Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Настя - "Тацу" [1987]

Artist: Настя
Title: Тацу
Genre: Rock, Post-Punk
Country: USSR
Release date: 1987

Track List:
  1. Ариадна
  2. Одиссей
  3. С тобой, но без тебя
  4. Ночные братья
  5. Цунами
  6. Вниз по течению неба
  7. Клипсо-калипсо
  8. Тацу
  9. Улитка
  10. Снежные волки
The name of Anastasia Poleva, better known as just Nastya, is familiar to nearly everyone who's interested in Russian rock, but actually very few people nowadays remember what exactly she was singing, even if she was really popular in late 80s. That's a shame, because she stands out of the USSR rock crowd of that time, and not only because she was one of the few female vocalists in that scene back then. This is her debut album, recorded in summer 1987 at a studio in Urals State University, and it's worth attention because its sound is heavily influenced by post-punk and new wave, borders on 80s' gothic rock. (In fact, a lot of the late 80s' bands that are lumped into the "Russian rock" category were actually post-punk and not classic rock. Same thing with J-rock, which can be nearly anything musically, although I'm certainly not an expert on J-rock).

Nastya began to sing in various local hard rock bands in 1980, and started to write her own music around 1986. Initially her songs didn't have any meaningful lyrics, just some meaningless placeholder words to sing along with the music. Ilya Kormiltsev, one of the most prominent Russian rock lyricists of that time, has noticed that some of these words, like "matsu" and "tatsu", sound like actual words in Japanese language. This led Nastya to the idea of adding a Japanese theme to the album, particularly to the title track, "Tatsu" (#8). That's how the first weeaboo release in the history of Russian rock was born :)

Here's an official video for Nastya's most famous song, "Snow Wolves". When I shown it to one of my friends, his first reaction was: "But that's synthpop"! While calling it "synthpop" would be a stretch, it indeed has the overtones of 80's synthpop and gothic rock, and the lyrics are pretty "gothic" as well. The quality of video is poor (only 144p), but I couldn't find any better:

If the quality is too low for you, here's an unofficial video which is a Wolf's Rain AMV (one of my favourite animes, and the song suits it very well too):

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