While just a week ago Лосины Маршала Потемкина released their fourth album, we’ll take a look on their second one now, as I believe this “band’s” story is more like a story of evolution, so it’s necessary to get known with their discography in chronological order.
A year after their debut LP, Лосины.. released this one, showing deeper and more serious approach. The title (“The Dreams of Unemployed Province Dweller) aimed to alienate the songs from “the crowd” (big cities – province; society – unemployed; and even reality – dreams), which was sort of escapist manifesto, but only sort of, because in particular, it was heavily realistic, sometimes even topical album.
Photo by Pavel Chainichkov
It was still neofolk / folk with primitively sounding out-of-tune acoustic guitar, harmonics, found objects… not much has changed, but generally the sound was a bit “brighter” and closer to bard music, popular in Russia, but there’s a huge distance between real “bards” and Лосины Маршала Потемкина, while saying “closer”, I mean that previously the distance was like between Earth and Mars, and then it has shrank to the distance between Earth and the Moon :)
Some songs were really inspired by the dreams I saw («На мелководье» — “In the Shallow Waters”), some songs («Лишняя песня лишнего человека», «Я хочу быть котом Феликсом», «Лужа» — “A Superfluous Song from a Superfluous Man”, “I Wanna Be Felix the Cat”, “The Pool”) were written in a sick mood after being hit on the street by some criminal bastards trying to steal my cell phone (a common situation in a remote Russian town), and appeared earlier on our annual sampler “Superfluous Music”.
You might know that “Superfluous Man” was a typical character of the Golden Age of Russian literature (I suggest you to check out the true masterpiece of Russian realism, “Diary of a Superfluous Man” by Ivan Turgenev), and it’s kinda funny that this song was a true improvisation, I just took my guitar, pressed “Record” and started to play, composing the lyrics on the go, there was only one take, and the result was quite impressing.
When you don’t know where to start
Think about what could be the end
While the 1st album was ~90% humorous, the 2nd was only about 50% humorous. Amongst humorous songs «Медитация №9» (Meditation #9), «Ксива» (The Pass) and especially «Случай на стройке» (A Case on the Construction Site) deserve mentioning. In this song, a “passer-by” Petya tries to save a boy who was hit in the head by a brick while walking on the construction site… and it’s also a common story, I mean – haven’t you ever wanted to take a walk on the construction site? I guess every boy wanted.
“In the Shallow Waters” is important for me as it shows the structure and even the “tectonics” of a dream I experienced, its music is closer to industrial and lyrics are one of my favorites, it also includes a brief quote from “The Possessed” by Dostoevsky.
“What have we inherited? A sense of shame.
What will remain of us? Only the sorrow”.
“They have discipline – they have submission”
“An overpopulated shoebox – it’s our favorite town, it’s the whole world”
“I will be swimming in the shallow waters
Because I can’t swim”
The line “I was born on Herzena Street” comes from quite popular in the Russian web Soviet recordings of mentally ill people, released in 1962, and this line was illustrating schizophasia aka “word salad”. Alexander Herzen, by the way, was famous Russian 19-Century writer, publisher and journalist, I highly recommend you his desperately unknown work “Dr. Krupa” (sorry, couldn't find a free-access English translation). Herzena St. is also peculiar as there are Herzena streets in various Russian towns.
Industrial sounds can also be heard on «Сказка про вахтовика» (“A Fairytale about a Shift Worker”), while closer to album’s end there are two short acoustic songs «Похмелье» and «Обидный факт» (“The Hangover”, “An Offending Fact”), which are totally sombre.
“If there is any freedom in this world,
Then there’s not much freedom has left”
“Though different people are tortured by different demons,
We’ll hang all the demons on one rope
And we’ll bury all the demons in one grave
And we’ll cry one tear for all the demons”
I believe this album reflects my own and even people’s state of mind back in that time, I dare to say so, I dare to tag it as “folk” music, as this is what Russian folk music should be like. It’s half funny, half depressing, a very bipolar album from a representative of “bipolar nation” as some YouTube user commented on a video about our country. Who knows, maybe he was right, I refuse to judge and, certainly, refuse to condemn anybody. I’m just a regular guy, you know.
Download for free from BandCamp:
Still yours sincerely,
John “Grey Lenses” Grey