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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Anti-national “Other” in Russian rock

Oleg Sakmarov musician and composer, ready to embark on the most daring experiments, the one-man band wielding brass and keyboards. He’s not just an ex-instrumentalist of the “Aquarium” and “Nautilus of Pompilius”, performing a memorized party. Education artist, a musician, therefore, analyzing the cultural processes that he wisely and subtly directed the creative movement groups, create interesting arrangements, offered their ideas, and in the case of “NAU” tried to the most complex, non-standard philosophical texts of the poet, publisher, translator and his friend Ilya kormil’tsev turned into songs. Although the genius of the latter is not limited to texts, NAU, Nastia Poleva, “Urfin juse” and other musicians: in the Russian culture it is like the many faces of Janus.

Photo: from the personal archives of Oleg Sakmarov

Sakmarov and almost all scholars, curious people who were interested in not only the rock-n-roll, but very different areas of art and philosophy — have found each other. The story includes their eccentric electronic project “Strangers”, which is 10 years ahead of time and transformation that subsequently took place with the musical culture. Working with Ilya was Oleg even more powerful catalyst for creative development in many different directions. It affected his further cooperation with the “Aquarium”, where he returned after the break, “Yu-Piter”, which he played in the early 2000s. Then, the musician moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow and founded his own band, recorded solo albums “Live flight”, “Silkworm”, “Saint and sinner”, “Panticapaei diary”. And if the first three sustained in the song format of Russian rock, the latest experimental work, in which the actor Anton Bielski reads under psychedelic music two poems: the first (self-titled) was written by Sakmarov, the second (“Orpheus and Eurydice. 2000 years later, his wife Kira Sakmarov. Now in addition to solo career Oleg performs with Dmitry Pevtsov, is a member of the band “Cartouche” and works in the theater Lenkom Director of the orchestra in performances Gleb Panfilov.

After the tragic death of Ilya Kormiltsev from cancer in London in 2007, Oleg Sakmarov together with the rock warrior and writer Alexander Kushnir, who is completing work on a book about rock-poet, began to organize festivals and concerts dedicated to him. More precisely, the first held when he was alive to raise money for treatment. In the end, they were spent on the installation of the monument. In 2009, a concert in honor of its 50th anniversary, after which, according to Oleg, followed by a pause. Recently, however, people who are sensitive to the heritage kormil’tsev and want to perpetuate it again intensified.

There is a movement for “Porthole,” which organizes annual festivals of remembrance and other related with the personality of the creative shares in the next year will be a big concert dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the poet’s death. Last year, his widow, singer Alesya Mankovskaya, found in the computer unedited Elijah, and Sakmarov with Alesya decided to “reincarnate” them by recreating the project “Strangers”. Alesya has performed songs composed by Oleg on poems by her ex-husband. The action took place at the club, located in the old Moscow mansion, where at one time performed Chaliapin and poets of the Silver age. Sakmarov compares Kormiltsev with them, saying that the contribution of the poet in Russian culture, equal what they did for her. Most recently, he staged an epic creative evening devoted to the other, where in addition to the collectives in which he participates, played with their current projects former musicians of”Nautilus of Pompilius” — Igor Javad-Zade and Alexei Mogilevsky, Sergey Letov, the team Shoo, “Thomas”, BOSAYA, Another Man, “Team 11”, Willow, Alex, Hicok and Anton Belsky. And on the eve of Oleg Sakmarov told “W.” about the “anti-people space” music, about how their song by Ilya Kormiltsev was the soundtrack to the film with Jean-Claude van Damme and that the total “NAU” with Bach.

Ilya Kormiltsev and Vyacheslav Butusov at the BBC Seva Novgorodtsev. 1996.

■ Oleg, why unedited Ilya kormil’tsev, discovered Alesya Mankovskaya, began this happy discovery?

