“We are able to say that with Symphony of Sirens, Avraamov pioneered the concept of utilizing non-traditional devices for each composition and efficiency,” provides Khismatov. In later works, Avraamov would go on to include instruments reminiscent of saws, grinding wheels, axes and sledgehammers into his music.
As an alternative of a conventional rating, he used written directions and musical notation so simplified that anybody may perceive it. “Symphony of Sirens exemplifies a mode of music making wherein virtuosity, notation or conventional strategies of musical association are disbursed with in favour of a extra conceptual method,” says Stubbs. “It is about the way you sequence and juxtapose components. That is as true for the newest EP by [British electronic musician] Burial as it’s for Avraamov.”
Symphony of Sirens was tried simply as soon as extra, a yr later in Moscow, although at a much-reduced scale. Undeterred, Avraamov started plotting his subsequent challenge: putting in highly effective electroacoustic units on Zeppelins and flying them above Moscow. Not content material with conducting a metropolis, Avraamov now had the skies in his sights.
There have been two issues although. Firstly, Avraamov was broke. Secondly, the revolutionary environment in Russia that had fostered a radical, creative avant-garde was coming to an finish. “Symphony [of Sirens] represents what numerous early digital music represents – a utopianism, a misplaced future,” says Stubbs. “It was commissioned at a time when it was nonetheless optimistically held that the grand, revolutionary egalitarian prospect of the Soviet Union may function hand-in-hand with the creative avant-garde. Sadly, that was quashed in time beneath Stalin.”
The Zeppelin challenge by no means left the drafting board, and Avraamov died in poverty and obscurity. Curiosity in his work solely re-emerged within the Nineteen Nineties, and the first reconstruction of Symphony of Sirens, primarily based on Avraamov’s notes and utilizing samples, came about in 2008. The next yr, Khismatov debuted his personal reconstruction (beneath his most well-liked translation, Symphony of Industrial Horns) at a fort in St Petersburg. It later appeared at Documenta 14 and has gone on to affect a new generation of digital, avant-garde and politically motivated composers. In 2017, Avraamov made an look within the BBC documentary Tunes for Tyrants, with presenter Suzy Klein heralding the Russian as one of many forgotten geniuses of music, and even performing her personal tribute to Symphony of Sirens as she stood on a Moscow rooftop and waved two purple flags back and forth. Lengthy after his demise, Avraamov is lastly getting his due.