By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Igor "Grundik" Kasyansky and Slava Smelovsky live in an interesting world. This pair of Russian musicians dwell in such quietude and serenity it's damned enviable. Where else but inside their comforted infrastructure could anyone possibly get away with integrating bird chirping and lullaby-tendered instrumentation? While this duo ought to come with a somnambulant warning label, their fourth recording ...for Electronics and Birds offers music to challenge the discerning new millenniumist. It's not always perfect, but there's something intriguing about their softhearted tranquility.

The sedate and extensive opener Pattern in Time opens a chiming portal with as many ways to tweak the familiar Three Blind Mice scale as Grundik and Slava can get away with. It is mostly innocent and pure, subjectively so. Virola is a bit more aggressive in an Alan Howarth sense with high synth notes that scrape the lower ones in a strange contrast that, combined, produces an altogether different sleepwalking effect. Lost Fado captures Middle Eastern chant and thrusts it amidst a harrowing melody which halts in face of the bird chirping that prevails as the stabilizing factor on this random-natured project.

Music for Mr. Ambient sways peacefully along until the erratic ending that reflects Air, while the transparent 1:32 Final dares the listener into deeper meditation realized next on the organic Music Box 1, which cheerfully utilizes Grundik and Slava's electronic tweaking to sound like a store full of wind chimes catching gale forces from an open door. The bird sampling afterwards is an afterthought, and if one has stuck around long enough, Pianka Do Golenia will undoubtedly catch one off guard with its eccentric jazz splicing that might piss one off at first, but after awhile it begins to assume an awkward satisfaction before the next round of aviary chatter pecks it away.

The drunken Song for Dong teeters along until the 8-plus minute Rain Music incorporates some tangible beats to its equally inebriated melody that rambles for seven minutes before giving way to the birds yet again. The project closes with Inarticulate Pattern, which reprises Pattern in Time with more electronic layering. At 3:41, it is perhaps better realized than its predecessor, if not more expedient.

Undoubtedly Grundik and Slava reside in some sort of quirky new age nirvana when they compose together. With the barbaric world that exists outside their two-man symposium, one can hardly blame them for consulting the birds as their muse. They're obviously types to stop and smell the roses in a world that ignores them until they have need of them. Grundik and Slava seemingly need the roses every day.


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