воскресенье, 8 декабря 2019 г.

Grey Lenses — Northern Noises (2019)

Hi everyone, we're presenting you today our final release of 2019. It's my web EP "Northern Noises", and it's inspired by Russian North.

It includes 4 tracks, starting with an ambient piece "Teriberka", published on our recent VA sampler, followed by more post-industrial "Dreams of Alyosha", which even has sort of melody.

Then we have laptop noise composition "Karla Libknekhta", named after the same street in Murmansk. Its noisy character depicts its dark and mostly brutal look. This street was amongst the first rebuilt after WWII, and, to my mind, currently it provides the harshest experience when you wander through the city.

We end with "Drovyanoe", a remote area of city of Murmansk, almost a ghost town. It's rather hard to get in there by bus and it's almost impossible to get out of Drovyanoe from your soul. It's half abandoned, depressing and devastating place. The sound shows the ancient feeling of fear spreaded by this area, ruthless and confident at the same time.

You may check out the EP here:

It's been rather prolific year, I must say. Hope that 2020 will brings us more good music. Stay tuned, happy hollidays, Merry Christmas everybody!

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

среда, 20 ноября 2019 г.

VA — Географический диктат (2019)

Hi everyone, we're presenting our latest VA sampler. It's called «Географический диктат» (Geographic Dictation), and it's a tongue-in-cheek game because it's almost similar to annual geographic quiz «Географический диктант» (i.e. Spelling test).

It's also about dictation = dictatorship, etc.

Geography, space in general, dictates how we ought to behave, what we should do. We are separated by vast spaces, miles and miles, thousands of miles, we haven't met with some of artists who contribute to us for years and years.

We present different styles here. Grey Lenses (me) presents an ambient piece titled "Teriberka" with geographic destination:"from Siberia to North West of Russia". It's made using different software than on previous ambient releases.

Владимир Лазнев (Vladimir Laznev) plays a minimal synth piece titled "Киевское шоссе" (Highway to Kiev) with geographic destination: "from Southern Russia to Kiev, Ukraine", but Kiev Highway can also be found in St. Petersburg and as a federal route from Moscow to Ukraine. Its sound somehow reminded me of Front 242's debut "Geography" which also fits the idea of this compilation.

Snowbringer continues to experiment here with his "Summer Collage" recorded on vacation with geographic destination "from Kazan to Nort West of Russia". Sometimes it sounds just like Nervoese Leute! You see, Snowbringer is not quite active now, perhaps a break is really needed to think about future of this project. We believe that it would surprise us and hope its new works will be exciting!

Лосины Маршала Потемкина contributed a song «3 соуса» (3 Sauces) with more local story: from Apatity to Murmansk. The song was recorded this summer and mastered this autumn. It tells a surreal story of Semyon Zolotarev (the most mysterious guy from Dyaltov Pass incident) found survived in a local fast food cafe. The protagonist says: "There are rumors you're a double agent", and Semyon replies: "3 sauces ain't always better than 2".

Yes, we love detective stories.

So, you can instantly download mp3 version of this compilation, but once downloaded, please change ".r2r" to ".rar" to open it normally.

Stay tuned!
I'd also like to inform you that since this post we're not going to make publications monthly; new posts will arrive when new records will be released.

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

воскресенье, 13 октября 2019 г.

Лосины Маршала Потемкина — Избегание проблемы (2019)

Hi everyone, we're happy to present you latest EP by Лосины Маршала Потемкина!

The EP is titled "Избегание проблемы" ("Avoidance of the Issue"), and it nods towards well-known song by Glaxo Babies. While previous album was majorly dedicated to recently perished Mr. Mark E. Smith, this time I was obsessed with Glaxo Babies and especially with Pere Ubu and their theory of "equality of all sounds".

This EP was released just today!! It includes 4 new songs recorded this spring. The cover has been drawn by our friend, young and promising artist Olezha Urzik.

It depicts some alternative reality Sergey Bezrukov playing gangster Sasha Beliy from old TV-series "Brigada" who's dropped another gangster on the rails and is waiting for the train... very bizzare.

This image is connected with title song, named after "Sergey Bezrukov". You see, this brilliant actor has managed to play most of Russian 19th and 20th century famous poets, Tsars from Vladimir the Red Sun to Boris Godunov, as well as policemen and gangsters, and ending with playing Jesus Himself.

So, for us, this is the image of Proteus. Any shape can be obtained, any personality can be assimilated. From the one hand, this is sad, as this is the ultimate victory of depersonalization (the issue we were singing about on previous LP).

From the other hand, it promises vast opportunities, like the story of Zelig teaches us. So this is basically about what makes up our personality.

