Monday, August 24, 2009

Analog Concept - Listen Already Today to the Music of the Past! (Stunned Records CD-R)

Just in from Brainwashed:

It may not be an earth-shattering concept to go analog, but this is not your average take on the idea either. Presenting one nearly hour-long track, there is plenty of room here for this Russian artist to sprawl out and develop ideas, but Alexey, the project's sole protagonist, seems to feel little need for sticking to anything, instead bobbing around from idea to idea with fluid and exciting ease. Pulling from as many realms as he can and synthesizing them into one bombastic go of it this is, as the title enthusiastically suggests, timeless stuff that could just as well be some odd Soviet new-wave experimental excursion as it could be the basis of future beat culture worldwide. If only...

If an hour-long track of analog beats and drifting electronics sounds a bit heavy-handed, fear not. This is as light and warm as it gets, with Alexey's instrumentation guiding the way between miniatures, each of which explores a new incantation of the musician's sound. Some of them are pure rave drift, with little ticking beats tickling the underbellies of vast stretches of electronic tone; others take a more spaced out stance, pointing their eye out toward the nebulae and watching it drift apart while marbles crash underfoot. Each one drifts in and out as effortlessly as the next, some lasting longer but none exceeding their desired timetable.

As with so many of the smaller run labels today, Stunned's limited pressings have allowed the album maximum conceptual freedom. These could easily be broken into tracks (of which their would be many) and sequenced as sketches, but the coagulation of the ideas into a single long take means gives the whole a much more weighty feeling removed from the brevity of the numbers individually. Rapid fire drum machine numbers with laser beam stutters rest alongside brooding drone nod-offs, but the necessity of experiencing one before the other provides real shape to the output.

With so many ideas packed into it though, it's a wonder the album maintains the cohesion it does. This never sounds divided, no matter how many areas are drawn from, and even the stoned out white hum of one part, whose only accompaniment is aimless squiggling above, feels as if it is arriving from the same voice as the strictly beat oriented tracks. Much of the material sounds more like early synthesizer experiments, with single staccato runs going ad infinitum, but these give a retro sterility that efectively clears the air for lush drone pieces that sound as if they could go be drawn out for, well, the entire album.

To some extent, the disc's most valuable asset is its ability to sound entirely removed from any context; it appears as a truly outsider work despite the clear reference points of its practitioner, which include everyone from Gordon Mumma to Asmus Tietchens to Aphex Twin. Still, it seems Alexey's most important influences lie far below the public radar, lying under the Russian streets in continual drift.

This is what keeps the music as exciting as it does. It is wisely constructed but also one step removed from that which it initially appears as: an infinitely rich take on synthesizer music that reveals more with every listen. Each detail is as unexpected and inconspicuous as the next, giving it a life far beyond many more consciously connected to these areas of musical output.

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