Reviewed in June: Optimalny at Planetarium and disks + Arnie

Суббота, 22 Июнь 2013, 14:35
Размещено в рубрике English Special и имеет 0 комментариев.
...ominous looming the Planetarium Moscow

...ominous looming the Planetarium Moscow

World might deliberately ignore Russian musicians’ and writers’ efforts at presenting themselves, and the reason is aggressive local protectionism in the face of Third World  immigration. The second serious reason, civilized folks themselves considering to emigrate to Russia ousting local talents, workers and skills, in the process. The second factor is already at work, with European and US expats bagging better positions and fees in our parts. Meself serves one sad example of “ousted and ignored”, what with the page you’re visiting and the sabotaged employment. The reviewed imports (below) exactly provide the amazing overnight breakthrough due to their support. Plausible, not sad, example Number Two, the good beatlesque rock band Optimalny Variant (the right option) which was first sabotaged under Perestroika when the visiting “Australian talent hunter” auditioned the band, undertook  to sign to big label and blah blah – then just faded into the blue. Unperturbed, the band has been surviving on club and fest engagements putting out credible albums and luring foreign promoters with great artistry and cheap terms. In fact,  Optimalny Variant – with not an able music critic to recommend them – are sky higher than the few other uneasy young local bands of one note chording and pain moaning who do get foreign contracts. They have just proved the taste of the pudding: the promptly staged Greek Myth Theme performance at the restless Moscow Planetarium, a success with the crowd. The Planetarium plans a string of alike events to diversify their presentation of the sky and Universe. Rather than a lecture, Optimalny Variant showcased conceptual songs accompanied by narration and visuals  overhead a spectator. Surround sound, courtesy Planetarium’s newer PA, gave off true “fingering” of bass strings and overall balanced instrumentation. Lead vocals came clear and detailed. Barely rehearsed, the program sounded every notch pro. Beatle medley, no doubt, gained in sheer harmony over Russian rock numbers laden with odd patterns, sick logic and difficult lyrics. Yet the experience made one wish for the world at large to also have been there. If taken up for big-time production and word tour, the Optimalny Variant cum Planetarium project would’ve been cashy. Isn’t cash the ultimate judgment of success? You said it.

The reviews

New arrivals (see below) await your grab at Purpurny Legion Store, Novokuznetskaya ul, 1 in Moscow. All the reviewer copies are local presses of properly licensed expensive major label releases. These are far superior to the typical pavement and fleamarket sold lot where you come from – at that low prices! Some such releases are notable for special Russian design artwork or fully original booklets of clean print. Those are on sale in Russia only and therefore collectable when taken out to the world. Be guided by YelbTrib competent reviews (and the E / Oh Yeah scale gradings) before you buy.


The last stand Bluray Disc, Lions Gate/ Premium Film,  CP Distribution,  zone free, 107 min,  DTS-MA 7.1 Russian/English

Oh yeah!

Lousy reviews skirt opinionation of any sort recounting just the line and hailing the Korean director’s diligence at reliving the action genre not to forget the Schwarzenegger return in style. In that light I’d like to contribute what’s prime for a viewer and the BD buyer as different from a petty uploader. It’s scenes’ visual quality. Making absolute best of the BD format at last. One of very few releases on the market, this one is as contrast rich (black deep and snow white) and as pixel generous as 1080 can hope for. The digital filtration and gamma were left at zero with planes conveying real life voluminous 3D yet. At hottest crash and battle episodes too. For once I was welcoming my system’s ability on gray scale retrieval. And remember, it’s a Russian press priced at the import’s fraction! What a nice treat! To boot, the movie is as first class pacy and engrossing as Terminator was in every respect – the closeups, the lighting, the characters, the script, the score. Bad guys are mean bad and mighty powerful, and we doubt not the sheriff’ power to stop them almost single-handed. It’s not one of those local one-run "blockbusters” that institutionlize a cocksure inaptness. Imports like this one actually always win due to their nested goodness. Buy it. But do not rely on the translation track for learning Russian – it’s awful and false even by novel street standards.

Legend #17 (legenda 17) Bluray Disc, Hockey action movie, Trite (Three T’s) Studio Russia / CP Distribution, 131 min, Sony DADC certified press., DTS-MA 7.1 Russian.

Oh yeah!

Jokes aside, this is the only feature movie in its right from post-Soviet Russia. Almost every other release is disposable. This one is of the world’s very best in sports action category, ever. If it doesn’t make a major Oscar – then the Academy award committee is to resign. It’s so damn flawless in camerawork, acting, casting, musical score, dialogues and production… so perfectly involving and immediate – one has to wonder about the movie’s origins. True, it’s so good ‘cos the production is every bit Hollywood-ish, even though shot within Mosfilm and former Soviet locations. Just a couple of foreigners called in for Canadian hockey characters. Alas, the trade-off is in overplayed dramatism, complete with Soviet reality aberrations but then few viewers will notice. The story tackles Kharlamov, the foremost goal scorer responsible for the Soviets’ historical victory over Canadians in 1972 games. For once, the message drives at why’s of the USSR provoked collapse and the “brain drain” that followed. USSR the incongruous is needlessly idealized in the movie while the ubiquitous CPSU presence is downplayed. Like said, even then – great movie. It’s rumored to go for export, but local English translations are mostly poor, so this BD is highly recommended “as is”, with original soundtrack impact.


