Sunday, January 29, 2017

Владимир Высоцкий в записях Михаила Шемякина / Vladimir Vysotsky: The Mikhail Shemyakin Recordings

I just got a parcel from Russia and it's GODDAMNED EXCITING. Here's an unboxing video I made for the 7CD box set Владимир Высоцкий в записях Михаила Шемякина / Vladimir Vysotsky: The Mikhail Shemyakin Recordings, from Bomba Music.

Vysotsky was, if you must, the Soviet Union's own Bob-Dylan-Marlon-Brando, an actor and folk singer, considered persona non grata but grudgingly tolerated by the Soviets, beloved and endlessly cassette-bootlegged by the Russian public. He had a Russian friend in exile in Paris, painter Mikhail Shemyakin, and when Vysotsky would visit Shemyakin (always to visit, never to defect), Shemyakin would make home recordings of Vysotsky performing. There's a lot of those tapes; this 2013 box set runs 5 hours 21 minutes and contains 104 songs. (Bomba also released it on vinyl the same year; both the CD and vinyl versions are reissues of an original 1987 vinyl box set on the Apollon Foundation label, New York, copies of which are now a little scarce.)

I was introduced to Vysotsky’s work thanks to the movie White Nights, which includes a scene where Mikhail Baryshnikov dances to recording of Vysotsky performing his song Кони привередливые (Fastidious Horses), and it’s one of the most gloriously gutwrenching songs ever recorded - like Vlad had “Die of total organ failure” on his to-do list that day but put it off for a few minutes in order to record this song. That specific performance is not included on this box set, but another great performance of the song is included on CD 7.

Кони привередливые is variously translated as "Fastidious Horses" or "Capricious Horses". Here’s Vysotsky performing it live:

Monday, January 9, 2017

Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre: Homemade Radio

From 1983 comes this very scarce early compilation of Duck's Breath radio work.

Ian Shoales: Mysteries of the Universe
Sesame Street Blues
Ask Mr. Science
Life Unearthed: Sponges
We Both Read It
Tech/Style: The Body Monitor
Ian Shoales: Advice to Young People
Naked People’s Court
Office Psychologist
One True Radio
Ask Mr. Science: Taste Buds
Sleepy Bear Minute Mysteries: The Silver Spoon
Neatness Counts
Ian Shoales: Art Grants
Office Psychologist: Hostage Files
Tech/Style: Ears
Minute Mysteries: The Backwards Clock
Ask Mr. Science: The Scientific Method
Heroes of the Future: Meter Maid
Pennsylvania Dutch Rub Massacre
Voices From the Past
Sensitive Male Hotline
Presidential Tape of the Month Club
Ian Shoales: White Lies

Cassette audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.