Ilia Belorukov + Alfredo Costa Monteiro + Miguel A. Garcia
ETWAS | Tanuki Records (CS/DL)
A first time trio (all who have worked together in various configurations) offers two lengthy textural works, one per side, on this cassette from Belgian imprint Tanuki Records. All three are playing electronics here, and in addition you can experience Belorukov on fluteophone. Only identified as sides a and b, ETWAS opens with an incredibly sparse set of pitched test tones, followed by a rumbling drone. A cryptic atmosphere ensues, one that keeps you on edge. It’s made of of scraping accents that sound like incidental noises in the everyday environment, like rustling in clothes from a squeaky line mechanism, glasses jangling, but this is all in my imagination.
“All three have in common a practice based on physically challenging sounds and textures sourced from minute gestures and fragile materials like paper, strings, small objects or manipulated acoustic instruments like flute and accordion.” I’m excited by their ability, as a unit, when working with such disparate materials, that they so conform to one another in such subtle ways. These sine waves eventually flatten out and burn out, though others bloom and linger. Aside from awkward silences they also incorporate hollow suction sounds that draw you from the ventilating din. This is an abstract study of tiny noises with big impact. Eventually they lead to more industrial intervention towards the end of the first passage.
On side two, which opens with a blurry reverb and a cascading wave of estranged commotion, a lab-like test revises into despondent drone. It continues separating into practical nothingness, until it’s recycled to appear like a stringed instrument warming up amidst a large orchestra. With a foreboding lure the setting has this streaming chill factor that grabs hold of your wandering psyche. About midway the mix becomes increasingly robust and voluminous. The tones have a bluntness and a whistling slowly degrades into an undercurrent of rippling percussion. They never blow the range out of proportion, everything is quite contained, but in the same breath, to the point just short of combustion.
The ear-popping high pitch whistling returns, increases, doubles and hits you in the part of your brain just beyond sound recognition. They are attempting to tap into a new dimension that plays with the senses’ resilience. The final three minutes is a welcome respite from the bright timbre. Here the exploration has a texture that is quite tangible. The trio of Ilia Belorukov + Alfredo C. Monteiro + Miguel A. Garcia have crafted a recording that is as hypnotic as times as it is an eyebrow curling conundrum.