Alexei Borisov

Polished Surface of a Table

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After 36 CDs released, Electroshock had achieved a precisely defined artistic line. Alexei Borisov's Polished Surface of a Table, number 37 for the Russian record label, pushes this line further into experimental electronica and it is a nice change. Considerably stronger than his previous solo effort (Before the Evroremont, on N&B Research Digest), it offers a stimulating dose of ruptured beats, glitchy textures, processed noise, and disembodied voices. The voice holds an important place in these constructions, whether singing (the beginning of "Dew") upfront, reduced to a background murmur ("Polished Surface of a Table"), or treated and embedded within the other layers of sounds. Borisov's sound universe is generally abstract, although it repeatedly refers to DJ culture. Beats are skipped, sound collages flash before our eyes, snippets of songs are briefly recognizable in the distance (Serge Gainsbourg's "Je Vais et Je Viens" makes an unexpected appearance in "Rotor"). The music is uncompromising and explores many aural extremes of electronica, from pure tones to minimal digital manipulations (glitch) and outbursts of noise, all of these elements interacting with more appealing material. Highlights include the opening "Revlon," one of Borisov's strongest pieces to date, "Blue Vinyl" (reinventing DJ Spooky), and the title track. "Zaraza (Volume I)" is the only piece crossing over five minutes and the only disappointment of the CD. It slows down the pace and fails to capture the attention, although its insisting pulse might provide a few listeners with something to cling to. But that track aside, Polished Surface of a Table is a very strong album in its field.

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