Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Сергей Курёхин & Поп-Механика - "Насекомая Культура" [1987]

Artist: Сергей Курёхин & Поп-Механика
Title: Насекомая Культура
Genre: Avant-Garde, Free Jazz, Sound Collage
Country: USSR
Release date: 1987

I already have mentioned Sergey Kuryokhin on here before, but he, as one of the most prominent Soviet avant-garde musicians, deserves much more. Today, 20 years after his death, he's remembered mostly for his "Lenin was a mushroom" prank that was aired on TV in 1991, but his legacy (as a musician, actor & screenwriter) is much more than that.

He became known at home mostly as a member of Aquarium during the first half of 1980s, and he has played in several other rock bands prior to that, but his main interests lied in free jazz and avant-garde music. In late 1979, he tried to send some of his piano compositions to BBC, which attracted the attention of Leo Feigin, who worked at BBC and owned the experimental jazz label Leo Records. In 1981, Feigin's label has released Kuryokhin's debut vinyl, which gained a considerable amount of recognition in the Western bloc. Inspired by this success, Kuryokhin decided to continue his career in experimental music, and started his own project "Pop Mechanics" (named after the Popular Mechanics magazine) in mid-1980s.

Pop-Mechanics, like many early industrial bands, always were rather a performance art group than a music band. They never had any fixed line-up, and most of the prominent members of the Leningrad Rock Club took part in Pop-Mechanics at some moment. This particular album was recorded with the help of Igor Butman, a very well-known jazz saxophonist, and the members of Leningrad-based techno duo The New Composers. It's probably the most avant-garde work of Kuryokhin released during the 80s, and it's mentioned in DMT's Industrial Culture FAQ as one of the early examples of Soviet experimental music that's fairly close to early industrial & musique concrete. I'd say it's rather free jazz mixed with minimalistic techno, but a work as experimental as this one defies any attempts of classification. The album was released on tape as one long track (presented in the video above), and re-released on CD in 1998.

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