Nobody Ever Escaped From There by Ilia Belorukov

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Ilia Belorukov
Nobody Ever Escaped From There (Moving Furniture Records; CD/DL)

Saint-Petersburg-based musician Belorukov begins Nobody Ever Escaped From There with a moderately low reverb pulse on At His Side Was Someone, the first of four long tracks. He often plays sax, but here we have a sparse electro-acoustic-only minimal work that’s more like a purring engine than anything else. Since 2007 he’s made countless recordings, many with fine collaborators like Rutger Zuydervelt, Jason Kahn, Norbert Möslang, Keith Rowe and many others.  The buzz here shifts, but only ever-so-slightly, for over nine minutes. It’s a John Cage-like move as an entré to a record. After a sudden stoppage the echo bleeds into But Nobody Would Come which is a low frequency field recording from the street which sounds as if it was post rainstorm as there are small drips on a metal surface. Cars revs to a dusty fog distant, constant drone. But it’s mostly quiet here, with random inaudible voices coming from nearby alleys as a crow squawks. The pace is subtle, steady and slow. It’s an elusive micro-noise base in an ambient shell.

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One Never Meets Anybody picks up where the previous left off, continued field recordings atop drone. A man coughs after emerging from a vehicle as a buzz, like a broken neon sign hums in a shifting chord, bringing a shadowy presence. The super-fine layers are woven with children-at-play at random, the continued hum and a minor industrial percussion that barely shows itself, and suddenly a sinking bass low drops and slows the entire proceedings. This is a sound built for deep listeners who appreciate difficult music, and while it’s not pure noise, it is reduced of harmony altogether. The impaired atmosphere is mid-gray to dark. But this is where the bleak sense of wryness comes through, and it’s profoundly titled Someone Has Taken Any Note of It. By making the central responsibility of actions anonymous the balance of power is exposed.

By incorporating small physical responses over an even quieter motor drone the composition becomes more related to minimalism than before. It’s like Cy Twombley making quick deliberate marks on canvas. They may not make perfect sense, but each movement, however modest, implies the breadth of humanity is alive and kicking. With the jet engine zooming above and not much else this is the aural equivalent of the best cinema vérité of Tarkovsky. The slow, drained tocks (without accompanying ticks), and additional distant airplanes sets up the contemplative scene, where an individual may be locked away in a basement, a bit restless, by choice or not. It’s quite open-ended.

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