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Anton Nikkilä

Shum.info – Electronic Music in Russia

Anton Nikkilä (born 1965) is an experimental musician and composer who lives and works in Helsinki. He started making music in the ”post-punk” milieu of the early 80’s, ran the cassette label Valtavat Ihmesilmälasit Records in 1980–82 and attended John Cage’s summer courses in Finland in 1983. Later during the 1980’s he was actively involved in Russian underground rock as a translator (which subsequently became his official profession) and in many other roles, including journalist and festival organiser (to which he returned later when working as the director of Avanto Helsinki Media Art Festival in 2003–2005). In the early 90’s he studied Russian literature and musicology and became father of two children.

Anton Nikkilä’s first solo album ”Formalist” was released by Moscow’s Exotica label in 1998. In 2000 he started the N&B Research Digest label with Alexei Borisov, his musical collaborator since the mid-90’s. Their duo, based on Nikkilä’s compositions, Borisov’s texts and improvised noise by both, has produced two studio albums and two live albums.

”You’ve never heard the cut-up and sample thing done with such absurdist, insane panache and vigour. (…) Somehow Anton knows exactly how to control all of his elements – distortion, programming, unpredictable electronic effects – into a perfect, constantly mutating chimera of sounds that cannot possibly exist. It’s like seeing the Tatlin tower remade out of breadcrumbs and plasticine, spinning around at the top of a mountain. Despite their atomised approach to de-constructing the song form (and the dance music form, to some extent), this intelligent duo still manage to ask many pointed and searching questions about the geo-political state of the world today.” (Ed Pinsent about Borisov & Nikkilä’s ”Live at Belly”, The Sound Projector 17, November 2008)

”Since the early 1990’s, the Russian Alexei Borisov and the Finn Anton Nikkilä have been engaging in a cross-cultural dialogue invigorated rather than encumbered by the complex and conflicted political relationship of their native countries. Their conclusions have mostly been published by their own N&B Research Digest imprint. Nikkilä states that three ideas lie behind the label’s mock-institutional facade and plainspeak notes: conceptualism, experimentalism and archival work.” (Matthew Wuethrich, The Wire, July 2008)

“Experimental music is not dependent on institutional definitions; it constitutes a field, albeit fragmentary, of its own – a no man’s land. The electro-acoustic music of Anton Nikkilä, for example, a musician with an avant-punk background, neatly defies all conventional definitions. His minimalist industrial dada is equally at home in clubs and in concert halls reserved for classical music.” (Tanja Uimonen, Finnish Music Quarterly 3/2007)

Complete discography

“Kytkentätaulun valot” (7″ EP, Valtavat Records, Finland 1992)

“Formalist” (CD, Exotica, Russia, 1998) – listen

White Nights” (CD, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2002)

Other projects:

“Serguei Letov – Alexei Borisov – Anton Nikkila” (CD, Hor Music, Russia, 2002)

Alexei Borisov & Anton Nikkilä: “Live@Cafe9” (CD-R, Planktone, Russia, 2002) – listen here

Alexei Borisov & Anton Nikkilä: “Typical Human Beings” (CD, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2004, re-released as download, N&B Research Digest, 2008)

Alexei Borisov & Anton Nikkilä: “Where Are They Now” (CD, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2007)

Alexei Borisov & Anton Nikkilä: “Live at Belly” (download, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2008)

Swissair: “Soundtrack from the Film Hermafrodiitit” (download, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2008)

Swissair: “15. helmikuuta 1981” (cassette, Valtavat Records, Finland, 1982, re-released as download, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2008)

Compilations:

“Decay – An European Compilation” (CD, Ash International, UK, 1997)

Pilottilasit – Samples from Helsinki Underground 1981-1987” (CD-R, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2000, re-released as download, N&B Research Digest, 2008)

Geologists and Professional Tourists” (CD-R, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2000)

Geologists and Professional Tourists Volume 2” (CD, N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2002)

“Avantometric Attachments 2002” (CD, Avanto Helsinki Media Art Festival, Finland, 2002)

“Electric Leak – The North of it” (CD, Office for Contemporary Art Norway/Ballongmagasinet, Norway, 2003)

Pekka Airaksinen: “Madam I’m Adam” (remix, 2CD, Love/N&B Research Digest, Finland/Russia, 2003, re-released as download, N&B Research Digest, 2008)

Musique Concrete Ensemble: “Dissolution Tapes” (remix, CD, Zeromoon, USA, 2004)

Ilios: “Encyclopedia-RW” (remix, CD, Antifrost, Greece/Spain, 2004)

“Idroscalo d’Autore: Disco Compatto Numero Uno” (CD, Idroscalo Dischi, Italy, 2004)

Elliott Sharp: “Tone of Finland” (remix, 2CD, Crystal Eye, Finland, 2005)

Yokomono 02 – 55 Lock Grooves” (12-inch/33 rpm vinyl, Staalplaat, The Netherlands/Germany, 2005)

The Wire Tapper 19” (CD, The Wire, UK, 2008)

“Un/Typical – CD compilation of sound art from eastern Europe” (CD, CAC Interviu, Lithuania, 2008)

Sound Canvas 1” (download, Mikroton, Russia, 2008)

Fifteen Sounds of the War on the Poor, vol. 1” (download, Ultra-red Public Record Archive, USA, 2008)

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http://www.nbresearchdigest.com/nikkila/


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