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On last year’s Millennium Sun, Dmitriy Avksentiev grappled with futurism’s pleasures and terrors by revisiting the past. Inspired by classic science-fiction films like Blade Runner and Akira, the Ukrainian electronic musician, aka Koloah and Voin Oruwu, set out to craft an album about our own era, “where science and technology coexist with wars and dictatorship, where world hunger exists alongside space travel.” In keeping with that tangled timeline—which echoed an observation often attributed to William Gibson, “The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed yet”—the music’s high-tech overtones tangled with echoes of the past 30 years of electronic music, mixing alien textures with familiar strains of jungle and techno. There was a dystopian cast to some of the album’s darker moments, with pummeling breakbeats wreathed in minor-key synths, and TB-303 patterns dripping like acid rain. But placid ambient tones transmitted a message of cautious optimism.

Then dystopia came knocking on Avksentiev’s door. On February 24, Russia attacked Ukraine, launching the first salvo in an invasion that continues to wreak destruction on the country more than two months later. As rockets flew over Kyiv, Avksentiev grabbed his laptop and his cat, packed some clothes, and began a 70-hour odyssey in search of safety. The story of his flight is printed on the front cover of Serenity, an album he completed since settling down in a new, undisclosed location, where the sounds of sirens and explosions continue. “In daily hell, music became my support, my therapy,” he writes. “Now I want to share my strength and support with others. I created this album to reflect on what is happening to us: tears, nostalgia, dreams of the future, and faith in a bright tomorrow. We will survive, return to our hometowns, and rebuild the country when the war is over.”

Serenity picks up where Millennium Sun’s few purely ambient tracks, like “Hope” and “See You in 1000 Years,” left off. There are no drums, no hard edges, and few obvious melodies. Arpeggiated synths churn in deep pools of reverb; plangent chords hang like heavy mist, while bells and choral pads hint at liturgical contexts. Avksentiev completed half the album’s tracks before the war broke out and finished the rest after fleeing Kyiv, but it’s impossible to say which songs belong to the before times and which the aftermath. (The lone exception is “Seachless,” which he previewed on Instagram on February 16, shortly before the invasion, after performing it that week at Kyiv’s Malaya Opera.) All eight tracks draw on a stripped-down palette of soft pads and fathomless echo; less than half an hour long, Serenity is bound by a focused and meditative energy. Listening on headphones, you feel cocooned in Koloah’s soft, radiant webs of sound.

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