Kedr Livanskiy takes us to a forest drawn over with dew. She sings to the stars that are somehow clear as ever, and the crowd dances on a bed of moss. The lights and life of the city remain in the distance, sirens become liminal noise.
Livanskiy’s latest release, Liminal Soul, tugs between metal and moss, between nature and the city, and through this creates a post-apocalyptic world where Kedr’s vocals echo endlessly through the darkness.
This was an idea Livanskiy was thinking about when creating and naming the album: “I was trying to feel about the boundary between the opposites — analog and digital, natural and urban, a sound and voice and then erase it. It is such an intense interlacement of meanings, so the music came out liminal, ever-changing, elusive.”
Kedr Livanskiy is the moniker of Yana Kedrina, a Moscow-born singer, DJ and producer. Her past work draws heavily on ’90s techno, footwork and jungle influences layered with an electronic pop that shines through the vocals. Your Need, her 2019 album, was a celebration of life and rebirth. The album, inspired by Livanskiy’s return to DJ-ing, found itself among many mixes and sets.
Livanskiy has reflected on the dance floor’s influence on this album: “The dance floor had shaped me at some time, (but) then it almost suffocated me.” The heavy influence of electronic music remains on Liminal Soul, where instead of completely rebelling from that aspect, Livanskiy creates an expansion, fusing what she learned as a DJ and producing this newer, more personal sound. The new sound utilizes Kedr’s voice as a central ingredient to the album, where compared to her past work it was layered beneath other sounds; on Liminal Soul, the electronic sounds are buried beneath her shining vocals.
“Celestial Ether” starts the album with an entrance similar to Eartheater’s “Airborne Ashes” but quickly diverts, layering Livanskiy’s echoing vocals on top of a breakbeat sound. She places us in a familiar place of breakbeat but challenges the desire to use this sound as something only found in the club. This duo of a breakbeat sound and Livanskiy’s hypnotizing voice is found at later points on the album, too, like “Night.”
Livanskiy also debuts her first fully English-language track with “Boy,” which stands out on the album with its synth-pop sound. The lyrics reflect on the end of a relationship, which contrasts with the rest of the album’s natural elements and references to the world. Livanskiy thinks of love as an aspect of nature, something necessary in the world she has created.
The simplicity of the lyrics “I’m not lying to you, boy / I don’t know why, but / I can’t be with you, boy” show her grappling with the need to let go, while still holding onto love for this person. She sends her lover into the end of the world alone.
“Stars Light Up” follows with a filtered techno beat coming in and out of the track. Her fragmented vocals sit atop of crashing and mushing effects, and one can almost imagine dancing to this track as the night begins to fade. The final two tracks of the album fully bring this world to an end with “Your Turn,” where one can imagine Livanskiy, like the cover art, turning into some sort of liminal angel and fading into the sky, not letting anyone follow her. “Badlands” perfectly mixes harshness and softness. The fragmented, industrial electronic beginning buries itself beneath her vocals, which remain at the forefront. The world ends, and this is what we hear.
Daily Arts Writer Katy Trame can be reached at email@example.com.