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100 Tape Albums of Soviet Rock 100 Магнитоальбомов Советского Рока Cover

Final part of our translation of Chapter 2 from 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.


Next The Colonel designed homemade fuzz effect, which, in those days, was called nothing less than the “sound limiter” by Radio magazine. Using the schemes found in one of British magazines Aleksander constructed flanger, reverberator and tube amp. Amp lacked the indicator, so the sound overload was supposed to be caught by ear. To Colonel’s credit none of this affected the quality of studio work.

While studying the sound creatively with a screwdriver and soldering iron in hand, toward the early 80s Gnoevyh managed to create an organized recording system of rock bands. Using two Tembre magnetophones that were decorated with tin cans for mystic/acoustic reasons (ostensibly to battle interference), The Colonel recorded Sonance / Сонанс (1980), three albums by Trek / Трек and The Move /  Переезд by Nautilius (1982). “With the emergence of first albums musicians could not only hear their own performance, but also a reaction to it from a huge amount of people – Colonel suggests. After that rock bands started to take themselves more seriously, adjusting their ideas and their art.”

The pinnacle of Colonel’s sound engineering feats turned out to be studio albums by Trek. Within those albums Sverdlovsk “wizard of sound” not only created the voluminous and energetic rock sound, but also colored it with different applications. Everything but the kitchen sink was used: starting from reverberator variations with sound rustlings and ending with the use of noises and the tape run backwards. “Colonel’s mastery as a sound engineer allowed us to run into outer space using a primus – recalls Trek guitarist Mikhail Perov. There are no equals among his peers when it comes to recordings made without the equipment.”

While reminiscing about the development of Ural rock its impossible not to mention Urfin Juice / Урфин Джюс – wonderful band that, for a long time, employed no sound engineer. The issues of searching for its own sound were solved by musicians without any sense of inferiority, using the “here and now” principle. By hook or by crook the band managed to make it into government studios whose staff would convert into rock religion in a matter of hours. Everything else was “all about the technique”, as the saying goes.

Debut album  The Trip / Путешествие (1981) was recorded by Urfin Juice at the sensitive facility called “TV studio” – complete with guards, continuous watch, log journal and the evil East-European German shepherds in the backyard. Savvy Sverdlov rockers constantly managed to sneak unnoticed into the TV studio, and then bring in the equipment, and then disappear successfully while taking the recording with them. How? The Devil alone knows…

— End of Chapter 2 —

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