Context is key. When listening to “Soviet White”, the standout track on Rezo Glonti‘s new EP, one might begin to feel a sense of unease. Volume and thickness increase as a drone rises to overtake the vinyl crackle. All is about to be lost – or is it? Watching the video changes everything. The found footage of a Georgian wedding is bittersweet and tender. The couple isn’t wealthy, but they have love, and humor, and friends. The last shot shows the couple – she in a white dress, both in a white car – driving to an unseen future. It’s like the ending of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but without the car crash. Glonti edited this video with his wife after a trip to the region, adding an additional layer of sweetness. The music retains its mystery, but is anchored by hope; the melodies ring more clearly once they are associated with wedding bells.
Late Night Diving is a tribute to an era and place: Soviet Georgia before the breakup of the U.S.S.R. As the Beatles once sang, “You don’t know how lucky you are, boys”. At the time, oppression was still present, but couples still found each other and began new lives together. Their hopes and dreams were not muffled by their conditions; if anything, they dreamt bigger, because there was a large gap between reality and potential. Glonti attempts to convey this feeling through a combination of guitar, synth, static and field recordings (captured with a vintage Soviet mic). Amazingly, he succeeds, and in so doing presents listeners with an image of an alternate Georgia, distinct from Mother Russia: not one of Cold War posturing, but one of neighbors and friends farming joy from a fallow field.
“Sub Numbers” is awash with electronic waves and echoed notes, a haze of sonic impressions in search of an interpreter. In the last minute, a buoy seems to ping, like a guide through the morass. By the final track, we almost wish we had been in Georgia back in ’85; Glonti’s yearbook makes all seem safe and rich. Yet this richness lies not in governments and policies, but in the people. If we hadn’t read about the inspiration for this release and watched the video, we’d be missing a crucial piece; knowing makes the listening experience all the richer. (Richard Allen)