int008 | Wozzeck | Act 5

Act 5

Act 5 (200:00)

Audio-DVD + mp3 & lossless audio, digisleeve, 32 page booklet / edition of 300
10 September 2013


Заказать диск / Order DVD

Специальные страницы про каждую композицию / Pages about each composition:
Act 5.1 
Act 5.2
Act 5.3
Act 5.4
Act 5.5

Promo videos #1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Videos from concerts #1, 2, 3, 4, 5 
Восьмой релиз на Intonema - альбом Act 5 от Wozzeck! Монументальная работа, длившаяся с 2010-го по 2013-ый годы, выходит в свет в шестой день рождения проекта: 10-11 сентября 2013-го года. Это целых 200 минут звучания, 5 композиций Ильи Белорукова, объединённых одной идеей и исполненных в составе трио с Михаилом Ершовым и Алексеем Забелиным. Монотонность, скупое развитие и микро-изменения структур композиций вкупе со скрытыми неожиданностями и звуком, меняющимся от одной части к другой, - это основные свойства Act 5. Скучно, нудно, любопытно, занятно, долго, коротко, громко, тихо, быстро, медленно, зачем, почему, как, что, куда, кто, кому.

Альбом выходит на аудио-DVD диске с 32-страничным буклетом, в котором подробно описаны все композиции цикла, и где представлены их партитуры. 

The eighth Intonema release is Act 5 by Wozzeck. This monumental work which lasted from 2010 to 2013 year will be released in the sixth birthday of the project: September 10-11 2013. This is as much as 200 minutes of playing time. The album contains 5 compositions by Ilia Belorukov that are united by one idea and performed as a trio with Mikhail Ershov and Alexey Zabelin. Monotony, meager growth and micro changes of a composition structure coupled with hidden surprises and sound changes from one part to the other - these are the basic properties of Act 5. Boring, tedious, interesting, entertaining, long, short, loud, quiet, fast, slow, why, how, what, where, who, whom.

The album is releasing on audio-DVD disc with a 32-page booklet which describes in detail all the cycle compositions with their scores. 

Ilia Belorukov: composition, laptop, electric-guitar, keyboards, voice, electronics
Mikhail Ershov: bass-guitar, electronics
Alexey Zabelin: drums & percussion 

"Taking up enough space to fill two complete CD’s and a half with its 200 minutes of play time, experimentalists Wozzeck‘s Act 5 is an experience in tediousness, repetitiveness, droning, long polyrhythms, and slowly evolving music.

The album is divided into 5 parts, each of 40 minutes, and each with its fundamental concept. It was recorded as a trio consisting of bass, drums, and a computer/keyboards/electronics/voice/guitars person, who happens to be the mastermind behind the project, Ilia Belorukov. The first part, “Act 5.1″, stems from a single 11/8 bar at 120 bpm, and is divide in 8 parts with 5 one-minute fragments each. The whole song isn’t in 11/8, though, as there are some variations on the theme throughout. It is pretty straightforward yet full of unexpectedness. Like I said, it’s slowly evolving, so you get caught in the monotony of a part, and then, all of a sudden, it changes and you have to adapt. It’s a fun beat (with variations) to listen, the bass and drums do a great job of keeping the groove, while there are spoken samples and other electronic noises brought upon it all.

“Act 5.2″ is based upon the ratio pi. Well, at least its first 40 numerals. The first minute of the song is in 3/4, while the second is in 1/4, and the next ones are in 4/4, 1/4, 5/4, 9/4, and so on. Sound-wise, the bass signal goes through the computer to get processed and thus gives off an abrasive electronic tone. Add on top of that the various electronic divagations, similar to those found on Act 5.1, and pounding drums, and you’ve got it. This section more resembles Lightning Bolt, or even Wozzeck’s Act IV in sound: it’s relentless and dirty. An interesting moment here is when the sequence reaches the number 0, a 0/4 time signature: there is no sound, only feedback from whatever microphone was left open.

