VEiiLA: Sentimental Craving For Beauty (CD & Name-Your-Price Digital)

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Product Description

1. Can’t Forgive Myself
2. I Had A Dream
3. Broken Toy (album version)
4. Another Day
5. Furnace
6. Cool
7. Push The Pedal (album version)
8. Do You Hear Me (album version)
9. Made Of Air
10. Ocean’s Breath
11. Common Decency
12. My Blues
13. Sick To The Bone

Echoes Radio’s September CD of the Month. Excerpt from Review: “The Sound of Beautiful Alienation. To say that VEiiLA is melancholic would be an understatement. But rarely is alienation rendered so beautifully and in such an original, compelling fashion. The band has called their sound ‘music for introverts,’ but it could just as well be music for the depressed, the forlorn and the oppressed. Nüte sings in a voice that can be fragile, sultry, domineering, sarcastic and heartbreaking. Their sound design is one of the most original I’ve heard.”

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Genres: Dark Cold Wave, Downtempo, Alternative Pop, Electronic, Bleak House, Dream Pop, Trip Hop, Witch House
For Fans Of: Emika, The XX, Zola Jesus, Sevdaliza
Hometown: Vanadzor, Armenia


Creating beauty and passion out of harrowing despair comes easy for Russians-in-exile VEiiLA. With immaculate electronics, slow rhythms, and female vocals flush with late-night sensuality, the duo of Bes and Vif crafts an entwining melancholia with devastating existential lyrics.


VEiiLA's second studio album, Sentimental Craving For Beauty, is the artistic equivalent of a Venus flytrap — hidden under seductive layers of mellow electronics, translucent guitars, soft enthralling percussion, synth bass and Vif's tantalizing, alluring vocals dwell the paralyzing vapors of venomous despair, hopelessness and ultimate surrender to the unavoidable and inevitable pain of human existence.


Disguised as relaxing downtempo music, VEiiLA leans towards Schopenhauerian pessimism where one does not conquer the pain; verily submission to pain is the only answer to a world that is made of suffering.


This grim outlook isn't based on mere musings of the poet's soul. When Russia invaded Ukraine, not willing to support the ugly war and the horrible autocratic regime, Vif Nüte and Bes Eirid packed their lives in a couple of suitcases, left their homes and embarked on a journey without destination. Calling themselves in the fashion of the late Kurt Vonnegut “a band without a country,” as modern Russian dissidents they taste the bitter liquor of disappointment blended with a healthy dose of morbid, soul-crushing realization: the world is in fact as ugly as it gets.


What followed was a period of wandering through Armenia living in strange hotels and apartments and slowly drowning in depression.


VEiiLA is pronounced "Vay-la." It's a stylized reference to a Baltic mountain-dwelling demon that lures men into her cave by singing and then devours them.

August 18 • Digital Single • "Can’t Forgive Myself" b/w "Another Day"


At the time of their exodus VEiiLA had half an album recorded. There was the name too, Sentimental Craving For Beauty, which (traditionally a literary reference, this time to Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga) initially meant something bright and hopeful to the band.


Having their life shattered in pieces, however, it also put some distance between the artists and their creative work. In short, nothing made sense anymore. And so the album was thrown into the fire. After a while though, new inspiration came, new songs were written and the line “sentimental craving for beauty” appeared to present a different side: when everything falls into ruin, when nothing good is left, the only thing that keeps one going is this craving.


Thus the album rose from the ashes in a purer rectified form.


Musically VEiiLA charted a new direction, re-inventing their style with a bare minimalist palette of sounds. Instead of taking a well-worn path of lush studio production, Vif and Bes focused on writing songs that could be played live in real time with their own four hands, a drum machine and a vocal looper. This resulted in a stripped down production with only a few occasional extra layers. The recent addition of electric guitar with Vif's distinct yet subdued styling added fresh textures to their sound.


This updated minimalism cleared even more space for the intimate vocals' hypnotic swirl, murmuring their introspective allegories of universal indifference and lost hope.


As VEiiLA themselves put it: “We wanted to simply find some ground and not fall into the abyss. We just couldn't breathe, couldn't sleep, and we needed something not to go insane. So we spent more time playing the instruments and less time staring at the screen, and somehow the album wrote itself. It was a good distraction. Is it more than that? Maybe it will speak to someone, inspire someone, or at least make some miserable wretch across the globe — who like Steppenwolf is torn between fear and the razor — feel less lonely, knowing that there are at least two souls of the same sort on this planet.”

