"Songs that mix slinky balladry and echoes of Gypsy music with a dash of Kurt Weill or the blues. The results sound like a disjointed east-European answer to Tom Waits" - The Guardian
"One of the most remarkable debut albums of recent years" - BBC Music
FRONTED by the achingly melancholic voice of artist and singer Irina Doubrovskaja, and people by a half dozen Soviet émigrés who escaped the turmoil of Russia following the end of Cold War for the artistic communes of East Berlin, ErsatzMusika are the ghost in the machine of 21st century music.
Their sound is unique - a rootsy Russian urban folk without insulation and throwing off sparks. Lurking in their condensed, gritty bass and guitar riffs is a pure, unrefined and unruly spirit that's redolent of 1980s Fall, 1970s Jamaican dub, 1930s Berlin cabaret, and Soviet ska-like beats chopped out in the style of the dissident singers of the Soviet era - whose "criminal songs" - vicious vignettes of Soviet realities - were secretly circulated in their millions on cassette. Theirs is not a nostalgia for an old world, however, but a reclamation of its fierce creative underground. The 13 strange and singular tracks on their second album, Songs Unrecantable, is like a hall of mirrors reflecting the psychic landscapes of old Russia back onto the crazy realities of 21st century Mittel-Europa and turning them loose into some of the strangest songs on the planet.
From the opening old-world elegance of Song on a Gypsy Air with its exquisitely dry piano melody, through the dread, subterranean beat of Tver, the Neolithic rock n roll of Oy Pterodactyl or the image-drenched tone poetry of Antediluvian, Songs Unrecantable draws you inexorably into a conspiracy of organs, raw guitars, clipped, arcane riffs, jerky dances, haunting vocals, and a vast image bank drawn from past and present, east and west.
Leonid Soybelman - guitar, Ruslan Kalugin - guitar, Phil Freeborn - guitar, Konstantin Orlov - bass, Michail Zhukov - drums, percussion, Irina Doubrovskja - vocals, accordion, piano, keyboards, Thomas Cooper - vocals
1. Songs on a Gypsy Air 0:41 / 2. Wild Grass 03:33 / 3. Train-slow Adagio 03:06 / 4. It's the Russian Beat 03:32 / 5. Berceuse 03:31 / 6. Oy, Pterodactyl 03:00 / 7. HMS RIP DTs 02:45 / 8. Winter 19..04:55 / 9. Unredeemed 04:13 / 10. Antediluvian 03:12 / 11. Incantation vs. Causation 03:17
Total playing time 45:34