The third part of this monstrous work is rather based on a short guitar riff reminiscent of what you’d hear from a black metal band. There are 40 patterns here, each played intuitively, as some sort of improvisation, where each member has to closely follow what the others play in order to provide adequate musical support. Here the riffs are played and silenced in alternate 30 seconds sequences. Between which the band gets to know what part to play next, but this makes for a very disjointed piece. Each part could’ve been played one minute, instead of thirty seconds, and it wouldn’t have been too long either. I get that it would be quite hard to communicate what part to do next in a live setting, but I believe it would’ve been better for the listener’s experience of the song. Definitely my least favourite track.

5.4 is allegedly the most tranquil and slow part, with a tempo of 30 bpm. It’s based on the C major scale, where each note is played consecutively, and each chord lasts five minutes, finally covering all the triads of the C major scale within 40 minutes. Improvisation is minimal. The song is mostly bass, organ, and drums, all playing a very minimal part. The interesting moments really are the note changes: from Ionian to Dorian, to Phrygian, to Lydian, to Mixolydian, to Aeolian, to Locrian, and back to Ionian. When you’re in a chord, you can only difficultly grasp its place in the chord, its resolve, but at the junction of two notes, you really see a movement forward. That’s a small moment of action separated by long moments passed in the same waters. It’s a somewhat interesting experiment, mostly for those of you who like ambient music.

The final instalment of Act 5, “Act 5.5″, is a composition where each 1-minute fragment is separated differently, from half-half to one-third/two-thirds, to 1/59, and many things in-between. Each sub-part is quiet, with only keyboards, while the second is some sort of wonky drums, with bass and weird electronic noises. This one is not nearly as exciting as it sounds on paper. I feel like 5 minutes of this was annoying enough, but 40 minutes is simply overkill. This idea, I feel, wasn’t thought out well enough, or simply was poorly executed. Along with 5.3, this one is a song that I would excise from the record without remorse.

Overall, it’s a really interesting experimental album, for those of you not afraid to sit for more than 3 hours of monotonous music. Three songs out of five were worth it, however, and a 20-minute version of 5.3, without the silences, might also prove a good listen. For the rest of you, I still believe you should check it out. 5 dollars for that much music is a steal!"

(Dave Tremblay, Can this even be called music 

Favorites of 2014 by Scott Scholz, Words on Sounds

"The fifth album by Wozzeck, Ilia Belorukov’s avant-rock band, comes as a 200-minute audio DVD. Exactly 200 minutes. Actually, EVERYTHING in this record is exactly split equally. Five 40-minute compositions, each consisting of 40 fragments that stand like permutations of each other. Belorukov on laptop (and synth, and iPod, and guitar), Mikhail Ershov on electric bass, Alexey Zebelin on drum kit. They all use effects or electronics, and Belorukov occasionnaly treats the other two’s sound. Each piece develops a single idea and methodically explores its variations. So each piece is very long, very repetitive, yet constantly changing. And whether Wozzeck goes all-out death metal (“Act 5.2”) or adopts a tempo worthy of Bohren und der Club of Gore (“Act 5.4”), the band displays incredible control and technique. That doesn’t make Act 5 a super interesting album that I’ll be listening to again and again, but it’s an impressive feat."
(Francois Couture, Monsieur Delire)

"From Saint Petersburg comes the latest instalment in Wozzeck‘s grand design, simply called Act 5 (INTONEMA int008); the idea has been that each release would be carefully numbered and planned in advance to emerge as significantly different from all the others in the series, so that where Act I was “aggressive free improvised noise”, Act 4 turned into an avant-garde doom metal project of great ferocity and power. Act 5 is a single piece and it lasts for precisely 40 minutes, although the sleeve notes indicate it’s actually in five separate parts. The five parts each last 40 minutes and have been layered together into a single concentrated composition. It reflects the band’s growing interest in “ordered and compositional music, but at the same time more conceptual and weird”…their current thinking has somehow allowed them to embrace the music of Evan Parker and Radu Malfatti and the texts of Samuel Beckett, so you know you’re in for something very extreme and very bleak. Ilia Belorukov, Mikhail Ershov and Alexey Zabelin are the composers and players, and it’s executed with synthesizers, laptops, the iPod touch, lots of percussion instruments (both real and virtual, I would expect), guitars, and multiple effects pedals. The work is built around percussion and electronics, played with an inhuman precision and near-brutal force; as the piece works through its layers, it’s like hearing large numbers of drum machines and sequencers battering us into submission. The march of the robots, all armed with hammers and industrial staple guns.

