Most modern diamonds are cut in the “round brilliant” configuration. Originally known as “old mine”, “cushion cut” or “double cut brilliants” diamonds, a primitive form of the cut was introduced in the 17th century by Jules Cardinal Mazarin, although the “table cut” of the early 14th century somewhat resembles these later cuts. The configuration reached near perfection when geometer Marcel Tolkowsky published Diamond Design in 1919 (e-book available here). With fifty-eight facets, Tolkowsky’s “round brilliant” was designed to maximize refraction of both white and colored light. It is most efficiently cut from an octahedral diamond, since two finished gems can be efficiently produced from a single rock; still, more than fifty percent of a diamond’s weight is generally lost during cutting and polishing.
“It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, Like a diamond in an Ethiop’s ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows.”
Especially with first impressions, a thing appears much more brilliant if set in contrast to something else. But maybe Shakespeare is all too obvious to FMU’s obscurity obsessed (still, you’d better admit “trooping” is a wonderful word choice). Then let Shakespeare be the Ethiop and Atarix be the diamond. Let Internet Archive be the Ethiop too, since that’s where I happened to encounter the nice low-fi electronic noise label, 20kbps. I wager Ahmad Kabbah himself would be terrified by the Internet Archive, with all its mediocre jam, ambient electronica and acoustic guitar driven Christian inspiration music. Scary Stuff, a real trudge through the swamp. But all that makes me love Atarix more, since he’s one of the few gems I’ve been able to unearth from that heap.
Sergey Khaninev was one of Russia’s first breakcore artists, first releasing under the Rebell Terract moniker in the mid 90s for a few international labels as well as his own short lived Riot Trigger Records. In 2003, Sergey founded his own internet label, trutypesounds, although he’s released the majority of his work on other labels. His first “official” (aka costs $$$) Atarix release “The Age of Gemini” came out late last year. From the many free releases floating around on the internet, here are a few of my favorite tracks by this multifaceted artist...
The king of King's Message From Other Side Of Saturn (mp3) from the Done Until It's Morning ep is The King…you know, Elvis. An off-kilter, Atarified shuffle mockingly accompanies the recontextualized “Let Me”. Behind all of it lies a drearily sequined ambient backdrop which brings out something haunting in Elvis’ “All day you and me dancing on a cloud…let me have another dance with you.” Is this pop?
Once you learn about Atarix's many aliases (Sooperskalar Band, Serjio Hakinen, Esc#apes, etc.) you might not be surprised to hear Atarix does hip-hip beats too. Smooth Taste Remedy (mp3) begins unassumingly but unfolds wonderfully into a quirky but laid back groove – Atarix is great at cleverly introducing new instruments. Braindead (mp3) from an ep of the same name, brings some heavier beats. Tracks like Nu Meka (mp3), from the “Frrdgz 4 Tha Klnkly Nsane” lp, reveals Atarix’s skill for stretching beat oriented music – here he cuts up a jazz sample, giving it a maniacal edge without quite destroying the original feel.
The excellent Sardoru State album contains some of Atarix’s most experimental and expansive ideas. For Zen Tuning (mp3), Sergey breaks out his guitar, which he heavily shreds with his computer. Nice use of pitch shifting, delay and cut ups to create vague, slowly drifting harmony. The three tracks Black Comatose (mp3), Naked Nerve Player (mp3) and Follow (mp3) form in effect one extremely diverse song. The fractured sample that abruptly begins the song quickly fades into a slow tempo shift that soon explodes into a wonderfully crystalline melody, only to be superceded by this eerie Jandek-esque moment…the madness only increases from here, we even get a rare moment of melodrama. I don’t know why we don’t see Atarix attempting long form composition more often, since he clearly knows how to take the listener through the many terrains he’s mastered.
There is one factual error in this article.