(2019 - Noise Up - Russia)
As a core duo consisting of Anton Efimov (guitar, bass, effects) and Evgenia Sivkova (saxophones, drums, clarinets, voice, trumpet, mandolin, effects), sometimes enlisting Evgenia's father Edward Sivkov (clarinets, saxophones, bass-domra), the Russian experimental group Der Finger has always taken interesting subject matter and transformed it to musical interpretations. This album 'Medizin' (Medicine) is as adventurous as ever with their dark introspection of thoughts from Hippocrates, having to do with the doctrine of diseases, They are divided between external and internal. Causes of external being seasons of the year, weather, and terrain. Internal ones are related to human actions, habits, diet etc. The eight pieces on 'Medizin' explore these things or conditions.
Still the unique formula of industrial, ritualistic, noise rock, dark ambient, free jazz, electronics, and musique concrete, are used to make this wake up music. The patience and attention to detail pays off to the listener, but do not expect this to be an easy listen. In the development of many of the works, the sometimes obscure changes are the most enticing parts of the journey you take. The elements of avant-garde brilliance like was on so many Made To Measure releases and the early 1980's Extreme label come to mind as comparisons. Also, some of the dark jazz influences seep in. The duo are scientists and the creations they make are thinking people's music. Mature music lovers of experimental output may recall Ilitch (aka Thierry Muller) of the 1970's, a French artist whose works can also be a reference of Der Finger. Perhaps not so abrasive or mind numbing.
In this instance, quite a lot of horror movie soundtrack atmosphere is involved. In fact, I could see this album being such a OST, and a very good one. There is also a distinct space age or alien characteristic here. So sci-fi fans take notice. Hearing and knowing about several previous recordings by Der Finger, I get what they do. Their hallucinogenic music may give one shivers in spots, but the artful way they arrange is trenchant and extraordinary in content. Yes at times bestial, but imaginative and highly interesting for avant-garde fans. To know Der Finger improvise all these pieces on the spot is another level of respect. The skill to do such is uncommon, and what makes the music so important and ingenious. Thank you Anton for the CDr.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2- 21 - 2020