REVIEW: Chaos as Shelter – “Dead Air Broadcasts”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

Dead Air BroadcastsIgor Krutogolov is utterly fascinated by the subversive realm of shortwave radio. Mixing his strangely-tuned frequencies through his receiver, what comes about is Dead Air Broadcasts, an unnerving sixty-eight minute recording of static disruption and schizophrenic celebration of noise; music – if you'd be so inclined to call it that – for the truly deranged. It is art in its rawest form, tweaking from something as basic as the simple ability to turn a receiver knob, but doing so with a wrist of steel, a heart of ice and an otherworldly mind. In the end, Dead Air Broadcasts is a modern torture device, a well-conceived study in aural terrorism.

Each of the ten tracks is delineated with a "Broadcast" title, but really the spaces between the tracks are merely Krutogolov's good graces to cut the listener some slack – albeit brief – before beginning the onslaught yet again. Perhaps at home in an episode of The X-Files, or for that unwritten sequel to the Evil Dead trilogy, Dead Air Broadcasts tries to outsmart itself as Krutogolov blends his cold cuts with frantic sounds that will remind listeners of everything from flies buzzing to whirring helicopter blades and even chirping crickets, which are just as annoying as on a sleepless summer's night.

But for the most part, Dead Air Broadcasts sounds like someone farting around with a radio dial for the sheer amusement of it all. Broadcast 3 should remind one of the hopeless static of the dying radio in Night of the Living Dead, which ironically zombifies the listener – assuming he has made it this far. On occasion, the listener will perceive actual voices (distinctly Asian at times) that are quickly drowned in the static. It feels like making contact on other ends of the world, then suddenly losing it in despair. The hollow cacophony resonating through each track challenges the listener to find just what the hell is going on through Krutogolov's saturated mind. That is for him to address. As for the listener, to say that Broadcast 4 sounds like a Jedi lightsaber is taking the easy way out, and is, frankly, giving it too much credit.

By the time the disc reaches the eighteen-plus-minute screechfest Broadcast 10, Krutogolov would have one believe he's actually made it to an actual song through its twittering ersatz. By this time, the listener has been desensitized, his spine raked, his ears scooped out, his brain numbed. Perhaps there is a hilarious message beneath the static: a potshot to corporate radio, as if to say Top-40 dreck is killing us all with its blasé, empty tawdriness. If so, then kudos to Krutogolov. Well done. However, Dead Air Broadcasts is a joke that carries on its punchline longer than necessary, sixty-eight minutes, to be exact. Krutogolov seems to be in a battle of wills; who will outlast the other, the artist or the listener? That spirit, unfortunately, is pointless and brutal.

Contact Information:
Post: DTA Records, 106 W. Mountainview Ave., Greenville, SC, 29609, USA
Phone: (864) 979-4101

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