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Baze Djunkiii on Nite Stylez

Coming in from the Aut Records label these days is the May 2k17-released album “Raw Volumes” which is a Berlin-recorded collaborational effort of the free improv duo Astma, consisting of Alexei Borisov and Olga Nosova, and producer Michele Pedrazzi who’s working here under his musical nom de guerre Bob Meanza. Together they’re shaping an approx. 38 minutes long body of work of seven tracks, starting with “Tetragonal” which is a deeply scientific sonic effort incorporating highly digital sounding elements reminiscent of Clicks’n’Cuts, (Neo)Cosmic-remembling swamp synths and a strangely seductive percussion groove accompanied by eardrum-wrecking high frequency Noize for experts before “Monoclinic” brings us quirky, yet playful Industrial Electronics, a highly catchy lo-fi bassline and loads of abstract, anti- to poly-rhythmic layering which comes down to a futuristic take on extraterrestrial FreeJazz. With “Rhombohedral” more Clicks’n’Cuts meet rhythmic chirping and tense, eerie scores from the outerworld until bass heavy chaos breaks loose and languishing vocal distortion adds up to the tunes atmosphere, “Hexagonal” starts out on a clumsy, yet funky percussion approach to fuse faded echoes of skeletal, instrumental PostPunk, a steady flow of mid-frequency Noize modulation and a overall feel of decay whilst “Orthorhombic” feels like a field recorded drum rehearsal of a postapocalyptic RoboJazz group for a reason. Finally there’s “Cubic” a glitched out, IDM affair paired with elements of revolting, brutal HarshNoize, ecstatic African drumming and psychedelia induced electronics as well as the concluding cut entitled “Triclinic”, probably the most haunting cut on this album with its Film Noir-like slow motion vibe and dense, dangerous DarkJazz atmosphere. Intense!

Editorial on In Rock

в вотчине Меанзы – берлинской Clockbeats Studio. Борисов выпускает немало записей с разными музыкантами в разных издательствах, в том числе на великом лейбле «Самиздат», но все они неизбежно ассоциируются с его знаменитой группой «Ночной проспект». Эта пластинка, выпущенная в Германии, исключением не стала – в некоторых каталогах она проходит как «Ночной Проспект» / Astma & Bob Meanza. Однако когда недавно вышел альбом «Ночного проспекта» «Полиуретан», он стал первым за много лет релизом именно «Проспекта», а другие записи автоматически оказались сайд-проектами.
Граница, где «Проспект», а где нет, может быть понята так. Работы Борисова становятся как бы ветвями, ростками, или, в заданной эстетике – проводами, зондами на начальном, базовом стволе. Ну а центральной идеей становится выражение мира в структурах звука, света, формы, через абстрактные игры контактов и разбегание суетливых электронов, через звон кристаллических решёток. Осознание структуры как образа, сходство и различие в мире сингонии – задача для музыки непривычная, но достойная. Кристалл таинствен, но естественно-гармоничен, в нём явлен образ уравновешенной красоты и особая, инстинктивная эстетика. Даже не будем тут вспоминать экзистенцию алмазов, соляные столпы и «Малахитовую шкатулку» Бажова – человечество всегда создавало мифологию камня, чувствовало волшебство структуры, зов и тайну упорядоченной свободы. Есть, кстати, познавательная фантастико-приключенческая книжка, на несколько другую тему, но с созвучным названием –»Лора. Путешествие в кристалл» Жорж Санд.
Мы, со своей стороны, только рады обоим векторам развития – и индустриально-авангардному осознанию реальности, и концептуальным фри-экспериментам в аудиосферах. Альбом же оказывается… знаковым камнем, отметкой на этом пути.

Editorial on Onda Rock

Bob Meanza, compositore e artista multimediale specializzato in musica elettronica sperimentale, non è nuovo a collaborazioni che cercano di andare “oltre” i suoi confini abituali per inoltrarsi in terreni nuovi e di ricerca. Dopo quella con il sitarista portoghese Filipe Dias De – “OU” (2015) – è la volta della collaborazione con il duo Astma, formato da due musicisti russi, Alexei Borisov e Olga Nosova. Il primo è tra i pionieri e uno dei musicisti principali della scena elettronica contemporanea del suo paese, attivo addirittura nella Russia degli anni 80, prima del crollo del regime comunista, la seconda batterista e percussionista nella band avant-rock russa Motherfathers.

Lontano dagli scenari evocati dal sitar, il nuovo “Raw Volumes” si pone in una posizione più percussiva e abrasiva – vicina al recentemente scomparso Mika Vainio – che atmosferica, aprendo così le porte a percezioni techno fino a momenti quasi industrial. Sempre in una prospettiva colta che cita le avanguardie del 900, il trio italo-russo di stanza a Berlino assale l’ascoltatore con un drumming ossessivo dalle strutture geometriche (“Tetragonal”), con ritmi techno-tribali (“Monoclinic”, “Rhombohedral”) che non lasciano spazio a melodie ma rimangono sempre puro suono senza appiglio alcuno.