Projekt release: September 8 2023

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Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    From ReGen

    So often, music is seen as an escape, a way to tune out the world and be with ourselves. How soon one is to forget how that escapism can run both ways. The feeling of getting away and shrugging off worldly ills isn’t limited to the consumer, but can also be the producer’s modus operandi. With Armenian transplants VEiiLA, truer statements could not be made, as the duo of vocalist Vif Nüte and multi-instrumentalist Bes Eirid bring their melancholy downtempo to the world following the Russian occupation of Ukraine. This second full-length, Sentimental Craving For Beauty is a contemplative, dreamy sort of record, with 13 tracks blending coldwave, witch house, dream pop, and more.

    A two-person act creating soundscapes as full and stirring as these is something to behold, and the deft hands of Nüte and Eirid are apparent from the album’s opening. Electronic soundscapes and clean, chorus-laden guitars lead the way for Nüte’s voice, which lies somewhere between Lana Del Rey-like crooning and Sia-esque belts. “Made of Air” and “Ocean’s Breath” especially showcase Nüte’s range, positioning her as the Baltic creature for which the project is named. Even at their busiest and most urgent, the musical masterstrokes that Eirid paints are still too easy to get lost in. “Broken Toy” is a treat in the early parts of the record, as a seven-minute opus full of chilled-out groove and layer after layer of instrumentation coming in to complement the last.

    Though they are a band trying to find a new home amid unimaginable circumstances, VEiiLA’s less-is-more approach to dream pop is paying off. This is the kind of record to put on and lose oneself for an hour or so, or at the very least sit alone and let things wash over you with each measure. If this is what a sentimental craving for beauty sounds like, may listeners find themselves satiated by record’s end. -Lucia Z. Liner

  2. Reviews Editor

    From Side-Line

    Background/Info: VEiiLA is a Russian duo driven by Vif Nüte and Bes Eirid. They’re living in exile since the war in Ukraine. This is the band’s second full length which was written -because of the tragic events, over a wider lapse of time, and is featuring thirteen songs.

    Content: I never heard of this duo before and discovered a down-tempo driven composition with sweet, female, vocals on top. The music has a strong evasive feeling mixing different influences together; definitely Ambient-Pop like but still a bit of Trip-Pop and very few Cinematic passages. There’s a strong atmospheric side emerging at the last part of the work featuring a few more danceable pieces.

    + + + : This album took me by surprise for its deeply artistic and accomplished production. It’s a mature and professional work -which regarding to the context both members have gone through is absolutely amazing. This is an album full of beautiful, emotive, songs featuring refined arrangements and subtle elements. The vocals sometimes remind me of the grace of Lana Del Rey. The slow rhythm injects a sensual touch on top of this artistic beauty. I personally prefer the last part of the album which is a bit more into danceable passages but there’re great, outstanding, pieces right at the beginning as well. No doubt about it this album belongs to the best productions from 2023.

    – – – : I sometimes regret there aren’t more danceable vibes running through but you don’t hear me to complain at one single moment.
    Conclusion: Simply a beautiful, emotive and artistic work; respect guys!
    Best songs: “Push The Pedal – Album Version”, “I Had A Dream”, “Ocean’s Breath”, “Common Decency”, “Can’t Forgive Myself”.
    Rating: 9.

  3. Reviews Editor

    From Progressive Rock Central
    VEiiLA’s sophomore album, Sentimental Craving for Beauty, was released on September 8, 2023; through the world renowned, Projekt Records label, out of Portland, Oregon, US.

    Sentimental Craving for Beauty, is an intriguing album in a number of ways. The most intriguing value comes from the story surrounding the development of VEiiLA. The band was founded not in their current home of Vanadzor, Armenia; but in the country of Russia, around 2015. The musical duo, of Vif Nüte, (the lead singer and guitarist), and Bes Eirid, (who plays keyboards and synths), that make up VEiiLA; fled to Armenia, when Russia invaded Ukraine. It absolutely tore their lives apart.

    According to the band, “They were not willing to support the ugly war and the horrible autocratic regime, and so, Vif nüte and Bes Eirid packed their lives in a couple of suitcases, left their homes and embarked on a journey without destination. Calling themselves in the fashion of the late Kurt Vonnegut, “a band without a country.” As modern Russian dissidents they tasted the bitter liquor of disappointment, blended with a healthy dose of morbid, soul-crushing realization: that the world is in fact as ugly as it gets”.

