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Alexei Borisov & Antonin Nikkilä - Where Are They Now [N&B Research Digest - 2007]

Alexei Borisov is an established Russian improviser and experimentalist who has worked with Leif Elggren and KK Null, among others. Anton Nikkilä, a Finnish artist, is his counterpart on this release. The music here is playful, strange, and a bit clinical in its approach. An odd combination for sure, but it is well executed.

There is a lot of use of spoken word, which may be lost a bit on you if you don't understand Russian (which I'm sorry to say I don't), but the music that goes along with it is interesting.

This music isn't limited by sticking to one kind of angle. There are noise washes and electronic glitches, (which over the past few years have become a somewhat generic tool among electronica purveyors) but in this case their use is only to color these pieces. There's some jazzy percussion, some clangy percussion, weird melodic faux soundtrack music and a bizarre sense of humour throughout. There's even a swing tune (warped beyond recognition of course), another in a series of pace changes.

The accompanying text is every bit as strange as well. Specialized Literature On Microsurgery sounds more like a title for a medical text than a surreal, wacked out little story, but that's exactly what it is. There's a compositional approach to this at times Dada-ist music, which gives the album cohesion. In lesser hands Where Are They Now could have ended up a jumbled mess, but Borisov and Nikkilä should be proud of this somewhat deranged sound world that they've created.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Erwin Michelfelder
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