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Zoviet France - Popular Soviet Songs and Youth Music CD (album) cover

POPULAR SOVIET SONGS AND YOUTH MUSIC

Zoviet France

 

Progressive Electronic

3.00 | 1 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dobermensch
3 stars I've left this most awkward and difficult review of Zoviet France until last. I've put this off for months due to the enormity of the task. There's no point in describing each tune, as there's 39 of the damn things sprawling over two and a half hours. This review would therefore run into thousand upon thousand of words. A better approach will be to describe each of the three cd's individually and as a whole. Firmly wedged between two sheets of thick carpeting felt, the 3 cd's of 'Popular Soviet Songs...' contain some of the best and also some of the the worst Zoviet France ever laid down on vinyl.

Disc I begins with a nice Pittsburgh Steelworks sound as if heard from two miles away as little strings and bopping percussion dance around playfully. It's all very untuneful so far which is very surprising.. Deep moaning, ritualistic vocal grumblings follow which are hugely reverbed and distorted, leaving the vocalist more wolf-ike than human. This belongs more on the original 'Evil Dead' soundtrack. How scary would that have been?

Ghostly vocals drearily moan in this more minimalist Zoviet France recording. Popular Soviet Songs...' sounds more raw, without the multitude of electronic effects you'd come to expect by this point in their discography - vocals excepted - they are invariably distorted beyond recognition. This is a dark, foreboding piece of work where monstrous goings on occur in the background as large swooshing slabs of vocals tremble and flutter in the foreground. This has to be the least 'user friendly' Zoviet France recording in their entire discography, being more alienating than the ultra noisy experimentation of 81-82.

Popular Soviet Songs...' is a very difficult album to take in one sitting unless you are clearly demented like me. It's not 'In Your Face' weird, but is continually indescribable during it's huge duration, having no points of reference or sounds that are similar to other bands. Without tune, chord, bass, guitar, drum or keyboard - you'd be left wondering how anyone could fill out a triple album of this length. Quite frankly I've no idea, but these guys were clearly devoted to their task with a sheer bloody mindedness that separated them from literally every other artist of their era.

Clearly some of this should have been cut during the editing process, but quality control seems to be two words that were taboo to Zoviet France during 1985. Parts of the 2nd disc in particular is a noisy, unstructured mess that goes nowhere, has no discernible instruments and is just noise for the sake of it, and is quite honestly not up to their usual standard. Definitely the poorest tracks they ever officially released appear in 'Birch Brake' and the cyrillic Russian title where the inept vocals are painful and excruciating to listen to.

Without rhyme or reason things get back on track with 'Sein' replete with deep bass like echoed vocals as watery splashes bounce from ear to ear. Surprisingly nothing reaches 10 minutes on this recording which is literally unheard of for a Zoviet France LP. The 3rd dic is the best by a long shot, where it almost sounds like it was recorded at a different time as it sounds much clearer, beefier, more coherent and altogether much more palatable.

Sweeping swathes of stringy weirdness increase until the ultimate oddity - a vocal that sounds like it's sawing a plank of wood in two, in the strangely named 'Swine'. This is followed by probably the best tune on all 3 discs - 'Veil sloe semen' - a superb track which HP Lovecraft would have gained inspiration from in writing ' At the Mountains of Madness'. It's full of resonating strings and horns that are hugely slowed down creating a melancholic graveyard of an atmosphere - the kind of music you'd expect to hear in the aftermath of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Things continue in this manner and infuriatingly I have to say that this 3rd dic borders 5 stars. Compared with some of the tripe we've had to endure on discs one and three I can now lie back and relax, safe in the knowledge that only class follows. None more so than in 'Chirm Geis' - a beautiful number with strummed strings and creepy flutes.

Pretty much a 'for fans only' recording due to the fact that large parts of discs one and two are very patchy. This is an album which infuriates and delights by equal measure throughout its massive duration. It could have been so much better if they'd taken a pair of sharp scissors to it and cut it down to a single 75 minute monster disc. It's almost certainly not going to appeal to many 'Prog Archive' listeners I can guarantee that. Ah well, at the end of the day it's good for scaring children.

Dobermensch | 3/5 |

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