    VEiiLA plays a version of dark cold wave, downtempo, and alternative pop, usually associated with electronic, bleak house, dream pop, and trip hop, music. Their music is most associated with bands, like: Emika, The XX, and Sevdaliza.

    The band describes themselves as outcasts. “Never belonging to any niche, they spent their time crafting their own brand of sensual melancholic music driven by Vif’s uncategorizable voice and devastating existential poetry”. They describe Sentimental Craving for Beauty, as, “the artistic equivalent of a Venus flytrap — hidden under seductive layers of mellow electronics, translucent guitars, soft enthralling percussion, synth bass and Vif’s tantalizing, alluring vocals that dwell in the paralyzing vapors of venomous despair, hopelessness and ultimate surrender to the unavoidable and inevitable pain of human suffering. Like falling into the bottomless abyss of broken dreams with a fool’s hope of catching a glimpse of beauty along the way”. The band name, VEiiLA is pronounced “Vay-la.” It’s a stylized reference to a Baltic mountain-dwelling demon that lures men into her cave by singing and then devours them.

    As VEiiLA themselves put it: “We wanted to simply find some ground and not fall into the abyss. We just couldn’t breathe, couldn’t sleep, and we needed something not to go insane. So we spent more time playing the instruments and less time staring at the screen, and somehow the album wrote itself. It was a good distraction. Is it more than that? Maybe it will speak to someone, inspire someone, or at least make some miserable wretch across the globe — who like Steppenwolf is torn between fear and the razor — feel less lonely, knowing that there are at least two souls of the same sort on this planet.”

    The idea for the title, Sentimental Craving for Beauty, which, (traditionally a literary reference, this time to Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga), initially meant something bright and hopeful to the band. Thus the album rose from the ashes in a purer rectified form.

    Their first playful jams and a few underground gigs in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg led to playing massive festivals, winning local band contests and opening for their teen idols Kosheen (as well as The Neighborhood and Alex Clare). But it wasn’t until 2020 when the project finally solidified into something real and the band presented their debut album The Nation Of One, with a CD release on the experimental British label Wormhole World. The album received positive reviews from music critics. Influential British magazine Louder Than War particularly praised “the remarkable voice which soars, pleads and chants in equal measures and with hypnotic intensity.”

    Ok, enough of an intro for this new band, now on to the music….

    “Can’t Forgive Myself”, is the album opener and one of the best songs on the album. The song investigates themes of regret. As the band says, “Regret of a specific quality caused by childlike naivety mistaking cynical manipulations of the grown-up world for genuine kindness and decency. Everyone gets to this epiphany when growing up, and almost everyone manages to grow a thick layer of skin — vigilant skepticism with scoffing disdain for the mere idea of purity. But what about those who don’t grow up? Those whose innocent beliefs survive and linger? Those who cherish their immature idealism to the last, forever opposing it to the vulgarity of real life? Well, life is life and sooner or later everyone has to face it”. Vif Nüte, sings vocalizations and plays slow electric guitar chords, until she unleashes her first real lyrics, “Can’t forgive my… How can you stand yourself. When I buy the lies you sell. Does it see you through. Don’t fool don’t fool don’t fool yourself. You just repeat what someone said. There’s only one regret. How could I have been so blind. Such a hypocrite”; while Bes Eirid, plays keyboards and synths, and electric drum patterns. The calming effect of the music soothes the difficult effects of facing reality, though the lyrics. The Gary Newman/Depeche Mode – like keyboards are superb, and innovative, though they bring back memories of the best of the ‘80s synth.

    “I Had A Dream”, is another of the best songs on the album. Vif Nüte sings, “I had a friend. His name was solitude. He could understand me. Better than anyone could. That link was broken. Too many people inside my head. They never stop talking. Maybe they’ll stop only when I’m dead. I had a dream. But time has taken its toll. So it would seem. The stone was bound to fall. I kissed goodbye. Too so many beautiful dreams. And the night’s crawling by. And the voices turn into screams”. A difficult remembrance of when things were good, now that trouble times have arrived. The beautiful keyboards which play throughout the song, soothe the riveting pain from the lyrics. Everything moves along smooth, until Vif Nüte plays those Chris Isaac – like guitar chords, and then the darker keyboard patterns emerge.

