Part 5 of the chapter 2 of our translation of Alexandr Kushnir’s book 100 Tapes of Soviet Rock (100 Магнитоальбомов Советского Рока). Archives can be found here.
Thanks to everyone supportive of this venture.
After Moscow the rise of rockers activity took place in Sverdlovsk. Ural school of sound engineering was founded by Aleksandr Gnoevyh for whom musicians came up with a special “phonetic image” – The Colonel. While studying at the Physics and Technology faculty subdivision (aka PhysTech) of Ural Polytechnic Institute, future sound engineer of Nautilus ( Титаник / Titanic / Крылья / Wings / Чужая Земля / Foreign Land) took over the student broadcast center and gradually started learning the nuts and bolts of the craft. In the 70s he already tried to record the live performance by Sonance using magnetophone – de facto the first rock band out of Sverdlovsk that deserved attention. The Colonel had modest technical means to conduct such experiments since progressive Komsomol organization has allocated a decent amount of money towards the 30th anniversary of PhysTech.
In a matter of days came a purchase of two Tembr magnetophones, microphones, headphones, console and the required amount of tape. The Colonel found a shop that sold all those treasures one evening somewhere on the outskirts of town. Such marvel could’ve only been found in USSR. Door of the shop resembled an entrance to an ordinary building lobby. The marquee was absent and so were goods on the shelves.
There were no identification marks outside – oddly enough, inside of the building were actual cashiers. Beatles music was flowing softly from somewhere – apparently as means of advertising and the way to attract nonexistent customers. As the story goes, upon hearing a magic word from the Colonel one of the cashiers silently went into the utility room and soon came back with all the needed equipment. Despite the ostensibly broken cash register, the price of radio goods from the underground was corresponding with a national one. “I never saw such shops since” – recalls The Colonel.
While working on improving the equipment received, Gnoevyh first changed the speed of Tembr from 19th to 38th. This was a triumph. The increase in speed led to more transparent and deeper sound. Besides, the 38th speed allowed for an equal recording of the instruments that played a second fiddle and the main vocal and instrumental parts.