Record of the Week


Rhythmic BrutalismAlexandra Atnif
“Rhythmic Brutalism 1 & 2”
(EM Records)

You just need the titles of the tracks and then you have a very precise impression of this remarkable debut album of the Romanian producer Alexandra Atnif: “Pillars Of Insanity”, “Ephemeral Moments Of Mental Clarity”, “Adore & Detest”, “Acute Anxiety Neurosis”, “Abandon Your Cities”, “Anthems Of The Deaf & Blind”, “Degenerating Human Livestock”, “Void Aesthetik”… This list could be continued at length since Atnif directly delivered a double CD or rather two double vinyl.

It is a bleak joy to experience how uncompromising Atnif approaches her sound material on “Rhythmic Brutalism 1 & 2”. She does not accept any preservations. You have to constantly recheck to see that there is not another sound source, because the sound is thrashing very vehemently and against the currently valid sound paradigm. Although she also knows how to do it differently: A track like “Undeciphered Distress Signal”, for example, is swinging downright relaxing dublike.

The guiding architecture of the brutalism is a great reference in its relentlessness to minimize the people. Musically Atnif is evoking records that were released in the 1990s on labels like Mille Plateaux, Force Inc. and Force Tracks in Frankfurt, but seldom classifiable strictly to one of these labels, her tracks rather appear like a strange hybrid of these three influences. She says she her influences are Throbbing Gristle, Esplendor Geometrico, Muslimgauze, Pan Sonic, Autechre, Winterkälte, Prurient and Scorn.

Research about the artist in the subcultural circles of Bucharest was to no avail, which might be because Atnif is not part of any scenes and works as a full-time doctor in a clinic. Therefore her music had to go the long way round through Japan to get recognized in Europe. The owner of the Osaka based label EM Records (Koki Emura) has discovered her and is willing to worthily realize her vision of a gray-black world. Whatever the cost.

Translation by Denise Oemcke 


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