    “Broken Toy”, opens with more of that wonderful Chris Isaac – like guitar sounds, which remind me of a morning sunrise. Then Vif Nüte sings, “Am I a broken toy if I just can’t find. The right way the right way. Everyone around me is color blind. Do I go do I stay. Maybe it’ll never be the same. Maybe I’ll never see that day. But I’ll make it happy. Maybe it’ll be divine. Maybe I’ll never see the light. But I’ll make it happy”. Then, a return to those guitar chords I mentioned earlier. Meanwhile, Bes Eirid, tempers things with those Vangelis – like keyboard sounds.

    “Another Day”, has a cool lounge ballad sound to it. It is full of melancholic detachment. Vif’s soft vocals sing, “I wish I were as strong as once I thought I was.
    I wish I could allow myself to take a pause. To touch the ground and bounce up. And take your hand and find the words to cheer you up. But every night. I’m searching in my mind. For something I can say. To live another day. And every day.
    I’m running out of lines. I just pretend I’m fine. I wish I could erase it all and start anew. Adjust the angle for a better point of you. And break the spell breath in the air. And look into your eyes and see that you’re not scared”. Those wonderful guitar chords return and almost bring a rain of tears.”

    “Furnace”, opens with a happier keyboard melody. Vif Nüte sings, “Some things stay. Some are easily forgotten. But when it comes to pain. It’s always new, it’s always bright. And when the new waves rise. It takes me by surprise. But after all those years. Why do I even bother? In the chamber of my mind. I try in vain to cut the binds. In the furnace of my soul. I burn my hopes like black coal. In the oven of my heart. I hope to turn my pain to art. But in the end when I’m alone. I wonder why I’m cold as stone?” If you are having a hard time with the lyrics, just remember what these two musicians gave up. They walked out of their hoe, and homeland, because some leader decided to invade neighbors in the Ukraine.

    “Cool”, is full of unique keyboards and synths pattern which will stimulate your brain as Vif Nüte sings, “I see right through you. You got no clue. You think you play me. While I play you. Inside you’re rotten. Don’t waste your time, yeah. Rules, yeah, you got ’em. Not me cause I’m. Tired of your bogus exultations. Sick of your caustic implications. I see that baby you’ve got patience, but. I’d rather drop this conversation”. The guitar work and especially the keyboards are wonderful on this song.

    “Push the Pedal”, is another one of my favorite songs on the album. It has one of the coolest keyboard and synth patterns on the album. Absolute magic. Then, Vif Nüte sings, “Out of side and out of mind. All those years I left behind. One more try to get it right. It’s getting harder. Push the pedal to the floor. Make me cry and beg for more. Words mean nothing anymore. Just push it harder. There’s a chance we gotta take it. Time won’t last another second. I can’t wait”.

    “Do You Hear Me”, is full of more unique keyboard playing, before Vif Nüte sings, “I’m closing the door. I’m facing myself. I’m closing myself. I’m facing the wall. I’m waiting inside. I’m biding my time. I’m leaving behind. What burdens my mind. Farewell. Do you hear me? I’m closing the door. I’m facing myself. I’m closing myself. I’m facing the wall”.

    “Made of Air”, has that wonderful crying guitar chord at the opening which is classic Chris Isaac. Then, Vif Nüte sings, “The roads are frozen. But I’ve gone too far. I can see with my eyes closed. What they are. I can hear them calling. I can feel their touch. I’m fading slowly. Did I ask too much? I am not a ghost. But then why does it feel. Like I’m made of air. Like nobody sees me. Like I’m not even there. But my heart ain’t broken. And my dream ain’t lost’ This song also has one of the album’s best guitar solos towards the end.

    “Ocean’s Breath”, is my favorite song on the album. It is full of the sound of the ocean at its opening. Vif Nüte does some very cool vocalizations at the song’s opening. Then she sings, “Today we breathe. Today we choose. To live, to love. To fight. Against the whole world. Isn’t beautiful? My…Do you see this chaos. Do you taste the menace. This is what we’re made of. Keep breathing. We can win this fight. The ocean surrounds us. The last ray of light. Ocean!” Those haunting “Ahs”, from Nüte throughout are simply magic!

