April Fool’s Items for Stationed Expats

Понедельник, 26 Март 2012, 16:30
Размещено в рубрике English Special и имеет 0 комментариев.

Unless shown otherwise, bimonthly reviewed are currently licensed limited-edition Russian made CDs, BDs, DVDs (no downloads yet). All presumably collectable since sold in Russia only. Videos dubbed/subtitled in world languages. Label and date credits appear as stated. While DVDs may be zone determined, BDs are zone free. Actual titles available from Purple Legion national chain record stores while rarities – from PL’s Used Corner (Komisionyi) at 1, Novokuznetskaya ul, Moscow.  Reviewed by: Vladimir Yelbaev, the YelbTrib’s deviser. From the name’s key vowel, grading ranges from lower E points to highest Oh yeah! 




In a bid to outsmart Prokhorov, the recent sensational president-runner-up – Russian Chamber of Commerce is likely to waive major taxation off Purple Legion record stores and distribution company. Conceived as a small-scale testing of free-trade zone idea currently mused for Moscow city area – the project will stop the decline of CD/DVD trade and uphold the US-related enterprise that PL is. Import duties to be lifted and cargo freight state-provided, so they say, to assess the benefit on the market.

PL experiment’s brief walhalla will perhaps usher the free trade for the whole of Moscow city that’s been swallowing suburbs of late as quite self-contained a state. “We wouldn’t tackle what’s not shaping as promising enough”, commented Oleg Smirnov, spokesman for the legislative authority concerned with the forwarded idea.

Prokhorov who’s back from his “victorious landmark” break, might be cherishing alike plans but the officialdom would see to those. As for the global industry giants, they subscribe to any plan that moves the material, not torrential, market.

What neither party addresses however is generic vintage vinyl press business which is perfectly legal and uniquely opportune in Russia exactly. It is understood that old local press lines are in order while the valuable back catalogs of EMI and Polygram are open for tax-free ad-hoc repackaging  (USSR signed the world rights protection agreement strictly for post 1973 recordings).

Big business takes too long falling prey to the ubiquitous poor masterminding. Meantime, petty shadow enterprises don’t wait. As vinyl collecting goes en vogue, connoisseurs of the world are sorting out fishy emerging Beatle LPs, the pricey artifacts, complete with Porky scribble on their dead wax. It’s, beyond anyone’s know, an artisan’s work from a flea marketplace lost in the middle of nowhere.




PAUL McCARTNEY “Kisses on the Bottom“ digipack, 2012 Concord / Universal Rus


It’s first ever carton package with thick booklet for the Russian branch and bound for collectable’s glory but…. If there’s anything I immediately and unrevocably hate in jazz it’s Diana Krall. It was pretty sick of Macca to take up this partnership of all options. The closed-in and characteristically cleaned-up and needlessly regimented arrangement prevails here, what with herself at the piano throughout and looming over the many able technicians and producers – securing her listless  sound. Macca’s signature is left by only his vocal timbre and the involved (hardly surfacing) family members. And oh that Earl Clough-correct nylon  guitar pickin’, those shy brushes and all the self-important musak orchestrations – the good old standards never deserved the stigma of the trademark Concord. The entire project’s nil value is challenged by “Ocean’s Kingdom” ersatz classic ambiguosity, Macca’s parallel release on same label in Russia. He might turn so sleepy in studio while saving the pace off to live touring.


STAN GETZ “Body and Soul (Jazz Club)” 2006 Verve / 2012 Universal Rus


Pretty bold to repack the 9 volumes of Documents anthology for a 2CD set and further scale that down to a single disk, Russian Special market – with a petty 2 page booklet too. But the economy rules this world, and here you are left with a nonetheless diverse tight and credible squash of the talent tenor sax, some with string arrangement, some with girlie vocals and the bulk of it bare in a faved combo format. However uncouth this review of the late giant’s zillionth memo – I’ll say: Getz’ overly soft squalid and introvert manner has been draining rather than extending the energy, so it should’ve been outa place in the 50s and totally alien in the 60s, with the creepy 80s more in tune. Track by track he appears as an oddball parlour mood-spoiler good enough for a cartoon character, an obese Wallstreet moneybag tucked with a cigar and cushion chair in his Ampire interiors. I have spoken.


CHICK COREA "The Continents. Concerto for Jazz Quintet & Chamber Orchestra” 2CD, 2012 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Rus

Oh yeah!

If you were ever taken in by Rimsky-Korsakov or by ELP’s Works, you’ll love this one. It amazes in many a respect. First, Corea’s spirit seemed long drenched, his fusion prowess formal and ideas over exploited. Second, Marcus Gilmore  proves a hell of a superior transparency-commanding drummer with exact accent previously notched by the inimitable Elliott of The Hollies, and lastly, the stupendous suite making the bulk of disk 2 shows not a slack of pace (after everything seems said on disk 1!) till the final drop — keeping the combo as tight and exemplary as you wish over the awesome 3-company assemblage of symphony musicians in the project. In notes, Corea underestimates the epochal standing of this release and his aroused self by ranking to just Mozart – Mozart was nowhere close. Corea was never that inspirational and, well, European.


