Russian Not-On-Label, Rare and Collectable Releases
This is the first completely instrumental effort by the veterans of alternative rock music from Zhukovskyi (Moscow Region), HYSTERIA ORCHESTRA. The band came into being in 1996. Since that time, they have produced 3 full-length albums ranging from post-grunge to pop-alternative, contributed to several compilations, lost their singing front-man and finally set foot on the shore of instrumental rock. A new album was recorded and mixed at Petrostudio Vintage Records in 2008 by the line-up of Alexander Allenov (bass), Ilya Kazakov (acoustic guitar), Andrei Kulyasov (groove box, scratch), Oleg Nikulin (drums, percussion) and Andrei Shevchuk (guitar) with a help from 5 guest-musicians who played cello, trombone, trumpet, bagpipes and keyboards. The final touches were added to the rich and colorful sound by Robert Hadley at the Mastering Lab (Los Angeles, CA) who is known for his work with such artists as Pink Floyd, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Electric Light Orchestra, Korn and others. The Hysteria Orchestra album is a very solid one with virtually no bad tracks at all and (despite menacing band’s name and album’s title) with a very high general standard of crafty melodic art-fusion-rock.
Discography: Ne tvoja vesna (1998, MC); Neopredelennost' (2004, CD); Nervy (2007, CD); Hysteria Orchestra (2009, CD)
Herbarium is called so because of heterogeneity of songs, which can be compared to miscellaneous leaves in the album, still being belonged to the family of trees. The tracks were created – one was captured in some magic jam, another – recorded layer by layer and meticulously mixed then, next – cut from previous sessions and so on. All compositions are united by Poostosh sense of music – thoughtful, spatial, tender and experimental. Diverse palette of styles - post-rock, ambient, electronica, trip-hop, with elements of noise, dub, neoclassic and free improvisation - united by cinematic, slightly pensive mood.
POOSTOSH started creating their worlds in 2002. The group is enchanted by ambient, post-rock and contemporary classic music. It is always within the vigorous and never-ending process of blossoming through improvisation, experiment and spontaneous musicking. Summery, dreamy, ambient, spontaneous, light, evocative, slightly psychedelic instrumental music with cinematic feel. "Poostosh's Untime is one of those albums that appears out of nowhere but quickly ends up lodging itself determinedly into one's daily listening regiment… Acoustic and electric guitars form the nucleus of the troupe's sound but it's fleshed out by other instruments (melodica, keyboards, flutes, harmonica, percussion) and samples… There's a subtle psychedelic tone to the group's sound but it's primarily experimental folk with a strong atmospheric dimension boosted by contemporary production methods. Though the band's recorded material originates from improvisations, the resultant songs seem far more structured than that working method might suggest, and they manage to sound rustic and traditional but not dated. One final note: Poostosh squeezes eleven songs into thirty-five minutes, with many of them two-minute vignettes, so Untime's over quickly—not a bad thing necessarily and merely one more thing that makes it a release worth recommending." (Textura)
MADE IN CHINA is a young Moscow-based avant-garde metal quartet of vocal, guitar, bass, and drums who play what they call "Ginseng Hardcore". The group’s first EP is a healthy mix of the experimentalism, the absurdism, and the heaviness threshing over ultra-polemical left-wing hardcore punk, theatrical satire experimental, mannered jazz, bitingly funny poetry rapped out in pseudo-Chinese or English, etc. With sheet-metal intense guitar, good-rolling rhythm-section, crying its heart out trumpet, and divergent voice juggling, this is a very captivating and promising release.
In 2004, a Russian branch of the "Rolling Stone" magazine together with the "Hortica" VIP-alcohol manufacturer launched an ambitious art-project entitled "The Great Mute" ("Velikij Nemoi"). The idea was to take Russian silent-movie classics and ask Russian pop-musicians to create the soundtracks. Surprisingly, the organizing committee invited to score for Pyotr Chardynin’s "Molchi, grust, molchi" movie (of 1918) newcomers of the Moscow indie-scene, an instrumental post-rock group VERBA. That debut recording was published both as audio-CD album and DVD-soundtrack (all copies run out of stock pretty quickly)… Except of a short album-opener (which is an authentic romance sung by Vera Kholodnaya, a silent-movie superstar) all music is by VERBA. Seemingly inspired by a number of notable first-wave overseas instrumentalists, the quintet (with a little help from their friends) produced thoroughly pleasant, but nonetheless thoroughly background music with enough moments to suggest a quietly cinematic chill. They avoided going nowhere with experimenting abstractly, but displayed a keen ability to serve up catchy guitar- and keyboard-centric melodies placed over traditional rock rhythms. All instrumental, except of a couple of tracks suggesting background female vocalizations, this album has its well-intentioned beauty that soothes broken hearts and grieving minds… "Be silent, my Sadness, keep silent" – as the movie’s title suggests.