    “Common Decency”, is another of my favorite songs on the album. You gotta love the title. The dark, mysterious keyboard opening is one of the best on the album. Then, Vif Nüte sings, “Six weeks passed I care for no one. Everyone who knows me knows it. Yesterday I couldn’t sleep. Today I can’t wake up. I can’t recall the smell of roses. Everyone who knows me knows it. I’m in the quicksand way too deep. It never seems to stop. Six years passed I still need no one. Everyone who knows me knows it. I don’t even ask myself anymore. What I’m living for. Yeah, I’m not sure there is a meaning. I guess I should stop dreaming. There is no one out there. Behind that door. Common decency. Keeps me company. I won’t give in!”

    “My Blues”, opens with a bluesy guitar chord at the opening. Then, Vif Nüte sings, “My blues. Beyond my control. Yeah, them blues. Beyond my control. They will watch me drown. In the sea of moonlight. Yeah, they watch me drown. In the sea of moonlight. Never give up. They say. Never give up. They pray. Never give up!”

    “Sick to the Bone”, is the closing song on Sentimental Craving for Beauty. It is also the longest song at over 6 minutes. The opening guitar playing is dreamy and thought provoking. The belled chimes and keyboards elicit an almost joy in their play. Then, Vif Nüte sings, “Never have I ever felt so. Sick to the bone, sick to the bone. Never have I ever felt so. Sick to the bone. I see paradise in my wicked dreams. I open my eyes and I can’t take it in. And when I touch the ground. Will you be by my side? Have I lost my last chance. A-a-a-a. When words stop making sense. Will you still follow me. If this is our last chance. Let’s hold our hands!”

    Sentimental Craving for Beauty is a wonderful album to listen to with headphones. Vif Nüte’s voice is both hypnotizing and haunting throughout this album. Her voice and guitar playing, coupled well with Bes Eirid’s keyboard and synth playing, make this album a delight to listen to at any time of day, but especially when you are relaxing in the evening. It is one of my favorite albums of this early part of the year. I suggest it to anyone in search of something completely different.

    Even though some of the lyrics and stories told within the album are sad, imagine what these two musicians have been through during the time this album was written. You can feel the loneliness and fear that they encountered; in a land they did not know. Walking away from the only home and country you have known, to try to do a full restart in a foreign land, with maybe no acquaintances or no one to support and love or care for you, is definitely a very difficult road. I hope they will be settled more when they create their next album. Despite the sadness they went through, the music has an ethereal wonder and journey of discovery to it.

    The final intrigue about the album is VEiiLA’s ability to persevere through the unknown, and the barriers which they certainly encountered, their ability to continue to search for a Sentimental Craving for Beauty. Andthat, to me is well worth the effort endured. -Professor Mark

  4. Reviews Editor

    From Last Day Deaf

    VEiiLA, the Russians-in-exile musical force, just unleashed their second studio album, Sentimental Craving For Beauty, on the legendary Projekt label in Portland, Oregon. Among the adorable gems in this sonic treasure trove, Can’t Forgive Myself stands out as an otherworldly marvel. This gem is an amalgam of dream pop, chillwave, witch house, and indie electronic vibes—a sonic palette that paints a unique soundscape. For fans of Emika, The XX, and Zola Jesus, this track is a “dark” journey into a musical realm that blurs boundaries and captivates the soul. VEiiLA has truly crafted a masterpiece with this enchanting release.

    And their story in their own words: “This grim outlook isn’t based on mere musings of the poet’s soul. When Russia invaded Ukraine, not willing to support the ugly war and the horrible autocratic regime, Vif Nüte and Bes Eirid packed their lives in a couple of suitcases, left their homes and embarked on a journey without destination. Calling themselves in the fashion of the late Kurt Vonnegut “a band without a country,” as modern Russian dissidents they taste the bitter liquor of disappointment blended with a healthy dose of morbid, soul-crushing realization: the world is in fact as ugly as it gets.”

  5. Reviews Editor

    From Sounds + Shadows

    VEiiLA is pronounced “Vay-la.” It’s a stylized reference to a Baltic mountain-dwelling demon that lures men into her cave by singing and then devours them. Don’t threaten me with a good time. A new album on Projekt Records sent to me by Sam which I feel headlong into. A delicate beauty with 90’s trip hop elements, including a sprinkling of Beth Gibbons in the vocal delivery. Twinkling light arpeggiation taking us to an other worldly fairy fire mystery. This album makes great use of the “whisper factor”. When you shout something to the rooftops people natural lose focus. When you whisper a secret, everyone wants to lean in to be part of the inner circle. Veiila makes you lean in close, hanging on that whisper, then explodes in a shower of color. The flow of this whole record always leaves you shrouded in mystery. The other master stroke is the jazzy loose guitar winding clean and instinctive tendrils around that voice.

