Industrial music in Russia

A short review

I know nothing about any Russian industrial projects from the 70es. Maybe some existed. Industrial perfomances weren't possible at that time. Distribution (if any) was limited to a tiny circle of people - the main part of the audience for the indepedent music didn't go beyond straight rock'n'roll/hard rock. And the western industrial music was totally unknown in Russia back then.

The earliest russian "industrial" recording that I heard was Center "Odnokomnatnaya Kvartira" ("One-Room Flat", 1983). It was made in a minimalistic electronic style. By a strange coincidence, this album was very close to experiments conducted at the same time by the English Psychic TV ("Force Thee Hand Ov Chance", "Dream Less Sweet", "A Pagan Day"). It is very doubtful that musicians from the Russian "Center" heard the new English band, totally unknown in Russia. Some of the later Center's albums ("Dityatya" and "Ochischenie") have been made in harder style and contain elements of EBM and "industrial-disco" close to Cabaret Voltaire's "Silent Command" and "The Crackdown".

1985 saw the founding of a band called Notchnoy Prospekt ("Night Avenue"). It started as "techno-pop" band but soon progressed to "classic-industrial" in the Throbbing Gristle's vein (especially such TG's albusms as "20 Jazz Funk Greats" and "Greatest Hits"). Most significant NP's albums are "Fisiki" ("Physicists"), "Demokratiya i Disciplina" ("Democracy & Discipline") and "Kisloty" ("Acids"). All are from 1986-88.

Nearly in same time Leningrad-based avant-garde composer Sergey Kuryokhin assembled performance-project Pop-Mechanics that was very close to industrial aesthetics. Some PM's recordings and Kuryokhin's solo albums recorded in 80th might be called "classics of russian "industrial". I especially recommend "Narod Gulyaet" ("People are Festive/Gathering") and "Nasekomaya Kul'tura" ("Insect Culture"). Both were recorded in 1987. First of them contains "ambient" fragments and elements of "musique concrete". Second has been recorded jointly with a techno-band Novye Compozitory, has been built with "cut-up" technics and combines "techno-minimalism" with "musique concrete".

At the same time the developement of Siberian industrial scene had began. From 1988 till 1990 in the city of Omsk Egor Letov and Dmitry Ryabinov (Kuzya Uo), better known through their punk project Grazhdanskaya Oborona, recorded a series of albums under the name "Communism". There were about 15 volumes. The project was oriented towards "musique concrete". It reached a veritable industrial aphotheosis with albums "Igra v Samoletiki pod Krovat'yu" ("A Game with Little Planes under a Bed") and "Satanism" (both recorded in 1989). They combine "guitar noise", prerecorded sounds and noises, self-made percussions and electronic noises. Some projects related to Grazhdanskaya Oborona and Letov's tape-label GrOb Records worked with similar experiments. For example Oleg Sudakov (aka Manhagher) also experimented with "musique concrete" and recorded under the name "Tsyganyata Ih Ya S Illicha" (Gypsie Children and I from Illich) two albums "Gaubitsy Leytenanta Garuby" ("Lieutenant Garuba's Howitzers" - 1989) and "Arjuna-Drive" (1990).  His own term for his music was "melodical thinking". Also, a Novosibirsk-based band Promyshlennaya Arkhitektura recorded some albums (for example "Lyubov' i Tekhnologiya" ("Love & Technology") - 1988) close in sound and aesthetics to the earliest EBM bands. In 1989 Yana
Dyaghileva with participation of Egor Letov recorded albums "Anhedonia" and "Domoy" ("Homeward") which are maybe the best examples of a combination of "percussion industrial" and "guitar noise" in Russia.

Another one "industrial" center was and is the city of Izhevsk. In the end of the 80es there appeared a band Stuk Bambuka V 11 Chasov ("Bamboo knocks at 11 o'clock"). It played "ambient" with percussion and female singer, and sounded a little bit similar to The Legendary Pink Dots. In 1991 they released their first album "Legkoe Delo Kholod" ("Cold's Easy Buisines") with a TV-hit "La Cheval De Ma Vie". In the same time another two debute releases appeared - "Vogel" by SD and "Oracle" by Alexandr Yuminov's project "Traviatta" (both are soundracks for self-made movies shot in aesthetics of "industrial noise"). In a short time, Yuminov recorded another two soundtracks - "Ontologiya Ritual'noy Zhizni" ("An Ontology of a Rithual Life") and "Paleovosit".

In the 90es, the Russian industrial music had begun to spread far and wide. Nowadays we have here nearly all musical styles. Some recomended bands: In Izhevsk - Samtsy Dronta (noise, dark-wave), Birdwood (ambient), Yuka (ambient), Virgo Intacta (ethno-ambient), Lancer (EBM), Plastica (EBM); In Moscow - Notchnoy Prospect (ambient, guitar-noise), Zoied (EBM, dark-wave), Zima 23 (EBM, noise), Cyclotimia (dark-wave), Reutoff (dark-wave), Alexandr Kopeikin (dark-ambient), Mikhail Atom (dark-ambient) In Petersburg - Lebedev-Frontov (noise), Zga (musique concrete/RIO); In Novosibirsk - Nuclear Los (percussion industrial, ambient); In Saratov - DMT (rhythm&noise), Heavenly Legal Holland (noise, ambient, dark-folk), Brutal Abbeizer (noise); In Rostov-on-Don - Figura (ambient, IDM), Solnetchnaya Sol (noise); In Arkhangelsk - Moon Far Away (dark-wave), 9 Myurtvyh Bolgar (noise); etc.