On August 15, 1990 Viktor Tsoi died in a car accident near Riga, while returning from a fishing day. His death was a shock for the entire Soviet Union, leaving his many fans in despair, but projecting his name into immortality. Today Tsoi is still regarded as a music icon and symbol of freedom.
"Kino", also known as "Chornyy al'bom" (transl. "Black album") because of the cover, was released in December 1990. It consists in eight songs, recorded by Tsoi's bandmates Yuri Kasparian, Georgy Guryanov, and Igor Tikhomirov after the tragedy. They used his guitar & voice demos, completing them with new instrumental background tracks. After the release, Kino officially disbanded.
As always, the album was a blockbuster and every song on it became popular, especially "Leto" and "Kukushka". Kasparian's ability on electric guitar shines throughout the entire record, with his mix of rock energy and arcane, seductive folk influences. Tsoi's voice is deep and touching, it's so sad to think what an amazing songwriter and character he was, and how an adverse fate cut off his career.
In my opinion, the strongest tracks are those where folk roots are more evident, such as "Zvezda" or "Leto", but the album offers a bit of everything, including atmospheric breaks such as "Kukushka" and dance-pop songs such as "Krasno zheltye dni" and "Muraveynik" (which strongly reminds of New Order).
A little curiosity: on the first vynil edition, all songs were untitled. Official titles came out only four years later, when the album was reissued on CD and cassette.
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