Format: COMPACT DISC
February 2020, just as the COVID pandemic was beginning to strike, Hackneybased composer/producer Gabriel Prokofiev returned to London from his fatherland of Russia. This timely trip was a collaboration with the new Moscow collective OpenSoundOrchestra, who performed a four-year body of Gabriel’s work that he had packed in his compositional bag. The result is stunning. Breaking Screens is a 16-track emotive journey that takes the listener through a dystopian musical space that expresses the frustrations of life’s mundanity; the disdain of societal normativity; and the rising fear of the global health and climate crisis. ‘Mobocracy’ is an anxious and panicked techno-classical explosion, ‘Compound Stabuler’ exudes the feelings of life exhaustion through a mash of synth-led experimental rock, whereas the shortest of the interludes ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6’ is a mesmerizing 50 seconds of eerie vocals performed by the UK’s Alexander Whitley Dance Company and Gandini Juggling, that sucker punches the soul by dissolving boundaries with unease. But what this project also highlights is that despite life’s precarity, there are also moments of calm, joy and beauty which must be rejoiced, as seen in tracks ‘Sad Colours I, II & III’ and ‘Reflessivo’. Breaking Screens is a confrontational and anarchic-fueled classical project which playfully leaps across genre boundaries, refusing categorization. It dips into grime, techno and ambient and crashes through hip hop, house and alternative rock in a hedonistic fury, rebelling unapologetically against the apathy of modern life. What is unique about Gabriel’s production approach to this new project is his ability to disrupt not only through the effortless fusing of disparate genres, but how the beat structure has been upturned and modified. The generic 4/4 beat has been reworked up to 5 ('Fivatak', ‘Mobocracy’), 7 ('Seven Steps', 'Ball Games', 'It's Rising') or down to 3 (‘Memory Fields’), the result being that melodies are more angular, ideas are less restricted, free to explore their own journeys.