The illusions start at the most physical level. Some medics argue that hearing is the first sense an unborn baby develops. Nothing is for sure and nothing is granted. But this CD is a true beauty. Intricate in the best sense and impressive even though – in contrast to what might be expected – there are no full force noise attacks here, but exactly the opposite. Based on piano and guitar notes, combined with organic sounds of the biggest creature known to mankind – the ecosystem – such are the connotations of this true piece of art. Did I never use the word enlightening or enriching because I don’t like superlatives and don’t want to wear off words for profane reasons? Maybe I should think about it.
Andrej Kiritchenko is the most prominent avant-garde musician from the Ukraine I know (which, I admit, are not so many after all), and he is the founder of the very interesting Nexsound label (which he now runs together with Dmytro Federenko aka Kotra). Releases on Nexsound are always worth listening to, because as far as music is concerned, which challenges the way you listen on an everyday basis even weeks or months later, as well as challenging your expectations of live and society, every release on Nexsound I have heard so far served more than ordered. (Check the reviews to Kotra and Zavoloka for more info.) Kiritchenko also has an enormous range of music he is working on and “True Delusion” is a great testament to that. I rarely ever do this, but this time around I want to copy-paste the info on this record to give you the artists idea of what he did: “The very idea was simple at first. I meant to play the guitar experimenting with minimalist harmonic overtones. Meanwhile I tried to take deep rhythmic breaths timed with guitar sounds. The result was almost meditative, as the guitar buzzing sound was slowly fading out and the body felt close to hyperventilated. : Later the album progressed in terms of the similar use of the piano. It was not exactly harmonic overtones, but the sound was slow, melodic and minimalist, so the album can be conventionally divided into two parts.”
The result, actually, is a lot more than the meditative minimalism hinted upon in this description. It would be doing great injustice to this music to describe it solely in the terms of slow, longwinding, meditative drones with parts that use instruments in simplistic ways and others that use gentle noises and the washing sounds of atmospheric disturbances. Because this record can really get a grip on you, or at least it got on me, when I listened to it first and then repeated listening to it for the rest of the afternoon. The last time this happened to me was with Marsen Jules “herbstlaub” and both records share an atmosphere of consisting outside the constraints of time in a near complete static balance, which to me defines at least one part of true beauty. But Kiritchenko’s work lays importance on two sides of the human spectrum, hinting at the dark as well as at the light. “True Delusion” is a lively discussion with tonality and harmony about the most essential aspects of life. The echoes of field recordings mixed with the sounds of breathing, aesthetically modified and elevated by the harmonious sounds of the piano or the guitar build a complete whole of surrounding sounds which at the same time soothes and frightens the listener. An environmental sound installation that flows and sparks with life, reverberates the tension that (conscious) existence brings along. The ambivalence of human lifes, with all its threats and joys, pain and happiness is reduced to the most basic level or existence – breath in / breath out – which like tidal movements still retains that certain ambivalence.
Using acoustic instruments is a new and maybe dangerous path for avant-garde-musicians, but new and dangerous should be the obvious choice for anything calling itself avant-garde (otherwise it’d end up as status quo). There seem to be more and more avant-garde artists taking that way and they have nothing to do with the settled avantgardists on these instruments (like Fred Frith, Eugene Chadbourne, Marc Ribot, to name some I still like) but using these bitparts together with the results of the electronic experimentalists from just around the corner of musical history, be they from the harshest noise sides or the ambient drone sides. That makes for an interesting mixture. First glimpses could be seen with Sylvain Chauveau or David Balula, but now I have the feeling that there is more and more of that, which exchanges the interest into the gigantic soundwalls with an interest into the more subtle and smaller differences. Maybe I am wrong and only deluded by my own perception, which is solely based on the music that comes my way, which of course is only a miniscule part of all the music around. Which brings me neatly to mentioning that there is a lot more to “True Delusion” than music.
The second side of this record is the very interesting theoretical background. We here at Cracked Headquarters know and have always put forth the thought that the whole world is actually an illusion. Not so much in the solipsist way of imagining everything out there but in the way that our sense shape the way we perceive the world (phenomenology), our minds shape the way we create the world on an individual basis (constructivism) and how our relationships to other people shape the way we behave in this world (sociology). In other words, we consist of ratio, emotion and socio and don’t you ever forget that. From the little blind dot in your eyeball, whose left out visual signals get interpolated and calculated by the brain very much like CD-error-programms have algorithms to calculate the missing sounds and you never notice, to the way our current social position and pressures make us behave (good example: George W. Bush, what power and drugs can do to the perception of the world), this is not at all a new thought. But an exciting, startling and haunting one each time I think about it. Most people live their everyday lives feeling they are in control of their lives. Of course, those are small lives with petty problems, especially in a rich and well-fed country such as Austria, but it is an illusion nevertheless. It takes only a few minutes and the coincidence of some far away factors to make you completely lose everything you ever had. Some CEO in another country decides to restructure the strategic direction of some side-parts of the global company he works for and suddenly your job is gone. A cardriver slides off the street and hits you or your partner straight with full power. A lightning strikes an electric pole which sets of a chain reaction and a whole city goes dark for hours. Warren Buffet decides to earn a few million dollars by a little currency speculation and destroys the economic system of a small country. And to think about the vast logistical system working on market forces and governmental forces it needs to feed a city of a million people, most of them working office jobs. “Illusion of Safety” for sure. Most people have no idea of what is really going on and why some things are working the way they do. I wonder if there is a single person at all. Our society, from the economic basis to the fashion trend surface, from the milk delivered to the supermarket to the designer iPod bought via the internet, is so unimaginable complex. And we wallow through this complexity with our ancient mammal brains trying to find known dots and lines within the chaos that help us along, all the while telling ourselves that we have a grip on everything, when actually we should be screaming, banging our heads and run back to our primeval caves to hide in.