| март 2001 г.

Ivan Sokolovsky is one of the new wave of Russian artists ... he calls himself a "brilliant dilettante", meaning he's not a professional musician, but records for his own enjoyment in a personal studio, much like his American counterparts now do. Like other non-mainstream artists in other countries, he also doesn't have a large following, and puts out his albums on a small Russian independent label. I have Pressure: Music for Rich and Khan's Afternoon Rest. These are both pretty good CD's, with Pressure being by far more raw. These solo albums are purely instrumental, though Sokolovsky also appears on the Soldat Semyonov where he teams up with Russian poet Arcady Semyonov to play the musical backdrop against his poetry readings (see link below).

Khan's Afternoon Rest might actually be at home in the New Age section of your local music shop (the cover text is all in English), though the music is a bit on the harsh side for New Age. It contains elements of Industrial and Techno, plus interesting sound-sculpting racket alongside more melodic parts. The quality of the recording is excellent, and makes for an enjoyable listening experience. I might even say "trance-inducing", but then again I fall into trance pretty easily. In its way, the music is meditative, though again more raspy than, say, Steve Roach, but along the same lines. You could also dance to it ... well, some parts of it.

Pressure: Music for Rich actually contains a more primitive version of one of the cuts from Khan's Afternoon Rest, titled "Khan's Noon Rest". In addition are other pieces in the techno-ambient vein. There's nothing extraordinary here, but this is a solid release and quite enjoyable. I would recommend Khan over this CD, but both are worth a listen.

This music will be hard to get your hands on ... there are no mainstream distribution channels for this Russian Indie music. But if you e-mail Igor Gorely at the address below, I'm sure he will be able to find a way to get these CD's to you. -- Fred Trafton

Russian poet Arcady Semyonov is Soldat Semyonov. These albums are actually readings of his "geo-political provocations" against the backdrop of Ivan Sokolovsky's techno rhythms and sound effects. In effect, this is the Russian equivalent of Rap or maybe '50's Beat poetry. So why in the world is it in the GEPR?

Well, for a couple of reasons. First of all, Sokolovsky's musical backdrops are quite interesting from a prog standpoint. Much more so than the sampled remixes of hit tunes you'll hear in Rap. And, to my ears at least, the vocals being spoken/yelled in Russian sounds quite exotic, not unlike listening to Magma spouting off in Kobaïan. Of course, I can't understand a word he's saying, so naturally it's going to sound pretty exotic to me. And maybe to you. On the other hand, my lack of comprehension just makes Semyonov's voice into another instrument, and also allows me to hear Sokolovsky's contributions better, which I wouldn't if I was listening to the meaning of the lyrics.

For what it's worth, I correspond with several Russian-speaking Prog fans, and they find this kind of music to be atrocious. One calls it "vulgar" (by which he means "common") and another said that the popularity of this sort of music in Russia is "unfortunate". So I don't know what you'll think. I found one listening to each album The Plan Of Saving Konstantinople and Parallel Actions to be enjoyable, but they won't exactly be staying on my top-10 playlist. Or even my top-1000. I can't say I could tell much difference between the two albums, either, it all starts sounding the same after awhile. Still, if you get a chance to broaden your horizons for an hour or so, pick one album and give it a listen.

This music will be hard to get your hands on ... there are no mainstream distribution channels for this Russian Indie music. But if you e-mail Igor Gorely at the address below, I'm sure he will be able to find a way to get these CD's to you. -- Fred Trafton

Editor's note: Mr. Taranin translates the album title Parallel Actions as Parallel Activities because he doesn't believe the possible military connotation of "Parallel Actions" should be there. On the meaning of "mosh", he says: "The 'mosh' music is something like the lower class pop, a quite cynical approach on music, mostly based on accomodation to the greater masses. I heard this term very often from various people, but I don't really know where it is from. I simply decided to use this word". Perhaps this has something to do with mosh pits. I've also replaced a few of his words with what I though he really meant in [brackets].

The Parallel Activities album is good. The clichés, common to [popular] Russian music are completely missing. Not a bit of the "mosh" virus, which infected most of the quite original underground bands, neither [pandering] to the taste of the common listener nor commercial objectives. It is nonsense, at my point of view, to try to investigate the musical development of the composer Ivan Sokolovsky, - the age of the "International Jazz" has approached - the important thing is genuine originality and harmony across with the melody, the inner connections between the lyric and the music. This project is a meeting of two equally creative personalities, who just do what they want, without pressure from the outside world and without sharing their ideas with producers, keeping their originality instead of following trends.

Arkady Semyonov's poetry isn't overloaded with complex contents, though the listener should have reached a certain cultural level to receive the messages and the pure aesthetic pleasure. The Leitmotiv of this album is the tree, the symbol of life and vital powers, it lets "the sun spin around its axis" and grows patiently accepting all the weather, magnetic storms, eclipses and cataclysms. The trees just are.

The philosophical tone of the album does not affect the energy and the dynamic. The life is also there with every of her temporal aspects. [Quoting from the lyrics:] "The one who'll reach the finish will be the first, but one cannot ask for the burial mask beforehand". -- Ivan Taranin