by Mark Anthony Brennan

It may not be completely true that Illusha Zvook Krivosheiko was born in the irradiated bogs of Eastern Europe, but then again there must be some explanation for the existence of this demented but fervidly imaginative figure. On his double album ‘Masked Hands’ he wallows in a quagmire of obscure rhythms, eerie drones and evocative strings. Forget genres, because such limitations are simply not his thing. Although this is essentially an instrumental album, Krivosheiko does employ vocals (both his own and guest vocalists Nyx Evart and Moe Clark) but rarely in the conventional manner of singing a ‘song’. No, instead there is droning, humming, whispering, chanting and speaking, with the vocals being used low in the mix as another instrument. Speaking of instruments, Krivosheiko employs a multitude of them and performs all of the music himself. He synthesizes a variety of styles — jazz, world, tin pan alley, blues — but at the core one would have to say that it is primarily a mix of dark folk and bluegrass, although Krivosheiko undoubtedly creates a musical world of his own. You may need to be a little adventurous but getting mired down in SwampWolf is a rewarding experience.