Thursday, March 10, 2016

Хроноп - "Здесь и сейчас" [1990]

Artist: Хроноп
Title: Здесь и сейчас
Genre: Art Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1990

Track List:
  1. Пока Мы
  2. Пророк Иеремия
  3. Тайм-Аут
  4. Время-Время
  5. Флейта
  6. Здесь И Сейчас
  7. Как Странно
  8. Костер
Although my city has over 1.2 million inhabitants, it never had a really significant music scene. It hosted one of the first Soviet rock festivals in 1971, but that's pretty much all; it never became a large rock music center, as Moscow, Leningrad or Sverdlovsk were. Even if things got slightly better since the beginning of 2000s, but the number of good local bands is still relatively small. Speaking of the Soviet period, I can't name anything except Rock Syndrome (which weren't that good) and Cronop, that were formed in 1985 and took their name from Julio Cortazar's book "Cronopios & Famas".

Until recently, I knew their founding member Vadim Demidov mostly as a music critic whose articles in a local newspaper were a major source of knowledge about rock music for me in the early 2000s when I was a teenager. Most of his band's albums turned out to be boring (that's often the case with the bands led by prominent music critics), especially the ones released after the band's reunion in 2004, but their best known works from 1990-91 are generally quite good.

Here's their first and the best known LP, released on vinyl by Melodiya in 1990. They had to move to Cheboksary (~200 km from here) to record it, because they couldn't find professional recording equipment of adequate quality here back then. The album was recorded with a 8-channel Tascam tape recorder, and the result turned out to be great by the standards of that time. The recording was sponsored by the Promtractor factory, who were generous enough to pay them wages during the whole process of recording, as well as buying them professional equipment from abroad.

"Achingly intelligent" might be one of the worst tags I've ever seen on, but it describes this album very accurately. It's very melodic rock with calm and relaxed vocals and prominent use of flute. Some tracks at the end of the album might be a bit boring, but at least the opening two ones are great. If you liked this album and are interested in hearing more from them (here's their 1985-2010 discography, but they've released more albums since 2010), I'd recommend their 1991 one, as well as their debut 1985 tape (surely it isn't recorded as good as this album, but it still has its charm).

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