похрюкивания и даже потрескивания старого винила, которые многими вырезаются как брак, непонятные звуки где-то в глубине… Иногда возникают басовые линии (например, в треке Snow On Your Bed) и вроде бы намекают на то, что вступление закончится и автор каак… вдарит, как начнет разухабистый боевик на зависть всем звездам анхальт EBM. Фигу… Бас вообще уходит на глубину, сменяясь завываниями волков, прикупивших ревер и прочими, еще менее понятными звуками.

В последней композиции автор – видимо, чтобы не выглядеть свосем уж мирным – добавил назойливое гудение в качестве основного тона. В соединении с неизменным белым шумом – штука получилась суровая, особенно для неподготовленного уха.»

vAlien/DJ Commando LABELLA, Machinist

«UNIT 21 - качественный экспериментальный эмбиентный проект российского музыканта Станислава Вдовина. Его альбом “November” построен на базе микросэмплов, взятых со старых советских винилов, домашних микрофонных записей, специально подобранных ритмических фрагментов и собственных обработок белого шума. Проект обладает довольно глубоким, интенсивным, широкополосным, интересно флуктуирующим и медленно волнующимся, созерцательно-поэтичным, поглощающим внимание и мысли философским звучанием с мрачноватым, пустынным и по мере приближения к финалу все четче проявляющимся сюрреалистическим настроением. Тяжело и практически без просветов застилающие грязноватое сине-серое пространство композиций мощные шумовые потоки, в том числе сильные ветряные движения, тектонические сдвиги и потрескивания углей больших брошенных костров, в музыке UNIT 21 имеют характерное для экспериментального нордического пост-рока и полевого эмбиента тягучее, неторопливое, почти статичное звучание. Мне очень понравились две спокойные, мелодичные, гипнотические, медитативные композиции, расположенные в начале концептуальной часовой программы - “Baltic Morrow” и “Longway Railpull”. Чем-то они цепляют. К сожалению, дальше мой интерес к музыке начал постепенно ослабевать, но не потому, что она сильно изменилась или потеряла в качестве. Просто я не являюсь большим поклонником такой разновидности эмбиента, окрещенного в простонародье “шумелкой” или “гуделкой”. Добавлю к этому, что музыка UNIT 21, начиная с третьего трека, начинает несколько терять в индивидуальности и органичности, скатываясь к усредненному нойз-эмбиентному звучанию, которое я неоднократно имел возможность слышать от современных экспериментальных артистов. В этой связи сразу на память приходят релизы LAW-RAH COLLECTIVE, ORPHX, VROMB, TELEPHERIQUE, XABEC и MORGENSTERN. Правда, в шестом треке “Snow On Your Bed” группе снова удалось привлечь мое внимание и вернуться к более “светлому” и мелодичному звучанию двух первых композиций. В общем, если вам нравится спокойная и шероховатая музыка в стиле вышеперечисленных зарубежных групп, то вы также можете смело слушать альбом UNIT 21. На мой взгляд, альбом “November” отвечает всем критериям качественной и серьезной эмбиентно-шумовой музыки, хотя и не прибавляет ничего нового к уже существующим экспериментальным образцам.»

Mr. Prolix

«Уже до прослушивания музыки путем ассоциативного мышления я приблизительно понял, о чем она. “Unit 21”, как и у всех, проассоциировался с самым известным из “юнитов”, резидентом Нью-Йорка Кристианом Флеммингом; “November” напомнил о другой работе, вышедшей на лейбле “Lagunamuch” - “Systems of Mercy”, там тоже все было такое осенне-зимнее, запорошенное... при взгляде на обложку и оформление диска, выполненное в приглушенном снежно-розовом тоне, мелькнула догадка, что меня ждет встреча с чем-то скользким, холодным и зябким.