BLACK SABBATH “13” Vertigo/Universal Rus


The whirl, famous and now collectable logo, adorns the befitting reunion of the threesome with the ex-Audioslave replacement drummer aptly strong. The early day magic is recaptured, but – reviewers fail to note – the harmony ain’t. This elusive bird and harbinger of rock idealism, the catchy empowering hypnotic melody and simple refrain just aren’t there. Ozzy’s trademark vocals seem reconstructed or engineered painstakingly, and guitars with bass work out OK, but all the bells and whistles (Rubin the producer) compensate not for Paranoid riffing. Too removed and self indulgent to break to our souls. Or to airwaves.

CARO EMERALD “The Shocking Miss Emerald” Grandmono/Universal Rus


Shocking, heh? Neither jazz nor poprock, the 3rd full album by the Dutch lady wonder – no wonder courtesy David Schreurs her boyfriend producer – is as chart and cash addressed as her image conveys on the proper thick booklet design. “I Belong to You” credited to Kaempfert actually cites liberally from Garbage’s “The World Is Not Enough”, and surfed up guitar picks against lush strings enter wherever the omnipresent thump retreats. Nothin’ much yet grab the next big thing after Katy Perry.

GEORGE BENSON “Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole” Concord/Universal Rus

Oh, Yeah!

With an impressive array of guest talents, the strongest being Nelson Riddle and the Henry Mancini  orchestras, the weakest Wynton Marsalis – this fresh one from the revered jazz guitarist actually reappoints him. We’ve grown accustomed to dismiss and downprice any post-80s Benson for its plastic synthy filament. Well, here he sides with his people and champions the whitest black crooner Nat Cole for what comes as one hell of a brilliant brassy swing bebop record. Why, given the warm dedicated solos of his, Benson’s are by Jove mightier pacier versions against the Cole originals. Instantly collectable.

PLACIBO   “Once More with Feeling: Singles 1996—2004” Vertigo/Universal Rus


They might owe it to and credit Kasparov in “thanks” section, ex-Russian EMI presently in Warsaw, but the good sound production won’t buy the message. Hence, my grading. As the band’s name and the album’s title suggest, the 19 tracks slice on the most “shifty androgynous” in British modern pop. And the good reason for the collection, it’s reportedly blessed by Bowie (which rumor I doubt). Person Molko sounds putdown guilty where Bowie was daring bold. Said enough for a reviewer who detests everything the band’s sound and image stand for – the one note chord succession, foremost. If you dig Pet Shop Boys / Franz Ferd and stuff – it’s yours.

30 SECONDS TO MARS «Love Lust Faith + Dreams» Virgin / Universal Rus


Virgin and EMI have shifted over under Universal, in case you missed out. So did the band,  their contractual dues to EMI closed. There is no limit to epithets none of which overpraise with every new album of this screamo. This one ain’t an exception. Exuberant and rare to present rock scene. Imaginative campy tight rich eventful vehement and, above all, rock-operatic, it explores and reaches out miles ahead of the entire new school / new millennium’s  pop ideology and artistry. It perfectly blends live music and generated effex for credible rock idiom, nowadays. Got to envy the conceptualist  frontman leader Jared Leto’s talent, positive charge and, well, the destiny. The band played Moscow recently.

MEGADETH “Super Collider” Universal Rus


Favorite sedative with my latterday mag’s stuff artist, the no frill metal band indeed used to sound monotonous soothing predictable and headbang. Whereas this time around they deviate into prog, epic and alt-rock areas toying with “hot” licks and odd tempos. Not as bad as Allmusic reviewer pins down – just different. Also justified. Booklet is full with acknowledgements and endorsements and additional folks. Strictly business. Craftsy muzak too, good for wearing on the head by a tired development director in the end of the day. Fantasized  IGWT Labs and the Swizz collider serve as themes for the conceptual album, songs and design.

SCORPIONS  “Wind of Change: The Collection” Universal Rus


In their early days the German band were prog, treading the lucrative popsier hard’n’heavy path much like many a rocker does. They detest their penniless survival period and ban the early interesting material for release. Same might be the case with Klaus Meine and Michael Schenker, the key figures in the outfit. The compilation, in fact a repackage of outa print album, focuses strictly on 90’s heritage which – apart from 3 ballads and number of straight rockers – only nods at magnificent prog powers  («No Pain No Gain») not unveiling ‘em. Some servile notes by a Record Collector writer in the booklet.

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