Another major motive on the record is motive of overall sickness. Illnesses are everywhere, and getting to hospital in modern conditions is almost lethal. So the title songs tell a story of an ill guy Sanya, just like fictional gangster Sanya Beliy, who's suffering at hospital and watches movies via TV where Bezrukov is acting ("All of Sergey Bezrukov's roles have meaning, and you have no meaning at all"); then Sanya gets his leg amputated, and then gets buried alive by the same "guys" who've amputated his leg and "put it close to central heating to make it a little drier".

We didn't want comparisons with Egor Letov, but unfortunately these times are as harsh as times when he was at his best. That's why this cruelty and violence in lyrics is returning. Nobody cares that Sanya is being buried alive: "60% pass by, 12% kick him with the boots". That's much Mamleev-like violence, leading to catharsis.

"The Forests of Zvenigorod" where the story takes place, refer to Russian writer Anton Chekhov who worked in hospital of Zvenigorod.

Angst is a strong emotion, it is mentioned in lyrics. This is what we feel. We also feel "guys" are trying to bury us alive.

Then goes "Паблик со стишками" ("Social Network Page With Poetry"), sarcastic rant against popular poetry widely spread nowadays. It's way closer to The Fall aesthetics, it's topical in some way, and it's very social.

The third track, "Проезд капитана Тарана" ("Captain Taran Street"), goes back to topics of diseases. Captain Taran was an WWII hero, and after him a street in the centre of Murmansk, Northern Russia was named. Coincidentally, "taran" in Russian means "ramming".

So, the character's been just released from hospital, and, while still weak, he returns to Taran Street where he used to live in childhood, and he observes as his house is burning while nobody's trying to stop the fire ("If the house's burning, you can watch football").

The original title of this song — "Saperlipopet" (French swearing mentioning the Devil) was replaced because it's hard to pronounce it, but it remained in lyrics and it's significant for understanding. "Saperlipopet" is a title of book by Viktor Nekrasov, also WWII hero and writer who was forced to leave Soviet Russia because of his views.

In this book, the narrator also returns to streets of his youth in Kiev and Moscow, and his despair which sometimes grows in real anxiety is known to me when I go back to the city I spent most of my years.

This song is also touching upon issues of evil, control freaks, problem of Tick-borne encephalitis in Russia, among others.

Finally, the fourth track, "Не отрекаются" ("Don't Resign"), nods to Alla Pugacheva's song "Lovers Don't Resign". We made sort of parody, but we meant that resigning in general is an undesired thing.

The song tells a story of 4 dead people: a person hit by a train (see album cover), a person died in a car accident, a person who was drown, and a hangman. Each time some servicemen deputies act and perform what they must do according to instructions. Every verse is stone cold description of what happened, and each time it ends with a phrase: "But you wanted me to be the dead one here".

Enough said.

Well, musically, as I've said, I enjoyed Pere Ubu method of "equality of every sound". That's why I made the record less polished. I wanted to be harsh, disturbing and awaking the sleeping. It's like an alert. I wanted to express huge anxiety I feel. I guess I managed to do it.

But it would be totally impossible to achieve alone. Though I wrote all lyrics and sang all lines, did mixing, recordings, remastering, used found objects, played synth, melodica and percussion, the band did great amount of work in writing and arrangement.

Mikhail Alekseev is playing bass here; he also did some recordings, as well as our guitarist and musical advisor Evgeniy Dvoinishnikov, who also played metallophone here. Igor Ezhen provided live drums.

The EP was recorded in Red Moral studio hosted by Vladislav Klikunov who programmed MIDI, did recordings, mixing and mastering (except for track 3, where it was performed by Artyom Bogomolov).

So, I guess that's all. Hope you enjoy the record!

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

четверг, 1 августа 2019 г.

Северный голос — Кто умер, тот не может умереть (2019)

Hi everyone, we're presenting our brand new release: a web mixtape «Кто умер, тот не может умереть» (The Dead Can't Die) by Северный голос (The Northern Voice). Sorry, Mr. Jarmusch, but we weren't aware of your work with similar title.

Moreover, it's a quote.

But I feel like I need to make an introduction. Северный голос isn't a band, it's a group of poets. Its members are Pavel Surnov, Alexander Shvetsov (in the centre of the cover) and me. The group reads poetry while the music is playing. The music can be different: we read over cello, acoustic guitar, synths, tank drum, whatever.

The project is sort of parody, as it mocks too serious "middle class poetry" popular in Russia, such as Мужской голос (The Male Voice) or Живые поэты (Living Poets). It's a mainstream commercial poetry, vanilla poetry which makes us die laughing.

