Andrey Malshchukoff (or A7, if you prefer) comes from Kirov - the city, not the famous theatre/ballet company. He might not be able to essay a grand jeté or wear a tutu, but he can certainly strut the stage. He is far too young an exponent of music production to be able to, say, replace a snare drum with a click of his fingers, but nevertheless he's done it, quite literally; Thaebis, his thumpingly good display of Russian minimalism, often uses the sound of finger clicks to keep the beat instead of trotting out the inevitable and therefore boring snare drum. The album's kick drum/bass combo is beautifully equalised; so much so that it hoofs like a Republican supporter taking aim at a stray balloon the morning after Barack Obama's inauguration.
Today's sound-fest is Mechanika, which wittily uses the sound of a ping-pong ball pinging from side to side as though it had been subjected to... a ping-pong delay. (It's technical stuff, kids. Let Uncle CTW worry about that stuff.) A rasping, rave-ish synth line leavens the funky hi-hats and robust rhythm, ensuring that Mechanika doesn't become too mechanical. Look, just press the little triangle and turn the volume up. Music will ensue. Drink some paint-stripper and turn the lights off - there we are, instant nightclub!
The other offerings in this four-tracker all exhibit the same painstaking production skills: every pop, click and burble sounds close to the eardrum, despite the previously mentioned fulsome bass elements. Thaebis's mix will permit a quick outing on cheap headphones; I suspect that it will also allow a thong-meltingly loud blast through a nightclub system. The first track, Eartrick, tricks the ear with numerous panned and chorused clicks 'n' cuts; the second, Empty Box, makes good use of low-passed reverberating bits 'n' bobs (copyright Grove Dictionary of Music), and the final track, Metronoise, is one of those minimal tracks whose incessant noises off drag the listener into head-nodding nirvana.
If you enjoy this album, please think about sending (the outrageously cool) Inoquo netlabel and Andrey/A7 a "thank you" email. While you're at it, ask them why they haven't got a Paypal donation box. Perhaps it's because the best things in life are free.
It's a shame that Thaebis isn't a CD instead of purely a netlabel release. If it were, you could enjoy the front cover and then, eager to see the rear of the jewel case, flip the bird. Ahem. I'll shut up now.
A7 - Thaebis (link to zipped album and individual files)
Andrey Malshchukoff on MySpace (this link is now correct)