    Favorite Tracks:
    I Had A Dream – This song is full of magic and dark whimsey. You follow that lovely sound into a shadowy place and suddenly you are lost. Menacing low synth bass sounds bounce against the tiny bell sound sparkles. This track is a expert class on how to build tension, hit a peak, and explode with energy. The whole record excels at this but this track hits you right in the iris.

    Common Decency – Nice glitchy witchaus drum beat that really frees the vocals to shine. Range and soul in equal measure. One of those tracks that would be at home in almost every situation. -Ken Magerman

  6. Reviews Editor

    From Il Circolo

    I don’t remember the last time when, during the first listen to a record, I felt the urgent need to write a review. Yet, with this second work by the Russian VEiiLA (as well as the first release for the label led by Sam Rosenthal) it happened.

    The proposal by Vif Nüte and Bes Eirid distributed over thirteen tracks for a total hour presents itself as a concentration of elegance (in form), refinement (in sound) and class (in composition) such as to enchant the listener.

    The initial triptych Can’t Forgive Myself/ I Had A Dream / Broken Toy is enough to furnish a sound room in a D’Annunzio style which, if desired, can be further embellished with precious stones such as Furnace, Push The Pedal, Do You Hear Me and the beautiful Common Decency, even if it is the entire tracklist that represents a display of taste and ability before which one can only remain enraptured, and without even feeling the need to compare these songs to certain recent products inexplicably celebrated by critics.

    VEiiLA’s Bandcamp page states that this album «is the artistic equivalent of a Venus flytrap – hidden under seductive layers of mellow electronics, translucent guitars, soft enthralling percussion, synth bass and Vif’s tantalizing, alluring vocals dwell the paralyzing vapors of venomous despair , hopelessness and ultimate surrender to the unavoidable and inevitable pain of human existence>>. I may be presumptuous, but I think the Pope would have liked it. Night. -Luca Morzenti

    Original Italian:
    Non ricordo l’ultima volta in cui già durante il primo ascolto di un disco ho provato l’impellente bisogno di scriverne la recensione. Eppure, con questo secondo lavoro dei russi VEiiLA (nonché prima uscita per l’etichetta guidata da Sam Rosenthal) è capitato.

    La proposta di Vif Nüte e Bes Eirid distribuita su tredici tracce per un’ora complessiva si presenta infatti come un concentrato di eleganza (nella forma), ricercatezza (nel suono) e classe (nella composizione) tali da incantare l’ascoltatore.

    È sufficiente l’iniziale trittico Can’t Forgive Myself/ I Had A Dream / Broken Toy per arredare dannunzianamente una stanza sonora che volendo – si può ulteriormente impreziosire con pietre preziose quali Furnace, Push The Pedal, Do You Hear Me e la bellissima Common Decency, anche se è tutta la tracklist a rappresentare uno sfoggio di gusto e capacità dinanzi al quale non si può che restare estasiati, e senza neppure avvertire il bisogno di accostare questi brani a certi prodotti recenti inspiegabilmente celebrati dalla critica.

    Nella pagina Bandcamp dei VEiiLA si legge che questo disco «is the artistic equivalent of a Venus flytrap – hidden under seductive layers of mellow electronics, translucent guitars, soft enthralling percussion, synth bass and Vif’s tantalizing, alluring vocals dwell the paralyzing vapors of venomous despair, hopelessness and ultimate surrender to the unavoidable and inevitable pain of human existence>>. Sarò presuntuoso, ma penso che al Vate sarebbe piaciuto. Notturno. -Luca Morzenti

  7. Reviews Editor

    From CD HotList

    “Disguised as relaxing downtempo music, VEiiLA leans towards Schopenhauerien pessimism where one does not conquer the pain; verily submission to pain is the only answer to a world that is made of suffering.” Okay! This is probably the first time I’ve typed the phrase “Schopenhauerian pessimism” into a CD HotList review, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And the press materials do not mislead: the music of VEiiLA draws on the Russian duo’s experience as exiles from a country they can no longer support. More from the press materials: “As modern Russian dissidents they taste the bitter liquor of disappointment blended with a healthy dose of morbid, soul-crushing realization: the world is in fact as ugly as it gets.” Fortunately for you, the listener, this realization results in some genuinely compelling dark and downtempo electro-pop music with hints of trip hop, jungle, and techno weaving through the mix. Imagine a more Slavic Dead Can Dance, or a more depressed and ‘luded-out early Ministry, with much better vocals. That’s a compliment, I promise. -Rick Anderson

  8. Reviews Editor

    From Echoes Radio

    The Sound of Beautiful Alienation, VEiiLA’s Sentimental Craving for Beauty, Echoes September CD of the Month.

