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Popular Mechanics 'Insect Culture'
New Composers Valery Alakhov and Igor Verichev (sound collages)
Press review (unknown publication and author). approx 1987
There’s some old noises twitching ’neath the plastic on Insect Culture, a new LP on Ark Records by Leningrad’s leading underground group, Popular Mechanics. At various points, I thought my roof was leaking, my walls were shaking, my plumbing bursting and that next door neighbours were involved in some noisy, unshapely coupling involving utensils and lawn-mowers. That was just in the first minute.
Led by 33-year-old Sergei Kuriokhin, Mechanics includes, in its fullest form, five rock groups, a folklore group, several well-known jazz soloists, an electronic sound group, an industrial section, a group of physicists who create effects, a theatrical cast and a string chamber orchestra. Phew! Frowned on by the authorities back home, the group can only organise concerts when they succeed in persuading someone to provide them with a venue, though I imagine the biggest difficulty would be finding a building that could fit all the buggers in at any one time.
On a crackly phone-link, Kuriokhin tells me that he’d like to develop this to the point where it included not only music, but absolutely everything that goes on in the world.
“From space rockets to God knows what! I want people to come to our concerts to sit open-mouthed without understanding what’s going on, around, where, who or what they are. We’re now experimenting a great deal with physics, chemistry and zoology. I’ve always like the idea that Caligula made a horse a senator. It’s a complete repudiation of the structure of reality. So I can’t help thinking, if Caligula made a horse a senator, why can’t I bring pigs on stage?”
Why not indeed? Describing his influences as a random grab-bag of classical, Indian, Spanish, jazz, European avant-garde, traditional Soviet folk, operatic, electronic and rock, Kuriokhin says that their performance will naturally depend on their mood that particular day. “It’s never too planned out,” he explains, “and we tend to do one thing at the rehearsal and something completely different at the actual concert. I find that what I like best changes very quickly. What I like today may be different from what I like in half an hour.”
Ark, home of 1985’s extraordinary Dada For Now collection, see Popular Mechanics as contemporary inheritors oft he Dada spirit. Eclectic or what? Not to be played when you’re pouring the gravy. Contact Ark at PO Box 45, Liverpool L69 2LE JW
(author not identified)
Last updated 18 December 2018