■ Ilya left behind very few works — only about a hundred. Its archives mysteriously died: according to one version, they burned down the apartment of the parents Mankowski in Minsk, the other disappeared at the dacha outside Moscow his friends. In addition, he was a perfectionist, very critical of what we were doing, and eventually dozens, and maybe hundreds of pieces of music have sunk into Oblivion. When we worked on “Strangers”, he condemned some things on his own lyrics — he thought they were too sweet, pop. By the way, it happened with the song “Rain”, sung by the leader of group “the spleen” Alexander Vasiliev. She eventually was not included in the album “Strangers” and began to walk around the Internet called “spleen — the Rain”, although the authorship belonged to us with Ilya. In this sense, he has always been a principle of the publication of the material than, for example, Boris Grebenshikov, although the texts were not less. They always took great interest towards each other, and they have developed its own creative discussion: for example, in response to the album “Aquarium “Favorite songs of Ramses IV” Ilya wrote the famous song “king tut” for “Nautilus”. BG once covered “I wanna be with you”.

■ At what point did your interaction with him?

■ I first met him at the festival of Sverdlovsk rock club in 1987, where I was sent from the Leningrad Conservatory. There was a brilliant speech, “said the captain of Pompilius”, which I was very pleased. At the afterparty (as they say now) after the concert, I saw the funny man, not rock-and-roll appearance that suddenly stood on a chair and sang, “I want to be like Choi and I’m Choi!” Imagine my surprise when, having become acquainted with him then, I learned that this is the main author of all the lyrics of “Nautilus”. After a few years he moved from Yekaterinburg (then Sverdlovsk) in Moscow, and since I was often in the capital on the road and besides, since 1990, began to play “Naw, we quickly became friends, began to visit each other’s homes. What struck me was how Ilya worked with the word, his boundless erudition, moreover, he knew several languages, was a very educated man. I, as a musicologist researching cultural processes, told him some interesting things about the music that others have, and understood but could not articulate. When around one big rock-and-roll, two cultural people sometimes want to talk about something else besides him — such were our relations, a philosophical and cultural circle. I am always most attracted to not hit things Elijah, and a complex, ideological, philosophical lyrics. Not all the works that he did, “Naw” then played something could not like Butusov, or musicians. They have, for example, had doubts about whether to perform “Mongolian steppe”, I was ready to lay down his life to make this song mine. We learn a lot from each other studied. I was a representative of St. Petersburg’s psychedelic culture, rising through creativity “the Aquarium” even to don Juan, Castaneda, and opened this area to representatives of the harsh Ural rock, based, rather, on the culture of alcohol. I was a practitioner in this area, and Ilya — theorist, thanks to him I began to read books by Stanislav Grof, the largest American psychologist of Czech origin who was a pioneer of LSD research that came up with holotropic breathing and, in fact, was the founder of transpersonal psychology. In publishing kormil’tsev later very influenced by our vigil associated with the study of altered States of consciousness.

■ How did the idea of “Strangers”?

■ In 1997, Butusov suddenly dismissed “Nautilus Pompilius”, which was a shock to kormil’tsev. Around the same time “Aquarium” in the composition, in which I participated, ceased to exist, and BG went on a solo voyage to America. So, Ilya was left without Butusova, but I’m Grebenshchikova, but we were polemical passion and desire to make the creative act, which would introduce something different, unlike anything that existed in the rock scene, at that, relatively speaking, “pop music” (albeit in a good way) played the “NAU” and “Aquarium”. We decided to start making revolutionary music, very far from people but close to the space, which would be ideologically linked to the wildness of our philosophical thought, and stylistically similar to the new for those times electronic style — trance, house, jungle, trip-hop. We stocked a huge amount of equipment, selected according to the then latest electronic fashion, made from the rented apartment of Ilya Studio, settled there for a year and recorded during this time, the album project “Strangers” with an avant-garde, deeply anti-popular music, composed by me, and bright, saturated texts kormil’tsev. This project has quickly turned into legends. We were hoping that it will develop, is already signed contract for appearance with him on “Kinotavr” has gathered a live band, but there was the default of 1998, and our plans fell through. Another reason was that at the end of the work there were some creative differences: we conducted a casting of singers, where Ilya met his future wife. Gradually his interests moved in the direction of its composing. In the end, the album was released in two versions: I released an album called “Chemical angel” in America, and Caregivers with Mankovsky — “Strangers. The underground” in Moscow.

