I AM ABOVE ON THE LEFT, a Moscow-based avant-rock band of a new generation was established in autumn 2004 by Alexei Taroutz (guitar), Artemiy Galkin (guitar), Pavel Eremeev (bass), and Sergei Ledovski (drums). The quartet performed loud, noisy, structured, complex, instrumental music, blending influences of jazz-core, noise-rock, math-rock, and avant-prog. Their efforts were devoted, as the participants said, to "rethinking themselves at every single moment of time" and got vivid response from audience. By the end of 2006, the band has released two albums, won critical acclaim internationally, and decided to take a beak from joint activity. Taroutz launched his WOGULOW TAROUTZ VERMO project; Galkin and Eremeev joined their efforts in KRUZR KEN / USSSY; and Ledovski finally returned to SILENCE KIT.
In summer 2008, IAAOTL resumed rehearsals and returned to the stage this time as a trio with Alexei Taroutz and Artemiy Galkin sharing guitar duties and Pavel Eremeev switching to drums. To listen to the band's music or for direct contacts with IAAOTL, please visit their MyspaceMusic page.
The band’s third album has grown out of a number of changes and new approaches which Alexey Taroutz (guitar, vox, percussion, bass), Artem Galkin (bass, vox, guitar, percussion) and Pavel Eremeev (drums, devices, feedbacks) wanted to pursue. IAAOTL found themselves in that camp of the artists who applied Edgard Varese’s principles of “organized sound” to rock music, and generalized their experience to the Astro album. “10 untitled songs” are not so much songs as minimalist constructions with an emphasis on timbre and rhythm, or canvases upon which the three splatter some colors (arguably not as bright as on the album artwork) to create quite murky images. These are not monotonous: some passages hover on heavy dissonant abyss, others insert haunting texture exercises and tribal pulses, or flow with the perfect serenity. Some of the tracks may seem at first like underdeveloped sketches, but take them with a bit more concentration and the music turns out memorable even without the structure most ears have come to expect. IAAOTL’s Astro is quite unlike anything that preceded it: captivating and inventive rethinking of math-rock, experimental, chamber and avant-rock. Deconstructionist fans will marvel at this unorthodox experience. (10 tracks - 40 min.)
"IAAOTL seem to have set out to pick up ten very distinct and complex musical ideas and then went on to see what happens from there. Because all the tracks seem to revolve around a special musical idea, which might be a rhythmical figure connected to a few notes, the interplay of two instruments in coda or nor, a small, quirky riff or a bigger figure taken from a distinct harmonic scale. These ideas get played with a little, inspected from all sides and then tossed aside when every possibility seems to have been quenched from them. So basically, yes, this is still rock music, but it is also very heady, conceptual and complex and definitely not easy listening... They have definitely come very far and further away from regular rock structures. All three employ a number of devices next to their basic rock trio instruments making each track a complex and organized structural experience, probably closer to modern, serious composition than their roots in noise rock. Between the heavy blasts of bass/drum/guitar riffs, which are to be found on the record, there are minimalist pieces of purely atmospheric sounds. Even though the heavy rock is what the listener will be waiting for and - as they come as a true relief from the harder to listen to parts - the parts that he will remember more strongly, the other, heavy listening parts seem to be on the upper hand on the album." – by Georg Gartlgruber of Monochrom-Cracked (Austria) (June 2010).
The album was also reviewed at: Rate Your Music (USA), Metal Library and Metal Library's interview with IAAOTL (Russia), ProgArchives' interview with IAAOTL (USA), Far From Moscow (USA), Far From Moscow's interview with IAAOTL (USA), Sea Of Tranquility (USA).
This is complicated and explosive. This is innovation and progression. This is another heavy testament of pure musical genius from IAAOTL. Entirely instrumental, this album could easily make musicians stand openmouthed, wondering just how such music is written. No matter how chaotic they seem, all the compositions are dense and carefully structured. There are no improvisations or solos despite the influences of prog-rock or avant-jazz in their music. But there are lots of complex and dissonant guitar interplay, angry and crushing angular riffing, insane time and key changes, mind-pounding and panicked sounds, thought-expanding pauses and weird noise-drones. An A-Bomb To Wake Up is too overwhelming and complicated for an average listener to listen to, and much less to understand. This is something that has to be heard to be believed! (9 tracks - 44 min.)
