Summary of a follow-up thread to our translation of Alexander Kushnir’s “100 Tapes of Soviet Rock” – follow Oleg on Twitter and Telegram.
100 Tapes of Soviet Rock is a crucial document that was first published (in samizdat) in 1990. It outlined how soviet rock music evolved up to the 90’s and attempted to shape its canon.
Please note “attempted” – despite Kushnir’s best efforts, there’s no canonical soviet rock beyond the hits and a few names. Kushnir’s book focused on the kind of underground music that fell off the map pretty soon. I doubt that Kushnir even heard some of the records he wrote about.
And it’s definitely a book about the USSR, i.e. the country that doesn’t exist anymore. Kushnir’s picks come from all over the USSR, from Yakutia to Carpathian Ruthenia to Riga to South Caucasus mountains, and they are as diverse musically as their geography.
For instance, the lone album of the early 90’s Ihevsk band стук бамбука в XI часов (“the knock of bamboo at 11 o’clock”) is mentioned. it’s dreamy song-based lofi electronica, not something that orthodox rockists would usually associate with “rock music”.
I don’t think a true rockist would have considered this, the first known Russian hip hop album (recorded by Inga Copeland’s dad, btw), to be worthy of mention. but it’s in the book, alongside many other curiosities of variable historical impact.
most of these records were never “properly” (i.e. in non-samizdat way) released. many are considered by their authors to be juvenilia. but all of them demand your attention. here are all 100 of them in one list, on rym