"The second CD by Alexei Borisov & Anton Nikkilä comes out exactly two and a half years after the first, critically acclaimed "Typical Human Beings". The new CD continues with the same basic concept, but takes it to some new extremes. The first track, "Specialized Literature on Microsurgery", sets the scene with its stumbling and disintegrating "rock" beat, washes of deconstructed smooth jazz and other sonic junk flying past, and Alexei Borisov recitating a short text with an emotionally ambiguous tone. The lyrics of the first track and the final, title track of the album are Borisov's private memories from the 1970's Soviet Union, spiced with a fleeting taste of the terror-ridden present (all lyrics have been translated into English in the CD booklet). In between these two tracks is a collaged narrative made up of short slices of life in present-day Moscow juxtaposed with idiosyncratic poetic imagery, instrument playing as sloppy and casual as possible but always paying attention to maximizing intensity, and sound design that looks for unheard possibilities in timestretching and spectral resynthesis. The second track, "Léon Theremin", is an improvised duet of Nikkilä's deeply distorted guitar accompanied by a bass drum and Borisov reading his notes for a lecture on instrument inventor Léon Theremin, which accidentally serves as a perfect historical background for the rest of the album. The third track, an instrumental number called "Automated Management System for the Seafood Industry" is one of the three live tracks on the disc. Its title is another reference to the Soviet 1970's (Borisov's father actually worked on a computer systems project bearing this name), and at this point, through the track's rejection of any smoothness and genre convention, it should be clear to the listener that the rest of the album needs to be listened with a full "foreground" attention or not at all. Despite shunning interpretation of his own texts, Alexei Borisov shed some light on the process in a 1993 interview for a Finnish TV documentary on "Russian industrial music and low tech music videos" (the interviewer was Anton Nikkilä, and the meeting led to a long-lasting musical collaboration). "When I began writing this kind of texts in the late 1980's, I just started describing mundane objects and situations around me in a somewhat similar way to the automatic writing of the Surrealists... My aim was a kind of neutral, detached state of mind." For many Russian listeners, Borisov's texts are, however, realistic as well - it isn't just a Western journalists' invention that Russian society functions with a surreal, unpredictable logic." (label info)
in stock | FI| 2007| N&B Research Digest | 13.90

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