f we were looking for a recent mashup of keyboards and strings, of (future) electronic and (old) analog traditions in ways that were equally disrespectful of established genres, we need look no further than Hard TON (above). The offshoot net-projectof R.A.I.G., "Accessory Takes" has just published for free download his album, "These Stars Are Not Yet in Sight, When the North Passes By." For a third time, we're offered the theme of "something" that might be constantly discernible against the background of time's passage. And, with equal frequency, that search takes place in between genres, in empty places that are "always there," no matter what labels or tags are chosen. The very creation of styles, in fact, also creates gaps between them, places of nothingness that can only be investigated with minimal music and a modest worldview.
The young man behind these investigations - Hard TON aka A.D. Drogunkin - begins by throwing a few incongruous terms in our direction: "instrumental/ experimental/ industrial metal." The first term implies his absence; the second a lack of generic limits; and the third is a genre(!). This is the paradoxically unbounded playing field on which we find ourselves.
His own label is also lost for words. "There’s not much we can say about HARD TON except that it’s a solo project by Drogunkin A.D., a wonderful and multi-talented newcomer from Reutov (not far from Moscow). Equipped with a computer and some other, more peculiar instruments, he blends influences from the past and present of several industrial traditions, together with some experimental things, a little bit of prog rock, some metal... and so on. He creates a sort of extreme digital music for our Cyber Age. This is arguably the most impressive and shocking debut on this year's Russian independent/ underground scene."
These sounds are accompanied by a fittingly fractured text, penned by Drogunkin himself. "Toy blocks? I throw them around. The Number '6.' Six dots. Yes. I am the mirror that cannot be looked at..." He lays claim to an inexpressible process that may be best evoked by chance, by the roll of a numbered block or dice. In making music that tries to illustrate an escape from "mortifying" genres and styles, the most successful - but frightening - solution may come not from a search for childhood naivety, nor a redoing of nostalgic social projects, but in the admission that over and above all melodies of "changed weather" or historical "mechanisms" is chance and randomness.
Any conviction that fickle fate trumps the consoling patterns of "history" - or the unchanging limits of comfortingly familiar styles - will not produce a happy worldview. After all, it turns existence into a crap shoot. This same outlook, logically, should not produce easy, pleasant music, either.