The work is through-composed to a manic degree, and the small amount of information I’ve gleaned from the thick booklet of notes, charts, staves and explanatory diagrams has been terrifying; it’s taking the idea of mathematical construction and serial composition about as far as it can go. The performance is manic, too; I started off thinking it was played by electric typewriters, and I ended up with images of shipworkers driving steel rivets into the hull of a ship, possessed by the sort of focus and intensity that only old Papa Joe could’ve inspired. I can tell you it’s music that starts out shocking, and grows gradually more berserk as it progresses, with additional layers of even more extreme and indigestible noise, sampled voices, and rhythms attempting to escape from the prison of the regimented grid, only to be dragged back into the frame again. The cover artworks restate this theme, the monochrome photos clearly showing how the tyranny of the grid operates in modern cities, through town planning, signs, railway stations, civic spaces, and even your living room; and the graphic design, cropping and framing these images with white borders, restates the grid motif yet again. In all, a most claustrophobic and overloaded listen, but like Sparkle In Grey above I expect that Belorukov and his team are urging us to take action against the lamentable condition of modern society. Will we win? When records like this exist, we stand a chance! From 7th October 2013."
(Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector)

"A Wozzeck egy szentpétervári kísérleti projekt, amit 2007-ben Ilia Belorukov és Mikhail Ershov alapított. Belorukov szaxofonon és elektronikus hangszereken, Ershov basszusgitáron játszott. Eleinte afféle drone-ambient-szerű, szabad dzsesszes elemeket tartalmazott a zenéjük, ami később, a tagok szerint, extrém noise csapattá transzformálódott, amelyet szaxofonnal, laptoppal és különféle hangeffektusokkal ellátott basszusgitárral értek el. 2009 folyamán Alexey Zabelin dobos és Pavel Medvedev gitáros csatlakozott a két zenészhez. Négyesként kezdtek egy újabb anyag írásába, amely math-metal riffekkel tarkított szabad improvizációs kompozíciókat tartalmazott. A csapat ezután trióként folytatta működését: gitáros nélkül dolgoztak együtt az utóbbi három évben, és így jött létre az Act 5 anyaga is.

A csapat egymással – címeiben legalábbis – összefüggő albumokat adott ki, csak a sorszámok változtak a kiadványok során, így kapta az Act 5 is a nevét. Az Act III például nem mellékesen Ilia Belorukov Intonema kiadója katalógusának legelső kiadványaként szerepelt. Ez a sorban ötödik albumuk azért különleges, mert valójában egy kétszázperces audio DVD-ről van szó. Az album anyaga 2010-től 2013-ig készült. A kiadvány belsejében található, részletekbe menően és gazdagon összeállított könyvecske szerint Belorukov az Act 4 megjelenése után új szerzeményeken dolgozott, amiket később hármasban realizáltak. Mind az öt darab komponált szerzemény, amelyek megírását Belorukov szavai szerint, Samuel Beckett szövegei, illetve abban az időben Lucio Capece, Radu Malfatti és Evan Parker zenei világa iránti fokozódó érdeklődése határozott meg. Mind az öt track, vagy alfejezet (Act 5.1, Act 5.2 stb.) különböző ötletek megvalósításai, de kapcsolódási pontjaik is vannak.

