Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ilia Belorukov

Here's a bio from Ilia's website:
Ilia is a young (born 1987) saxophonist from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. He works in the direction of free improvisation, free-jazz, noise and electroacoustic music. Ilia practices an experimental approach of sound extraction on different types of saxophones (alto, tenor and baritone) and on flute (inc. fluteophone). In his compositions and improvisations you can find out influences of John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker and other masters of improvised music.
The artist records and distributes his music by himself. He often plays at The Gallery of Experimental Sound – 21 (GES-21), Saint-Petersburg.

Ilia has played with such musicians as David Stackenäs (Sweden), Ignaz Schick (Germany), Arkadij Gotesman, Skirmantas Sasnauskas (Lithuania), Black Motor trio, Tero Kemppainen, Jaakko Tolvi & Topias Tiheäsalo (Finland), Edyta Fil (Poland), George Bagdasarov (Armenia/Czech), Demetrius Spaneas (USA), Vladislav Makarov, Sergey Letov, Nikolay Rubanov, Alexey Lapin, Dmitriy Kakhovskiy, Alexei Borisov, Philip Croaton. Together with Dots & Lines group (trio with Roman Stolyar and Andrey Popovskiy) he performed on the festival of Jazz.Ru portal dedicated to it’s 10th anniversary. He’s also a member of Wozzeck, Totalitarian Musical Sect (TMS).

He collaborates with musicians of other genres: with Moscow groups crrust (experimental hardcore), Tooth Kink (noise, live electronics), Motherfathers (noise-rock), Solntsetsvety (magical unicellular music); with St.-Petersburg avant-rock band Hg (Rtut'). Benzolnye Mertvecy (improvised noisecore), with Samara mathcore-band Penny Flame.
At the same site, he lists as his influences:
John Coltrane, John Zorn, Tim Berne, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Frode Gjerstad, John Butcher, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, Lasse Marhaug, Phill Niblock, Robert Fripp, David Sylvian, Jeff Beck, Leonid Fedorov & Vladimir Volkov, Zu, Fennesz, Anton Webern, Alban Berg, Arvo Part, Gyorgy Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov, Louis Andriessen, Paul Desmond, Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Grenouer, crrust, Converge, Isis
One thing rather notable about Ilia Belorukov is that a number of his recordings are available for download free of charge. What I'll be doing here is to provide a sampler of albums from projects that he is involved with in order to give you an idea of his range of interests. I'll start with the album that served as my introduction to his music.

dadazu: sin of omission

The music is a continuous 79 minute jam from a live gig in late 2007. It's a dark, moody, improvised drone piece, for lack of a better description. From the recording's site:
Recorded live at 13/11/2007 [esg21]
Mixing & recording: Dima Yalkin
Mastered by M. Pozin & I. Belorukov
Cover photo: M. Pozin

Ilia Belorukov – baritone saxophone, delay-sampler

Maxim Pozin – prepared tenor saxophone, electronics

Pavel Mikheev – electric guitar

Mikhail Ershov – electric bass guitar

Dadazu is free improvising collective includes a couple of young musicians from the modern St.Petersburg’s experimental scene.
The recording was made available on April 12, 2009 by Clinical Archives.

Next up is some solo work. This one is called Saxophone Solos Vol. 1.:

Some info about the album:
Ilia - Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones, Mouthpieces
Recorded at Illusion Studio on 21 February 2007 & 7, 8, 14 April 2007
Engineered & Mixed by Ilia Belorukov
Mastered by Philip Croaton at Fate Speaks Studio
Cover Art by Ilia Belorukov
All track titles are simply Roman numerals, except for the last track, which is titled "IX (for Philip Croaton). The recording was issued January 27, 2008 by Clinical Archives. Since Coleman Hawkins first dropped "Picasso" about six decades ago, the sax solo recording has become something of a jazz staple - especially in avant-garde circles. The music here is not easy to describe. The reference points that seem to work for me at the moment are the solo recordings from the AACM crew, to the extent that there is a lot of open space to be found on each of the recording's tracks; and Kaoru Abe's solo recordings in some of the louder moments (Ilia Belorukov does seem to channel some of the dark foreboding that Kaoru Abe made into a veritable art form). Unlike Abe, or perhaps one of my favorite sax players to record regularly as a solo artist, Arthur Doyle, this is music that seems to privilege the rational over the emotional. Also, there's something rather interesting in Belorukov's technique - in spots makes the sax sound like a stringed instrument being plucked (see IV, for example). I can't say I've heard anything quite like that. You'll hear some very interesting soundscapes to say the least.

Finally, let's check out another project with which Belorukov has been involved, Totalitarian Musical Sect. Clinical Archives has two of this combo's recordings available.

Warm Things vol. 1 - Live in GES-21:

Dmitriy Kakhovskiy - bass and objects
Vitaliy Kucherov - guitar and objects
Alexey Stavizkiy - trombone and clarinet and flutes and objects
Ilia Belorukov - alto and baritone saxophones
Maxim Pozin - alto and prepared alto sax and clarinet and flutes and objects

Recorded by Dmitriy Yalkin at GES-21 on 9 May 2007
Mastered by Dmitriy Kakhovskiy

Photo by Nikolay Ovcharenko
Cover Art by Ilia Belorukov
Thing One
Thing Two
Thing Three
Thing Four
Thing Five
Warm Things vol. 2, Live in GES-21:

Dmitriy Kakhovskiy - contrabass
Vitaliy Kucherov - electric guitar & flute
Ilia Belorukov - alto saxophone & flute

Recorded by Dmitriy Yalkin at GES-21 on 14 January 2008
Mastered bu Dmitryiy Kakhovsky

Photo by Eugene Apollonsky
Cover art by Ilia Belorukov
Thing Six
Thing Seven
Thing Eight
Thing Nine
According to the first of the recordings, the Totalitarian Musical Sect cites as influences Can, Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Sun Ra, and refer to their sound as "a new Russian primitivism." And yes, the influences they cite seem to make their presence felt on both recordings.

What I've done here is to embed the recordings here on Nothing Is. Follow the links to the respective recordings and you can download the mp3s, cover art, and booklets free of charge - the works are licensed under Creative Commons. If these recordings whet your appetite, Ilia Belorukov is a very busy individual, who records prolifically in various combos, much of which should be commercially available. Since I'm relatively new to the Russian jazz scene, I'm sure I'm just barely scratching the tip of the iceberg. At age 22, Belorukov is just getting warmed up. His career will be one to watch.