Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rad Machine - "Taiga" [2015]

Artist: Rad Machine
Title: Taiga
Genre: Ambient, Techno, IDM
Country: Russia
Release date: 2015

Track List:
  1. Taiga
  2. Dirty Point
  3. Dansugosuto
The debut EP by Rad Machine, released a couple of years ago. Maybe it's slightly less mature than "Itkul Afterglow" in terms of sound, but it's still an interesting release recommended to any fan of obscure electronic music.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rad Machine - "Itkul Afterglow" [2017]

Artist: Rad Machine
Title: Itkul Afterglow
Genre: Ambient, Techno, IDM
Country: Russia
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1.  High Tide
  2. Outskirt Sound 5
  3. Coluber
  4. Leaves
Rad Machine is an one-man electronic project by Valery Melekhin from Ekaterinburg, started as an ambient project but incorporated more techno and breakbeat elements into his music later on. Not much else is known about him, but his music is pretty good, even I normally don't listen much to the electronic music of this kind. This 12'' was presented on the Urals Industrial Biennale, and some people on there even thought they were listening to some previously unreleased EP by Aphex Twin :) Release notes:

"Itkul Afterglow will follow Melekhin's appearance on an Opal Tapes compilation of Russian music, titled USSR, with a set of cuts that run the gamut from deep, reverb-drenched outings to raw machine-driven funk.

The EP will drop digitally, on 12", and cassette, which will also feature four bonus tracks not on the digital and vinyl releases. The cover art for the release was sourced from an old postcard of Lake Itkul, a highly inspiring travel destination for Melekhin over the years"


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ragnar Grippe - "Sand" [1977]

Artist: Ragnar Grippe
Title: Sand
Genre: Ambient, Experimental Electronic, Musique Concrete
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1977

This highly minimalistic album, containing two long untitled tracks composed mostly of heavily reverberated analog synth sounds, is poorly known nowadays, but it made a significant influence on early industrial music scene. Not long ago it was re-released by Dais Records along with many other early industrial and experimental electronic classics. A little backstory on this album can be found here.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Юрий Морозов - "Погубить человечество" [1979]

Artist: Юрий Морозов
Title: Погубить человечество
Genre: Ambient, Experimental Electronic, Musique Concrete
Country: USSR
Release date: 1979

Track List:
  1. Ария демона
  2. Катастрофы
  3. Фиолетовая вибрация
  4. Летающие тарелки
  5. Мистерия эроса
  6. Битва бронтозавров
  7. Пляски машин
  8. Сигналы помощи
  9. Агония
The most experimental album by Yuri Morozov I've heard so far, even more so than his previous one. To be honest I have discovered the electronic/experimental part of his discography only not long ago, and so far I like it much more than his blues rock albums.

Of course, like in case with his other album I've posted about a week ago, you shouldn't expect much from a tape album which was never intended to be published widely - it was just an experiment by a guy who had access to a pretty advanced synthesizer for that time, and wanted to create something that sounds as scary and "alien" as possible. And I must admit that the result indeed reflects the atmosphere of the "dark" sci-fi of the 1960-80s quite well. It's far from being a masterpiece like "Martian Chronicles" by Solaris, but it's fascinating to know that music like this existed in the USSR as early as in late 1970s, and I'd recommend to anyone who would appreciate the atmosphere of apocalyptic sci-fi, the UFO craze and the nuclear war scare of that time.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Юрий Морозов - "Неизъяснимое" [1978]

Artist: Юрий Морозов
Title: Неизъяснимое
Genre: Ambient, Musique Concrete
Country: USSR
Release date: 1978

Unsurprisingly, I find the experimental electronic part of Yuri Morozov's vast discography much more interesting than his blues rock albums that he was primarily famous for (and not only because it's much "darker" in terms of atmosphere it creates). This album, recorded in the second part of 1970s, consists of 5 untitled instrumental tracks of synthesizer improvisation with some psychedelic rock elements mixed in.

Unsurprisingly again, this album is/was unpopular in the mainstram rock community, but it seems to be highly valued among the fans of more experimnetal stuff. I even have seem it being compared to Throbbing Gristle by industrial fans, and to Henry Cow and Aksak Maboul by RIO fans. Of course I won't go that far - after all, it was recorded just for personal satisfaction by a guy who managed to get his hands on a synthesizer and professtional recording equipment. I highly doubt he could know about any of the aforementioned bands at the time, but nevertheless, I have to agree that the material on this album strangely resemble a lot of much better known experimental music from the mid-1970s.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Юрий Морозов - "Свадьба кретинов" [1976]

Artist: Юрий Морозов
Title: Свадьба кретинов
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Proto-Punk
Country: USSR
Release date: 1976

Track List:
  1. Конформист 
  2. Кретин 
  3. Не знаю, за что 
  4. Дай крылья мне, Бог 
  5. А мне и так конец 
  6. Свадьба кретинов (Бродяга пес) 
  7. Сон 
  8. Черный пес
Yuri Morozov's name is largely unknown to modern Russian rock fans, but he was a cult figure during the 1970s, mainly because he was one of the first to record several proper rock albums in the USSR. He started his first band in late 1969 when he lived in North Ossetia, but his early works were far from rock music - it was mostly acoustic singer-songwriter stuff usual for the 1960s Soviet independent music scene. Three years later, he started to work at a Melodia studio in Leningrad as a sound engineer. So, he was lucky to have access to the professional recording equipment, which enabled him to record several albums in good quality (if you really want to know how awful most amateur recordings from that time were, check out this or this).