"Their newest full length appeared hot on it's heels, containing the band's most perplexing material so far. The nine tracks here keep it very loud and very heavy, and completely instrumental in contrast to the minimal use of vocal sounds on their debut. Each song is a super complicated tapestry of dense angular math-rock riffs, lopsided rhythmic patterns, and paranoid sounds of unknown origin that will all of a sudden come together to form a beautiful Slinty passage or a creaking dissonant metallic dirgedrone, like Glen Branca gone sludge metal. An A-Bomb To Wake Up shows a much higher level of focus and compostional skill than their debut, as well as even crazier time changes and abrupt changes in direction, but never backs off of the ass-crushing heaviness, a mutant composite of Magma, Pelican, Isis, Neurosis post metal, classic Louisville math rock, Godflesh, avant-jazz, and Hawkwind, ultimately pretty freaking unique and mind bending, a winner for number crunchers who like their prog/math/confusional rock as heavy as God. Highly recommended!" – by Crucial Blast (USA) (January 2007).
"I Am Above On The Left don't write the standard notion of math rock. It's noisy and dense, sparse with melody and laden with drone techniques and spacey guitar histrionics. They traverse through spouts of dissonant off-kilter riffs while playing with feedback and distortion that ends up sounding like a mash-up of Neurosis, Cave-In and Red Sparowes, though most of the songs are very individual and pretty much defy any formulas. Songs like The Elephants Will Never Come Back and To Swallow A Wasp are furious, while The Korova Milk Bar opts for a much more hushed and seething approach. Mr Father, one of the more outstanding tracks, begins with some quiet psychedelics before adhering to a punk edict that acts as a progressive platform for I Am Above On The Left to paint their disturbed imagery with feedback. In the end, An A-Bomb to Wake up is a fantastic album for any fan of math rock, or bands like Cave-In, or hell, even fans of Neurot Recordings. (Rate: 8/10)" – by Ryan Loostrom of Maelstrom (USA) (June 2007).
The album was also reviewed at: Chopsticks Webzine (Russia), Neformat-Boom (Russia), Rate Your Music (USA), Play (Russia), Rolling Stone (Russia), Fuzz (Russia), Collective Reviews (UK), Muz-Prosvet (Ukraine), Deaf Sparrow (USA), The Silent Ballet (USA), Perkele (Italy), DPRP (UK), ProgArchives (USA).
The band's eponymous debut is a live-in-the-studio affair, recorded in a single six-hour session in August 2005 with some environmental samples added subsequently. In a peculiar manner the quartet creates what could be better described as composite musical sketches of surrounding reality; or to be more correct they express personal attitudes toward reality. And not surprisingly, these attitudes are somewhat belligerent and defiant. Though there are so much touching naivete and appealing trustfulness, not to mention a good portion of irony, in their jump-to-noise-core intense instrumental pieces. The incredible receptivity, openness, and sensitivity to details are all around here. Fresh blood in the avant-garde and experimental rock-scene! Highly recommended! (10 tracks - 39 min.)
"IAAOTL draw from a range of influences to play a sort of aggressive, post-hardcore tainted post-rock/math-rock hybrid. All of the songs are amazingly dense and complex, with lots of powerfully dynamic soft/loud shifts and stylistic changes, layered with eerie recorded speeches and captured radio waves. The band is clearly influenced by classic 90's math-rock, Slint, Don Cab, Rodan, etc., but theres just as much serious heaviness to be had, from slabs of crushing Zeni Geva-esque noise metal, to chaotic metalcore raveups, Melvins-ish sludge, and even the epic melodic hardcore. And theres also elements of avant-jazz, majestic Godspeed! You Black Emperor/ Mogwai rock and ambient Western soundscapes reminiscent of Souviners Young America, weird futurist prog rock, fragile drones, and modern composition are all incorporated into their dense soundscapes. I'd say that IAAOTL are the Russian answer to the avant-heaviness of groups like Kayo Dot and Time Of Orchids, far-out and hyperimaginative, yet far more accessible and melodic than you would expect from that comparison. Very highly recommended... the killer instrumental music presented here." – by Crucial Blast (USA) (December 2006).