Sasha Darko (born Alexander Kibanov, 1992) is a music producer, game developer and writer from the Radioactive City Russia Doesn’t Want You to Know About.
He formed his first blues grindcore / hardcore band Red Label Noise Factory (allying with the screamo band Jimmy The Beaver) while still being in the middle school, its first demo called “Brainfuck Session” was released by the Australian label Smell The Stench in 2008. After releasing a series of digital EPs and recording a final CDR demo the same year, the band had split up and a farewell gig was played in Yekaterinurg sharing the scene with Villainz United. At the age of 16 he launched a solo-only career, forming his own label Mind Noise Disintegration and starting many different projects, recording albums with other people through physical mail and Internet, living in a closed city where limited broadband was still a thing at the time.
Continuing as an industrial / ambient musician and mostly operating under the name Earth Incubator, since 2007 he had produced 150+ experimental music solo releases using many aliases, also collaborating with such diverse artists as Kenji Siratori, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Komissar Hjuler / Mama Baer and Cisfinitum. The albums were published by underground labels all over the world, from Japan to French Polynesia, using all possible media formats: cassettes, CDs, CD-Rs, 7″ vinyl records and even floppy disks and business cards. Produced in very limited numbers (ranging from 10 to 1000 copies), these releases were as diverse as possible and even spawned microgenres which were called “fruity punk” and “post-noise” by the underground press and bloggers. The last recorded song under the old name was an ambient single “IX” recorded in collaboration with Austrian singer Susanne Hafenscher, which became the most downloaded release on Electro Rucini after its release in January 2010.
Later in 2010, he moved to Chelyabinsk and began producing an entirely different kind of music under the name of Sasha Darko. Most of the first mini-albums were ambient / techno experiments released with the help of Sirona Records (“Awaken In The Woods” series, “Depth of Field”, “The Odyssey 2010″ and “Entering The Channel X“, a poetic cyberpunk minimal / ambient mini-album released later in 2011).
At the same an extensive amount of pre-Sasha Darko recordings from 2009 were released over the period from 2010 to 2011. Including Split 7″ with Torturing Nurse (UPR), “Caturday” CD (Nihil Art Records), “Wastelands” EP Cassette (Ikebukuro Dada), “Untitled” B-Card with Corpoparassita (~taqueot) , “Untitled” Split Cassette with Komissar Hjuler and Mama Baer (Monopolka / Cack Tapes), “The Butterfly / Reverse Noise Reduction” Split Cassette with Bjerga / Iversen (Jozik Records), “Untitled” CDr with Mutant Ape (Zvukovina), “Unretrofied, Busted, Killed, And Not Buried” Cassette (IHAAR), “Sexual Noise 3.5” CDr (SNR), Illnathix’s “Untitled” CDr, dark ambient / tribal ambient collaborations recorded with Ricardo Rucini, Susanne Hafenscher, Valeria Samatova and two remix albums made by Applecore.
His cyberpunk audio book called “The Man From Territory 15” recorded in collaboration with GX Jupitter-Larsen of The Haters in 2009, was released on CDs in February 2013 by the cult Japanese label Kubitsuri Tapes (Merzbow, The Gerogerigegege, The Incapacitants, K2, etc.)
The following month was marked with a track recorded in collaboration with The Live and Shave in L.A. (a project by Tom Smith which involves many people, including Thurstoon Moore of Sonic Youth, Don Fleming (Hole / Alice Cooper Producer) and Weasel Walter (XBXRX, Behold… The Arctopus) which was released on a 4 x CD compilation “The Grief That Shrieked to Multiply” by Monotype Records.
Continued as a videogame developer, he developed and released a horror videogame Sacred Line, which came out the same month for PC, Mac and Linux platforms. The biggest European computer magazine Computer Bild put it 4th place on the list of “30 Best Free PC Horror Games” and picked it up for distribution on their website and free DVD which comes with the magazine. It was later re-released on Steam as a free DLC for The Last Dogma.
