Kino is probably Russia's most famous rock band, surely the most idolized. They were formed by Viktor Tsoi (vocals, guitar, songwriting) and Alexey Rybin (guitar) around 1981-82.
I will not post "45" (their debut album, self-released in 1982) because it is basically an acoustic folk record with poor arrangements. It is nice, but not as interesting as their later efforts.
"Nachal'nik Kamchatki" is the second album. By the time of the recording sessions at Andrei Tropillo's home-studio, Rybin had left the project, replaced by Yuri Kasparian. Boris Grebenshikov from Akvarium was the producer.
Grebenshikov had a strong impact on Kino, as he persuaded Tsoi to arrange his songs in the new wave style (Grebenshikov was a fan of both David Bowie and Gary Numan, owning all their records on illegally imported copies. ***Please remember that rock music was not officially approved in USSR at the time: Russian rock bands themselves released albums through home-made cassettes and magnetic tapes***).
One of the dominant instruments on "Nachal'nik Kamchatki" is a little toy-keyboard called Kassiotona, you can hear it on eight songs out of thirteen, along with gentle electric guitars, post-punk bass lines, some saxophone, and a rudimentary drum machine.
The production is way inferior to Akvarium's albums of the same period (Kino was still an underground act with a small budget), but the arrangements are adventurous and the songwriting is outstanding.
Viktor Tsoi's voice and his infective tunes lead the way through this anthology of little new wave gems, where you can find titles such as "Trolleybus", "Trankvilizator", "Kamchatka", "Progulka romantika", and "Posledniy geroy". None of them had a great impact at the time, but the latter was re-recorded two times, as a jangle-pop number in 1986, and as a bombastic post-punk track in 1989. Today it is one of their most popular songs.
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