Published on 24th March 2022
Various Artists – Addicted Tunes
At a time when some are promoting the boycotting of all Russian media, it’s important to remember that many Russians stand in solidarity with Ukraine, and against Putin’s war. The Russian [addicted label] has long worked with many Ukrainian bands and artists, and also with Ukrainian label RobustFellow to promote the progressive, psychedelic, eccentric and extreme from both countries. Since the release of their Addicted Tunes compilation, and the latest aggression, invasion and occupation of Ukraine by Putin’s forces, [addicted label] has used their Bandcamp platform not to promote their own release, but to encourage people to visit and buy from the Bandcamp pages of Ukrainian artists. Now I can understand not promoting this compilation themselves, as it might not be well received, and could certainly easily be misconstrued or misunderstood, but I can highly recommend lovers of adventurous and experimental music taking a chance on it as it is full of interesting music, much of which is unique to this release. When I first looked at the track listing, what I initially noticed is how much was “missing” from it. Some of my favourite artists who have released albums on the [addicted label] are absent from this compilation (including Ciolkowska – Психоделия, Disen Gage, The Grand Astoria, Grey Mouse – A Moment of Weakness, and Soom). In fact, the only bands I was familiar with were Detieti, Pressor and Juice Oh Yeah, though I knew of IWKC, and could guess who REBBBB were. But who cares what is “missing” when what is included is this good?
The trip begins in a psychedelic electronic manner that surprised me completely as it wasn’t really like anything I’m used to. Шон (Shon) kicks off proceeding with “funk rock from outer space”. It’s not what I was expecting, but it’s a blast, with its off kilter keyboard runs, electronic blips and bloops, and pounding beat. This is followed by Maat Lander who sound like EDM, where the ‘M’ stands for Morricone. The band may have been unfamiliar to me, but upon checking out their Bandcamp page, two of their members (Ark and Ivan Fedotov) are very familiar, from Vespero and with Ángel Ontalva. From there we head into territory that’s closer to Faith No More meets Fun Loving Criminals (but not really sounding like either) for some crusty, punky prog with hip hop vibes from IWKC. This is the first track I’ve ever heard from IWKC, who are a band I’ve been meaning to listen to for quite some time. Based on the quality of this song, I will definitely be checking them out, and their alter-ego, Evil Bear Boris (TPA’s review of IWKC – Evil Bear Boris). I have to admit I wasn’t initially a fan of the Pressor remix that followed, but I couldn’t deny how well it fitted in the mix so far. What I love most is how much thought has gone into the curation and sequencing of Addicted Tunes. So far every track has flowed perfectly into the next, and it’s already evident how much thought has been given to that. And this continues throughout the album, so that even if I’m not so fond of some of the tracks, they all serve a purpose on the journey, and I wouldn’t want to skip any of them.
As for the Wiklauri remix of Pressor’s Twist the Bliss, I think the only reason I wasn’t enamoured with it to begin with is because I was too familiar with the original(s) on their 2020 EP of the same name (described on Bandcamp as “a deeply psychedelic and dark form of sludgy Krautrock”). I love that release, so hearing such a different take on it was quite jarring. But it didn’t take too many subsequent listens for this remix to get under my skin, and it’s now one of my favourite tracks on the whole compilation! Just another example of the excellent curation of this compilation, as this remix fits better than the original Twist the Bliss would have done, introducing something new to the listener. I like to be challenged, and this remix did that and won me over. And then, just as I’m won over to a different sound, in comes what I was expecting from Addicted Tunes, with the squalling sax intro to the track from Бром (Brom). The band describe themselves as “an explosive mix of jazz and punk”, but for me it’s simply a riotous embrace of improvisational joy. Another band where I need to check out more of their discography. There’s more improvisation from Dogs Bite Back, but this is less jazz and punk than glitch and noise – and I love it! And yet, there’s a surprisingly amount of melody in the disjointed noise rock of Dogs Bite Back, and they are vaguely reminiscent of some of Sun Ra’s music, or of the improvisations that come from MoonJune’s sessions at La Casa Murada. So I guess there’s some jazz in there, after all!
