Wolkokrot (INEXHAUSTIBLE EDITIONS ie-001) is the first release on the label Inexhaustible Editions, which I thought came from Hungary but is in fact based on London. Basque genius Miguel A. García and hard-working Russian man-about-the-steppes Ilia Belorukov produce six tracks of reasonably fascinating textured sound-art with a slightly noisy bent, involving a fair amount of field recordings, samples, and found sounds in among the grumbly fizz and electronic murmurations. It’s called a “long distance collaboration”, which presumably means they never met up in person and transmitted sound files back and forth, beavering away until the compositions were finished. This has always seemed to me a very open-ended way to work, and I sometimes wonder how the initiators of such experiments know when to leave off and decide that the work is finished. In the case of these six head-scratchers, it’s possible they left the puzzle vaguely unfinished and unsolved; each work rumbles and twists for an allotted length of time, then usually ends suddenly for no apparent reason.
In between, the listener is treated like a freshwater fish on the end of a line, as the anglers play with us until they decide to reel us in. No sooner are we settling into enjoying a spell of gritty electronica or a fascinatingly mysterious field recording than our pleasure is cut short by an abrupt edit or shift in timbre. This works exceptionally well – or bafflingly – on the eight minute ‘drss you up I’, which leads us a merry dance across any number of unidentified environments, sometimes overlaid with weird electronic glop, changing its direction with no explanation; at one point, even leaving us high and dry for several minutes in a near-silent segment where nothing much is happening at all.
Elsewhere, the live electronic antics are intercut with quick bursts of records played on the radio, injecting obtuse and unexpected moments of pop and rock into the confusing collage. This is a good method to go with, but I can’t say Wolkokrot is a complete success…somewhere I’m sensing a certain reticence and uncertainty, as though neither party is quite sure where they want to take the work, and they end up demurring and deferring to each other. I’m not sensing much passion or force behind the noise, and half of it seems to me the kind of material that either of them – García in particular – is capable of producing without a great deal of effort.
Even so, I like the mysterious and slightly playful side to the work. The package – featuring drawings by my favourite cartoonist of no-nonsense black magic, demons, monsters and the like, Nick Hoffman – is an exceptionally nice one. From 21 December 2015.