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100 Tape Albums of Soviet Rock 100 Магнитоальбомов Советского Рока Cover

Part 1 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.

Up until the early eighties many musicians continued to record with primitive equipment. “Guitars would be plugged into the microphone input of magnetophon, using sound overload as fuzz – recalls sound engineer Lesha Vishnya while talking about recording of Последний Альбом (Last Album, 1983).  In place of a bass drum a box hit by an enema stretched over a screwdriver was used. Instead of high-hat we were using vocals saying “tch-ch”. There was no working bass drum. These were very cool times…”

The story of Akvarium is a very telling one: a number of “family albums” of the 70s, captured with home equipment («Притчи графа Диффузора» (Tales of Count Diffusor), «Искушение Св. Аквариума» (Temptation of St. Aquarium), «С той стороны зеркального стекла» (From the Other Side of the Looking Glass”) to this day remain unreissued due to low sound quality.

“Recordings made during this period rightfully belong not to the musicology, but ethnography, since they represent the existence of other forms of life – Grebenshikov points not without irony in “Brief Report on 16 Years of Sound Recording”. In other words they can be studied, but you can’t listen to them”.

About the only rock musician that had a chance to work in a real studio ended up being Leningrader Yuri Morozov. While staff sound engineer at Melodiya, in his off time using the official multi-channel equipment he was pushing out album after album.  Morozov was one of a handful of those that rejected touring and concentrated entirely on studio work. Despite the abstractive and philosophical/religious nature Morozov’s albums were actively circulating and had a hefty influence on the work of early Krematorij (Крематорий), Vishnya and Trubnyy Zov (Трубный Зов).


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