V.A. – Café Sputnik – Bandinfo

Image Messer Chups
Messer Chups were founded in 1998 as a side project of Oleg Gitarkin of ‚Messer für Frau Müller’ fame. Here Gitarkin plays bass and keyboards and programs all the samples. As guests he preferably engages attractive, usually dark-haired, mysterious female singers. On record as well as on tour he already starred the legendary Lydia Kavina, grandniece of the inventor of the Theremin, as well as Theremin virtuoso Barbara Buchholz. By now being the main project of Gitarkin, Messer Chups have already released several albums and toured Western Europe. With Messer Chups Gitarkin is nourishing his faible for B-movies from Ed Wood to Russ Meyer. Surf beats, Soviet analog synthesizer and Russian vocals make Messer Chups a kind of Adams Family of the Russian electronic scene.
Image O.M.F.O. (a.k.a. Our Man From Odessa)
German Popov’s journey lead him in 1989 from the Ukrainian Odessa at the Black Sea coast, where he was studying radio communication, via Berlin to Amsterdam, where he has been living since. There he released his first album in 1994. Shortly afterwards he founded the emigrants’ combo Sputnik, for which he wrote romantic tunes and space songs. At the same time he started to travel the world as a DJ. Under the moniker O.M.F.O. Popov released 7″ and 12″ singles with electronic and ambient music on various lables. Early on Popov was interested in Western electronic music, which reached even Odessa with music by acts like Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre or Giorgio Moroder. At the same time he liked folklore from the Soviet republics, which was omnipresent there anyway. His current album ‚TransBalkan Express’ was released in Germany in 2005. As he is actively in touch with the electronic scene in Russia as a brother in mind, we provided him with a special spot on this otherwisely strictly Russian compilation.
Image Messer für Frau Müller
Messer für Frau Müller (Knife for Mrs. Miller) is probably the act on ‚Cafe Sputnik’, who is best known so far in the West. Within more than ten years they managed to release half a dozen records. They toured Western Europe several times and their album ‘Allo Superman’ was released on Hamburg cult label What’s so funny about. The two halves of this extraordinary project are the musicians Oleg Gitarkin and Oleg Kostrow. Out of sampled noises and voices of the 60’s and 70’s as well as electronic soundscapes they create a hilarious mix of beats and obscure atmosheres. Post easy listening. Soviet science fiction black and white films, comics and cut ‚n’ paste aesthetics form the visual head clip to this soundtrack music. Also check out the bonus video track on ‘Café Sputnik’.
Image Dima Vikhornov
Dima Vikhornov, graduate from the piano section of Moscow University of Music usually plays jazz music. But from time to time, to our joy, he devotes himself to electronic music. In earlier days he used to play in the award-winning electro rock band ‘PorkRoll’. On this track on ‘Café Sputnik’ he creates an upbeat dance tune from a Russian traditional.
Image NetSlov
Over the years Netslov (No Words) have developed into a ‚real’ band. While their first album was purely instrumental, on their new record ‚Vsye svobodny’ already more than half of the songs feature vocals. Mastermind of Netslov is Den Kalashnik from St.Petersburg. Besides his work with Netslov as his main band, Kalashnik is also composing music for films and producing other bands. On the new album there is also a song featuring the singer of reggae dub icons Zion Train. The music of Netslov is complex and stylistically open. They also add elements of hip hop, dub, post rock and even psychedelica to their electronic base. Often Netslov are influenced by sounds from the Middle East. Ethno electronica might be a close description.

Kim & Buran
Kim & Buran is the brainchild of the young electronic artist Slava Zavyalov. Live he is also supported by a bass player. Zavyyalov is strongly inspired by Soviet cartoon movies from the Seventies. He is not using any computers, but only Soviet synthesizers. Kim & Buran mean to spread joy and brightness. Cosmic retro, fantasy romance, electronic poetry. The name of their album ‘Kosmos for Children’ says it all.

Image Igor Vdovin
Igor Vdovin has taken a remarkable development. He set up the legendary folk punk band Leningrad together with Sergey Shnurov in 1997. Vdovin was singing and Shurov still playing bass back then. After only one album Vdovin quit the band and began to commit himself to electronic music. His first album ‚Light Music for Millions’ was first released on a Japanese record label in 2001. Now, three albums later, Vdovin is one of the most demanded and respected electronic musicians in Russia. Hence in 2005 he was invited to produce the new album of Russian superstar Zemfira.
Image DJs Krugozory
DJs Krugozory that’s DJ Boris und DJ Georgi. The sphere of their musical interests reaches from house to lounge music. The DJs Krugozory are Russia’s and maybe the world’s oldest djs. DJ Boris (67) has been working most of his live as a scientist, scecializing in cybernetics. DJ Georgi (66) has had several occupations – from welder to church guard. In his dj-free time DJ Georgi is singing in the church choir and likes to play badminton. The couple met, how not strange, in a discotheque in 1999. By now they are famous in Russia, go on tour and are frequently seen on TV and in commercials. May they keep on rocking…
Image Snegopady
Snegopady (Snow Falls) is the solo project of the guitar player of Russian cult band ‚Megapolis’ Yuri Mazenov. As with Megapolis, Snegopady often sing in a folky chanson way. But here they use mostly electronic instruments. Music from adults for adults, as Mezenov puts it. For ‘Café Sputnik we chose the charming little instrumental ‘Polka’. Nomen est Omen.

