Sunday, March 27, 2016

V/A - Origins Of Soviet Rock

Artist: (various)
Title: Истоки советского рока
Genre: Beat Rock, Rock'n'Roll, Surf, Rockabilly
Country: USSR
Release date: 1960-70s mostly

Track List:
  1. Электрон - Лучший город земли (1965)
  2. Александр Градский - В полях под снегом и дождём (1971)
  3. Садко - Ты проходишь мимо (1967)
  4. Аргонавты - Домик надежд и грёз (late 1960s)
  5. Летучий Голландец - Love and the Rain
  6. Ариэль - Дом восходящего солнца (1968)
  7. Сокол - Солнце над нами (late 1960s)
  8. Скифы - Годы как птицы (1969)
  9. Марзаны - Апачи (1968)
  10. Москвичи - Roll Over Beethoven (1967)
  11. Кочевники - Посмотри в глаза (1969)
  12. Второе дыхание - [Неизвестно] (1996)
  13. Удачное приобретение - I've Got The Blues (1974)
  14. Юрий Морозов - Виновата сама (1971)
  15. Машина времени - This happen'd to me (late 1960s)
  16. Мозаика - Тяжесть первородного греха (1982)
  17. Окна - Посвящение Хендриксу (1971-1974)
  18. Санкт-Петербург - Приходит день (1971)
  19. Россияне - Инопланетянка (1977)
  20. Оловянные солдатики - То что нам твердили в детстве (1972)
  21. Пульсар - Осень (1971)
  22. Фобос - Окна (1969)
  23. Кентавры - Ямщик (1970)
  24. Пит Андерсон - Blue Suede Shoes (1989)
The same blog where I found the Soviet Electronic Music compilation has a lot of other very interesting and rare stuff, including this compilation of underground Soviet rock music from before the late 1970s. This is what I'd call the "pre-Cambrian" era of Soviet rock before the recordings (especially listenable ones) from that time are very rare. Tape recorders and other sound recording equipment of more or less satisfactory quality became available to most independent Soviet musicians only since the end of 1970s. Of course there were many rock bands in the USSR well before that time, but there are very few survived recordings which are either hardly listenable (example #1, example #2), or they're the rare cases when the band members managed to gain access to the professional recording equipment. Not to mention that the vast majority of these bands simply didn't bother with recording anything... That's why I'm interested in any recording from that era, even if these bands were sounding too "dad rock" for me.

This sampler was compiled from many different sources, so the quality of recording is varied from track to track. Some tracks sound completely awful (mostly live recordings), some are pretty well recorded (mostly re-recordings of unreleased material). The most interesting thing about this compilation is that it doesn't differ much from the officially approved Soviet pop-rock of that time, in terms of both music and lyrical content, the only difference is that these tracks weren't released on vinyl and sold in stores. The real split between the "official" VIA scene and the underground rock culture started in the late 1970s with the rise of tape culture, and culminated in 1983-85 during the anti-rock campaign started by Chernenko's government. Most of the problems that Russian rock scene and its audiences are frequently criticised for (pretentious and elitist fanbase, high levels of plagiarism, putting too much effort into lyrics to the prejudice of music, etc.) are a result of that split, and can be also found in other highly ideologized genres of music (such as punk or black metal). For the sake of comparison, here's a song which was very popular in mid-1970s USSR:

The author of this compilation planned to include only independent/underground bands and artists, but the problem is that a lot of them later became professional musicians - even very famous ones, like A.Gradsky (track #2). He also didn't want to include any bands from the Baltic republics, because the Baltic rock scene always was too different from the rest of Soviet rock. The only exception was made for Pits Andersons from Riga, who was the pioneer of Soviet rock'n'roll (his first band, called The Revengers, was founded in 1962, or according to some sources - even in 1959).

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