April 3, 2022
Someone Has Always Come
Sublime Retreat sr 008
Gaudenz Badrutt & Ilia Belorukov
Continuing his enthusiasm for constructing unexpected improvisational sessions using a collection of familiar and unusual electronic instruments and programming is Saint-Petersburg-based composer/conceptualizer/instrumentalist Ilia Belorukov. Drawing on and combining material recorded, mixed and mastered from 2017 to 2020 and joining it to in-the-moment creativity, means that each of these discs makes an individual impression. Part of a trilogy, Someone Has Always Come contains enough tricky timbral shifts to adduce connections to a film soundtrack. Using similar processes, but only a couple of bed tracks, Sauerkraut’s four performances are more abstract and pointed. Additionally, the Russian, who has played with the likes of Keith Rowe, is partnered with Swiss electronic musician Gaudenz Badrutt, who works with locals such as Jonas Kocher.
On his own, Belorukov’s solo CD unfolds with four tracks that segue from one tone to another, with continued properties that palimpsest-like advance intermittent pulsating drones. While pulsations often become noisier, more staccato and fragmented, like an unfolding plot they never fasten on a single timbre for too long. Less stationary than the title would suggest, the extended “He Stood There For a Bit” judders through low-pitched organ-like tremolos. While action is deepened as synthesized tones become thicker and more concentrated, stasis is avoided as material scratching, captured footfalls and a symphony orchestra lumbering through standard so-called classical music is faintly heard. Finally real organ tones and intersectional patches add more sounds for the finale. The concluding “It Could Have Been Anybody” negates its presumption by highlighting Belorukov’s sound design sophistication. With architectural precision he conjures up a film fight scene as the electromagnetic pickup buzz become more powerful, with repeated volage shakes subsuming a male voice until exploding flanges and squeals calm the final section, with its sample of a crooner fronting a sighing vocal chorus, so that the harmonized chorus projects a dirge completed by a hard drumming clank.
Visualization gives way to abstract sound design on Sauerkraut’s three selectin with Badrutt and Belorukov manipulating feedback, signal processing, synthesizer modes and more field recordings. Building up aural steam on the first two selectins, timbres and textures reflect water dripping, jet plane buzzes, and eventually expanded and extended backwards running flanges. By the midpoint of “Cutters” the narrative alternates discordantly between barely- there raindrop-like pops, sluicing echoes and feedback-fed louder drones and ricocheting squeals. Crowning achievement is the nearly 27½ minute, “Fermentation”, which gives off sonic effervescence and heat as distinct elements break down into a fused concept. Beginning with maracas-like clicks, synthesized whistles and radio wave-like crackles, the stop-go power tropes give way to shrilling motifs and woodpecker-like thwacks that evolves into steadily unrolling electromagnetic impulses. These on-off voltage turns take on watery vibrations only to reach an interlude of complete silence at the three-quarter mark. Picking up the theme characterized by sampled suggestions of aviary peeps and animalistic snorts plus rubbed thrusts against immovable items, discordance is superseded by connective machine-like drones and high-pitched metallic cries. Dual pressure translates into a synthesized power surge which rattles the narrative to a dissolving finale.
Distinctive essays in what can be created with electro-acoustic formations. Belorukov (and Badrutt) create sound pictures that can be appreciated upfront or in the background.
Track Listing: Someone: 1. If He Had Been There He Could Not Have Seen 2. He Stood There For a Bit 3. Nobody Stirring 4. It Could Have Been Anybody
Personnel: Someone: Ilia Belorukov (o-coast, modular synthesizer, Korg electribe amkII, vcv rack, electric organ, axolotl, electromagnetic pickup, vinyl samples, ppooll, flutophone, alto saxophone, effects pedals, Nord drum 2, field recordings)
Track Listing: Sauerkraut: 1. Chaff 2. Cutters 3. Fermentation
Personnel: Sauerkraut: Gaudenz Badrutt (int. feedback, FX, live sampling) and Ilia Belorukov (modular synthesizer, field recordings)