In the early 1980s he became increasingly religious and quite reclusive in his lifestyle. During the late 1980s Russian rock boom he formed a new band which wasn't particularly successful. Until his death in 2006, he worked mostly as a sound engineer and a writer, yet he's now remembered mostly as a multi-instrumentalist and a pioneer of Soviet rock.

His discography is quite vast, consisting of 50 or so albums, ranging from psychedelic rock and hard rock to electronic/ambient. This album is his best known work, recorded at his workplace in 1976 and released on tape in 1977. The vocals for a couple of songs, which had some "risky" lyrics, were recorded at home. Lines like "I'm a cretin and I love it!" would indeed fit into the lyrics of any early punk band quite well, but as a whole, this album is fairly typical psychedelic/hard rock of the early 1970s. It is also noticeably different in tone from his early recordings, which were more lighthearted, with fairly inoffensive lyrical topics of the "wine, women and songs" variety, while this one is much gloomier, with a prominent theme of death and suicide; the topics of spirituality and non-conformism are also present. Overall, this album might be nothing special by the measures of the Western rock scene of that time, but it was a breakthrough for the Soviet rock scene, and it certainly doesn't deserve to be forgotten. Enjoy:


Monday, September 11, 2017

Игорь Лень - "Здесь..." [1989]

Artist: Игорь Лень
Title: Здесь...
Genre: Ambient, New Age
Country: USSR
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Голос
  2. Приговор
  3. Тебе...
  4. Срыв
  5. Блюз
  6. Здесь...
Here'sthe one and only solo album of Igor Len, a Moscow Conservatory-educated composer and sound producer who was an important member of Николай Коперник. His music can quite fairly be termed "dark ambient" with its depressive atmosphere unusual for most early Soviet electronic music. Anyway, he had a luxury of having his album released on vinyl by Melodia in 1989. It contains material from two his earlier demo tapes, dedicated to the works of Arseny & Andrey Tarkovsky. Download link for the MP3 rip shamelessly stolen from this blog (which I already have credited several times on here):


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Николай Коперник - "Родина" [1986]

Artist: Николай Коперник
Title: Родина
Genre: Post-Punk, New Wave, Art Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1986

Track List:
  1. Горцы
  2. В небесах лазурных
  3. Дымки
  4. Музы
  5. Юкагиры
  6. Конники
  7. Там, вдали
  8. Руда
  9. Родина
Named in honour of Nicholaus Copernicus, this band was formed in 1981 by Moscow-based composers Yuri Orlov and Igor Len. Their music has very little in common with what's usually called "Russian rock", and to be honest, that's a good thing. They released only one full-length album on tape in 1986, and one more 7'' officially released by Melodia in 1988-89, but these releases were good enough to earn them a cult status in the Moscow underground scene. The band reformed in 2005 and released a new album (which is very good as well) in 2012.

As far as I know, they had chances to work with such musicians was Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa, but they never became a particularly well-known band - likely because their music was too experimental for an average Russian rock listener. This album isn't an exception, yet the level of songwriting on it is well above many much better known Soviet rock bands. Interestingly enough, there's even a song dedicated to one small tribe in the far Northeastern Siberia that not everyone knows about :)



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Дурное Влияние - "Неподвижность" [1989]

Artist: Дурное Влияние
Title: Неподвижность
Genre: Post-Punk, Gothic Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. 24 часа
  2. Если я лгу
  3. Дай мне уйти
  4. Неподвижность
  5. Жизнь как болезнь
  6. Мёртвые смотрят вверх
  7. Сейчас
  8. Спать 
  9. 24 часа (видеомикс)
bonus:
  1. Неподвижность (2012 version)
  2. Дай мне уйти (2012 version)
  3. Кто здесь? (Петля Нестерова cover)
"Дурное Влияние (Bad Influence) was a Russian coldwave band featuring members from earlier band projects Механический Балет and Монумент Страха. The band released their debut album Неподвижность (Immobility) in 1989" (last.fm)

As far as I know, they were one of the most influental Soviet post-punk bands of that time, and they're widely credited as one of the first Russian gothic rock bands. The band existed from November 1987 to the summer of 1990 (according to other sources, 1991), and made a reunion during 2011-12. Their only full-length album was recorded in November 1989 at a home studio in Peterhof. The quality of production is unsurprisingly poor, but isn't it something to be expected from an obscure 80's post-punk band?..

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Der Golem - "Zmet" [1999]

Artist: Der Golem
Title: Zmet
Genre: Post-Punk, Noise Rock
Country: Russia
Release date: 1999

Track List:
  1. Нет
  2. Оригинальная мелодия
  3. Древние звёзды
  4. Bravo
  5. Солнце мёртвых
  6. Целуя твои корни
  7. Пан
  8. Птицы
  9. Исход 1
  10. Исход 2
Named after the best known work by Gustav Meyrink, Der Golem was a short-lived project formed by Roman Sidorov (Старуха Мха, Sedativ, Fatal) and Dmitry Zubov (Hypnoz, Zuboff Sex Shop) in a small town near Moscow. They have released two albums during 1999-2000, the first one (which is presented here) being mainly post-punk, while the second one is mostly industrial noise/drone.

Roman Sidorov committed suicide in September 2003, and Dmitry Zubov died in October 2011. Their legacy was mostly unknown beyond the most committed fans of underground music, until Der Golem was rediscovered by hipsters in early 2010s. Anyway, "Zmet" is very good (if not a masterpiece) and certainly doesn't deserve to be forgotten. The opening track, in particular, is one of the most depressive compositions I've heard in my life (and I've listened to quite a lot of depressive music)...