Gintas K – Nervus Vagus

Posted: 10 November 2021 in Albums
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gk rec – 31st October 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

I have a sort of anguish-tinged relationship with artists who I admire who are super-prolific. First and foremost, I hold the utmost respect, where it’s not just the occasional creative burst, but a way of working that means they can maintain an almost endless stream of creativity and output. The anguish, selfishly, comes from the awareness that their output pisses on mine and my aspirations – and while I am of course aware that quantity is no real measure of anything, the ability to simply produce, relentlessly, is something that provokes, if I’m honest, a degree of envy. How do they do it? How do they have the headspace? How do the even have the time?

Gintas K is an artis whose work I’ve been covering for quite some time now, and I’ve long-marvelled at his output. Having come to understand his process over this time, and having watched some of the videos of his improvised recording sessions, the means of production is a significant factor in his ability to produce so much output. But that is by no means to say that he’s tossing out any old thing, and when it comes to his album releases, there are always multiple elements and sources involved, and if there isn’t specifically a theoretical element that’s integral to the process, there’s nevertheless a theoretical aspect in the mix.

For this album, ‘an electroacoustic music work that consists of stretched granular motives during the entire piece’, there are ‘voices and stories told by people of different ages and gender’, where ‘Stories blossom out of humorous fairytales told by 5 years’ child, stories about death, narrations of mindfulness, stories about consequences of WW2, deportation during Stalin regime and life in Siberia.’ It’s a mish-mash that features abstract voices in the most disturbing way. Then again, GK has a knack for the disturbing as well as for extranea.

There’s a lot of that to find here on Nervus Vagus. The album is dominated by GK’s trademark bubblebath of bloops and gloops, fizz and fuzz, and it’s often difficult to tell what’s going on. This kind of abstract mish-mash of electronica is difficult to process. ‘Rising’ is a whiplash blizzard or blips and blops, while on ‘A Dream. Relatives Story’ the dank atmosphere is hard to penetrate, and while the album may be abrim with stories, following any form of narrative is nigh on impossible. That’s no obstacle to enjoyment or appreciation of the work, though, provided you’re not averse to chaos and cacophony, and besides, the notion that narrative should be linear, or even cogent, is outmoded and based on the construct of linearity, which is by absolutely no means representative of lived experience or perception in real-time. Linear narrative exists simply to enable us to process things more readily, to simplify, and to make us feel more comfortable by imposing order on disorder. But that comfortable, ordered way is not the reality.

Gintas K’s chaotic concoction is a slice of life. Granular bubbles and extraneous noise dominate as ambient drones undulate, eddy and swirl into an uncomfortable mess of awkward noise. There are rumbles of thunder amidst the endless froth of microtones that cloud the brain and claw at it. The whole experience is quite bewildering. Sound familiar? Feel like life? It may not sound exactly like life as you know it but Nervus Vagus is likely to be uncomfortable because it’s real and interrupts the mediated flow of linear perception. But believe me, it’s good.



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