KRĀLLĀR “big sad” C54 (Amek Collective)


A tape is always a winner when it starts out recalling the incidental music playing over the bottom-of-the-wishing-well scene in Goonies (is that rich stuff?), that sparkling melody of wonder and awe, the minor key suggesting something’s just off enough to set that fascinating discovery on edge. I guess if you’re a bunch of kids dodging the booby traps of a long-dead pirate while being chased through hidden tunnels by wanted felons, then any such moment will be a little more stressful than it needs to be. But that’s what growing up is all about, isn’t it? Being able to handle the massive amounts of disappointment in between fleeting instants of satisfaction.

These kids have grown up and are krāllār, at least the ones who get it, you know? (Not the actual Goonies – they grew up to be adult actors, except for Chunk, who’s a lawyer!) The human entity behind krāllār is actually called Ivan Shentov, and Ivan premiered the material that would become big sad at Amek Bummer Nights 2019, a live event hosted by Sofia-based tape label Amek Collective (Sofia’s in Bulgaria, and Amek must be gotten hip to by you if you have not been hipped yet). Shentov makes huge sounds, which might seem odd considering Shentov works his magic in drone (and, sure, noise I guess), but if you haven’t figured it out before now, Shentov’s “drones” can work incredibly as soundtrack material. It’s amazing what you can do with a mastery of tape collage!

Because that’s what big sad is: a massive slab of collaged tape loops and feedback and effects. After the Bummer Nights performance, Amek’s Angel Simitchiev begged Shentov to record what he’d just done, just so Amek could properly introduce krāllār to their exponentially expanding (I can only imagine) audience. In a studio setting, the material was brought to insane life, as if it was conjured via black magic and properly mixed and mastered. So what you hold in your hands (I imagine you’re holding it in your hands, and if not, please rectify that) is an incredible document of the overwhelmingness of life crushing down on you, but it’s only overwhelming because you started out with so much hope anyway. That hope’s not all gone, but it’s sure running out. It seems like krāllār’s just as confused and bitter as you are. You guys would make a good team.

But all that hope ends the minute you ride up Troy’s bucket.