Monday, 18 July 2016
Boris Murashkin - Bio-Energetic Music (composed 1980s, rel. 1991)
Boris Murashkin was born in Siberia in 1949, and from 1980 worked as a music editor, sound engineer and composer in a film production studio called Novosibirsk Telefilm. During the 80s he developed what he called "Bio-energetic music", which does sound like some sort of wooly new-age therapeutic proposition, and by all accounts that's what he ended up devoting himself to from about 1993 onwards - there's a couple of 1995 releases out there that don't bode well from their track titles and liner notes - but before that there was this eerie masterpiece.
This Is Us, O Lord! (I also found "It's Us, O Lord!" as an alternate translation, which makes a bit more sense) appears to have been conceived as a film soundtrack. The film, entitled The Transfiguration, is credited (I think) in the CD notes to a director named Yuri Malashkin, and was a 1988 documentary marking the millenial anniversary of The Baptism Of Rus', an event that led to the foundation of the Russian Orthodox Church. Short of learning Russian and a ton of Cyrillic unicode, I haven't been able find a trace of either film or director online. The music, however, is more than interesting enough in its own right.
The main sonic backdrop for the work sounds like a cross between the desolate mid-section of Pink Floyd's Echoes and a somewhat less ominous version of Can's Aumgn. After about ten minutes of this, the first recurring choral fragment is introduced. Gradually, more incantatory liturgical voices are introduced, along with twanging zither and synth sequences, all echoing around in the ether. The introduction of an organ and some flutes bring to mind Tangerine Dream's Alpha Centauri, with a hint of Saucerful-era Floyd. Just after the halfway point there's also a crying baby in the mix, which will come back to haunt us in the final minute, and some bird sounds (assuming the latter are real and not synthesised).
The second track on the disc, Kama Sutra, sounds at first like a continuation of the main piece, picking up the same flute sounds that have just died away, then the combination of Indian instruments with some electronic burbling make this epilogue sound as if pre-Hosianna Popol Vuh had discovered the sitar early. All in all, a truly bizarre listening experience not to be missed.
"Это мы, Господи!.."