Theo Kovalev is the auteur behind the audio cinematic-style moniker, Wave Resistance. According to Google, “Grey Area: an ill-defined situation or field not readily conforming to a category or to an existing set of rules”. In reality, it is a polyrhythmic style that links the 85/170 and 128 BPM of drum & bass and techno. Wave Resistance’s overall sound is challenging and experimental. With music released on Eternal Turns and Abstrakt Reflections, you can say his music is a derivative of that style but not the totality of the wide palette of this techno sonic tapestry.
Curious about this technical poet, I decided to ping him 7 “Grey Area” information query packets through SoundCloud’s messenger. Below are the results of those query strings.
Did the Covid-19 pandemic and the isolated freedom from social distractions surrounding it affect your sound and work process?
Hi, Albert! First of all, thank you very much for the invitation and it was a pleasure to prepare a mix for your podcast that was released after the *Rustee‘s mix – he is my good friend who supports me and especially such type of experience as mixing.
I think so. I had to move a lot since the beginning of the pandemic. And I worked on my Master’s thesis during the quarantine. So I had to postpone my music production. The organization in Moscow and suburbs was crazy. I guess we still have not such a wonderful situation as our government says, it’s like the last fake voting process. It’s actually really a problem to live in a country where you can’t believe any information at all.
*the first mix that I’ve made was for VIKHOD SILY podcast
Selecting the correct songs and putting them in order is a learned skill that is based mostly on intuition and feeling. Can you describe your process on how you able to correctly feel out this 1-hour essay for this week’s podcast?
I can’t explain my music production at all. It’s always very intuitive. I was focused on the rhythmic music that I like and chose tracks that are the most interesting for me. Then I understood that it’s the right choice for the pandemic period and really futuristic. Then I changed several tracks just to follow some kind of order in the names of tracks and it was an experiment to mix them together – I found that some suit really well and increase the effect.
What persuaded you to get into music production? Are you able to sustain a living wage solely on music?
Music is my hobby. I work as a radio frequency engineer and a physicist and it’s my main income. Once in 2012 or so my friend from the first university (who is the FAN of Underground Resistance and Detroit techno, he is a very interesting person, because he was born in Nizhnevartovsk where people could beat if you don’t look like others) bought Ableton and some VST plugins – it was the main reason. We started jamming. And I studied radio electronics, so it was easier to understand sound synthesis and some basics like filtering and so on. That’s why I started my first experiments and I use mostly the same equipment as at the beginning because it’s really harsh from the financial point of view to live in Russia. Not so many people are interested in such kind of music here, so it’s more like an underground community where you know most everyone. For example, the first festival that I organized last year was non-profit at all – I paid all the money to the club for rent. I’m out of the society here and it’s really a freak way, even my own family doesn’t support me. But I don’t care. Music is for the soul, not for money. And it’s my protest against this fucking system.
From what I discover in your music (it seems) that your production is presented through an anti-genre lense. Ambiguity and the blurring of lines is an attractive way of gathering different followers. Would you say this is the ideal future of electronic music?
It might be, but I don’t find a really huge attraction from this point of view. Maybe I just don’t use a lot of promotion. It seems to be nice to mix different genres just from the aesthetic point of view.
I took Electronic Engineering course decades ago, so when I saw on your Discogs’ page regarding Conductor Geometry, I immediately gravitated to why in explicit terms why your music sound the way it does. Were you always attracted to the marriage of Electric/Electronic Engineering and Electronic Music?
My life is electronic from both sides, so it’s a common way of thinking for me, but I really like music for freedom. I have to be very careful in science with the terminology and avoid the mysticism. But I could tell different strange stories through music. It was actually the way of Efremov who was one of the most famous sci-fi writers in the Soviet Union because it was very dangerous to tell something that is out of the official ideology.
What is “Technogen” music? Can you vividly describe the components and process behind it?
The correct term should be “technogenic”, but I like word Technogen more because it’s more fundamental like the epoch. So I also like the term of hyper-industrial. These terms are philosophical and were taken from Bernard Stiegler and some other philosophers. I actually think that my music is a kind of response to what exists in the “outer” world. I would like to be accurate in this term “outer” because it’s not clear so far where is the difference between outer and inner. This is also a scientific problem that our generation should solve. And I think that it’s very important to use the language of music at this stage because scientific language is in crisis. Our science can’t produce a common description of the world. So this term is more about the search for answers in music. We live in very hard times and it’s also very strange to search for answers in music because it seems like wasting time from the rational point of view, but who knows… I think this is the meaning.
What are you up to next?
I just returned from the amazing experimental electronic music festival that my friends organize in the forest not far from Saint-Petersburg every year. And I’m really excited to continue playing live sets. So to say I work on several albums as well that I would like to release soon. One will be released with CRL Studios support – it’s a very old IDM/rhythmic noise label in the US. And I will continue my scientific research in the field of radio physics. But my dream is to live in the monastery where you could play electronic music. Don’t know any so far maybe it’s a good idea to organize or just spend some time in the original one and return back to music then – it would be nice to describe feelings thought it.
Surgeon – Transparent Radiation
Akkord – 3dOS
Skee Mask – Autotuned
Silent Harbour – FEG Depth
Dadub – Temptation of Maya (Original Mix)
Monolake – Ghosts
Clarity – Cryptid
Owl, Dyl, ILL_K – Infinite Vision Of Space
ASC – Space Echo
Sam KDC – Atonement
Homemade Weapons – Mind Control
Logical Disorder – Orwell
Wave Resistance – Future Technologies
Bad Sector – Zvezdi