u11 five-elements-music rishikeshFIVE ELEMENTS MUSIC - Rishikesh

Rishikesh (30 ° 06.00. N 78 ° 18.00. E ) Vrindavan (27 ° 34.50. N 77 ° 42.02. E)

format : CD ltd to 200 hand numbered copies

label: unfathomless


Rishikesh (30 ° 06.00. N 78 ° 18.00. E )

"In this work, I present two acoustic environments. These sounds are born in India. Rishikesh is located in the foothills of the Himalayas of which it is a gateway to. Within this piece are sounds that were recorded near the flowing mountain streams of the Ganges; they have been captured at night time, where small streams of water eventually grind coastal rocks. There is also the echo of prayer wheels, and the noise of the slow Ganges and streams flowing from the mountains... and many more other sounds that were hanging around me."

Vrindavan (27 ° 34.50. N 77 ° 42.02. E)
"This is the place I always wanted to visit. This is a city with an ancient history. It tells that Vrindavan is located in several spaces that are not detectable through simple vision. The city is the place where the God Krishna was once born. Almost all the recordings were again made at night along a small interval from 11:00 pm to 3:00 in the morning, when the city sleeps. I was there in Kartika time, and many people from all over India come in Vrindavan. At this moment, the city becomes filled with the sounds of religious mantras, people's screams, songs, cars horns, noises of rickshaws and bicycles as well ... And also during the day one can add sounds of birds, monkeys, dogs and cows. ... Anyway, I wanted to reflect the sound of the advancing night ... as such this is not a pure documentary work, but humble sound art trying to portray an intangible atmosphere..."

(Sergey Suhovik – words respectfully revised by Daniel Crokaert)



I just had a conversation with a fellow artist about how today media and culture seem to have been creating an atmosphere of fear and terror: we talked about how science TV shows tend to focus on the potential hazard that nature presents to us: from rare diseases that can kill us in a blink without any warning to catastrophes of massive proportions that potentially can destroy all life on earth.

Even the conspiracy theories seem to be just another medium that fear and terror find to spread in the 'collective mind'.

We are in a point where we are all scared but where also nothing could really surprise us anymore: from drugs that turn people into flesh eaters to the terrorizing images of the Tsunami in Japan, we seem doomed to an imminent catastrophe and we just seem to be getting prepared for.

Visual artist and theorist José A. Restrepo wrote on an essay:

'about postmodernity and its relation with the sublime and the catastrophic: a conservatory vision where the sublime is associated with the terror and absolutism or a renewing vision where the sublime is an essencial aesthetic characteristic recurrent on all art forms that pretends to be a testimony of the unrepresentable.'

Now what does that have to do with Sergey Suhovik project Five Elements Music and the 'Rishikesh' work?

Sergey Suhovik is an artist, curator and publisher from Russia well know for his project Five Elements Music and his labels Semperflorens and Still*Sleep. For 'Rishikesh' he traveled to India to capture sound and in his own words to"...portray an intangible atmosphere...".

Although the release is named 'Rishikesh' the sounds were captured in the city of Rishikesh and in the city of Vrindavan, the city where God Krishna was born.

Going back to the conversation I had with this fellow artist, he send me a few links to videos that lead me to a video of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad the founder of the Hare Krishna movement.

The fact that I was about to write about a release captured on the city where God Krishna was born and the fact that earlier I listened to some words by the Hare Krishna leader about his notion of machine and progress, seem to reveal a potential poetical and metaphysical relation between anticipation and coincidence, between the clues we follow and the clues that follow us.

'Rishikesh' is a release that seems to work on a deep level, on a level where the cosmological and genealogical seem to convey: where our origin and the origin of the universe convey as one.

Formally 'Rishikesh' works somewhere between film soundtracks, ambient music and musique concrete. Fiction and fact melt into an extraordinary experience where doom seem to prevail over the first piece 'Rishikesh' and through most of the second piece 'Vrindavan' until minute 18 when the gloomy sounds fade out to recordings from chants giving to the whole work some sort of messianic character. The artist although not necessarily a redeemer seem to connect people with meanings and messages that are invisible to the ordinary eye / ear.

The fact that Suhovik traveled to India to capture the sounds in what seems a formal quest, reveals deep and meaningful questions: why India? why the city where God Krishna was born? Why capture all the recordings between 11 PM and 3 AM when most people are sleeping?

On 'Rishikesh' Suhovik's role is that of the truly successful sound artist linking the present with the past and the future while giving a pertinent sense to the formal and conceptual questions made on the creative process. The artist operates as medium between the present time and a timeless universe where past, present and future collide into a vision that the artist envisions and make tangible through the sensible experience with his work.

The many sounds he captured on this trip from the most textural and gestural ones to the more environmental and anthropological-emphasized ones, puts the listener in touch with something that I'd call of a sublime nature. Sublime in the sense that José A. Restrepo mentioned on the fragment of his essay I quoted.

'Rishikesh' is a beautiful release that can reach deep inside the listener, creating a sense of relation with things and the world that couldn't be more valid and pertinent today: the expectations we have towards an apocalyptic event while this apocalypse is already an essential part of ourselves.

John McEnroe


Although we have been taught since our sweetest childhood to believe in Church, holy and apostolic, we cannot deny this ever-growing sympathy towards hindouism that accompanied our own growth, maybe through the body movement inherent to yoga, but not only, it must have been related in a way to some kind of meditation, at least to Listening.

And here is this disc this chronicle is about, Rishikesh by Five Elements Music, a project of russian sound artist Serguey Suhovik, worldwide expert in drones and fields recordings. This is the elfth release on Unfathomless. This label's releases all rely on the postulate of a locus unity, of a close by exploration, and graces our ears with a harmony, an "under audible". 

Sergey Suhovik offers in his disc two pieces recorded in India, in Rishikesh and Vrindavan, two well-known hindu pilgrimage cities. 

The listener might state of some places that he knows them already, and let us confess, we feel like having been there before in what could really be some faint and distant memories of ancient lives.

The artist focuses on life as it is, when environment sounds mix into electronics, a so light drone that could be imagined coming from the outside, like the harmony of a prayer mill. And especially here, silence does not exist, the night is loaded with turmoil, the dark is moving, leaking, backfiring, and facing objects that will ultimately break, meditation is the central point always revolving, and will even be apotheosis when ceremonial singings will finally occupy the entire space.

There was once this friend, heading to India, forgetting sometimes during long weeks to say hello. When coming back, he was reporting having played tablâ with a guru in the ruins of a temple, he was transfigured, practised pranayama and quickly, was forgetting all this, scattering himself in the expectation of another trip.

Rishikesh is a disc full of a beautiful serenity, where every sounds has it's place in a subtile arrangment, the ensemble worth becoming the Vehicle of our way back towards some hindu divinity.

Flavien Gillié, translation by Sismophone