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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

#67 Flork Reviews: Ondrey Zintaer - Anthroportrait (2023)



Ondrey Zintaer - Anthroportrait (2023)

by Flork

Honestly, the traditional album format just doesn't seem to work anymore. In the post-streaming world, albums are either growing longer or shorter, being split among groups, come either in Ep or Lp format and have simply abandoned the idea of having a theme behind it. Putting out a traditional-style of 10 or so songs with a few marked for single release doesn’t even cut it for mainstream artists either. Nowadays, especially with the rise in popularity of electronic music, artists everywhere, including pop musicians, are releasing songs regardless of length and, content or style. And so the evolution of producing and releasing material itself has become somewhat of an art form, where „anything goes“ and you can either like it or leave it.

And regarding those who experiment with their music, this is new era can be somewhat of a godsend. Ondrey Zintaer seems to have arrived at the right time and place. The eastern Slovak native has been releasing material for the past 5 years and has collaborated with a myriad of musicians from Slovakia and abroad, releasing tonnes of interesting material with Anthroportrait being no exception.

I have actually reviewed Ondrey Zintaer’s in the past, most notably his collaboration with Italian friends in the for of ZTB, you can find the review of Spiritus Mundi on the Jablka blog spot or in my Facebook page. At that time, I was quite intrigued, and learned quickly that writing about improvised music could be challenging, yet not entirely impossible.


Anthroportrait begins with Čas (Time), a jazzy intro of less than a minute with saxophone and drums and is followed by Preludium, a more serious tone with an icy keyboard backdrop and accents of notes on the piano. Both of these tracks set a tense and haunting tone, but definitely a unique sound and atmosphere.

I quite like it so far, the third track Strnulosť (Stupor) has poetry recited over it, the music itself evoking images of an apocalypse and war, the aftershock of a bomb being dropped and the desolation of an abandoned battlefield. But the album is not about the emptiness of life, but is also full of glitchy soundscapes with ambient melodies and abstract vocal samples. Much of the music is ethereal and takes the listener on an ominous and foreboding journey through a timeless dreamscape. There are loads of saxophone and piano, espcially on Nerve 1, 2, and 3, as well as on the apt-titled Piano, but I like the menacing keyboard-based tracks the most, like Nerve 2 (with Botox Cocozza from ZTB on drums) or Rozlučka (Farewell), a lonely and painful „goodbye is forever“. Slová (Words), which is closer to the end of the album, is another example of how Zintaer transports the listener to a dark place of an otherworldly state.

My favourite is Zhor (Burn), the final track where the album closes with elements of doom and free jazz. Although much of the album is improvised, I think this track could be reproduced on stage. I especially like the addition of the soft guitar and the sounds of the sea, as well as Ondrey’s grunts, evoking an image of death and a long, yet peaceful passage down the river Thebes.

Overall, I admit that I like Anthroportrait as it is an appropriate release for those purgatory months between winter and spring. And although it is far from the party vibes of mainstream electronic music, this album was not made for such an audience, but rather for those who need „alone time“ while seeking solace and answers to their thoughts. Give this album a listen to if you are in need of deep „mood“ music, it’s an appropriate piece to have in the background while reading, meditating, or just staring at a TV screen while on mute, it will definitely transport you to an introspective state.



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