Oleg Sakmarov and Sergey Letov at the evening of memory of Ilya Kormiltsev. 2016. Photo: Dmitry Babich

■ These differences had any impact on your friendships?

■ No, we stopped making music together, but continued to talk. In addition, then we have even more pull together an interesting story that happened with the song “Strangers” “Comedown”. Ilya did not include it in his version, I thought this thing was the key and the most successful, so, of course, she went on, “Chemical angel”. After some time I once, in the morning, watching TV, accidentally discovered that the track was included in the soundtrack of the movie, Ringo Lam’s “In hell” with Jean-Claude van Damme in the lead role. And our Ilya names were listed in the credits. When I called to inform Kormiltseva, he thought that I was dreaming, but then still convinced that I’m not kidding, and we decided to sue the makers of the movie. Grebenshchikov then told me: “since you went to Hollywood, all your financial problems are solved until the end of life,” to which smart Ilya said, “I think we will get no money, and a crowbar on the head”. The latter, fortunately, did not happen, but the process in the end to what really failed, we got some kind of purely symbolic amount.

■ And how did you collaboration with Ilya?

■ Even after we finished working on “Strangers”, it continued, and, let me be deemed mad esoterica, I am sure that it is still ongoing and he is always somewhere nearby, sometimes warns about things, sometimes joking, he’s definitely with us in the philosophical-cultural space. After work, Ilya and I went back to “Aquarium”, and the album “Psi” used the same tactics that we created with him. When Breadwinners became interested in publishing, he always gave me his new books, which continued to have an impact on my further development. For 9 years after his death in my art, things have changed, I was different to write songs, my band started to play differently. After Ales found the lyrics, I wrote music to it and our joint concert was a reunion of “Strangers”. I also created creative Association “Art-49 Studio”, where we make poems and prose works kormil’tsev theatrical performances, which the actors read the texts under me composed by psychedelic music.

■ Young people are inquisitive? What resonance excites her creativity Ilya Valerevich?

■ It is ridiculous to expect the same hype that promoted the pop projects of the Central TV channels, but the effect of kormil’tsev,” as it can be called deep and comprehensive. It puts its tentacles in the most unexpected places and situations. For example, there was a wonderful singer IVA — girl from the Caucasus, which is not only beautiful quail song “Urfin juse” the poems Ilya “What it cost me,” but also writes his wonderful songs in Russian. With young actors Anton Belsky and Igor Konyahina we recorded a mini-poem Kormiltsev “Claws” and his prose essays. It was very interesting. I can vouch for creative young people, and in the doorways will definitely not be singing songs of Elijah, because the doorways had already left.

■ Oleg, “Aquarium” and “Nautilus Pompilius” differ from each other in music, power and ideology. Comfortable if you were to combine the two creative role playing in one, and in the other group?

■ At that time, I came up with a saying: there are two twin brother. One elegant, fun, painted, esoteric, hung with ribbons and bells, with a flute, another plays the flute, only it is strict and sad, and sounds quite different. Both of them is me. I was interested to become immersed in different structures of thought and aesthetics. Sometimes I liked to “joke” making arrangements: for example, the whole arrangement of “Walking on water” is almost a carbon copy of the introduction of the brilliant things Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion”, there is the same tone, the same size and virtually the same musical figure. But none of this, of course, did not notice — to crack I could only musicologists, but they hardly listened to “Nautilus Pompilius”.

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