Sonic Russian documents. New ambient and ritual aesthetic visions 2000​-​2016

by Various Artists



Russia today is a multi-ethnic state with over 300 ethnicities living under one flag. Each of these ethnic groups has its own indigenous folk, sacred and in some cases art music, which can loosely be categorized together under the guise of Ethnic Roots music, or Folk music. These categories can be further broken down into folkloric modern adaptations of ancient folk material, and authentic presentations of ethnic music.
Starting from this rich heritage, it is no wonder that during the last five decades, electroacoustic experimental music in Russia has grown in a deep ritualistic format where nature’s mythologies meet the occult and the shamanic. And where electronic drones meet acoustic folk instruments beyond temporary fads in genuine artistic inspiration deeply rooted in ancient traditions. Distinctive elements of the Russian soul, also known as “dusha” or the way of explaining natural and cultural phenomena in magical and metaphysical terms, have always played a significant part in the work of their greatest artists.
A passionate music lover and scientist by the name of Eugene Murzin invented in 1955 one of the first synthesizers in the world in Russia. This epic machine was a photoelectric synthesizer known as the ANS. It was Murzin himself who taught the technical complexities and the science behind this apparatus to a handful of electroacoustic pioneering musicians and sound engineers. Amongst others in this selective group were Artemiev senior, Nemtim, Kreichi, Denisov and Gubaidullina. A common factor amongst these artists was a high level of academic achievement in Russia’s demanding conservatories of that era. By the early seventies, a core of Russian artists had already recorded a substantial body of work on the legendary ANS machine. Their prevailing compositional style was influenced by ‘Musique Concrete”, Boulez and other sources which were not as influential in the work of experimental composers in the west of the same period. The highlights of the early days of experimental music in Russia have been lovingly preserved by Electroshock Records with a release from 1999 called “Electroshock Presents Electroacoustic Volume IV. Archive Tapes Synthesizer ANS 1964-1971”. From the mid seventies right up to the beginning of this century, avant garde music on both sides of the Berlin wall converged and cross-fertilized each other. And the story continues until these days.


released June 3, 2016

Edited by Unexplained Sounds Group
Curated by Sonologyst ( )
Cover image: László Moholy-Nagy “Ohne Titel (Neon signs)“1939
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Unexplained Sounds Group Italy

Global Network of Aural Disorientation founded by Raffaele Pezzella (Sonologyst) to investigate the experimental worldwide music scene.

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