As if I don’t have a number of interesting reasons to visit Russia. The Day Of Life Forgotten is an independent net label operating, it seems, out of Moscow (though if it’s not the case, I’ll update the post). This release, by my friend Alexei Serebreikov under his monicker Скрижали сна, is a great balance of electronic music, mixing elements of psychedelic music and drum & bass, a touch of IDM, all the while keeping everything sounding balanced and rhythmic. Something worth pursuing.
Funky Jazz from the house band of the Soviet state record label, the Melodiya Ensemble. There’s almost no info on the band, but there is an article on Soviet Funk, so enjoy.
I’m quite new to the work of Russian pop singer Pelageya. From Novosibirsk, Siberia, this songbird comes from a classical music background, having once been invited by legendary Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich to perform in France along with other luminaries, including Ravi Shankar and B. B. King.
Though I find the live version wonderfully sparse, I’m including the studio version for the sake of comparison below:
I can’t say that I know much about Bulat Gafarov personally, other than he’s both a fine multi-instrumentalist and a friend on Facebook, but he’s really quite an amazing talent. An ethnic Russia, he’s comfortable with music from India, China and Central Asia, as well as the regional music of places like Tatarstan and Siberia.
Kirill Makushin (who also records under Kirill M and Crows In The Garden) is no stranger to this blog. He’s a bayan player who works well with experimental composition. In this EP for the Fake Cat Project (his new band), he works with the legendary Russian avant-garde music stalwart Alexei Borisov, and Igor Levshin, who contributes ‘vocals’ (meows, really).
Those who know me well, say, for at least 15 years, know that I have tried throughout my life to be a champion for Soviet Jazz. They had something exquisite that the world didn’t have full access to until the end of Communism. One of these treasures hailed from Azerbaijan.
With the passing of B. B. King a few days ago, I was reminded of a story when the legendary blues guitarist came to the Soviet Union to watch a jazz festival. After seeing Vagif Mustafa Zade play, he named the stunned pianist as the ‘true king of the blues’. Vagif would die at age 35 in 1979, suffering a heart attack while performing onstage at a concert in Uzbekistan.
May his memory be eternal.
Many thanks to Funked Up East for their incredible selection of Soviet music.