Ilia Belorukov has issued numerous releases over the past fifteen years, covering a wide range of approaches though one might say they fall generally somewhere between free improvisation of a post-AMM variety (he's worked with Keith Rowe among many others) and electronics (some of which, presumably, is freely improvised). This collection, four relatively brief pieces (between seven and nine minutes long) recorded between 2017 and 2020, uses a boatload of different instrumentation, acoustic and electric, but centers on drones, specifically drones embedded in larger environments, whose sounds are heard pretty much throughout, overtly and subtly. It's also quite approachable music.
At times, this listener was reminded of the approach used around the turn of the century by musicians like Günter Müller, who combined electronic drones with glitchy elements and regular or semi-regular pulses. The opening track, 'If He Had Been There He Could Not Have Seen' falls very much into this category, a rich, throbbing drone adorned with clicks and sizzles that surges steadily along, almost luxuriant, with faint traces of the external world vaguely heard. 'He Stood There for a Bit' uses what almost sounds like a church organ, though none is listed in the credits, maintaining a single low chord, again pulsing, embedded in a larger room with difficult to decipher sounds, possibly including very breathy alto sax whispers. Soon, slightly ominous, hard clicking footsteps are heard; one has the humorous impression it might be a local official striding over to see what all the racket is about — very engaging. The organ's pitch is raised, the saxophone (fluteophone?) dovetails in, as generally higher ancillary sounds are heard.
Back to a darker, fuzzier electronic drone for 'Nobody Stirring', fluttering bird wings and indistinct voices surrounding. The prickly drone has a lower, more organ-like resonance buried beneath it, a contrast that's quite delicious, more so when it morphs into a deeper, burlier growl that carries to the end. Finally, in 'It Could Have Been Anybody', Belorukov's contribution, a pulsating drone, is at first almost lost among the ambient sounds of footsteps, engines, echoey voices and other impossible-to-determine elements, reminding me a little of a Max Neuhaus installation. The pulses gain some prominence, causing one to imagine curious glances from passers-by. Some rather surprising, looping synth tones emerge, the loops eventually spiraling out into the surrounding space, becoming subsumed in the environment.
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