Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Russkaja - Energia!
"This meeting of the board will come to order. Looking around the room I can see everyone is in attendance. Thank you for your punctuality. Now, on to our first order of busi...I'm sorry. Does anyone else hear that commotion coming from the entrance hall?"
As if it had been choreographed beforehand the double doors to the assembly room burst open. A man dressed in a billowing white lab coat ran headlong towards the central podium.
"What is the meaning of this? Who are you," asked Speaker.
"Comrades! I beg you to forgive my brash intrusion."
"I'll ask you again. Who are you?"
"My name is Penfold comrades. I am the director of all scientific projects at Tyuratam."
"And why are you interrupting us today Director Penfold?"
"We made a breakthrough comrades! Well, I say 'we' but 'I' would be more accurate."
"Get to the point Director Penfold, and do it quickly."
"Very well comrades. I have invented a new rocket fuel!"
"We already have rocket fuel that works well Penfold. Why do we need a new variety?"
"Power comrades! Or more accurately efficiency!"
"Director Penfold. Pretend for a moment that no one in this room understands what you are saying. Let's just pretend. Now talk to us as if you were teaching a young child."
"Okay comrades. The problem we encounter with our current rocket fuel is that it can only provide so much thrust upon combustion. The payloads we wish to deliver into space, be they satellites, moon rovers, or pieces of a space station are becoming heavier and heavier. In order to propel this equipment out of our atmosphere we have been forced to build larger and larger rockets. We have reached the threshold where bigger rockets are not feasible. Enter my new rocket fuel. It offers three times the amount of thrust upon combustion, and the elements that make up the new fuel are also lighter meaning the new fuel weighs less. Using my new fuel we can use much smaller rockets and achieve better results."
"Alright Director Penfold. What do you call this new fuel?"
"I call it Energia."
Alright waveriders. Here's the deal. I know all of you are very inquisitive people, so I have only one question to ask today. If I were to describe a band's music as 'Russian turbo polka' with the occasional heaping helping of heavy metal would that be of interest to you? Of course it would! That genre description absolutely demands immediate investigation. And let me tell you friends, the album Energia! by Russkaja is more exciting to listen to than you can imagine!
Now before we get to the music allow me to knock out a few fun facts about the band. Russkaja was formed in 2005 and is made up of seven members. Contrary to my initial assumption only the lead singer is Russian. The bass player is Ukranian. The two-man horn section, guitarist, and drummer are from Austria. Last but not least the violinist is German. Multinational to say the least! The city of Vienna serves as Russkaja's base of operations. Over time they have developed a strong reputation for delivering live performances which inspire "exceptionally enthusiastic" audiences. In order to validate this claim I took to the youtubes. Claim validated.
Energia! is Russkaja's third full length album. The operative word that comes to mind while listening to this album is fun. Fun, fun, fun! The twelve songs that make up Energia! come together to form an aural playground designed to accommodate every taste. Strains of ska, reggae, thrash metal, polka, hip-hop, and punk trampoline off of one another at will keeping the listener on the edge of their seat with a big smile on their face. If you want to hear the more metallic side of Russkaja look no further than album opener "Energia!", the hard-driving "Autodrom", or the near relentless "Dikije Deti". Would you like something a little less aggressive? No problem! Take a listen to the more relaxed yet still bouncy "Barada", the beautiful "Violina Mia", or the obscenely hummable ballad "Sorry" which closes out the album. But wait? What I've described are really just hard fast songs juxtaposed against poppier, less up-tempo tracks. That's not very diverse! You're oh so right waveriders. Read on and discover what else Russkaja has in store.
Fans of more jazzy fare will want to direct their attention to the swinging "Surrealnaja". How about a tune with a strong Middle Eastern vibe? Check out "Istanbul". The two most Russian-sounding tracks to my ears have got to be "Radost Moja" and "Kartuli Vino". Remember how I mentioned hip-hop being played? I wasn't pulling your leg. Reference "Ajajaj" and get your groove on. My favorite song off Energia! is entitled "Tanzi Tanzi". The energy this song possesses is off the charts! It opens with a dumbfounding guitar riff and builds from there with fantastic horn and vocal work. I do have one minor reservation about Russkaja however. The singing is done in at least four different languages, only one of which I understand. Therefore I can't tell you if the lyrics are offensive. In truth, I'm not sure I would care if I found out they were offensive. The music is that good!
Waveriders, you owe it to yourselves to investigate Russkaja and their excellent album Energia!. Any fan of genre-mashing groups such as Gogol Bordello, Diablo Swing Orchestra, or Ozomatli will feel right at home. This music is crazy! It's wacky! It's outrageously entertaining! Pick up your copy today! And speaking of crazy...
The doors to the assembly room burst open once again admitting two burly men and a matronly woman. The woman pointed at Director Penfold and the two men escorted him forcibly from the room.
"Thank you Nurse Sockit. Who was that patient?"
"That was Mr. Penfold. He believes he is a scientist working for the Soviet Space Program and that the year is 1965. He escaped from the psych ward about a half-hour ago. I'm sorry he distracted you as I know the importance of these board meetings."
"It's alright Nurse Sockit. Keep up the good work. Now ladies and gentlemen, let's get back to business."