"Klever has some of the most unorthodox climaxes of the year. Think Mogwai doing their best GY!BE expression. Bands like Klever make me wonder what other kinds of brilliant Russian music we're all missing out on." – by Jordan Volz of The Silent Ballet (USA).
Discography: Klever (2003, EP-CDR); Live (2004, CD-R); In The Name Of Peace And Progress (2005, CD)
ZOOP is a Moscow-based jazzy, club-oriented downtempo project centered on sound-producer composer and multi-instrumentalist Dmitry Sabaev aka Zoop and saxophonist Mikhail Morozov aka Synteticsax. Their debut album Music On Hold explores various terrains of chill-out and club-dance music with strong references to jazz, soul, and funk. It features ten all instrumental compositions including a variation around Miles Davis’ tune “So What”: smooth, polished, and gently funky release. Nothing groundbreaking, just enjoyable and well done instrumental fusion.
"…This album should be taken seriously. It’s incredibly diverse and accomplished. It’s also almost uncategorizable because it covers so much ground. Easy reference points would be Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed You Black Emperor. Those points will tell you part of the story and give you some idea of where Silence Kit is coming from. It won’t prepare you as much for the times when Silence Kit sounds like Queens of the Stone Age or the Standard, or Tortoise, or maybe Shipping News. And with the cello, sometimes it veers into Rachel’s or Telegraph Melts territory. There are passages that become so ambient and ethereal that they barely exist at all, in the vein of Dry Stone Feed by Main. These three tracks would probably have been 10 tracks on anyone else’s album. That is, each of these songs could have been divided into a few solid, standalone pieces. In fact, some of the within-song transitions jar you a little, as though the band took separate recordings and just put them back-to-back in the same song – maybe obscuring the transition a little with some guitar laid over top. During 'Psychoparasite', for instance, there is a section of noise (thankfully measured in seconds rather than minutes) that comes from nowhere and joins two otherwise distinct songs into sections of a single, 38-minute opus… These pieces are essentially instrumentals, where there are no lyrics but only a few words. The fact that they are instrumentals makes it easier to see how the band is able to seamlessly mix multiple songs into a single track and have it work this well. Everywhere, the musicianship and production excel without calling attention to themselves. The band isn’t into flashing its chops, but its players obviously know what they’re doing. The long ambient passage in the middle of 'Psychoparasite' seems to give the band a bit of a breather, and if indeed the entire track were actually recorded in one sitting it’s easy to understand why these guys might have needed a break. At times very heavy, at times completely ambient, at times melodic, at times sounding like familiar indie rock, but at no time ever boring, Silence Kit commands its material always. Silence Kit never gets cheesy and never beats a riff into submission through endless repetition. Quite the opposite is true, in fact; the band plays a melody only once or twice and moves on to the next thing even though you’d love to hear more of it… If you keep an open mind and just let the music take you where it wants to go, you’ll really enjoy Pieonear. You just have to let it be your pioneer." – by David Smith of Delusions Of Adequacy (USA) (July 2005).
Discography: Silence Kit (2002/2006, CD-R/CD); Pieonear (2004/2006, CD); The Great Red Spot (2008, CD)
Alexander Voronin (1966-1998) arguably was the most important flutist in Russian underground music of 90s. Member of DO MAJOR, NIKOLAI KOPERNICK, ANTRAKT, THE ARK, THE ALEATORIC ORCHESTRA, SAKURA among other rock, fusion, and neo-folk bands, he pushed the limits of his instrument and in large degree influenced the sound of each project he got involved. There were two albums of Voronin’s solo-music posthumously published in 1998. The first of two, Traces of Prophet was completely performed on Prophet-610 synthesizer and features short melancholic ambient sketches not varying effectually in melody or pitch. Motivated by personal crisis, the music has a unique quality bringing repercussions of the artist’s quest for the ultimate peace and quiet but not showing a trace of his flute or keyboard virtuosity.
ASTREJA was a group consisting of the leading composers of academic avantgarde from the then Soviet Union improvising with rarely used Russian, Caucasian and Central-Asian folk instruments. It was founded in 1975 by Vyacheslav Artyomov, Sofia Gubaidulina and Victor Suslin. Later Mark Pekarsky and Valentina Ponomareva briefly joined the group while Artyomov went on to pursue other projects… The self-titled album recorded in 1977-1980 with all founding members onboard is still considered as the most revealing work by this unique composers’ ensemble. It features two lengthy trio-improvisations and the track by Vyacheslav Artiomov playing the duo with the US trombonist Miles Anderson. The classic of Soviet academic avant-garde!