Growing up in Kiev, Ukraine, Sasha Renkas remembers a landscape of strange light and slight abandonment. Compelled to create - or rather, extract - safer worlds from haunted hardware of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Renkas collaborates with Eline Makker to make escapist themes on the precipice of acid and adventure as Antenna.
The most recent design from Antenna’s Rotterdam base, and their first contribution to Beats In Space Records after releases on Pinkman and Royal Oak, Primavera is a meditation on the sensitivity of spring. Far from a floral arrangement, Renkas and Makker engage the liminal space, a brief, bitter-sweet bloom between the endless summer and relentless winter.
Written after an overwhelming experience in the Austrian countryside, the four track EP is the fantastical formation of elevated moments in space and time, an homage to nature’s otherworldly portals. Each track presented is an edited version of one hour jams recorded live to drive, with cameos from an army of Akai and Korg veterans. Renkas new acuteness for beauty’s hidden moments dictates a less Cageian, more Bretonian surrender to the generative possibilities of this weathered machinery.
Like the human imagination allowed to wander and wonder, each song manifests as its own environment in transition, formed of the perfect layering of antipodal elements. “Primavera May” lifts you from ordinary life: the apparition of rain clouds and droplets blur into a soft curtain over the world as the whir of delicate hi-hats glisten in a muted sunlight.
Imagine a moment where the most inanimate inhabitants of the earth ghost dance before disappearing into nothing. Makker’s spoken vocals add a crestfallen hue to the vanished. She monotonously recites her regret: “everything is dancing / everything is crying / it can feel so heavy / before it has begun.”
A denser, yet similarly sorrowful song, “Before I Fall Asleep” is sculpted around nimble strings and webbed by breathy vocals, remaining slightly suspended, as if levitating just above the verdant ground. Halfway through “Primavera April,” the track is transformed by acid showers, a lead synth lifts off to reveal a ravaged landscape, diametrically opposing the previous peace. The ambient “Acceptance Snow” closes Primavera with the self-fulfilling prophecy of its theme: that snow will fall, and the world will go to sleep.
Conjuring the surreality of Renkas childhood landscapes, for all its reverie, Primavera always orients itself toward the responsibilities of the present. There is an acknowledgment that all day dreams must lead back to reality, that all journeys must be fulfilled.
Each 12″ on Beats in Space Records features original artwork in considerate and serial form. For Primavera, New York artist Jesse Moretti positions uniform obelisks across a melted pastel field to replicate the woozy rhythms of this EP. Constructed by WWFG, direct mail order copies of the 12” features a removable vinyl BIS logo cling.
Antenna’s Primavera is out now on Beats In Space as a limited edition 12” and across digital formats. Physical purchase includes a free, high-quality, multi-format download.