Artists Farhad Farzali and Ali Hasanov both have worked in sound-based media and music composition in various genres including rock and electronia. Ali Hasanov, who lives in Baku and Moscow, is an established and highly respected artist who pioneered performance art in Baku. He works across various media, with a focus on installation, digital animation and sound art. His installation work is conceptual in nature, inviting audiences to engage with mundane objects and shapes that are given layers of meaning through the manipulation of their size, configuration and context. For the 2012 Baku Public Art Festival, Ali created the art performance ‘Arsenium,’ consisting of computer animations set to a live musical enactment overlaid with electronic sound.
Multimedia art project “Arsenium” is based on the historically significant event of the first performance in Baku of the “Symphony of sirens” by avant-garde Russian composer and theorist Arseniy Avraamov. “Arsenium” is not a reconstruction of the “Symphony of sirens”, it’s more a tribute to the event that played a significant role in the art-scene of Baku.
This art project is based on video-animation in the style of pseudo-chronological and mythological elements. Music for the project is written by Ali Hasanov in collaboration with Natalya Goncharova. The soundtrack consists of electronic music performed by Russian musician and composer Arseniy Trofim along with the Baku choir and brass band. To create a suitable atmosphere the performance took place at one of Baku dockyards.
Elsewhere, his work has been shown in the 52nd Venice Biennale, the 4th Moscow Biennale, and various survey exhibitions of contemporary art including Fly to Baku in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and Rome in 2012 and 2013, and the exhibition Love Me, Love Me Not, which was featured at the 55th Venice Biennale and at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku. His solo show entitled ALIBI at the Baku MOMA was held in 2016. Farhad Farzali is based in Baku but has shown his work widely in Baku and abroad in London, Berlin, Moscow, Tashkent, and Dubai, among other places. His multimedia work exists between anthropology and art, and his art practice explores various dimensions of Azerbaijani and Caucasian aesthetics, folk culture, social dynamics and nostalgia. Working across painting, computer graphics, prints, video art, installation and performance, he has created music under the name ‘Azeriff’ and has had DJ sets in Baku, Kiev and Moscow. Music and sound have always been an important feature of Farhad’s work, and now form the nucleus of his most recent oeuvre.
With the project Naschkatze, which was founded in late 2015, Ali and Farhad collaborate through the exploration of the aural heritage of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. Mixing audio samples from various cultural landscapes, they create audio loops that fade in and out of musical scale, blending electronic beats with song, speech and other sounds to create a temporal and spatial narrative. Their genre-defying sound is conceptually complex but also contains moments of beauty and contemplation, where sound expands, dissolves and reconstitutes. Their first EP Dilber was released worldwide in digital format on August 10 through Geschenk Recordings, which is a new Baku-based music label. The EP contains remixes of the tracks by different international DJs, adding depth and nuance to their compositions.
Naschkatze also creates videos to accompany the sound pieces, which are available on their YouTube channel. The videos contain imagery that suggests an intersection of the visual languages of both artists, combining computer graphics, animations and collaged iconography. They have played various festivals including the 2017 Batumi Photo Days Festival and the 2018 Fest I Nova and Caucasus All Frequency Festival in Georgia, and the Unsound Dislocation 2018 festival in Baku, with more planned in the future. Their new full-length LP is planned for the end of 2018.