On Pause // Trouble in Utopia
Calgary’s Krzysztof Sujata makes experimental music under the name Valiska. Using a Moog Sub 37 synthesizer he loops tape to develop warm analog drones reflecting on the relationship between the natural world and space carved out by cities. On Pause, his most personal release, is a meditation on a particularly rough time in his life. The feeling of sorrow is very clearly conveyed throughout the album’s eight tracks with repetition of downtempo drones. The looping of tape gives way to small imperfections such as hisses, pops, and crackles and these defects offer up a human aspect to Sujata’s beautifully arranged compositions. They help affirm the fact that we are all flawed and perhaps that’s where we need to find beauty… in flaws. Offering up another human touch to these sorrowful songs is Sujata’s voice as he softly wails wordless notes throughout the album. On “Mornings,” he presents us the albums only real hint to the heartbreaking events that were used as inspiration by uttering the phrase “we can try again,” multiple times. One can’t help but feel his pain as his voice sits on the edge of breaking down with the lines final reiteration over dead air. Valiska has given the world a contemplative album, which can be used as an emotional release or as a means to meditate on life’s up and downs. On Pause manages to capture human vulnerability and sorrow in an exceptionally radiant light.