Stuffography Night




Moroz Records 1986


by Mimoza

Night distills the mythology of KINO and lays it out there in plain Russian: I'm alone but I'm not lonely, my stereo blares on about the joys of the day, and tomorrow I'll have several new people to meet, and a cup of coffee at a famous cafe will keep me warm. A manifesto if you're 16 and willing to listen, a memoir otherwise. Nietzschean Superman, meet Brodsky's Ironic Observer, meet Byron's Child Harold, meet Eugene Onegin, meet Bruce Lee, meet Robert Smith: Top o' the morning, last samurai. The Night as such shows up in three songs—a deliriously happy album opener, a reserved centerpiece and a funereal ballad.

The sound is pristine, which is to say simple; this is the first time the boys got into something resembling a real studio, and the drums are still atrociously recorded (every cymbal crash threatens to topple the entire song), but inventions abound: Kasparyan's shortcomings as a guitarist are cleverly masked—some of his chinka-chink phrasing sounds like it was recorded at a slower speed in a lower key, then revved up. Titov's bass is allowed to bubble up throughout, and basically leads the melody on most songs. Session player Igor Butman throws in some nice sax breaks. And Viktor commits to tape the most adventurous vocals he'd ever record, attempting stifled punk snarl and even an occasional croon.

The high points:

  • Titov's coda to "The Last Hero." One of the greatest bass riffs ever? Perhaps. Perhaps.
  • The unexpectedly shrewd metaphors in "Life In Storefront Windows"
  • Mother Anarchy!!!
  • The slide solo on the title cut. Kasparyan's first genuinely non-sucky moment.
  • Твой взгляд будет меня словно так—тааааак!! That second "так" does it.
  • "Game": Viktor up close and vulnerable as hell. An odd unguarded moment.
  • "Видели Ночь" C+G+Am+F7. Repeat until drunk.
  • "Фильмы": a monstrous dis that somehow manages to be a For The Ladies! moment at the same time.
  • We wanna dance, too.

The low point:

  • A painful, painful synthesized tom-tom solo that almost destroys "Night." Brrm. Brrm. Brrm-Brrm. Brrm-Brrm-Brrm, Brrm, Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm.