Isambard Khroustaliov – Shanzhai Acid

‘Shanzhai Acid’ takes its inspiration in equal parts from the Chinese culture of imitation electronic products that often surpass that which they imitate through punk customisation, and the ‘psychedelic consciousness’ that Mark Fisher, Jeremy Deller and Florian Hecker, amongst others, have inferred from the social and philosophical catalyst of ‘Acid’ musics.

Manifested via a kind of knock-off orchestra of mutant modules and bastardised synths conducted by DIY machine learning algorithms, it’s a construct designed to explore what kind of auditory trip this combination of opinionated, chaotic sound generators and ML can hallucinate into the world of electronic music minstrelry.

Throw the switch on this frankensteinian analogue computer and vortices of covariance, fractal geometries and nonlinear attractors are born, evolve and die as sonified complex systems in the hands of an omnivalent machine savant. Hundreds of parameters and routing assignments are invoked from hundreds of thousands of training data points, exploding the labyrinth of analogue circuitry into myriad trajectories, sometimes improvising constellations and galaxies of sound that dance and weave before collapsing in on themselves like black holes.

As these nucleic worlds evolve and collide, the rigours of musical analysis spontaneously combust, leaving only a kind of amorphous ectoplasmic string theory of sound. In this effervescent, primordial flux, noiseforms evolve and run amok, speaking in tongues, self-organising and conjuring for their listeners spontaneous creation paradoxes.

“Retrain in Cyber” they said. QED. 

Transhuman Harmolodics – Isambard Khroustaliov

‘Transhuman Haromlodics’ takes inspiration from a diverse network of actors and phenomena, allowing them to shape and influence the nature and form of the music in an attempt to imagine a fluid, expressive symbiosis; a small contribution to forging a more engaged and emancipated understanding of how thinking more openly about our culture of music might help us think more openly about other aspects of our reality. 

Tangible Extractions

In 2018, Anne Haaning asked Isambard Khroustaliov to write a soundtrack for her film and installation ‘Tangible Extractions’. Created exclusively using a modular synthesizer and by hacking presets on a Roland D-05 module, the soundtrack ended up being the catalyst for a new direction in his music, one that is expanded on and explored in the album ‘This Is My Private Beach, This Is My Jetsam’ from 2019.

For the forthcoming album ‘Transhuman Harmolodics’, Khroustaliov re-visits the soundtrack, taking another look at it’s nascent forms and sonorities with the hindsight of having developed numerous new strategies and methods of composing with this type of material. The result is the track ‘Longevity Escape Velocity’ that concludes the album, which takes the seed of the soundtrack to ‘Tangible Extractions’ and launches it into a harmonic vortex of suspended animation. It’s trajectory as a composition is completed by feeding the soundtrack’s audio and the MIDI sequences used to make it, along with a flood of NRPN continuous controller information to a Moog One with the aim of having it try to copy it. The end of the piece acts like a strangely distorted mirror, a kind of AI recapitulation of the spark of inspiration that initiated a journey of musical discovery.

‘Transhuman Harmolodics’ arrives in full on the 28th May 2021.