Darker, meaner and even more out of touch with reality. In this virtual world, Xiu prevails as the strongest of the cast. Since her last effort on aufnahme + wiedergabe, she’s reached another step on the ladder. With the opening song “Leaving In The Night“, everything is tuned into the suggestive and otherworldly reach of human senses. Extending the period of wobbly arpeggios, dampened catharsis and almost spiritual tell-tale. The whispering voice of Oksana Rodinova is in a microcosm in itself, virtually shredding every other hope of a departure without an angst filled and apathetic sound. Bridging a gap between her cold wave and ethereal state of mind, with the minimal synth to synth-pop extravaganza. Coated with a layer of dark wave, jump-starting our synapse, pushing it into the floating spectrum between careful dementia and a brighter light of darkness.
Freakishly continuing the state of mind with the song “Dark Days” to the more anonymous gaze upon us all – by her inner self. Containing the descriptive repetition of instructions, blended with the lonely Samaritan reciting everyday scriptures in a more brightened setting of echoing, decaying voices – in all its gracious splendor of a metamorphosing, but monotonous sound. Her brazen straight-forwardness between the layers are simply astonishing, by listening carefully, you can depict some of the setting and the mood of the entire song. As with the next song “Mirror“, there’s more of a general synth-pop feeling than anything else that has been put forth so far. With the dim lights off, a little bit of brightly shining synth-pop combined with ethereal marks a shift from the more wondrous whispering, to baby steps of shy singing. Putting the melodies outwards, towards the listener, rather than applying the suggestive and dystopic thorns-out approach. Symbolically, the third song injects a new sense of hope, instead of the forgotten sphere of crushed emotions and feelings alike. As the melodies become even more dreamy, handling with care – an almost angelic feeling.
Feeling the instrumentation crashing in down below, like waves against the cliffs in a stormy setting, as the storm casually withers away to make room for a shining day. Continuing with the song “Moonlight“, which is more melodious than anything else and even more rhythmic than anything before. It requires a lot more concentration, as the off-beat, almost instructive voice of Oksana propagates for a tougher approach. Probably one of the more appreciative melodic content so far, completely trashing the competition, as the different layers of melodies playfully revolve around each other. But also, at the same time, try to match the different moods that are faithfully looking outwards, upwards and onwards.
Transpiring from the low-leveled and monotonous, to the higher, spiritual departure into the star-lit heaven of old. When ended, the song “Au Noir” return to the roots of the dystopia. Relying on the sewage’s echo, as the words bounce of the walls and the symptomatic synthesizers repetitive notion forces us to realize – she’s here to stay. Steadfast, continuous and monotonous, in a tonic of different shades in darkness. All that can be heard is “Ah-hah-hah…“, perforating your delicate soul with stains of wickedness. It feels like you’ve made it to the top, just to fall off the ladder and steep down into the mud which you once beat. Falling down, under water, fighting against nature. A waged war that you cannot win, which only means defeat.
The last song on the release, which is “Possessions” combines everything that makes Xiu. She’s continually marched, she’s fought against powers that strike you down, but she’s put her head up high each time. Taking her to another step on the ladder, with the lunarescent music ticking with the beats in the background. May she bloom out into a bird, flying high and landing on the top. Or might she be fighting even more, to evolve. Point is, she’s taken both the regressive elements and evolved in a sense of layers, dimensions and bricks. Building her own castle, with stones and sticks. The song itself compromise the notions of ethereal, minimal synth and an extensive hand of synth-pop feelings. It might not be the most evolved we’ve seen, but she’s actually shown some great progress which makes for an enjoyable release all-in-all. Sometimes you might get stuck with your foot in the swamp, but you’ll have to get out anyway and proceed. This is what is meant to be, hopefully it will change, maybe it will not. If you light a match in the darkness, you’ll see both the unpredictability and the predictability of Xiu, which is what stands tall to this day.