Knot Theory

Latest missive from our well-known Russian genius Ilia Belorukov sees him teaming with a threesome of players who call themselves Phicus – they are Ferran Fages, Alex Reviriego (Spanish bassist, part of the big band Memoria Uno), and Vasco Trilla (Spanish drummer who has tubbed in the Variable Geometry Orchestra). Good to see Ferran Fages back in action again, this time armed with an electric guitar. He always used to impress us with his stern Cremaster and Atolon records, though he used to be more of a mixing desk guy. The record k(nó)t (INTONEMA int027) is of note because the set-up is almost like a “jazz” combo – double bass, drums, saxophone, and guitar, but there the resemblance ends. Rudy Van Gelder would not recognise a single note of this minimal, shrill and free-form meanderment as anything resembling a post-bop take on ‘My Funny Valentine’ and other standards.

I like the way the players leave a lot of space for each other in the work, rather than filling every atom of the ether with electronic drone; there’s enough gaseous freedom in these performances to allow colonisation by an entire fleet of moths. The listener needs to sit still and allow events to unfold at a fairly glacial pace, enduring many long tones and much stasis, but for the most part we’re in a very good place where instruments blend in pleasing arrays, and the tension is leveraged to everyone’s advantage. I especially like ‘Gordian Knot’, where the foursome seem to be having a lively debate about a difficult scientific experiment; it’s a healthy workshop and the results can only be beneficial to mankind. You may enjoy ‘Pasha’, which is more deliberative than argumentative, and contains many exciting collisions between percussive sounds and drone sounds. Anna Antipova and Ilia Belorukov provided the photographs for the very abstract cover artworks. From 2nd July 2018.

Ilia Belorukov also sent us Arzed-One (ALBERTINEEDITIONS ae02), one of his process pieces which “deals with changes in tempo”. This is part of the same spirit of investigation that produced KickGuitarSinRun, which we found very disappointing; this one, made on a Casio drum machine, does little to convince us of the value of this series of experiments; it simply sounds like a demonstration record for one of these devices. However, Belorukov is certain he’s on to something, and explains his process and its importance in a few paragraphs accompanying the release. From 2nd July 2018.

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