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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Can't Beat This

At a recent concert, the humble-looking young man of less-than-average height appeared to be barely strong enough to carry his violin across the stage. But when Alexei Aigi began to play, the crowd at his usual stomping ground, the Dom Center, went just slightly crazy.

"I try to live up to the saying 'live fast and die young,'" said Aigi, a cult figure among lovers of minimalist music all over the city, after the show.

The 28-year-old musician and his band 4.33 f named for minimalist composer John Cage's famous four minutes and 33 seconds of silence f is a definite must-see.

4.33's sound combines brass-heavy traditional jazz with slightly atonal violin, cello, piano, guitar, drums and more. But the fact that the band's music contains no free-range improvisation distinguishes it from jazz. Many compare Aigi and 4.33 to the jazz fusion of The Mothers of Invention, but Aigi describes the band's trademark sound f which is produced by from three to 17 musicians f as something between classical and rock music.

"Aigi and his band have succeeded in ruining the stereotype that contemporary music is either incomprehensible, boring or primitive," said Nikolai Dmitriyev, art director at the Dom Center.

Founded in 1994, 4.33 has been well regarded among other musicians since its beginnings, but it wasn't until 1997 that 4.33 won public acclaim. That year, Aigi wrote the musical score for Valery Todorovsky's acclaimed film "Strana Glukhikh," or "The Land of the Deaf." The soundtrack is considered by many to be even better than the film itself. And, with that public awareness, came new fans for Aigi, namely young women.

"I've been in love with him since the movie came out, but I've never seen him perform live," said Masha, a student at MGIMO, or the Moscow Institute of International Relations.

Aigi's popularity among female fans is comparable to that of boy band Ivanushki International, Dmitriyev said. But the artist, who recently described himself as a boring guy who spends all his time writing music and sleeping, said he's not worthy of the devotion. Poised on a chair in his small studio on Stary Arbat, he preferred to drink tea and talk about things as far removed from his work as possible.

"Lemme tell you about my time in the army," he said. After a few stories about his service on a submarine in arid Kazakhstan (improbable to say the least), Aigi began to talk about his sixth CD in four years, "Taxidermy," so named because the entire album is compiled of samples.

"It's stuffed music," he said, before launching into a story about Ukraine and a pipe.

Alexei Aigi & 4.33 play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Dom Center, located at 24 Bolshoi Ovchinnikovsky Pereulok, Building 4. Metro Novokuznetskaya. Tel. 953-7236.

f Anna Andreeva