“Hexagonal” raggiunge notevoli livelli di tensione grazie a un drone di chitarra cupo che ricorda da vicino quello di “Mamie Is Blue” dell’album nero (“So Far” del 1972) dei Faust. Ancora ritmi ossessivi e musica concreta convivono in “Orthorhombic” e “Cubic”, mentre la finale “Triclinic” raggiunge il momento più alto, nonché il più nero, con atmosfere dark-jazz al confine tra i Supersilent, i Dale Cooper Quartet, l’ambient isolazionista e quel versante più cupo del Rock in opposition, tra Fred Frith e gli Univers Zero.

Editorial on Solid Geometry

Astma are the Russian duo who, I have recently decided, can do no wrong for me. The combination of Alexei Borisov’s fierce electronic shrieks with Olga Nosova’s drumming noise is something I regard as essential, often giving one a dose of “reality” when losing one’s way in today’s crazy mixed-up world. I ought to own more Astma records, but I can make do with the ones I have been sent. One recent favourite was released on Moozak, where the pair teamed up with Helsinki genius Anton Nikkilä to produce the Dom Sessions album. Although unheard by millions, it’s a key release holding the secrets that can solve a hundred societal problems which the combined forces of politics, capitalism and law enforcement cannot.

Today’s release, Raw Volumes (AUT RECORDS AUT035), promises much with its title alone. To say nothing of its cover, a strange geometric shape on a foreboding black background. On it, the Astma duo team up with an Italian fellow named Michele Pedrazzi – except here, he’s going under his Bob Meanza pseudonym, a credit also appearing on his earlier records, such as Three Diamond Ohms, and OU. Well, Bob Meanza is proud of his “nerdy approach” to music generation, and unlike the noisy Astma he has a taste for melodies and polished productions; I imagine he likes to tinker for hours with his workstations and digital editing suites. He contributes electronics and synth playing to the sessions, recorded in a Berlin studio, and spontaneity was the word of the day.

On one level, it may appear that the Russians prevailed – grit, distortion, and free-form blat are mostly what you will hear, and the press notes make it clear there was little in the way of post-production, so Meanza’s proclivities for “digital shininess” were denied a chance to thrive. Yet the clash of personalities and world-views seems to have produced a strong tension which gives this music its distinctive taste. In places, you can even hear the Russians treading water and giving Bob Meanza a chance to slot himself in alongside some plodding, straightforward rhythms – in contrast to their usual madcap beats and synth patterns, speaking in a language only they can understand. While I personally would have liked to hear more of Olga’s vocals – she only appears on one track, I think, the harrowing ‘Rhombohedral’ where she sounds like a hungry Harpy in flight – in the main you can’t go far wrong with this lively set of growlers. From 14th June 2015.

Editorial on Dom

“Raw Volumes” documents the meeting between noise mavericks ASTMA and electronic sound artist Bob Meanza.

Behind the name ASTMA lies the duo of Alexei Borisov, legendary multi-instrumentalist from Moscow underground scene since the 80s, and Olga Nosova, emerging drummer and vocalist in Berlin’s experimental scene. Known to be unapologetic forces merging free improvisation and noise attitude, ASTMA are touring internationally with a mutable setup, often playing “on the brink of failure”, with broken devices, found objects, unpredictable connections.

On the other side, there’s the nerdy approach of Bob Meanza. His taste for detailed sound design and digital shininess (see “OU”, Aut Records 2015) reflects in his rather melodic intentions and gentle technicism (like in his robotic installation “Cicadas”). And that turns to be a perfect complement to ASTMA’s sound invasion.

A very sharp and spontaneous meeting was recorded in Berlin, and the material was then polished enough to let the inner structures of each piece emerge and take form. Nurturing the sound but leaving it untamed, as it was supposed to be.

The quest for the nastiest chaos and the cleanest geometry can lead to unique objects: that’s what these “Raw Volumes” are – primitive crystals that come out of the dirt, in their precious and dangerous sharpness.

Alessandro Bertinetto on Kathodik

Il sound designer italiano Bob Meanza (elettronica e sintetizzatori) e il duo Astma, composto dai russi Alexei Borisov (sintetizzatore e “mixed devices”) e Olga Nosova (batteria e vocals), sono gli autori delle sette composizioni di questo album, che riesplora e ripropone il sound dei sintetizzatori analogici di qualche decennio fa, offrendo una lettura psichedelica (attraversata talvolta da venature noise) delle ossessioni ritmiche di cui techno, dance e dark hanno offerto importanti paradigmi. In linea con il taglio sperimentale dell’etichetta, l’album si caratterizza per la totale assenza di spunti melodici, nonché per le geometrie volumetriche della costruzione sonora, evocate dai titoli delle sette tracce (per es.: Tetragonal, Hexagonal, Cubic) e dello stesso CD. Queste atmosfere volumetriche, volutamente rozze in virtù delle incursioni anarchiche e irritanti di Borisov, sono generate dall’incontro tra l’elettronica e il percussionismo avanguardista della Nosova.

Radio 3 Rai on Battiti

Live session and interview on Radio On

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