The music here is inspired by Astyanax Mexicanus, the impossible-to-catch cave fish that is born without eyes, so must rely on sound and the tiniest of vibrations to survive. Aleph sees a zen kind of connection it shares with the samurai, for whom elusiveness is also a way of life.
Likewise, he himself strives to be in touch with the vibrations all around him, which seems to shape how he approaches his craft. Same goes for Ali Can Meydan, who’s beautiful interpretation of this story graces the cover.
Artwork by Ali Can Meydan
Siberian native, Ivan Erofeev, makes an impressive debut entry of crushing, kaleidoscopic HipHop electronics akin to Slugabed. Inspired by Astyanax Mexicanus “the impossible-to-catch cave fish that is born without eyes, so must rely on sound and the tiniest of vibrations to survive”, Aleph makes unusual, ornately detailed, dense and chaotic, yet highly organised beats like ‘Under A Layer of Ice’ with its unpredictable diversion into swing jazz, next to the dubstep swiveling dramas of ‘Some Opium in the Wild Tropics’, the highlight of complex gamer beats of ‘Astyanax Mexicanus’ and lucid dissonance of ‘Sulfozinum’. – Boomkat
While other eighteen-year-olds are out stealing cars and defacing neighborhoods with graffiti, Siberian producer Aleph hunkers down in his computer lair churning out tripped-out tracks of the kind collected on Haunt For Little Blind Fish. King Deluxe’s third release, which takes its inspiration from the Astyanax Mexicanus, an elusive cave fish that, born without eyes, relies on sound and vibration in order to survive, serves up nineteen minutes of twitchy glitch-funk that exudes a vibrancy and playfulness that’s equal parts early Kid606 and Flying Lotus, and an arcade-styled headrush (in “Astyanax Mexicanus,” for example) that invites comparisons to the blaze stoked by UK producers like Zomby and Joker—“Under a Layer of Ice,” armed with fluttering casio synths, surging sub-bass, and hammering beats, a good exemplar of Aleph’s style. There’s a bit of a patchwork quality to the tracks—bits and pieces stitched together to form stark juxtapositions (especially audible during “Some Opium in the Wild Tropics” when the tune shifts into an old-school jazz episode at its close)—that suggests Aleph’s working his way towards compositional coherence (something most successfully realized during the closer “Sulfozinum,” whose keyboard melodies even exude a quasi-classical character). Even so, the EP’s a captivating ride that’s anything but wanting for imagination and ideas, and the cover’s a thing of beauty too. – Textura
A related escape into sonic realms – no matter the view outside – comes this week from the middle of Siberia, in fact from a village so small we’re not even told its name. Thankfully a little extra information is offered. From British Columbia, Canada and the King Deluxe netlabel comes an EP by Ivan Erofeev, otherwise known as Aleph.
This young artist has now, apparently, left his village and moved to the city of Omsk. His Canadian colleagues relay Erofeev’s enduring conviction that Omsk is an excessively “cold, gray” place to live; as a result, he also entertains fantasies of escaping. The Jazz Gangsters wait patiently for springtime; Erofeev simply wants to get out of the city “and dreams of living in the Siberian wild,” where the snow is never sullied with dirt, asphalt, or rock salt.
Purity is elsewhere.
The recipient of a classical education on the violin, Erofeev is currently knee-deep in electronica and the same kind of overlapping traditions we find in St Petersburg. His inspiration on this occasion comes from very far away – on an EP entitled “Haunt for Little Blind Fish.” Leaving aside the issue of whether our musician actually meant his opening noun to be “hunt,” we discover that his phrasing overall refers to the Mexican tetra or “blind cave fish.” It lives at such depth in Mexican caves, far from sunlight, that its eyes have been deemed useless by nature.
Unable – or not needing – to see anything, the fish orients itself by means of tangible soundwaves. As the folks at King Deluxe have it: “The fish must rely on sound – and the tiniest vibrations – in order to survive.” Here, in other words, is a move away from sonic reality as a dreamy or preferable realm: it becomes instead a means of survival.
All-ecompassing melody is replaced by ubiquitous threat, at least potentially; Erofeev says he finds “a kind of Zen connection between the life of the Mexican tetra and a samurai, for whom elusiveness is also a way of life.” Blissful ignorance of actuality becomes a blind battle with it.
Western reviewers have remarked that Aleph “blends various genres, but he holds a steady foot at the dubstep end. There are spacy sounds, unique beats, and some glitchy two-step feelings throughout the whole recording.” The growling bass of dubstep has replaced the lazy, “surround-sound” aesthetic of the Jazz Gangsters.
Somehow it’s not hard to imagine how the outside streets of Omsk might seem less than friendly to residents. Especially at the tail end of winter.
The EP contains references to other external pressures. “Sulfozinum,” for example, is a term that takes us back to the darker aspects of Soviet science. It refers to those shady, semi-legal fields of socialist medicine which believed that all manner of ailments, including syphilis and insanity(!), could be cured by raising the patient’s body temperature to consistently high levels.
