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Ornaments (with Alexei Borisov/Miguel Ruiz) 2007


  1. L'ere d'opulence
  2. Invisible Engines p.1
  3. Correlation
  4. House of Atheism
  5. Invisible Engines p.2
  6. Solnze Mira
  7. Secret Field
  8. Brown Framework
  9. Virgo H721

The project was given a start to in the spring of 2006. When Miguel Ruiz played a gig in Moscow he got acquainted with Evgeny Voronovsky (Cisfinitum) and gave him a CD with his ambient passages. The work continued when Cisfinitum was touring in Madrid where Miguel heard the first edition of his tracks. "We worked at the distance by means of e-mail, as a genuine group, keeping mail-art traditions of the 80's" – says Evgeny Voronovsky. When Alexei Borisov joined the project neither did he play with Cisfinitum or Miguel Ruiz – he worked on his own in his studio. That's exactly the way album was composed – without a physical presence of each other sound artists somehow tried to achieve the unity in sound and music. And they surely managed to do it! While listening to the album one can't identify which sound layer or instrumental part belongs to the exact person. Everything sounds inseparable. All in all the band used: audio-software, drum-machines, synthesizers, organ, bass-generator, guitar, processed violin, voice, tapes.

Some tracks from this CD are in fact drone or dark ambient but the majority is something less usual. The main aim of "Ornaments" in my opinion is to combine two kinds of meditative and hypnotic music: trance and drone-ambient; to put some trance in drone and vice versa. The artists take the main hypnotic structures of trance and drone (straight bass-drum and hum) and put them together. And they do without melodies. At least there are no melodies in their natural form: one has to catch or imagine them in noise patterns, which adds an extra point to the deepness of the music. Soundscapes fly high and low, meet each other and disperse. Loads of humming sounds cover them. And implacable beats do the rest to make your eyes focused into yourself. Some guitars and voices can appear somewhere but they are not clear or distinct at all. An ear tries to catch the tunes or the meaning of phrases…ineffectually. All sounds are quiet and distanced. It's like being at an open-air trance party and at an improvised home rehearsal at the same time.

Some people say that "Ornaments" is boring as hell but it equals saying that mediation is boring as well. What'd you expect from a mix of drone and trance? Yeah, it's boring but it's cool. These are the songs secret fields sing accompanied by woods when they feel lonely. The booklet contains three essays (one per musician) in Russian and English: Voronovsky and Ruiz wrote concrete ones, Borisov kept it in the abstract way. An eye can feel delight 'cause there are a few nice traceries here and there on the cover by Eric Belousov from OSTENGRUPPE.

Heathen Harvest

"Yesterday an important recording from last year reappeared on shop shelves. It involves two Russian musicians - Aleksei Borisov and Evgenii Voronovskii (aka Cisfinitum) - plus their Madrid-based colleague, Miguel Ruiz.

Borisov is something of a legend in Russian experimental electronica. Although by education a political historian, he was quickly involved in music after graduating from Moscow State University. Despite the cultural difficulties of being in the Soviet Union of the early ’80s, Borisov was able to work with several outfits who stayed abreast of fashions in European music, such as new wave, ska, and electronica. The struggle between art and academia began… By 1989 he had abandoned his job as a researcher in Moscow’s Institute of International Relations and decided to embrace music professionally.

Needless to say, after 1991 Borisov’s opportunities for travel, together with access to foreign media, grew swiftly. Perhaps his two most notable collaborations have been with the electro-industrial folk ensemble Volga and the avantgarde jazz collective, Gosplan Trio. Our brief notes, nonetheless, cannot do justice to the enormous range of festival performances in Borisov’s CV. He also has much experience as a DJ - though on the basis of “Ornaments” alone, newcomers would be unlikely to boogie… It’s not exactly hi-NRG.

Borisov’s output was - and remains - adamantly committed to the removal of generic borders. He also sees his discography in the broader context of lessening geographic specificity, too. It’s something of a post-imperial gesture:

“I’m not aiming to combine intellectualism with music, I’m just incorporating my background - both professionally and as general experience - into forms of musical expression. I think it’s pretty important not to deny who you are and where you’re coming from, not to try and follow the standards of the international electronic music scene, even, but to bring something idiosyncratic to it. Something personal.” A tightly-cordoned realm becomes nowhere in particular.

