Thursday, 7 November 2019

Various Artists ‎– "Red Wave — 4 Underground Bands From The USSR" (SNC Records ‎– SNC 4018) 1986

Awwwww, bless 'em.
If you had grown up in the political equivalent of a cupboard you'd make music like this too.
Assembled from the snippets of information assimilated from the west,primarily Zer Beatles and blue jeans, somehow the underground bands from the USSR managed to all sound like inoffensive post-new wave antipodean hitmakers 'Men At Work'.
One does have a regular fantasy about how good it would be ,creatively, if one could be isolated from the various advancements, or regressions, in the musical/art world.Free from the oppression of what is cool, and what is acceptable.
The reality is,after your isolation, one ends up, somehow, as an inferior version of Men At Work!!!
It seems that originality doesn't come from the abscence of influence,but sprouts naturally from informed plagarism.The default position seems to be a forgettable blank space.....return to factory settings.
So the moral of this story is,don't bother making any art,genuine 'Outsider's' excepted,unless you know your art history.Knowing what NOT to do is, as,if not more, important than knowing what to do.That what is not!A kind of limited unlearning is the way,as long as you don't erase the parts of history that should not be repeated, like Genocide, and ...well....Men At Work????


1 –Aquarium - Ashes 3:10
2 –Aquarium - Tonight 4:35
3 –Aquarium - Dance On The Edge Of The Spring 4:22
4 –Aquarium - The Thirst 3:52
5 –Aquarium - Dreams Of Something Bigger 4:27
6 –Kino - Saw A Night 3:00
7 –Kino - Films 3:27
8 –Kino - City 3:43
9 –Kino - Wake Up (It's Love) 2:47
10 –Kino - Streetcar Headed East 2:23
11 –Alisa - Experimentator 4:25
12 –Alisa - We're Together 2:37
13 –Alisa - Dr. Boogie 3:43
14 –Alisa - Bad Boy 3:15
15 –Alisa - Juice Squeezer 3:10
16 –Alisa - Come On Me 4:55
17 –Strange Games - Metamorphoses 2:30
18 –Strange Games - Chorovod Song 3:50
19 –Strange Games - No Telephone 2:45
20 –Strange Games - Egocentrism 4:20
21 –Strange Games - If You Think 3:15


Dante D said...

Yah, I remember when this came out. It was featured on radio in something like an NPR piece, with emphasis on Aquarium and some bit about using a metal rasp on the guitar strings. Us kids didn't appreciate the music at the time, but it wasn't before long that I was into Zvuki Mu and hoisting a red flag.

northfieldhat said...

That's how ABBA happened!

rev.b said...

The only remotely entertaining thing about the wall was fun of smuggling things past the authorities. If I’d been in the east, I’d have lived for the illicit lps and tapes from the other side. I only got a taste of that sort of thing with a cassette of new wave-ish Russian bands Recommended Records obtained via… connections. Not as cool as the Soviet records pressed on x-ray film, but the cache was similar. This album features a couple of cuts from that cassette, but it was an ‘official’ release, so it lacks the thrill of enjoying something prohibited. These bands always seemed more credible in that they lack the over-produced sheen of western new wave. Rekkin’ it was the ol’ D.I.Y. ethic; at once more honest and bizarre.

kevinesse said...

sire! as the horror of soviet synth musick marches on, have you André Szigethy? It sort of fits in here.....

Anonymous said...

here in post-soviet Russia we called this music cargo-rock, bands like Kino, Aquarium were nothing but cargo cult as you can see.
If you wanna listen real soviet rock music with balls, find if you can albums by DK (ДК) - they were real diy music from USSR like mix of zappa, residents, can and other wierd music.

Anonymous said...

another great russian DIY artist of course Egor Letov. His main band was Grazdanskaya Oborona - punk/garage/noise rock, but also Kommunism - nosie/experimental/industrial albums and Egor and Opisdenevshiey - maybe two greatest russian garage psychedelic albums (second LP - Sto let odinochestva like russian Forever Changes).
Egor recorded all his albums in his home, in Omsk (siberia city) with his friends. He was real cult figure in Russia but his main fans was Govnari - dumb alcoholic teenage anarcho punks. Sadly Egor died in 2008. His many albums real stuff for those who wants listen real russian DIY rock-n-roll.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Thanks for all these pointers,but they all sound rather too conventional..just hearing the word Punk involved in a music description makes me turn away.I got lots of east german punk...its generic and boring.The Soviets were much better doing that weird doomy prog stuff that the state labels liked.And the germans natural instrument was the synth,they should never have touched a guitar.

rev.b said...

They do sound worthy of investigation though. Besides the term 'punk', perhaps it was the inclusion of male genatalia. 'I was starting to enjoy this band's record until someone insited on inserting their balls into the mix...'

Anonymous said...

well, Letov and DK were not very conventional musicians (especialliy DK - they sounds sometimes like jam between jazzed up King Crimson and Stooges high on vodka), personally I think it's best acts from Soviet 80s and definetly they were DIY to the core, but I can see your point.
Just don't waste your time on bands like Kino etc. (they're called Leningrad's rock club bands - Rock Club was semi-official organ for "underground" bands with a little help from KGB - can you imagine something like this, dear western friends?). They were mostly imitated US and UK acts, sometimes borrowing music and translate lyrics in Russian.
Also there is big cultural difference between Russian part of USSR and Pribalty (Estonia Latvia) and definetly GDR - they were almost western countries for USSR people, with better life coniditions. For example, they have much better musical equipment, so it's not surprise that they music somehow sounded better even today.