That same “feverish” thematic is extended in “Some Opium in the Wild Tropics.” And then, as the imagery moves towards a consideration of addiction and dangerous jungle, relief comes from a familiar source. The final seventy seconds of the track, somewhat unexpectedly, lapse into the warm crackle of antique vinyl and a sampled, jazzy piano loop.
Whatever the weather, be it -4C or +40C, the function of jazz remains consistent for these two projects. In both St Petersburg and Omsk, old-school recordings play a similar role, at least symbolically. They offer thoughts of escape from the workday – and an alternative to the kind of presumed, perhaps omnipresent threats that keep even a samurai awake. In a word, jazz symbolizes movement: into rest or away from something nasty, such as the Big City. Jazz improvisations epitomize a transferral somewhere else or, in cruder terms, a passage to anywhere else but here.
The Japanese warrior and Mexican fish therefore see eye to eye on several matters, no matter the levels of sunlight. – Far From Moscow
The people of the Canadian label King Deluxe are treating us on the new Aleph, a 18 year old producer from Siberia (Pixelord‘s home turf too!). Named after the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet or the bicycle brand from Belgium?
It’s an amazing first one that goes into all kinda new territories. He builds every track in a totally new way with strange interludes, silences, jumps in the mindset, beat composition. All is so very different so provocative.
Opener Under a Layer of Ice is this heavy on the inciting synths with organ, choir-ish sounding, touches. The beat has this rave-ish push going strong. Impressive stuff. Next one so Some Opium in the Wild Tropics with is going wild on everything that it is impossible to define what this is. Is it a genius at work or just some dis-functional kid with to much drugs in his body going wild with samplers? I would say a genius…
Astyanax Mexicanus is this amazing cathedral organ bombastic feel that’s created over this nervous beat. Mind blowing trip it is. Closing track Sulfozinum has this same kinda treat a symphonietta pur sang with this chopped hectic beats that merge with hip hop. – Lowriders
Check this new release from King Deluxe of lushwonkycinematic beats & bleeps by Aleph, some epic gamelike moments in here, when Sulfozinum drops into a slow bleeping march at 2:32 I’m transported to a sinister world of pixelated bad guys, love it. – Untimely Sound
This latest release featuring the 18 year old Siberian Ivan Erofeev, aka Aleph, comes to us courtesy of Canadian based label King Deluxe. I’ve been hearing little bits of info about this “protegé” for a while now so it was great to see his release promoted in not only his home country but also here in North America. It’s a step away from the usual Dubstep and I’ve even go so far as to say it’s a blend of Future sounds + Glitch Hop. If you’re a fan of Starkey or any of those similar sounds then you’ll def wanna pick up a copy of this album.
The album, as well as the artwork and story behind it, is a beautifully crafted composition that draws from many influences. It’s best described by the writeup included with the tunes:
“The music here from is inspired by Astyanax Mexicanus, the impossible-to-catch cave fish that is born without eyes, so must rely on sound and the tiniest of vibrations to survive. Aleph sees a zen kind of connection it shares with the samurai, for whom elusiveness is also a way of life.”
The album blends its way through various genres but holds a steady foot on the Dubstep end. There are spacy sounds, unique beats and some glitchy 2-step feelings throughout the whole album. I also really love the beautiful jazzy ending to Some Opium in the Wild Tropics, feels as though it was sampled from a record taken from my Grandparent’s basement. – Dubstep Selekta
The busy rhythms and thick synths all over this album lace intricately from beginning to end. Maybe it’s all a little dry, but the sparse approach to effects is still a nice surprise. – The Needle Drop
I found myself with the track “Astyanax Mexicanus” on repeat this last week… and I’m admittedly obsessed. It’s my favorite of the four tracks from Aleph’s EP “Haunt For Little Blind Fish”. The nearest comparison I have for describing Alaph’s production is Virtual Boy, which is a high compliment, although Aleph focuses on Middle-Eastern instrumentation and, instead of a more fluid symphonic sound, leans towards staccato chords and pacing change-ups in the progression. – Jaya Prime
PK from King Deluxe just informed me about their latest release on King Deluxe, a new label which has been massaging my brain with beats for the past few months now (check out their previous releases!). Up next, they have Aleph coming in with an EP dubbed “Haunt For Little Blind Fish”. – J’aime Le Dubstep
I am currently blown away by Russian and Eastern European producers. Everything sounds so fresh and so far away from any norm, rule or musical trend. Very awkward soundscapes, grey and gloom you can feel the Siberian cold and angst in all his productions. – Can of Thought
18-year old Russian beatsmaker – Aleph in the best track of Haunt For Little Blind Fish EP released a few weeks ago on King Deluxe. I am more and more convinced that guys from Russia have some kind of top-secret facility hidden in Siberia where they were busily cooking and breeding super-talented producers for the last few years and recently started releasing them onto the general public to pursue some hidden and very very dangereous agenda :)) – Doktor Krank
Armed with a bag of glitch, can Aleph’s four-track EP convince us of this Siberian instrumentalist’s intent?
