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Lilac Orchestra biography
LILAC ORCHESTRA was a Russian jazz band formed in Penza in 1992 by Vladimir IVANOV, Vladimir VOLODIN and Evgeni MELNIKOV. The group was influenced by multiple styles like fusion and new age, and later on turned to acid jazz as well, though their debut album 'Tsunami' from 1994 can be recommended to fans of progressive jazz rock.

After a few additions to the line-up, the group remained active in live performances around Moscow and changed their name to MODUS around 1996. They released one more album as MODUS called 'Reflection In Time' in 1997 before disbanding in 2000.

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3.13 | 4 ratings
3.50 | 2 ratings
New State / Alter Quality

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tsunami by LILAC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.13 | 4 ratings

Lilac Orchestra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars originally written for

Early 90s were awful time in Russia which experienced all pretties of "wild capitalism"(what in Russian case actually meant just an ex-Soviet bureaucracy stealing of state assets, organized criminals racketeer them and young growing private business and huge part of simple people got lost and just trying to survive, often in poverty). At that time four young guys with musical education founded a jazz-rock band in provincial town of Penza, 600 km south from Moscow (what again in Russian case meant "in the middle of nowhere").

Russia had a difficult relations with rock music in general - during 70s and 80s millions of young people there saw in it one of almost religious attribute of freedom, (then still extremely) attractive for them Western culture and democracy. It was strictly controlled and often banned by Communist authorities though, so it developed mostly as underground protest culture, opposite to pop culture and classical music, both often were seen as part of establishment. No strange that early (and most popular) Russian rock bands all contained vocals with socially sharp, critically oriented lyrics, simply catchy melodies and usually were based on DIY musicianship level. After the end of Communism era nothing has been banned anymore (at least for decade or two) but total economical decline and political crisis pushed the rock culture (and almost all other kinds of cultural life) backstage for years.

Lilac Orchestra on their debut demonstrates high technical level of musicianship mixing high energy rock-jazz (close to Czech jazz-rockers from 70s), classical composition elements, some characteristic Slavic folk-pop sensual melodies and funky guitars.

Taking in account time/social situation and domestic rock scene tradition, that's no strange their debut album "Tsunami" passed virtually unnoticed. Reissued later on CD, it is interesting example of very rare for the country's scene example of high level musicianship and wide use of funk guitars,what was an obscure element on domestic rock culture. Lot of heavy metal-like guitars soloing on the front and heavy drumming could potentially make this album more popular, but cold emotionless musicianship and wide use of classic compositional tricks (without clear structure or concept,what made album's music quite directionless and bulky) didn't help as well.

I believe at the time of release this album sounded as "aliens music" in that time's Russian province. Even now, almost a quoter of the century later, it is mostly a collectors item evidencing one interesting but not viable stream in Russian rock of 90s.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition.

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