    Some musicians just seem to live in a world of alienation, loss and depression. The best of them, Lana Del Rey, The Cure, Joy Division and Billie Eilish, bring those emotions to us, affirming thoughts and feelings that many often have but don’t speak. They affirm while also showing defiance. VEiiLA is a duo that brings an added layer to those expressions. They are Russian émigrés who fled their country in protest of the authoritarian regime and the invasion of Ukraine. Seeking some kind of solace, they wound up in Armenia.

    Vif Nüte and Bes Eirid began crafting their music in 2015 in St. Petersburg, using Eirid’s bargain synthesizers and the voice and guitar of Vif Nüte. Their debut album, Nation of One, came out in 2020, but they made some quantum strides during the pandemic and their subsequent journey, and it all comes together on the album, Sentimental Craving for Beauty.

    The band has called their sound “music for introverts,” but it could just as well be music for the depressed, the forlorn and the oppressed. Nüte sings in a voice that can be fragile, sultry, domineering, sarcastic and heartbreaking. Sometimes she sounds like a broken woman herself, possibly insane. That’s the sound of “Another Day,” a song of deceit and self-loathing, where the voice moves from wistfulness to knowing sarcasm. It’s a voice with a wide range, as you can tell when she leaps high on “Made of Air.”

    “Can’t forgive myself” is a powerful opening to the album as Nüte sings of hypocrisy. Could this be a song of failed love or is it a political commentary? It’s delivered with an imperious voice over a syncopated drum track, growling bass bottom and chirping synths.

    Their sound design is one of the most original I’ve heard. It’s Depeche Mode doing Twin Peaks but with a much more interesting rhythmic approach. Relatively spare, the songs mix 50’s reverb guitar, percolating and ping-ponging synths and rhythm tracks that aren’t simple loops. They’re syncopated and exploded across stereo fractures. Nüte’s guitar is an unusual touch in this electronic grove-scape. Although she uses an Ibanez, it sounds like a Telecaster sent through spring reverb with a modern digital. When she plays the downward slides on “Another Day” you can hear echoes of the Twin Peaks score and late 50s rock. Strip away the vocals, put on headphones and you could get joyously lost in just the instrumental side of this music.

    Then there is the distinctive voice of Vif Nüte. She’s not one of those ethereal electronica girls. She has power and authority. There is an accent in her voice, but it sounds less Russian and more affected much like Lana Del Rey, which she sounds a lot like on “Broken Toy.” Another song of alienation, “Broken Toy” is not about her living in a foreign land but “not fitting in with my tribe with my kind.” Written in 2020 prior to the war and emigration, it’s easy to read her disaffection with the Russian autocracy.

    Nüte is working out a lot of deep, and possibly traumatic emotions here. Songs like “Do You Hear Me” are clearly pleas for recognition and acknowledgement, which she doesn’t believe is forthcoming. Alienation is again, at the root of her psyche when it spills out on “My Blues,” a song of luxurious desolation.

    There’s a goth influence in this music. It rises up from the tomb on songs like “Cool” where Nüte sings in a gruff, dragging voice, intoning “I see right through you. You’ve got no clue,” before releasing a popish chorus.

    The intro of “Push the Pedal” reminded me of the intro to Spooky Tooth’s “Lost in My Dream” with its low rumble, backwards effects, and staccato strings. It all slips into an eight-note wordless vocal loop, as synths swirl in and Nüte begins intoning her need to “get away.” I’d normally interpret this as a break-up song, but in VEiiLA’s case, it seems much more political.

    To say that VEiiLA is melancholic would be an understatement. But rarely is alienation rendered so beautifully and in such an original, compelling fashion. Bes Eirid and Vif Nüte have taken us inside their heads, inside the internal conversations you don’t say out loud, but they do, in a perfectly articulated sonic landscape. There is no sentimentality in Sentimental Craving for Beauty, but they are yearning for beauty and they attain it. THE END

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