ИЛЬИЧ (ILYICH) is the misplaced middle name of artist Anton Kats, reemerging through modular synthesis, heartbeat and electric bass.
ILYICH emphasises music as a momentary experience lived through performances, social interactions and interventions in space. In resonance with people, places and events around the world ИЛЬИЧ is a playful gesture and a sonic strategy embracing studies of post-soviet cosmis and focusing on decolonial potential of sound, rhythms and ritual.
Growing up in the family of jazz piano player, drummer and lorry driver Ilyia Kats, Anton Kats’s conscious relationship with music began at the age of four. Starting with a cry in a small, overpopulated flat in Kherson, South Ukraine with a big Swahilian mask on the wall, Ильич began to tearfully accompany the blasting Weather Report composition Palladium that was merging with the sound of a tumble wash. Ever since this draining audio-visual experience of sound, Ильич has been driven by both a desire to immerse in music and to protest against it. This was partially expressed by jumping on and breaking Kats’s father's musical instruments throughout his childhood and skipping formal solfeggio lessons to join DIY, punk and heavy metal bands in his adolescence.
Leaving Ukraine at the age of eighteen as an asylum seeker in Germany Ильич continued his musical education as an autodidact by playing with others: sitting-in at jazz and open mic sessions as a bass player; learning to read and write music by giving lessons; playing keys and MPC at the b-boy jams in St. Petersburg; accompanying live hip hop acts in Berlin; agreeing to DJ gigs and touring Europe and Japan with ska musicians in his late twenties.
Pursuing a legal status in Europe over the period of ten years by entering academic institutions of education Ilyich finalised a practice-based PhD in London in his early thirties. Rooting his research in listening as a method of artistic practice, he continued to focus on playing and improvising live and together. While building Radio Sound Systems in Kingston, Jamaica, initiating and activating site-specific art projects in the UK, Germany and Greece, Anton learned and taught across countries and continents, publishing manuals for sound investigations and favouring unconventional ways of making and experiencing music through a combination of art practice and research.
Eventually finding back to his middle name, ИЛЬИЧ, that had almost entirely vanished in the course of the emigration process, Anton used it as a way to trace his movements in between places and people, sounds and situations, allowing for the EP and LP releases to become friends, companions and comrades, explorations, diaries and gestures, time capsules and pulsations recorded and improvised live while resonating and responding to the immediate environment.
ILYICH’s first EP contains a step and a gesture on each side. Recorded live during documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany, it is accompanied by four video sketches that draw on the notion of futurism in the Soviet Union.