Nothing but the glowing ember of a cigarette. The stark landscape, the buildings colossal and uniform and grey with even numbers of windows, grids of windows, all darkened but one. The flickering of a television set.
He stubs out the cigarette beneath his foot, the leather sole scratching against cement, barely audible in the deafeningly silent night. He begins to walk through the infinite complex. His heels hit pavement rhythmically, echoing amongst and between the buildings, whispering through the trees that bear no fruit and grow no leaves. This land is desolate.
His footsteps merge with the sound of the distant television. A television broadcasting never-ending static news. They never turn it off. Occasionally, a voice slips through and one muffled word is heard within the apartment. The family all looks up, but there is simply static and they resume their reading and chopping of vegetables.
He continues to walk with purpose although he has none. On a mission to find a mission and nothing more. He speeds up. Breathing rises to a rapid pant. There is a deep whining within his breath. Perhaps he attempts to hum, but the melody is lost somewhere in his ribcage, bouncing around his pulsing heart. Nods at an elderly man in the street, shuffling slippers and pushing an empty grocery cart, smiling as elderly men do but with menace in his eyes, menace that will never surface, scorching the man from inside out.
He lights another cigarette. Heel and toe and heel and toe. He walks.
A hooded figure darts out from a door, the fluorescent light within momentarily illuminating the the walkway, turning grey to eerie green as the door swings out and eerie green to grey as it shuts with a thud. He sees the figure, smaller than himself, hunched shoulders, pale hands fumbling with one another, cream collar bone. A stance that is recognizably feminine. She blocks his path, legs apart, hands still dancing. She tries to cross her arms, but her fingers won’t allow it as they clasp to one another. He reaches her, acknowledges and continues. She swivels to walk by his side. Her boots echo as well, but her steps are smaller, faster, slightly lighter on the pavement, picked up as soon as they are set down. Their rhythms join into an arrhythmic dance.
A bridge with metal rails. That same grey concrete. They stop abruptly and look down into the dark water. Distant lights reflect and it churns and bubbles and asks for something, but the language is not their own. She clutches the rail and his hand, gloved in leather, grazes her cheek, leaving frigid heat to linger.
There is nowhere further than here.
Alexandra Atnif. A student of architecture and classical music. Originally from Bucharest, Romania, she relocated to Los Angeles in 2009. Fascinated by the brutalist architecture of the Eastern Bloc, Atnif aims to encapsulate those same harsh aesthetics within her own music while also highlighting the beauty of the hypnotically bleak grey visuals of enormous concrete buildings. Her rhythmic brutalism is produced on inexpensive equipment and freeware.
‘Super Symmetry’ is her first release with Detroit Underground.
Words by Sophia Warren.
Album Design by - Monochrome Laboratory
released April 26, 2016
Born & raised in Bucharest, Romania.
Studied architecture & classical music.
Relocated to Los Angeles in 2009.
Main influence on my music and aesthetics is brutalist architecture, I've been fascinated with it for several years, including remembering many brutalist architectural sights in the Eastern Bloc, particularly in Romania. The repressive, almost hypnotically bleak grey visuals of giant concrete buildings influenced me to create a musical version of my architectural fascination & I though of the term 'rhythmic brutalism' to describe my music. My personal origin is more in classical music than techno, but I'm also influenced by old Rhythmic Industrial music (like Esplendor Geometrico, Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, and many others), as well as experimental & noise music. I also enjoy more experimental techno and electronic music (like Autechre, Pan^Sonic and Scorn) - those are some of my favorites. I also very much like the Rhythmic Noise or Drum'n'Noise sound of Winterkälte and similar acts on labels such as Hands & Ant Zen.
My own sound is purposely created very stripped down and minimalistic but also very heavy and harsh, almost like rhythmic skeletons and just noises and distortion added, like metal meets cement.
That's my inspiration, to create my 'Rhythmic Brutalism'.
It's important that I record and produce everything DIY style only on cheap equipment and freeware, I don't have any expensive synthesizers or vintage equipment. I use a very minimalistic approach, I do it out of inspiration and I have my own musical vision and my sound is still developing as I only started to make beats two years ago, I'm still & forever student of the music.
I hope people find beauty in my sounds, just like I find beauty in Brutalist Architecture, regardless of how unfriendly it might seem at first!