A pszichedelikus effektust elérő, egyhangú tempóban folyó első darab jellemzője, hogy páratlan ritmusszerkezetekben íródott és folyamatosan látszólag ugyanaz a minta ismétlődik mindvégig, miközben állandóan egy-egy apró részlettel változik a darab. A nyitó szám hangulatával a következő szerzemény szöges ellentétben áll. A második darab voltaképpen a szélsőséges metál zene és az avantgárd ötletek ötvözete, amihez a harmadik negyvenperces szorosan kapcsolódik Ennek a szerzeménynek, a könyvecske szerint, egy black metal-riff az alapja. A darab szerkezete negyven egyperces szegmensből áll, amelyek félperces zúzások és félperces csendek másolt-beillesztett váltakozásából tevődnek össze. Az utolsó előtti és az utolsó track viszont már a nyitó darabhoz áll közelebb. Lassú, drone-szerű, hosszú szerkezetek ezek, melyek hangáradatait több helyen is szintetikus hangokkal díszített ritmikus részek, illetve Belorukov elektromos hangszereken (iPad, korg monotribe, szintetizátorok, laptop+billentyű stb.) játszott improvizációi színesítenek. Egy idő után ez a programozott, mondhatni mű zenei hangzásvilág, az ötletek érdekessége ellenére is, igen szürke és érdektelen nüánszokba fordulhat át, és összességében egyfajta óriási méretű kompozíciós gyakorlatnak tűnhet az ember számára ez a nagy egész.

A kétszázperces kiadvány specifikusnak tűnhet a hossza és a rajta elhangzó ötletek miatt, viszont nem biztos, hogy sokan vannak, akik végig tudnák hallgatni egy szuszra az ötször negyven percnyi anyagot. Ami mindenképpen említésre méltó, az a digipack kiadvány tartalmas harmincoldalas melléklete, amiben részletesen feltüntették mind az öt hosszú darab létrejöttének folyamatát, eredetét. Orosz és angol nyelven olvashatjuk röviden a szerkesztések menetét, illetve különböző kis jegyzeteket, kották részleteit, programozás folyamatát megörökítő fényképeket láthatunk az oldalakon. A három fiatal zenészt ábrázoló apró fekete-fehér fotók kollázsa díszíti a kiadvány külső és belső borítóját.

Az összkép, az említett különlegességek és visszásságokkal együtt, egy érdekes kiadvány, ami mindenképpen megér egy próbát.

(Lenkes Laszlo,

"Some caveats first: This will probably be a long review. It is long awaited, I’ve had this Audio DVD/MP3/MP4 release for some months, and finally I do not claim to understand it. Prologue: Wozzeck is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg based on a play, which in turn is loosely based on the life of  Johann Christian Woyzeck, a Leipzig wigmaker who later became a soldier. In 1821, Woyzeck, in a fit of jealousy, murdered Christiane Woost, a widow with whom he had been living. He was later publicly beheaded. Act 5 is a 5 part piece of highly rhythmically structured music by the Russian trio of Ilia Belorukov, Mikhail Ershov and Alexey Zabelin, which was created between 2010 and 2013 and documented in considerable detail, including scores, in an accompanying 32 page book. My first ‘non understanding’ is the relevance or not of the groups title to the opera, play or actuality described above. Next is that the work is obviously akin to what was called ‘systems art’, the structures, definitive structures can be heard and seen, and probably more detailed sub-structures by a keen musicologist, which I am not. The anchor is the drumming (kick, snare, hi-hat of Alexey Zabelin, beats which trigger Ilia Belorukov electronics which play synth sounds and samples of ‘found’ speech. Other synchronization is provided by computer as metronome clicks to the drummer and bass player,  Mikhail Ershov. The book documents, as I said in detail the systems used, but not why they were used or to what ends, so in the case of no other information and the variation of sounds within the tight blocked structures one assumes –  I have – it’s a pure work of abstract composition. I’m therefore in no position to judge the musicology of this work, I might add as far as I can see and hear the structures seem remarkably simple, but then I remain unqualified. The work Act 5 is itself in 5 parts. 5.1 a noisy work with found sound… based on a fragment in 11/8 time… (Here I’m quoting from the book!) 120 BPM of 40 snippets of 40 minutes.. other fragments 12/8, 15/8 time signatures…’mirroring at varying degrees taken from King Crimson
and Aton Webern. The found sound being of Al Pacino. Reference is also made to John Zorn. Why these sounds were chosen and placed in such a rigorous structure I do not know. Act 5.2  - which I would describe as ‘noisy drumming’… uses a sequence of patterns based on the first 40 digits of PI. Also references to Metal Machine Music and Merzbow. Only this must be superficial as here we have a fine structure of patterns and transitions- for instance at 32 minutes because the 32nd digit of PI is zero. 5.3 is Beats with echo in 30 second chunks with 30 seconds of silence. (That’s me). The text refers to this as “Black Metal”, 40 fragments for 40 minutes, using a countdown timer of 2,000 seconds. 5.4 is more drone like, a BPM of 30.Notes, chords last 5 minutes… etc. again the book goes into the elaborate structuring. 5.5 uses ipad, Korg , pitch shifter and is again segments of synths sequenced  to a given beat of unprocessed drumming, interspaced with
more done like notes. If I could say anymore I would, I’ve already said IMO too much."

