EU /elochnye igrushki/ is a duo formed by Sasha Zaicev and Ilya Baramia in the late of 1997. They both got interested in contemporary electronic music early in the nineties through listening to releases by WARP, NINJA TUNE, REPHLEX. The first track by EU was recorded on October 7th, 1997. Named MICE ON MOON, it appeared on the now legendary PERFORATION compilation album on Perforated records, small independent label located in Saint-Petersburg, which maintains the underground spirit of contemporary electronica here, in Russia. Following year and half were devoted to the active experimentation in the home studio with all kind of accessible equipment (PC, Boss DR-660, old analogue keys) and occasional live shows in different local clubs (such as Port, Griboedov, MAMA, Ten). During March ’98 – February ’99 sessions the new material was recorded. Some part of it was released as MC and limited edition CD via Perforated records (distributed by Manchester Files at Saint-Petersburg, Russia) and may be regarded as an introduction in EU sound. During summer of ’99 was recorded and compiled the material for “Rhythm Manipulation” MC that is split release between EU and young talented artist Tensor. The MC was released by Perforated Records was much in the vein of “ninja tune” sound what is not usual for EU.
As the crowds fight to get their hands on a copy of ‘Wienn/Srez’, EU’s (7″ only) ambient almost enoid electronic excursion; EU return with the ‘Reframing’ EEP (that’s Extended EP.. or err.. mini-album if you prefer!). Eight pulsing tracks of pure technoid hiccup, lush soundscapes, stuttering insect beats and vocal ululations (Wienn).
Wienn and Srez (both contained on Reframing) received support and plays from Don Mecca of Radio John Peel, and a Breezeblock outing courtesy of Queen of eclectic righteousness Mary Anne Hobbs, she also dubbed the record « a lovely thing.. » and she was right, and a particularly nice man at NME, awarded it single of the week, ahead of that ragamuffin Roni Size tune…Result! Simultaneously gathering praise (like a rolling stone..) from the likes of Sleaze Nation, Seven, DJ, Ministry and reassuringly expensive style bible Pure. Along the way the double-a-side single managed to pick up healthy comparisons to the likes of Boards Of Canada, Aphex Twin and even David Bowie’s ‘Warszawa’ and ‘Sense Of Doubt’…mustn’t grumble. Enough name checking, take a listen and keep your ear to the floor for more. (Pause 2 Recordings)
Another stunning gem of an LP brought to us from the former Soviet Union. Together with Fizzarum (labelmates, neighbours and friends), EU are the best exponents of this new wave of Russian electronic experimentalism. Bizzarely translated as ‘Christmas Bauballs’ EU started sending off material and demo’s a couple of years ago……..finally reaching a crescendo with the release of the highly limited and excellent ‘Wienn’ 7″ earlier this year. Whilst firmly rooted in the worldwide fascination with redirecting and paying homage to the immense influencve that Autechre have had and continue to have on the electronic scene, EU create fragmented textured and fragile melodies that somehow manage to standout. Melodic intensity housed within rusting, industrial scaffolding. (Boomkat)
FR EU serait à Autechre ce que les lanceurs russes sont à la navette spatiale américaine, ou ce que Stalker est à Inception (c’est pas plus clair? m’en doutais…) : une version russe à première vue moins spectaculaire et plus rustique, mais qui tient tout aussi bien la route.
ENG Imagine a less hermetic Autechre, a less Naive Isan or a less pseudo-esoteric Boards of Canada. And this time, less + less + less equals more, not just a russian copy but an excellent album from this underrated duo. (I know Boomkat is evil, but this review is reliable, seriously.)