In October 2013, he made an extended version of Sacred Line in the form of a Graphic Adventure game. It was called Sacred Line Genesis and was developed for Sega Mega Drive / Genesis console exclusively. It was officially released on cartridges by Watermelon Corporation in February 2015, being the second professionally produced homebrew Sega Genesis / Mega Drive release after Pier Solar (2010).
The Last Dogma, a surreal dark comedy adventure game for PC and Linux, came out in October 2014. Launched as a reboot of Sacred Line, it later became a completely different project. In June 2015, it was released on Steam.
A couple of extravaganza singles were released the same year. The first one was called “The Night” and was recorded in collaboration with the famous Russian cat Jazz, known worldwide for the pancakes meme. It’s available as a free download on the official VK page of the cat (yes, cats have their own social pages, didn’t you know?). The second single “DOOMED” was released on Soundcloud on 17th of November and introduced a brand new mix of witch house and YM2612-powered chiptune music.
Three trip-hop / trill / trap singles were recorded in 2018, two being written in Russian and one in Enochian / English.
Illnathix / Praxisfeelder – Split EP was co-released on 3.5″ floppy disks by Mind Noise Disintegration and Mu-hu-hu Records in 2009. Limited to 100 copies, it was quite possibly the biggest floppy disk music release ever (well, in Russia). All MND produced copies were sold out in several months after release, most of which were distributed by AK on his live shows.
The development of Sacred Line Genesis took about 2.5 years and the text was revised by six people, including the creator of Sega-16 who is responsible for the final version. The cartridge release cover is based on the original art of digital release cover and was itched by Watermelon co-founder on a metal piece.
Recording process of Alexander Kibanov & Vir’ – Sent I November goes back to 2009. The album took about 7-8 years to complete.
99% of all Mind Noise Disintegration releases had fully hand drawn covers and every single copy of every release was made from the scratch. No printer was used, only penciles, pens, wax crayons and paper.
Earth Incubator – Soundtrack to… was a big 86-minute drone track recorded in real-time and was released by Russian black metal label Desolation Production on 90-min CDrs, which were extremely hard to find at the time and impossible to find now.
Title track of Earth Incubator – Domofon Ambient Dance was made from a 2-second sample of an opening intercom door. For the sake of fun it was released as a maxi-single featuring two remixes from Applecore and Snake Surikov. Earth Incubator – Davai / Scream was recorded the same way, only this time using two short voice samples from the trash horror movie “The Party” where AK played the role.
Arkadiy GR / Headless Kamikaze / HZ / Dreagann* – Cat Split Dedicated To Louis Wayne features cats on vocals. The artists were asked to record their cats and use the sounds as the vocals for their tracks. HZ didn’t have a cat at the time and recorded the track using her own voice, imitating the meows.
[C. T. D.] / Earth Incubator / Smrznik – Split was one of the first music releases in Japan after Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The factories which could produce full-color cardboard weren’t available at the time, so the release packaging was black-and-white and used standard paper. All other releases made before and after the incident use thick full-color printed carboard packaging.
Earth Incubator – 001 was released as a parody of maxi-singles and featured 30-second digital noise piece as the main track. All 33 “remixes” were Audacity project leftovers.
Kenji Siratori is a Japanese cyberpunk writer known for his books written from the perspective of AI. He’s also known for the audio collaborations where he reads his books over someone’s sound material. But for “Rasputin“, the roles were reversed – the audio was provided by Kenji and AK was reading excerpts from the Rasputin’s biography.
The locations chosen for live shows were anything but usual clubs / bars. A movie theater (Noise vs. Glamour 2009), an abandoned industrial factory (Volzhsky 2009), even a huge two-story garage (Novorossiysk 2008). Volzhsky Open-Air Fest (Volzhsky 2009) took place near Volga, mere meters from the water.