(Jliat, Vital Weekly)

"Je me rappelle avoir chroniqué le troisième acte de Wozzeck, un groupe de jeunes musiciens russes composé ici d'Ilia Belorukov (ordinateur, synthétiseur et clavier, voix, pédales), Mikhail Ershov (guitare basse & pédales d'effets) et Alexey Zabelin (percussions et percussions électroniques). Le précédent opus paru sur le même label m'avait trop rappelé les projets hystériques de Zorn et Mike Patton, mais aujourd'hui, Wozzeck semble avoir trouvé une voix plus personnelle et beaucoup plus réjouissante.

Ce cinquième acte est un projet monumental composé de cinq pièces de quarante minutes chacune. Le saxophoniste et compositeur de ces pièces, Ilia Belorukov, nous dit dans les notes qu'il s'intéresse depuis quelques temps aux nouveaux compositeurs et improvisateurs tels que Radu Malfatti et Lucio Capece. Je le précise car si chacune des pièces est proche d'idiomes populaires (techno, post-rock, hardcore, grindcore), elles s'intéressent tout de même toutes à la dilatation du temps, aux micro-variations et à la répétition - paramètres récurrents des musiques réductionnistes et minimalistes contemporaines. Une seule idée - souvent rythmique - préside chacune des pièces, et est exploitée durant les quarante minutes de chacune. Ainsi la première partie est une sorte de morceau techno-trance minimal, la seconde, un long morceau de hardcore monotone, la troisième une succession obsédante de silences et de pièces à tendance grind d'envron trente secondes à la Zorn, la quatrième un long morceau très lent genre post-jazz à la Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, et la dernière propose une succesion de plages ambient et de plages disco-funk décalées à la Mr. Bungle.

Un projet très convaincant qui m'a vraiment réjoui pour deux raisons. Déjà, ça fait un bien fou de voir des musiciens qui se réclament de l'avant-garde et des musiques expérimentales renouer avec des genres plus courants, populaires et accessibles - maintenant on sait comment tenter d'initier un fan de Converge ou de Marc Hurtado à Wandelweiser ou Sachiko M. De fait, les parties techno, hardcore et post-jazz sont vraiment mortelles avec leurs idées obsédantes et monotones, avec leurs micro-variations et leur temps complètement dilaté - comme si Morton Feldman s'était initié au grindcore... Et c'est la deuxième raison qui m'a autant plu. Wozzeck explore des terrains similaires à beaucoup de musiciens expérimentaux (répétitions, intérêt pour la dilatation du temps, et variations à peine perceptibles), il les explore avec autant de pertinence et de richesse que beaucoup d'autres, mais en proposant une musique quand même beaucoup plus accessible. Voici le genre de disque qui peut plaire à de nombreuses personnes qui ne sont pas liées aux recherches post-minimalisme, aux nouvelles formes de musique improvisée et électroacoustique, tout en se posant les mêmes questions que ces dernières.

