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Notes from Underground: Russian Music Counterculture in Russia

SUNY Press 1995


Review

by Dji & Mimoza

With chapter titles like "A Recovery of the Senses: Toward a Critical-Interpretive Sociology of Russian Culture" and "The Tusovka is Over: The Acceleration of Capitalism and the St. Petersburg Rock Music Counterculture," it has to be, well, academic.

However academic it may be, the book contains plenty of history in the form of tales presented to make a point. If Dji gets the gumption, he'll give a full review.

Dji says:

From my readings so far, the book is both hilarious (in academia extremia) and wondrous. Cushman leans heavily upon personal interviews, and tries to stay out of these interviews as much as possible. It looks like Boris did not participate in this project, but he is heavily referenced, and the references are usually insightful... though sometimes they mainly provide insight into how catty competing musicians can be.

Look also for fine translations of several Akvarium songs, with brief commentary.

Mimoza begs to concur (up to a point):

Distinguishing characteristics: reads like a PhD thesis, complete with charts and tables like "Intonational Structure of Youth Songs: Effusive (fervent/ardent—Rock 19%, VIA 46%)." Singers are mentioned by first name only, for that extra added scholarly flavor—thus, Shevchuk is "Yuri"—with the exception, curiously enough, of our Boris. A long chapter on the posthumous Tsoi worship. An impressively researched work, marred mostly by horrendous lyric translations (with such Remedial Russian-esque mistakes as confusing "dom" the house with Don the river).