The story of “Ornaments” maps these ideas and intentions very nicely. Perhaps its most striking expression of erasure - and of unexpected, new interaction - comes in the context of generational difference(s). Despite Borisov’s senior standing in this fleetingly composed trio of himself (above), Voronovskii (below), and Ruiz, he is responsible for the most fashionable and arguably youthful aspect of “Ornaments” - its rhythm section.

The ominous drone that marks most of the work is increasingly punctuated by the distant bursts of a drum machine. These are Borisov’s rhythms, as Voronovskii remembers.

“I edited the [initial ambient] mix that Miguel had sent me, and then I added some rhythmic elements that I had in supply. When I listened back to it all, I came to the conclusion that there were still gaps in the work. And that’s what we managed to fill with some of Aleksei’s materials. They’d been lying around in the studio for more than a year, waiting their turn. They were on a disc of analog drum-machine stuff; things that Aleksei had recorded a long time ago.”

“Once I had put those rhythms into the recording, then it was clear we had to get his voice and guitar in there, too..! I think the result is something very uncharacteristic for the three of us. It’s a kind of dark ambient work with trance rhythms.”

This was not a fast process: Ruiz (above) and Voronovskii exchanged tapes by mail for almost nine months before Borisov’s contribution was included. Voronovskii made a trip to Madrid; Ruiz made a trip to Iaroslavl… and so on.

Trip after trip, layer after layer, the work slowly came together in defiance of genres, geography - and impending geriatrics.

Thus there emerged an authorless tale made “nowhere in particular” and begun by a Spaniard who was “charmed by the snowy landscapes of Russia.” In fact, after the release of “Ornaments,” Ruiz would say that these same (visibly) empty spaces had directly inspired the audible textures of the CD.

The album’s nine tracks were designed to embody not only the boundless, ever-opening fields of snow, but the kind of vacuous soundscapes that allowed Ruiz to express his “love and respect for Iurii Gagarin - in fact for all the early cosmonauts.”

“The main aim of ‘Ornaments’ is to combine two kinds of meditative and hypnotic music: trance and drone-ambient; to put some trance in drone and vice versa. The artists take the main hypnotic structures of trance and drone (straight bass-drum and hum) and put them together. And they do without melodies. At least there are no melodies in their natural form: one has to catch or imagine them in noise patterns.”

Four men in the middle of nowhere: Borisov, Voronovskii, Ruiz, and a bewildered reviewer. Forty-seven years after the event that inspired them, in the middle of a snowy field they start to establish new networks with the help of a very old metaphor and a handful of dog-eared stamps.

How Russian."

Стол и стулья, восьмое число лета, уходит природа в ночь, давая тем самым повод для реализации реализма простого. Характерен поступок, возможно в этом заложена жизнь цветов, формирующих орнамент нашего стального общества. Ответная встреча дня, нечто из области психопатии, когда спит природа в обнимку с мылом. Яркость угля и безликость порошков говорят нам об отказе от гомеопатии, в то время как человеческий фактор возможен только в случае выхода в поле. Новая схема дня, орнаментальность плоти и говорок старый, древнерусский, локальный по сути. Сваи, белая скатерка резная, положенная в раствор из ярких химикатов – уха и ухо, рот в размер яйца. Токсичность ночи подтверждается документами из Мадрида. Глаза и уши, холодный рот, мужской или женский. Прямой и твердый. Цветет укроп, говорит диктатор, плюется в микрофон, нарушая тем самым орнамент речи. Москва спит, США дремлет – хлопоты утюга, головка спички, весна густая, вторая по счету осень, испанская по сути. Вертикаль, сосна, хек, палтус, милый и стойкий – орех и вода, сальная как никогда. Характеристика на вступление в должность, документация и просто отвар из эвкалипта африканского, ручного, словно зверек античный......

Алексей Борисов