Electronica is everywhere: in shops, in restaurants, in taxis and in supermarkets. More than once I found myself bopping along an aisle. More than a decade ago I was a very into electronic music: trance, techno, house. That was from 1998 though to the end of 2003. During the early nineties, heavily influenced by my older brother, I was into: hardcore and happy hardcore.
The first train journey I took on русская (Russian) soil involved a happy hardcore song. It was a remix of that classic: The Chicken Dance. With this early impression of Россия (Russia), I know I was going to like it.
I came to realise though, the electronic music in Россия hasn’t moved on since I stopped keenly following such music, or has only just caught up? There were lots of well known anthems by Sash, ATB, Ferry Corsten and Tiësto. It was on the drive down to Большое Голоустное (Bolshoe Goloustnoe) that I heard a song I had not heard since 1996. I am shocked and maybe a little appalled. I’m old now as was released almost 20 years ago and I was a teenager when it was released.
I’ll move on from old electronica and onto old русская rock. I’d not heard of Кино́ (Kino) before. One a day out in Москва with two friends some buskers were playing a song. We stopped because my friend Влад (Vlad) was a big fan of the original band and used to practice Кино́ songs when he used to play guitar. The lead singer Виктор Цой (Viktor Tsoi) died in 1990 in a motorbike accident. There is a Цой Wall in Москва where people leave messages for the deceased musician. In an underpass in Ekaterinburg was some street art of him. I took a photo not realising who it was.
The song the buskers played, originally performed by Кино́ is here:
Later that night, the three of us were in a bar having warmed wine, beer and yersh. A drink involving half a litre of пиво (beer) and two shots of водка. All in the one glass. The songs being served up by the DJ were a strange mix of русская, Western, old and new. Throughout the evening several anthemic русская rock songs came on. My friends would both start singing at the same time, along with others in the bar. I got this image of the onwards and upwards Soviet March: united towards a better place. It was the mental image of ‘Soviet’ music that I held in my head –rightly or wrongly.
This song is about heading into space and looking back and seeing earth. It sounds much better when a room full of intoxicated русские all burst into at the same time.
My final song from Россия is, not to force the cliché, from the Новая Россия (New Russia). This song I heard everywhere: ubiquitous or omnipresent, you can pick. I had no idea what it was about or even what the name was. I just searched for Pусская Top 10 and this song had been at Number 1 for eight weeks. It's still in the charts.