Saturday, March 12, 2016

Джунгли - "Весна в Шанхае" [1989]

Artist: Джунгли
Title: Весна в Шанхае
Genre: Instrumental Art Rock, Jazz-Rock
Country: USSR
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Измерения
  2. Весна в Шанхае
  3. Ностальгия
  4. Пляска (Хоровод)
  5. Замкнутый круг (Цикл 22)
  6. Эпитафия
I've mentioned this band in my previous entry and then realized than their music is surprisingly hard to find, so it'd be nice of me to post their album too. While I don't think it's avant-garde enough to be called "RIO" or "avant-prog", it's certainly influenced by the Rock In Opposition sound, and it's one of those Soviet experimental gems that are undeservedly forgotten nowadays (along with Стук Бамбука в XI Часов).

Джунгли / Jungle were formed in Leningrad in 1983 (according to other sources - in 1981), initially as a standard hard rock band. Fun fact: the name "Jungle" was chosen after some old man has called the audience of Leningrad Rock Club "a real zoo", and the band members answered jokingly: "It's worse than a zoo, it's jungle!".

By 1984-1985, their sound has evolved into art rock / jazz-rock. According to the band's gutarist, Andrey Otsryaskin, they were mostly influenced by Peter Gabriel, Robert Fripp, King Crimson, Oregon, and Krzysztof Penderecki. Sergey Kuryokhin, probably the best known avant-garde musician in the Leningrad rock scene of that time, also had a lot of influence on them (and it's most likely him who sparked their interest in free jazz). Since late 1987, their style finally shifted away from standard rock music (apart from jazz, they were also interested in medieval music and polyrhythmic folk music at that time). The same year, they had their first chance to perform abroad - first in Poland, then in Denmark and Finland. Their decision to play purely instrumental music has helped them a lot, since they wouldn't have to worry that the audience won't understand the lyrics. By 1990, the band's lineup was reduced to a trio. Then in 1992, when Andrey Otsryaskin realized that his band doesn't have much future in a country which just entered a deep crisis, he decided to emigrate. Thus the story of Jungle has ended.

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