We’re up to Juice Oh Yeah, who (as I pointed out in my review of their eponymous album from 2020) beautifully combine the sounds of the west and the east in their avant psychedelia. I fully expected to love this track, and it easily lived up to my expectations. Another definite favourite on this compilation. If Juice Oh Yeah is mind-expanding, then Dekonstruktor is mind-melting. But whether you feel it’s more pleasurable to take the brunt of the sludgy acid rock attack of Dekonstruktor, or be bludgeoned by the doom and drone sludge of Zatvor, both are excellent. I think I’ll take the bludgeoning. Pressor are back, with their magnificent cover of I Want You (She’s So Heavy). Ok, I already had this, but it’s so much better here than as a stand-alone release, and again the placement is perfect. Have I mentioned how good the flow of this compilation is? (Only several times…) Матушка-Гусыня (Matushka) then take the psychedelia off in a Motorik direction, revving nicely through the groove of their contribution, and leading us to quite possibly the compilation’s most beautiful and poignant moment – Mother Witch’s Ode to a Cold Heart. Отдел Самоискоренения (Selferadication Dept) follow up with something that begins with a sound almost approaching indie, and perhaps the closest to mainstream this compilation comes – but it’s a song of two halves, and the two are very different, and I love where it takes me. It’s followed by a live performance from The Flash Fever, which is possibly my least favourite song on this album – which is not to say it’s not good. It just doesn’t reach the same heights, and as I’ve discovered that Juice Oh Yeah had its beginnings in The Flash Fever, I’m quite happy they left this band behind. They’re fun (as the song would indicate), but I can get down more with other bands on [addicted label].
Bands like Detieti, who feature next with quite possibly my absolute favourite track on Addicted Tunes, a live medley of one of my favourite Detieti songs (Sucre dans Rebelle) and the theme to Ghostbusters. That might seem odd, but when you consider the original version of Sucre dans Rebelle interpolates the theme to Knight Rider, it’s really not so far out. It’s quite possibly insulting to some of the bands featured here that I rate this so highly, but I mean no offence. I simply love the batshit crazy bonkers frogressive punk of Detieti. It’s a hard act to follow, and it’s probably wise to have the lo-fi jamming of psychedelic garage rockers Был замечен (Byl Zamechen) take on the challenge by presenting something so different it just works. That leaves just one last track, from REBBBB. The EBBBB part of the band name stands for Evil Bear Boris Big Band, who I’ve encountered twice previously in their DEEBBBB (Detieti Evil Bear Boris Big Band) incarnation. This time around, it’s with Рудольф (Rudolf) that Evil Bear Boris have formed their Big Band, and the song is dedicated to the [addicted label], rounding things out very nicely. It’s not a perfect compilation, in terms of fully representing all the sounds of the label, but as a compilation that works as an album, it really couldn’t be more perfect. At no point does a track sound out of place, or the transition from one song to another feel jarring. It might not be the perfect introduction to the [addicted label] but I’m not convinced that is what it is meant to be. Unlike the samplers many labels release, this doesn’t seem like a compilation that aims to attract new listeners, so much as to reward those who are already onboard. As one of the converted, keep preaching to me, please! (I’m addicted…)
01. Шон – Не говори никому (5:31)
02. Maat Lander – The Adventure of Kozmik Ken (4.:21)
03. IWKC – Hugger-Mugger (4:31)
04. Pressor – Twist the Bliss (Wiklauri Remix) (8:54)
05. Бром – Сон милицанера (4:01)
06. Dogs Bite Back – Don’t Shit on the Grass (4:32)
07. Juice Oh Yeah – Duul (8:11)
08. Dekonstruktor – Rust (3:01)
09. Zatvor – Their Snakes are Thy Snakes (12:37)
10. Pressor – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (6:06)
11. Матушка-Гусыня – Транскомплект (2:34)
12. Mother Witch – Ode to a Cold Heart (8:06)
13. Отдел Самоискоренения – Газель смерти (8:24)
14. The Flash Fever – Get Down (Live) (2:42)
15. Detieti – Sucre dans Rebelle / Ghostbusters (Live) (7:01)
16. Был замечен – Смех (6:10)
17. REBBBB – Наш лейбл feat зависимый оР (Live) (6:00)
Total Time – 81:11
Too numerous to list
Record Label: [addicted label]
Date of Release: 4th February 2022