That's why we decided to use complex approach to poetry. Pavel's poetry, as well as mine, is openly sarcastic, while Alexander tends to read serious verses which adds complication to the concept. It's mostly post-irony.

Reading awkward stories about failures, weird affairs and accidents is mixed here with pseudo-romantic lyrics. As a result, "decadent" tag has been applied to us a variety of times.

You may check out the earliest live performance of the project here:

Also, Северный голос deconstructs not only the image of a modern poet, but provokes an instant reaction to the street performances, just like here:

The fact that Alexander does it all seriously can't make us considering him a "weak link" as some fellow colleagues said. He's a prolific poet who's published 3 books of verses, and his traditional method of work adds balance to our more avant-garde oriented approach.

Pavel also has plenty of serious material, unfortunately it hadn't been published as a book yet, but we hope something would turn out.

Right, let's switch to the mixtape. Spoken word recording for "The Dead Can't Die" were made in a basement studio which was under maintanence then, and there were no proper vocal speakers, so we plugged into bass or guitar amplifier and set it to sound like 60's speakers, and some lyrics sound as if were actually recorded in the times of Akhmadulina's biggest success. Some lyrics also were recorded such tricky way to resemble lyrics by Arseny Tarkovsky (famous director's father and lesser known yet superb writer) read in "Stalker" movie by Kaidanovsky.

So, we wanted to express closer connection to mid-XXth century than to modern techniques where lyrics are read over a hip-hop beat or somewhat similar. We tried to be as analogue as possible. All technical works were done by me.

Anyway, nowadays it could be impossible not to use synths, so there's some ambient soundscapes as well, but it couldn't been avoided.

Alexander's "Запах сирени, запах акации" (The smell of lilac, the smell of acacia) is read while the nylon-stringed acoustic guitar is playing, other tracks feature synths or a tank drum mixed in a way to fit percussion industrial aesthetics.

It's been also done on purpose. Percussion industrial music (like Steh auf Berlin by Neubauten) is supposed be radical ("Extreme conditions demand extreme responses", Test Dept. claimed), so this nod was sharpened to underline the current situation the independent art finds itself in.

The topics of the lyrics are: love stories, famous Russian birches and patriotism in general (in a post-ironic way), Russian North (in Pavel's "Мурмаши" - "Murmashi" - verse), etc. Мурмаши is a place where an airport, a cemetery and a local resort can be found at the same time.

The final 4 verses are the most important. Эгоист (Egoist) tells a story of spiritual degradation, while Женщина с бородой (A Bearded Woman) touches upon difficult issues of transgender people's relationships. In the end, final Веткой надвое разломиться (To Break Down Like a Branch) leads us to the situation of existential defeat, and Горшок (Potty-Chair) falls back to senile lamentations of the lost childhood.

The picture for the cover was taken by Jo Har Key.

So this is the record which is reflecting the Zeitgeist and eternity at the same time. It's difficult and may not be interpreted in a narrow way. It's not even serious, nor a joke. I consider it an example of the most honest poetic and musical approach to the present time.

Download it (wav!) for free (the whole mixtape or any track you wish)!

Stay tuned!

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

понедельник, 1 июля 2019 г.

Snowbringer — Final Handshaker (2019)

Hi everyone, today we're observing latest (and probably last) longplay by Snowbringer. Before the Final Handshaker, the project had released Perfect and Brutal Handshakers.

Handshakers were supposed to be sort of alternative series; while we get used to friendly ambient Snowbringer sound, Handshakers were considered as some harsher releases, (post-)industrial ones.

Now, this Final Handshaker is a long one-piece composition, quite dark and, let me say, moody.

As far as I'm concerned, Handshakers appeared not only to illustrate diversity of Snowbringer's sound, but also to demonstrate how this project gets more and more mature. Final Handshaker sounds even weary, and I think it's a feature of our time.

Final Handshaker, as well as other Snowbringer releases, came out not as Concern Void Records release. It's easy to understand we're looking for a "proper" label which would make promotion, etc., and if you know something suitable, some labels dealing with ambient / dark ambient / drone, as well as outsider music, please let me know by suggesting ideas in comments.

Final Handshaker isn't officially last Snowbringer release, but currently this project is "on vacation".

Check out this album:

Stay tuned!

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

понедельник, 13 мая 2019 г.

Лосины Маршала Потемкина — Шутник вахтовик (2019)

Hi everyone, I'm glad to present you latest single by Лосины Маршала Потемкина. It's called «Шутник вахтовик» which is a rhyme and can be translated as "Joker Shift Worker".

It is actually remake of songs created in 2011-2012 rerecorded as a band. Its post-punk sound gets little lo-fi as it's totally DIY. It was recorded during rehearsal sessions and mixed by me. I also added some samples from original "Shift Worker" (2012) and new samples of a train.

