I was born in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, which by the time I was a teenager had become post-Soviet Georgia. After the Wall fell we had a bit more connection to the West, but it still wasn’t really possible to buy music in shops, so we mainly shared music between friends. However, there were some known shops that you could go to with a blank tape to record certain releases that made it into the country, like the latest Metallica LP.
But during the preceding period—between the early ‘70s and ‘90s—most of the music that emerged was recorded and released in complete isolation. From 1964 on, there was just one record label in the Soviet Union, Melodiya, and it released everything from folk to movie soundtracks to rock music. It was run by the government, which was in charge of “state-approved fun.” Every piece of music in the GSSR needed to be run past them and approved in order to be released at all.
Because of this strict approval system, it wasn’t easy to get ahold of music at that time if Melodiya wouldn’t put it out. Artists had to make their music sound “normal” and use lyrics that would get past government censorship. There wasn’t any censorship once the Wall fell, but there was no music industry in place either. This made underground and more abstract sounds more difficult to access, especially given that they were not particularly easy to locate or sell—even now.
But in spite of this politically and artistically restrictive context, a few personalities made innovative music. Various nerds used synthesizers and a lot of artists experimented with weird electronic sounds, like Stanislav Kreichi, Alexei Borisov, Alexander Nemtin, Sven Grünberg and many more. For this piece I chose a few artists who help to depict the underground music produced during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, as well as a couple from the region’s newer generation. These certainly aren’t the only artists who were active during the time, but they speak for a larger group of producers who were pushing the boundaries in experimental electronics.
Sofia Gubaidulina, “Vivente—Non Vivente” (Мелодия 1990)
Sophia Gubaidulina was an important Russian musician. She experimented a lot with non-traditional methods of sound production. During the Soviet era, film soundtracks began to make experimental music more accessible, and many experimental musicians made soundtracks for very interesting directors. Gubaidulina in particular used instruments in unusual ways. She conducted musical experiments that became extremely important for the new generation of producers that arose after the Soviet era. “Vivente—Non Vivnete” is a beautifully dark and emotional track.
Edward Artemyev, “Dedication To Andrei Tarkovskiy” (Electroshock Records 1999)
Eduard Artemyev is known for scoring Andrei Tarkovskiy’s films. He was the first person to use electronic instruments within the Soviet regime who later became widely recognized. Artemyev had a platform for his music both inside and beyond the Soviet Union as a result of Tarkovskiy’s international success as a filmmaker. He was also one of electronic music’s early pioneers and the clearest example of the way film soundtracks and the development of experimental electronic music went hand in hand during the Soviet era….
Continued via… Source: 9 Synth Artists Who Defined Eastern Europe’s Post-Soviet Sound – Telekom Electronic Beats