Коктейль, точнее, гербарий... нет, даже не гербарий, а полноценную заморозку настроений, порождаемых данными ингредиентами на одной пластинке, впервые на “официальном” лейбле и в своей дискографии представляет нам Станислав Вдовин. Живет вовсе не на американском континенте, а все на том же бесконечном российском, и происходит из Нижнего Новгорода. Окружающая среда является не просто составляющей музыки Станислава - неотъемлемой ее частью. Особо важное место занимает шум, полученный из всякого вида источников, будь то помятая виниловая пластинка на советском проигрывателе, проекторная кинолента, постукивание, записанное на микрофон или просто - протяжный белый шум. При этом, что немаловажно - шум не монотонный, а постоянно изменяющий свою форму, не утомляющий, дефокусирующий внимание путем неизвестных науке деформаций внутри него самого. Состоит шум из отдельных элементов, которые взаимозаменяют и взаимоповторяют друг друга: каждый экземпляр заморозки заботливо очищен и положен в пакетик; все вместе - живоподобная мозаика из пакетиков, которая при наступлении тепла начинает течь и переливаться на солнце.

Знатокам многослойной “шумовой” музыки и тем, у кого уши отклоняются от головы на девяносто градусов, способные уловить малейшее звуковое изменение в атмосфере, альбом, безусловно, понравится. Полагаю, именно из-за звука он привлек внимание многих слушателей по обе стороны океана. Не стоит сомневаться в том, что звук сделан на концептуальном и профессиональном уровне - по идее, такое плотное наслоение шумов должно сдавливать голову в тиски, но этого, не бойтесь, не произойдет. Здесь чувствуется пройденная автором “звуковая школа” жизни, а также все-таки очень сильно - клубное прошлое. Полагаю, в звуковом плане перед нами работа, которая будет великолепно слушаться в каком-нибудь замкнутом пространстве среднего размера, наподобие ночного клуба, когда проникающая в зал шумовая гидра будто отслаивается от стенок помещения и стекать по коже. В треке “Flesh” даже явно слышны проблески типичного клубного техно.

Но в публичном клубе подобные произведения вряд ли можно играть. Несмотря на схожесть с жанром ambient, dark ambient или ambient glitch - впрочем, что там за схожесть, технически так оно и есть - альбом, созданный из шумового фона, на самом деле, не является ни музыкой фона, ни музыкой для фона. Его надо слушать. Более того - вслушиваться, и очень пристально, иначе не прочувствовать заложенный здесь гипнотический эффект. Так что если даже предположить, что это проигрывается в каком-то клубе, то в нем должно присутствовать максимум человека 3-4. Чтобы они не переговаривались и не отвлекали внимание друг друга от самой музыки.

В этом плане мне непонятно мнение некоторых зарубежных обозревателей, которые всем рекомендуют слушать данный альбом в качестве "снотворного". Мол, засыпается под него легко и приятно, музыка обволакивает, успокаивает... На мой взгляд, музыка здесь очень жесткая, но в своем порыве технически сдержанная. Таким образом, очень противоречивая и неоднозначная.

Наследие звука, впрочем, особых сюрпризов не преподнесло. Vladislav Delay, Pole, даже Oval и Gas - имена легенд шумовых жанров, которые приходили мне на ум в течение неоднократного переслушивания диска. Ибо я долго искал "точку опоры", пытаясь понять, о чем же он. Поэтому нельзя сказать, что "Unit 21" - это нечто революционное. Однако это весьма приятное, опрятное и ладно представленное авторское произведение, в котором при помощи звука он изложил свое представление событий и, возможно, первичное мировоззрение. Ключевой же композицией авторства является "Get Home". Меня она очень зацепила. Пожалуй, если бы ее не было на диске, то все ее окружение пошло бы насмарку. Было бы скучно, повтор, кислые мины, жидкие овации. А так - все понятно: ноябрь, Нижний Новгород, темнота, сопли. И ни к чему нет претензий.»
Aliases & Collaborations

Stanislav Vdovin

Worn Hood

Initial Run

Unit 21

Sleepy Town Manufacture & Unit 21

Olga Shaydullina & Stanislav Vdovin

Lou & Stanislav Vdovin

Sonia Skobeleva & Stanislav Vdovin

Unit 21 covers the period from 2003 to 2007, when it was the only alias for Stanislav Vdovin.