December 31st, 2004


Space & Spassky

I had a better look around the NBP site after I'd posted the link. I can't quite get what they're about. I'm profoundly uncomfortable with the flirtation with Nazi imagery and even the Soviet for that matter. Why not invent a new one? I suppose uniforms always have to connect with some previous style in their appeal to historical antecedent. Hmm, or do they? I'll ponder over that later.

The NBP was founded by Edward Limonov, who I knew from his 1979 sex-and-drugs NYC novel It's Me, Eddie. There's a serviceable bio here. I then started reading about him again on the pages of eXile, where he is a frequent, if mangled, contributor. I'm really not sure what to make of him, and in particular the NBP, so I've decided to write to the party before I started casting aspersions or issuing praise. The text of that open letter is published at the bottom of this entry. Let's hope it gets a better response than my application to the UN to become a Goodwill Ambassador or going for a Jolie as I call it. Anyway, here's the music. They're all at a very low level of compression (32 kbps), but it's serviceable and there as I found them.

I Am Earth - Unknown

There Will Be Apple Trees On Mars - Unknown

I'm not sure of the date of theses tunes, although since they are concerned with space travel and employ a modicum of reverb for effect, I'm assuming they date from the 50s or later. Stalin? I don't know. Krushchev? Probably the second one, it sounds later.

Hold on, you may say, it's surely a bit rocky to date recordings on the basis of reverb. When was reverb first employed as a recording technique in the Soviet Union? That's a pub quiz question few can probably answer, but the history of reverb dates from, err... Well, maybe it's Bill Putnam in 1947 with The Harmonicats' Peg-O-My-Heart and the first plate reverb was EMT in 1957 but the Putnam piece mentions the use of echo chambers in radio productions. Okay, so Putnam is reverb, but what about these chambers? Well, according to that wiki entry, Abbey Road had one in 1931. Hmm, so it need not be post-war then.

Also, given that the Theremin was a Soviet invention in 1917, arguably one of the first products of that cataclysmic event (I find that very, err, resonant in many ways. We'll be coming back to the Theremin and other instrumental oddities over the fortnight), it's not as if there weren't Soviet citizens tinkering around with electronics and music. So, the first Soviet reverb or echo chamber? Perhaps I should ask the NBP.

Similar to yesterday's Yabloko piece, I don't think this is outstanding music, but it says something, perhaps different to you than it does to me.

Here, then, is the text of the letter I sent to the NBP. I have many other questions, but I think these, if answered, should provide me with sufficient enough information to make a judgement.

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Otherwise, drown out the sound of Big Ben, or equivalent, with the sound of the Spasskaya Tower ringing out from the Kremlin. I'll be coming back to Russian bells also in the near future, but if you fancy buying one for the house, here's a place to go.

The Bells, The Bells!

Уважаемые читатели, мы, авторы и сотрудники Sarmoung, от всей души поздравляем вас с Новым Годом!

Well, there's only one, but I can pretend can't I? Just once?