ELTON JOHN “Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy”  1975 This Record Co., 1995 Mercury / 2012 Universal Rus

Oh yeah!

The inner page of the Russian edition’s booklet referring to “the escaped uncredited photographers’ names” coupled with a sole pic opposite it – should be surely the sought “Russian curio” that Melodya and Antrop local yester vinyls  are still noted for. Sonically the CD reissue obliterates even the original first presses throwing small sound juggles, bells and whistles in yer face which comes perplexing dramatic over good phones. Drums and bass are particularly real-life big and clean landing those filler no-name numbers of Side 2 with newly found meaning and quite an arrangement. Wisely, bonuses are featured, like the rare “Lucy in the Sky”. Still the leaving out of all the 3 (!) inlays of the original full edition was a crime unforgiven. Grab the curio before it finishes: there’s a “Russian distribution only” warning stated.


KISS “Love Gun” 1977 Mercury / remaster 2012 Universal Rus

Oh yeah!

Every Kiss re-release is an event needing no bonuses, extra artwork, liner note or video package. This local collector’s item has simplified fold-in booklet full with bold proletkult graphics. The Palmaccio-credited remastering is, like “Dynasty” before it, fullbodied and a tad metallic but revealing coherent against what we were hearing to date. The trademark mashy dirty stage sound of the classic Kiss is thankfully rid of while the poignant stays on. Turning up the volume on “Love Gun” number, you’re now getting enough of what it takes. The freed dynamics and lower noise floor. Special Russian is the dry signature sound of the local pressing.


BLIND GUARDIAN “Memories Of A Time To Come” 2CD, 2012 EMI / Gala (Rus)

Oh yeah!

Bitterly regret own laziness at not attending the band on tour in town – that’s what I do upon the first random track clicked on the player. Gorgeous and  complex in licks, seat-pinning in refrains, over-the-top in choruses, heaven-reaching and overwrought as epic, garish overture cum a grandiose concerto,  prog symphonic in leaving Fate's Warning's behind, glorious in sound production, exploding in nuances and  difficult to digest – well, all is true, nothing is an exaggeration. Substantial as any German reply to the British elation (Rainbow?), the troupe perhaps overdoes it on over-articulate lead vocals and over-heated guitar that competes with clockwork thunder of the drums. But in all it’s the classic power-pop metal that graciously lands itself over to kneel before in hysterics. What amazes even more, the lineup of forceful delivery persisted over decades with only a pro sleaze somewhat replacing the immediacy of early day. Remixed material is crowned with a special studio-fresh 14 minute characteristic breath-taker. A destined go-getter. Shove the torrents. The flimsy jewel-box is a replacement, alas.


AEROSMITH “Gold” 2CD, 2005 Geffen / 2012 Universal Rus

Oh yeah!

The reason so many people despise the southern rock band of inimitable Steven Tyler is perhaps they judged by albums while being better off with this sole neat career package. Covering the multi-platinum star-studded and gossip-filled period of 80s-90s, the compilers picked every honey-drenched epic-conscious no-nonsense pub-meets-arena  singalong on this way. The inspirational talented 70s’ struggling material left out, the set is about wielding  godly power and affirming the American brand of rock from hardened Delta blues to orchestrated ballad and to heady rock’n’roll. Tyler’s stage (and hotel) antics do carry the mission, so the sales and the ravings rise sky high in US. The world is a colder watcher but… “Rag Doll”, “Angel”, “Cryin’’” – you have to give up to his overwhelming handling of tempos, decibels and scales till you’re his convert. You’ll keep the set with full understanding that‘s all Tyler has had to say. The booklet sports the full original notes.  


JAZZAMOR “Lucent Touch” Gala (Rus)


azGermans Roland Grosch and Bettina Mischke have launched – and pursued — perhaps the cleverest commercial project of our time on the thinnest budget. First, theirs is the no-loss formula of sensuous female vocal set against a transparent combo with an acoustic bass and fluid keys (as different from Birkin / Gainsbourg classic partnership). Second, they shun their native tongue from outset for the passable English. Thirdly they chose to tour 3rd world, Sing and Rus – particularly benefiting from the good-stuff-starved Russia. The secret leverage behind the “work permit” granted is anyone’s guess for the place’s entertainment pasture is watchdogged by local mongers and morale spoilers. So much for the story, the piece of music is grand in the above trait exploitation, with every (self penned) song a candy or a gem… okay, jam too. Bettina oozes seduction the European cultured way, the welcome way. Roland is unobtrusive at his piano and more of the director. It is easy uncouth deliberation of a jazz, with graciously nothing borrowed from electronica or acid. Oh it must’ve been the Russian official translator with the visitors who posted the article on Wiki brandishing pigin term “aicid” and sparing not a metaphor – a lip service to damage the band’s appeal in fact. So what? 


Note: This English section is permanently improved. For added review positions may visit Russian page of the same.

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