Café Sputnik: Electronic Exotica From Russia


2006 release. Everything began in 1920, when a young Russian physicist named Lev Sergeyevich Termen presented a highly unusual musical instrument that produced eerie, otherworldly sounds -- The Theremin. This was actually the birth of electronic music. In 1957, the successful launch of a small ball-shaped satellite happened to be the starting shot of the Space Race between the USSR and the USA, which led to the notorious Sputnik Crisis in the U.S. Maybe it's no mere coincidence that in the same year, Soviet Radio founded an institution producing the Space Age's soundtrack: Vyacheslav Mescherin's Ensemble of Electro-Musical Instruments. Inspired by the success of Soviet space programs and the conquest of the universe, visions of the future dominated Soviet films, literature as well as music in the 1970s. Remarkable science fiction movies with fantastic soundtracks merging easy listening, electronic psychedelia and beat were shot. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible nowadays to get hold of this kind of music. This past sonic world full of dated imaginations of the future is a seminal source of inspiration for a new generation of Russian electronic musicians. A both ironic and affectionate retrospect to their childhood in the Soviet Union is paired with present-day sampling and crossover techniques, which results in surreal collages. Igor Vdovin sends Russian sailors to Brazil and a gypsy band to outer space. Dima Vikhornov and Snegopady demonstrate what Russian folk music might sound like when played by Martians. Veteran DJs Krugozory confront pompous military marches with nursery rhymes, refining the melange with a bit of light Soviet jazz. Messer Chups pass Tchaikovsky's nutcracker into alien hands, where it is deconstructed and reassembled. This highly individual kind of music, located somewhere between lounge, easy listening and radical experimentation is most of all cultivated by Moscow labels Snegiri/Legkie and Solnze Records. This scene's creativity is getting more and more recognition. Igor Vdovin has been hired as a producer by Russian superstar Zemfira. Bands like Messer Für Frau Müller and Messer Chups are gaining popularity in the Western world. This mix of old and new, mysterious East and modern Europe makes this music so unique and fascinating. Features two bonus video tracks. Other artists include: Netslov, Kim & Buran, Oleg Kostrow, Andrei Zuev, Dzuma, Nezhnoye Eto, Notkin, Our Man From Odessa, and Ensemble Mescherina.