Oleg Kostrow

Whether with Messer für Frau Müller, solo or with his newest project Supersonic Future, Oleg Kostrow is certainly one of the most important characters of the Russian electronic scene. Different than Gitarkin with Messer Chups, Kostrow is turning more and more towards electro pop. Cool and with Western production standards. Here he gets support from the charming singer Juicy. This track on ‘Café Sputnik’ just sounds ideal for a commercial clip still to be shot.
https://www.kostrow.com ww.snegiri.ru

Image Andrej Zuyev
The composer and producer Andrei Zuyev is usually writing songs for other people. That’s why for his solo album he wrote ‘songs without words’ only for himself. Zuyev usually likes to stay in the background, although he shaped the sound of some very successful pop projects in Russia. Here he is showing more of his own rather uncommercial side. The sound is a bit nostalgic with the artist having European films of the Sixties in his head.Zuyev himself calls this ‚electronic alternative music’.
Image Dzuma
Dzuma is the baby of Vladimir Dzumkov. The band also comprises a keyboards and a guitar player as well as Dj Laharry, who is quite famous in Eastern Europe. Dzumkov is Russian, but originates from Estonia. After various stops in Moscow and Amsterdam amongst others, he is now back in Tallinn. Dzuma create organic easy listening. They call it themselves ‚easy punk’. Dzumkov is also playing in the very successful Russian rock band ‚Konez Filma’. But Dzuma is his uncompromissing heart project.
Image Nezhnoye Eto
Nezhnoye Eto (‚A Tender Something’) play unserious, cheerful music for big children. Many of their tracks are little sketches. A thought, one idea realized, expressed – that’s it. The band themselves call it ‚Muesli music’, whereas ‚mysly’ in Russian also means ‚thoughts’. Hence Nezhnoye Eto create a Muesli out of samples, styles and ideas, which shall make people think. Probably. Nezhnoye Eto started in the Russian town Saratov in 1999, where Igor Melnikov was programme director at a radio station at that time. One day Sergej Zuzlin, who was still going to school back then, brought in his demos. Together they have been developing music since. They never perform live though. On their new record they were joined by Anetshka on vocals. Parapustjakov (‚A little bit of nothing’) is a little, light, cheerful tune, that sticks to your head. See also their charming flash video on ‘Cafe Sputnik’.
Image Notkin
The project Notkin consists of one person – Alexey Notkin. Even his friends just call him by his surname. He has been tinkering with electronic music since 1995. Notkin is composing all his tracks by himself on his computer at home. He regards his music as a ‘pulp of different styles’, where there is room for jazz and techno as well as hip hop and lounge music. Notkin is also renown for his excellent cover versions of Mescherin tracks.
Image Ensemble Mescherina
The Ensemble of Electro-Musical Instruments directed by Vyacheslav Mescherin was founded within the music department of the State Radio of the Soviet Union in 1957. For more than thirty years, from the Fifties up to the Eighties the music of Ensemble Mescherina could be heard on radio and TV, in radio plays and cartoon movies almost every day. The ensemble managed to compose more then 700 pieces of music until 1990. Some of Mescherins compositions are public domain by now and can be hummed by everyone in Russia. One example is the track ‘On the chicken farm’, which was used in the very popular cartoon series ‚Rabbit and Wolf’. In 1959 the Soviet government asked Mescherin for an electronic sound recording of ‘The Internationale’, to be sent to outer space on board of the first sputnik. Mescherin also designed and built many electronic instruments himself. Balalaikas, accordions and guitars, which he amplified, now sounded as if played on another planet. Mescherin and his ensemble were more or less the only experimental musicians in the field of electronic music in the USSR up to the Sixties. Thanks to the Moscow label Snegiri some of Mescherin’s recordings have been dug out again of the Russian radio archive and released on CD again. It’s a shame Mescherin (1923-1995) himself didn’t live to see this. The Ensemble Mescherina is a crucial part of the musical history of the Soviet Union.