A de nombreuses reprises, Cage, dont de plus en plus de personnes se disent affiliées, a affirmé vouloir intégrer le bruit à la musique, qu'il n'y avait pas de séparation entre les deux. Il faut tout de même savoir qu'il n'était pas du tout à l'aise avec l'harmonie aussi. Et c'est aussi pour cette raison qu'il la à plusieurs reprises abandonné. Ce qui ne veut pas dire qu'il la rejetait, et en ce sens Wozzeck est aussi un projet digne de Cage. Car avec les propositions de Belorukov, Wozzeck parvient à assimiler le temps quotidien au temps musical, ce qui était aussi un des buts de Cage. Et je ne crois pas que les références musicales de ce nouveau projet soient inconciliables avec la volonté du compositeur américain, je crois même que ce projet accompli certaines de ses volontés avec beaucoup de pertinence."

(Julien Heraud, improv-sphere)

"OK. This seems to be the fifth effort by Wozzeck which, at least here, consists of Ilia Belorukov (laptop with synths, ipod touch), Mikhail Ershov (bass guitar, effect pedals) and Alexey Zabelin (kick, snare, hi-hat). It's the first to reach my ears. All 200 minutes of it, five "acts" of 40 minutes each, on an audio DVD. Belorukov writes:

I had the idea to compose a slow evolving (or even unmoving at all) 40 minute piece with very similar parts, difficult to grasp, and with a structure packed with unexpectedness carefully disguised as monotony.

"Difficult" not in the Malfattisian or Capeceian sense (both of whom are cited)--at least for this listener--but because Belorukov often chooses to use thin, beat-driven sounds as his stasis field, the kind of sonics that test my patience from the get go. "Act 5.1" contains a pretty basic, techno-like rhythm augmented with a gooey rising and falling synth figure atop which is, gradually, layered various plies of detritus--fuzzed blats and conversational extracts among them. It takes (me) some effort of will to relegate the beats to any kind of beige background, though it's an interesting exercise to attempt to do so. By the time screams appear, they almost blend in with the odd grayness that has formed, the gray of pillow padding where all these speck of color exist but become all but invisible. Pixilated gray, maybe. There are elaborate notes and diagrams included with the disc. For this piece, Belorukov references King Crimson, Webern and Zorn. I can't say I detect them but the next work, "Act 5.2" begins in a manner not too different from some Naked City, particularly the ultra-short pieces featuring Yamatsuka Eye, but looped, sliced and iterated in time signatures based on the first 40 digits of pi. Yep. There's a thrash metal meets the ultimate math rock geek feel to the thing. While the essential grist of the piece is more interesting (to me), the same grayness inevitably sets in. By now, it seems clear that Belorukov is positioning this kind of monotony against that (ostensibly) created by the likes of Malfatti. My problem, of course, is that I don't generally find Malfatti (even as representative of a type) to be monotonous; quite the opposite. The music at hand...almost is. But not quite and not, somehow, in the same sense as Malfatti. It's a different kind of subdued interest, not as deep as some others, to these ears, but akin.

The third act's meat is in adjacent territory--reminded me of things like Blind Idiot God at first (though that likely betrays my lack of knowledge of the genre; the piece had the working title, "Black Metal", doubtless referencing bands other than BIG)--but in alternating snatches of sound/digital silence, 30 seconds each. The least interesting section for me, thus far. Still not sure if that's the point...(caveat: I'm writing this while listening for the first time, apart from a 10-minute dip I took upon receiving it. Maybe not ideal but, 200 minutes is 200 minutes.) "Act 5.4" is the ballad of the set, all spacey ambiance and dead slow beats/throbs, much quieter than the previous tracks. The guts of these pieces are much more complicated than I'm describing and are gone into in great detail by Belarukov though I must confess, often I can't pick out the subtle variations. The final track is probably the most varied here but, oddly, I found myself hankering for the more "monotonous" pieces!

I don't know--a tough release to tackle, but tough in unusual ways, almost aggressively daring you (if your interest is in contemporary experimental music, anyway) to lose patience but in a manner different from, say, Mattin. By citing Malfatti, Belorukov seems to be arguing for a kind of equivalency, at least insofar as elements used, tat extended silence broken by low volume trombone tones isn't essentially different from beat arrangements that blend into an unvariegated whole. It's not a bad question and, if anything, isolates a strong and lingering aestheticism on the part of many listeners, myself included. I'm not sure that's a bad thing, though, moldy fig that I am."

(Brian Olewnick, Just Outside)