Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Автоматические Удовлетворители - "Тел. 1979-1994. Претензии Не Принимаются" [1995]

Artist: Автоматические Удовлетворители
Title: Тел. 1979-1994. Претензии Не Принимаются (pt.1)
Genre: Old School Punk
Country: Russia
Release date: 1995

Track List:
  1. Ерунда
  2. 8х2
  3. Смех
  4. Весна
  5. Ночная Игра
  6. Пакость
  7. Ярко-Бледно-Розовый
  8. Утренничек
  9. Стерва
  10. Прогресс
  11. Огуречный Лосьон
  12. Удовольствие
It might be a difficult question to answer who was the first metal band in the USSR, but there's little debate on who started the first Soviet punk band (if only we exclude the Baltic scene, which always was very different from the rest of Soviet rock scene). During the summer of 1979, Andrey "Svin" Panov, son of a relatively well-known ballet dancer Valery Panov and his first wife Liya, found out about Sex Pistols and decided to start a band which would sound like them. He was born in a rather well-known and affluent family, and received a good education, but it didn't stop him from choosing Sid Vicious as his role model. The name of his band, typically shortened to "Automatic Satisfiers", was thought to be a play on "Sex Pistols", but I personally think it probably was a homage to The Vibrators. The first public appearance of the band took place on 23 March 1980 in a small cafe in Leningrad.

AU never were a particularly popular band, and they remained in a deep underground until 1987. They also never had a consistent line-up, being rather a project of Svin and a revolving door of collaborators, some of which (Viktor Tsoy, for example) later became very prominent rock musicians. Like in case with the better known Siberian punk scene (which started in late 1982 with Egor Letov's early project "Possev Verlag"), there's a debate on whether AU can be compared with the Western punk scene or not. Svin himself later denied being a punk, saying that he'd prefer calling himself a "modernist" instead. This, however, isn't surprising - it was said in an interview he gave in 1996, and his later works (from 1995 and to his death in 1998) doesn't sound like punk at all. (One more interesting fact: in the same interview he said that he preferred not to sing in English because he didn't like how it sounds, and asserted that Hungarian is the best language for all kinds of rock music, especially the heavier ones. I find it hard to disagree with that, haha).

This cassette is a compilation of AU's songs from 1979-1994, re-recorded in 1995. There's a second part of this compilation as well, but it isn't as good as this one (if the word "good" is even applicable to anything Svin & AU have produced). The last two songs are rather disco/new wave than punk, yet the lyrics are just as provocative as in the rest of the compilation. If you wonder how the songs from this compilation sounded back in the times when they were originally written: there's an archive page that hosts live recordings of AU that survived to our day, starting from their first concert in Moscow in 1981. I surely don't recommend these bootlegs to start from if you're about to hear Svin's music for the first time, though.

Despite his GG Allin-esque lifestyle and his "rivalry" with Egor Letov, Svin was undoubtely an interesting person. However, he couldn't manage to spark the interest to punk rock in the USSR back then in early 80s - it happened several years later when the classic British punk recordings became more accessible to an average listener (Svin himself probably received them in late 70s from his father in Israel, but most other Soviet rock fans could know about Sex Pistols only from the critical articles in the press).

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