The title track «Шутник комнатный» tells a story of a "joker" who ate glass just to make fun out of it, enough said. The second track tells a story of a shift worker who killed a bear (also for fun) and then had been ironically killed in a train accident.

The cover was drawn by our drummer Igor Ezhen. Yes, this single contains live drums. A punk on the cover hold a bottle of anti-freeze (a nod to our EP «Тренды»).

Well, this single is not about new movement or new direction. There's no certain direction, it's a remake recording to celebrate forthcomig 10th birthday of our band. I believe we recorded it because it was meant to be recorded, I don't know.

You see, we've been in a strange position recently. Our studio CD got a few praises, but mostly it's been found "too difficult or just too bad". People didn't get it, I guess our mates also don't entirely understand what and why we've been doing. Neither knew I.

Just kidding. I was partially aware of what it was about. But now, after the CD is out, I feel I got lost, too. Lately I tried rapping. It was... an experience. I plan to do perfect outsider music record. I plan recordings and recordings. I want to record more than to do endless rehearsals. They simply get me no satisfaction. I want to feel if not proper satisfaction, then just some sort of feeling of things done right, and done in a right way.

There's a fork on the road (again). We'll see what would the next turn bring.

And now, you may check out the single!

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

понедельник, 1 апреля 2019 г.

VA — Крики раненых и почти что павших (2019)

TL;DR? Then check out video version!

Hi everyone, we're happy to present you our new annual sampler. This year, it was titled "Крики раненых и почти что павших" ("The shouts of wounded and almost deceased ones"), and, despite the fact we turn 10 years this time, it's in no way an anniversary sampler.

The picture for the cover was taken by me in Moscow.

The sampler represents the way we feel in modern media and social environment. It's mainly about self-actualization.

We begin from an end: the title track by Wladimir Laznew is called "Вместо эпилога" ("Instead of an Epilogue"), and it's a retrowave piece, very moving and suming things up at the very beginning.

You see, there's no action anymore; it's not even post-action, it's more like post whatever (just like your T-shirt prints say).

I did hope and I do hope Wladimir would release a solo record one day, because I know how many outstanding minimal synth pieces he has in store.

Then we have an abstract hip hop piece by Лосины Маршала Потемкина (prod. HANGOVER). It's the first and only experiment so far, and it might be considered even as a demo record, but we'd check out if it's liveable. Perhaps we would go on. Anyway, there's some remakes on the go, and plans to record newer stuff as well. And yeah, it's the only track featuring lyrics on this sampler.

Then there's a short interlude by Nervoese Leute, the track from their forthcoming 4th longplay hopefully to be released this year; further exploration of weirdest noises ever heard.

Then there's a super long track by Automatic Alice, the new monkier of our long-time friend. We decided there's no need anymore to have any shapes and restrictions for our samplers, so let this almost 12-minutes recording flow right into your ears. It's also an exploration, it's prorably even sort of meditation, it's kind of weird psycho folk / post-industrial experiment hopefully to be released later on tape in Moscow.

And we end with an ambient requem to Mark David Hollis of Talk Talk recorded by Snowbringer. The sad thing is also that it may be the final or one of the final tracks by this project before disbanding: perhaps there'll be final longplay, but it's uncertain.

And this is devastating. Musicians do leave; yup, they grow old, turn 30 etc., and got some other activities to waste their precious time on, but still there's sort of grief about that. Only few of us remain, new ones never seem to come.

Maybe there's no time or no creative space anymore for obscure Russian lo-fi diy records, partially because these efforts had never been appreciated seriously, anyway, when the desire to be avant-garde and weird disappeared, some cherished pieces of soul deceased.

Well, this sampler is designed to be percieved as a whole complex piece in 5 parts. It's different, but, without a doubt, it represents our vision. It's ideologically completed and it's more like a missile than an actual music piece. Seems like we've faced a dead end.

You may instantly download the sampler (mp3 only, change .7z to .rar when downloaded).

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

понедельник, 4 марта 2019 г.

Awesome Poetry Time

Hi everyone! After a bunch of releases we decided to stop for a while, but it doesn't mean that we're on hiatus. We're constanly trying new activities!

One of such activities is poetry. We try to support promising authors, and even to translate their best works to show them to a broader audience.

So, we're happy to present you a video containing my declamation of a translation of poem "To a Friend" by Alexander Shvetsov.

Mr. Shvetsov is a romantic poet who has published 3 books of poetry. "To a Friend" hasn't been included in them, so it's a real exclusive.

Certainly, I got permission from the authour to translate and publish it. Hope you like it!

Best wishes,
John "Grey Lenes" Grey