May 1, 2003
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Soft Pink Truth
The Wind-Up Bird
April 30, 2003
Pale Horse and Rider
Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers
April 29, 2003
Set Fire to Flames
Electronic music's unfolding no longer depends on the narratives of progress attached to the "essential" genres of techno, drum 'n' bass, house, etc.. Saturation is reached and mental creativity reaches the limit of a technological parameter alongside the fall of the social conditions and milieus that gave electronic music its subversive and substantial energies. Electronic music in the centres of Europe and North America is dead. Now is the time of the peripheries. To a degree, we'd already seen this with the Swedish Invasion of hard techno in the late '90s, even the attention to Koln and Berlin dub techno. Montréal, Chile and the rest of South America, however, are currently exploding at their creative seams, while Italy and Spain are remixing their Italo-Disco histories in another permutation of electro-dash-'n'-clash. Keep going farther, farther—Eastern Europe, Russia...and things begin to reshape completely: it is with an-other set of coordinates that a European or North American's ears must approach this music. The question of progress and innovation is moved from the forefront and centre, while the mixing of other styles of music through electronic themeatics and vice-versa propel creative energies. Take, for example, Felix Kubin and Nova Huta, whose polka-techno and waltz-rhythms have threw the 2002 Mutek crowd for a delightful loop...where performance and the weirdness reigned supreme—
Nikakoi is sentimental, dangerous, beatific, and in pain...Nikakoi means "Nobody" in Russian...and Nikakoi is from Georgia, the former USSR state. Nikakoi carves out deft manipulations of d 'n' b breakbeats through light percussion and piano, listening odes to quiet summers, overheated with whispered male and female lyrics in both English and Russian (...?), interspersed with toybox field recordings and a superbly crafted vision of sound. At times moving away from beats completely, Nikakoi plays with repetitions of plucked strings and tones that mimic children's music boxes, turning the circular turns of the music box to linear permutations of repetition, a little mad, a little sad, a little on the edge in his "house of music." The title, sestrichka, means "Litte Sister." In the back of your ear, there whispers this little sister through the voice of Tusia, the female vocalist—"Back in the USSR" ....
At other times the intracultural mix is sonically direct, such as the wonderful "orudila," which takes what sounds like traditional Russian music (hey! hey!) and throws it through the stuttered breakbeat grinder with a hint of ultimate reserve, thus allowing the two to play through each other, the East meeting the West, the temporal tempest of new to old, the slamming drum of the double-timed break slicing through the original warbled recording, and then its transposed equivalent heard on modern equipment—a superb meld of the potential for electronic artistry.
Every track a soundtrack. Nikakoi is part of the Goslab film, video, art, and music collective, and is a "studied film director." Music for the steppes...
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