What happens when musicians break free of the limitations of physical instruments and enter the world of digital sound? Aleph’s Ivan Erofeev is a classically-trained violinist. Armed with a bunch of Korg tools, does he find a conduit to the infinite melodies of the mind, or fall into pre-ordained patterns?
The intricacy of Eroveev’s sequencing work on the opening track Under A Layer of Ice is akin to microsurgery. But the overall effect on the listener is one of neo-Baroque froth and filigree, with little in the way of narrative, drive, or that indefinable animal energy in a piece of music that just, for no explicable reason, moves you.
There is no artistic justification for the glitchy volume modulation in the mid-section of Some Opium in the Wild Tropics. It’s not a vinyl dj scratching, or rhythmic syncopation. It’s just annoying and unnecessary fader-twitching. Nor is the cheesy Ryuchi Sakamoto-lite soundbed which is being distorted acceptable. No amount of glitch will fix that, nor will ending the track with a disjointed coda of antiqued jazz-swing piano.
The final two tracks on the EP though, these intrigue. There is compositional dexterity here that shows heavyweight intent. Electronic ‘dance’ music has long embraced the easy but restrictive ‘build-drop-build-breakdown’ loops format passed down from the likes of Kevin Saunderson in the eighties. Aleph’s structural model is different. Astyanax Mexicanus and Sulfozinum display a melodic motif in two voices, introduced at the beginning and recurring frequently throughout, each time with variations. The result of this off-set counterpoint is unsettling, and prompts an almost physical response in the listener – those dizzying inner-ear reactions that counterpoint, syncopation, discord and exotic harmonics create in a sufficiently attentive listener. New? Hardly. It’s called a fugue. Johann Sebastien Bach wrote hundreds in the 18th century, and Erofeev is clearly well-aware of them.
Bach performed fugues to disorient and sonically overload the congregation at his church – preparation for the brimstone sermons that followed. Dubstep, glitch, futurenoise – the psychosonic tactics have changed little since Bach sat at his mighty church organ and proceeded to warp his brethren’s minds with the sublime. For modern-day producers armed with a Kaoss Pad and a hard-drive stacked full of King Tubby beats, the tools have changed, but minds must still be warped. In its best moments, Aleph’s EP approaches the sonic impact of a fugue, and his use of organ-emulator keyboard presets is a clear homage to the form. The question is, are the layers of glitched, two-step beats that he applies to his melodies an enhancement, or are they there to distract attention from weak soundscapes?
This is a review though, so what does it sound like?
At times, a glitch-hop, dubsteppy rework of Art of Noise soundbeds; at other times the developing experimentation of a musician with a talent for composition, but a need for more self-confidence. Grasping at production effects to add a clubland legitimacy to your music is best outsourced to remixers – sometimes simplicity and sparsity is the most effective tool. That said, there is enough freshness and intrigue in the final two tracks to make the EP a worthwhile purchase. – Trebuchet
[LABEL’S NOTE: those first two tracks move me more than most electronic compositions I’ve heard in the past decade]
pretty much eargasmic.. brilliante komplexe und futuristische beats.. WORD!!! – Tonquadrat
Боевой опыт Натабуры в крупных сражениях был ограничен Ити-но-тани и Дан-но-Ура. Хотя, путешествуя вместе с Акинобу, он привык к поединкам. Поэтому его ввиду молодости не пускали в авангард, чтобы он не нашел себе более опытного противника. А в памяти от корабля остался лишь голос кантё – капитана, который яростно выкрикивал команды, скрип парусов, талей и страшный треск, когда начали падать мачты.
Как и все его товарищи, Натабура не спал и не ел четверо суток и после бесконечного количества стычек, длительной погони и гребли валился с ног от усталости. – Apsagand
Nors jau daug kam žiema pamažu tampa visiškai svetima tema, tačiau šį kartą turime naujienų iš pačio Sibiro. Tikrų tikriausio Sibiro, Omsko srities.Pasiekti mus, vaikinui vardu Ivanas Erofėjevas, padėjo King Deluxe. Šio leiblo dėka savo rankose turime tuoj pasirodysiantį Aleph EP albumą “Haunt For Little Blind Fish”. Iškirtiniu kruopštumu ir puošnumu pasižymintys Ivano (turinčio muzikinį… – Straipsniu
Работа восемнадцатилетнего продюсера из Сибири под именем ALEPH. Интересно, что его релиз оценил локально легендарный SIMcommander — один из самых опытных голландских диджеев. – Look At Me
A kid from a remote Siberian village grew up with classical violin training only to turn to electronic music. Now, at age eighteen, Aleph has begun releasing music.
His debut EP Haunt For A Little Blind Fish just dropped this month.
Over four tracks and a modest runtime, Aleph shows us how he looks at sound; through a prism of his own that might not have existed had he been from a major city, surrounded by beat culture.
Whether it’s a four-to-the-floor beat, or a slow dubstep groove, Aleph employs his own take entirely. His sense for classical music shines through in the icy melodies he composed in the tundra he calls home.
The theme of Haunt For A Little Blind Fish is a simple and beautiful one that makes you want to pick this kid’s brain… – MTV Iggy