Willy Stamati
I Will Dig You Up






Willy Stamati is a one-man Dark Ambient- and Industrial-accentuated project hailing from Ukraine. Stamati's ultimate (or ulterior?)  goal is to pinpoint various devastating and hopeless incidents of humans, overarching feelings of gloom and horror as well as macrostylistic aural studies of humanity at its worst, always with that certain grain of grotesque grandiloquence. The scope of his productions differs accordingly, ranging from hazy vignettes of uneasiness over crestfallen wastelands to glimpses of hope that are caught in an incessant entanglement with despair. His preposterously-farcically titled three-track album I Will Dig You Up was released in September 2012 on the London-based Kalpamantra netlabel which specializes in releasing the darkest Ambient compositions they can find; you can download the work for free at Bandcamp. Willy Stamati's work fits right in and is fully compatible with the label's nihilistic philosophy. The album features two long takes on the eponymous title track, while another unrelated composition functions as a distinctive marker between them. Depending on which word of the album title is stressed by the listener, its true meaning changes from wishful thinking over stubborn outlandishness to sinister executions of a passionate plan. I Will Dig You Up is a Drone album that is actually based on different vignettes spliced together which then create a complete track. Many hammering staccato sections intermix with blurrier legato gales and outerworld-suggesting noise collages. The Industrial flavor is perceptible, but rather genteel and mild-mannered. There are less devastating guitar bursts or pompously brazen clangs than one might think; a bewitched, forlorn soundscape is a more applicable evocation. Since there are only three tracks on the album and I Will Dig You Up #1 and #2 belong together even though they are torn apart, I am going to review them in the following paragraph, with the autonomous The Transforming Landscape being dissected in another one.


I Will Dig You Up #1 opens with a bleb of blight whose hazardous haziness then fades into the blackness that reigns in the background, only to reappear again. This loop-based structure of undulation is repeated another time and leads to a much more enigmatic, abyssal Drone layer that is traversed by square lead-resembling guitar strings and their monotonously pulsating acidic brethren. Two minutes have passed, and the textural variety is already well-chequered. The guitar layer continues to quaver frostily, and it is here where the Drone airflows are organically wafting and oscillating. I only question the permanent rhythmical hammering of the red-tinted guitar, as it grows tiresome after a few seconds already, but notwithstanding continues to pump for many minutes; it does not build a great amount of tension due to its overly repetitive structure. After more than eight minutes, the Industrial aura increases due to the brazen clangs, but leaves enough room for aqueous bubbles. Toxic guitar drones are unchained, but immediately exchanged with a softer fog which augments the pulsating rotor-esque guitar aorta and puts it back into the spotlight. It is only in the final minute that it fades out and is exchanged with overdriven noise layers. In contrast, I Will Dig You Up #2 is much more successful with its endeavor of creating a dark ambience: crystalline sine spirals inject a brightness that was not heard heretofore, but this luminescence is soon pushed down to the ground with a sinister two-note motif that gyrates around moist wind gusts. An impressively malevolent force! Bit-crushed gunmetal churns enter and intermix with warbled alterations of these breezes. The second half of the track sees AM radio frequency splices and adjacent twister-like fulminant whirlwinds which sound harsh and voluminous. The track ends with a granular grey-tinged tape hiss. In the end, it turns out that both sections of the titular I Will Dig You Up do not have anything in common and are completely different from one another. As were the persons or things in the respective graves.


The Transforming Landscape is the second track and undoubtedly the best composition arrangement-wise. It is the sole reason for the existence of this review. It is misty and blurry and gives the listener enough room to breathe and adjust to the intrinsic mood. Instead of terror and noisy guitar stabs, a tranquilizing mystery unfolds. Right from the beginning, a slowly growing drone is the only monotonous sound source. Critter-like synth particles splutter around as if one brutish insect was snoring. The single monotonous layer conflates with a second coating that resides in a compatible tonal range. Surprisingly enough, there is something soothing and snugly about this proper Drone setting. After more than seven minutes, the echoey voice of a Frenchman cites Charles Beaudelaire's famous poem Fleurs Du Mal, known in English-speaking circles as Flowers Of Evil. The haunting malevolence of the powerful verses works especially well in these surroundings, even if it is all Greek to the listener, so to speak. The recitation of the complete poem is eminently essential due to the otherwise rather streamlined dreaminess. Not much changes over the course of the track, a few vesicles and ornaments here, an increase in the fog's thickness there, but all in all, the complete layer detent provides a perversely soothing playground. No traces of Industrial mannerisms occur, this is a simple non-simplistic yet strong Drone track. The French voice might spoil it for many listeners, but I for one find this inclusion to be an ennobling source of elevation. This is the top pick, much more arcane and mystical than aggrieving and blood-curdling.


Willy Stamati has released roundabout 50 works… and counting. This flood – or blood? – simply cannot be consumed by one single person, even if it were the most devoted Dark Ambient afficionado there ever was. I Will Dig You Up is therefore as good a gateway into the Ukrainian's demonic dioramas as any. The title becomes more ridiculous and tongue-in-cheek the more I pronounce it before my inner eye, but the actual sounds are tense and dead serious. The Industrial flavor is especially perceptible in the title track. The bile, hatred and energy increase in the second part, the conceptual particularities of the Drone genre are completely neglected, whirring particles and blight-covered sparkles reign over the sound waves. Say what you will about the overly pernicious infusions, but the permanently morphing patterns of both parts help the album to keep its momentum and the surprise level high. The Transforming Landscape is much silkier and easier to consume, with a long citation of a French poem being its highlight for me while serving as an audacity for many other people, I tend to believe. It is simply a matter of taste, and I for one am happy that I find its inclusion so fitting, for it could have been different. The lack of spine-tingling melodies, however, turns out to be the album's biggest flaw, as is the 13+ minutes long chopped guitar monotony on I Will Dig You Up #1 which unfortunately kills the whole track for me. And another observation crosses my mind: as varied the vignettes and respective sections are, their nerve-racking amount as well as the purposeful omission of melodious loops make Willy Stamati's work even more abstract and minimal than it already is. All in all, this one is for diehard Dark Ambient fans, while The Transforming Landscape is that misty gem I deem so successful in its aesthetics that I wrote a review about the album it is featured on. The one you just dug up.



Further listening:

  • You can download Willy Stamati's I Will Dig You Up for free at Bandcamp.
  • Follow the Kalpamantra label on Twitter: @Kalpamantra.





Ambient Review 208: Willy Stamati – I Will Dig You Up (2012). Originally published on Apr. 24, 2013 at AmbientExotica.com.