The Ziggurat of Babylon Lama

The fourth tier of the Ziggurat of Babylon. You have achieved great learning and inner peace: you spend your days abstractedly humming “10 Arrows,” watching heaven come closer every day. Lama albums are characterized by their abstruseness. Verily, there are profundities aplenty here, but they constitute mysteries only the deeply devoted need to know, unessential for the average layman. Buying a Lama album without first owning all the Initiate and Novice albums is like trying to read the Bhagavad-Gita without first learning Sanskrit. We don’t recommend it.

1980
Medium

Soon Acoustics will arrive. Be patient. Though we'd be remiss if we failed to mention that this "official bootleg," (early bobina released as an album, the album's sub-head) contains some alternate takes and stuff that's otherwise difficult to find on disc. If your goal is absolute completism—which it should be—you need this record.

1983
Medium

Dates and prices...like on a jar of pickles? Anyway, this bootleg, also called Elektroshok 2, preserves an entire Akvarium concert during their most intensely creative period, and, while it bounces chaotically from the sloppy to the sublime, it provides an intriguing glimpse into the band at a seminal stage of their development.

1986
Medium

Recordings from 1979-1986—live and otherwise. From "Feel Tapes." 60-min tape, often murky and full of what sound technicians call "wow" (it's different from what listeners call "wow!") There are also clean songs, well-recorded. The tape label is next to worthless—mistakes, omissions, misidentifications. D'oh. The track list given here is still subject to change.

1987
Medium

A fairly clean, ten-song recording of Akvarium from a late-80's TV show. Groovy songs and wack audience questions. As dubbear and Sasha point out, it's a period piece.

1987
Medium

High-quality live Akvarium from the just-before-Boris-jumps-into-the-American-abyss era. Mostly songs from Equinox and 10 Arrows, some of the better-known Library of Babylon songs, and a smattering of more esoteric tunes as well (e.g. "They're Selling Us," "Children of the Sunrise"). Sound board is in evidence, and recording quaility is consistent everywhere except on "That Which I Must Say" which sounds whispered. Side 2 of the tape is filled out with bluesy experimentation, song titles unlisted and perhaps unlistable.

1994
Medium

Live album and video (PC video, not DVD) taken from a Kostroma, mon Amour period concert in Moscow. This packaging combo—album with PC video—is a recent development, with both Navigator and Snow Lion now available in the same format. We at the Bodhisattvas of Babylon endorse any and all marketing techniques which a) provide value and b) pay Akvarium to make more music—therefore we endorse this trend.

1994
Medium

Low-key. Hints at the "mature rock icon" tendencies of Lilith, but without the spark of the godhead. Dzhrew intones: Sands of Petersburg is bigger than you. It's bigger than me. It scares me a little with its magnitude. But there's still something wrong in it somewhere. The non-organicness?" Dzhrew used to think the title had something to do with puppy dogs. Guff! Guff!

1995
Medium

Boris being very, very solo. Romances (written by an actual guy named A. Vertinsky—not by some imaginary Boris guy named A. Vertinsky—an important figure in the chanson movement during late imperial Russia) featuring Boris' voice and his extremely spare guitar. Lovely. Dzhon disagrees in no uncertain terms.

1996
Medium

Boris with Makarevich. Lovely but non-essential live performance of Boris plus the not-Akvarium leader of Mashina Vremeni (22 December, 1996, Moscow). Excellent acoustic versions of Boris songs; the Mashina Vremeni songs are not nearly as good. Worth it if you're a guitar player looking for clean one- or two-guitar versions.

1997
Medium

The third in the star-studded "Mit'ki Songs" series, another great collection (not quite as good as the second). We gurus who served time in Vladivostok can't not have a soft spot in our hearts for a lot of these songs, because they are about our seaman buddies on the Pacific coast. Boris sings two songs, both swell (neither about Vladivostok). If you can imagine a mess of contemporary "alternative" American musicians singing WWI (or earlier) patriotic, sailor, etc. songs, you have an idea what this feels like to a Russian.

1997
Medium

This inside fold of this album notes that it is dedicated to "The Acoustic War." We hereby re-dedicate it to the Bodhisattvas' War.

1997
Medium

Boris, bravely climbing back on that bucking bronco, hazards the whole record-an-album-in-America scenario once again, this time enlisting the aid of 60s refugees The Band. The upshot is no Kenny-Kortorted debacle, but neither is it BG's most inspired outing.

1997
Medium

Opinions vary. Dji says: Very interesting footage of Boris' early post-America period, circa Russian Album. Beautiful performances with nifty capo closeups are enhanced by perspective-rendering tear gas on the streets of Moscow, plus Boris & the boys making fun of post-disco-techno-pop-Moscow decadence. Dzhon begs to differ, in no uncertain terms:

1997
Medium

Video of a 1997 Moscow concert. Don't forget that Makareivich is the Anti-Boris, and you can deal with this film.

1997
Medium

Internet-only single.

1999
Medium

Ilya Smirnov's full-length, carefully footnoted biography of BG (cum history of Akvarium, natch), evidently written with our favorite dilettante's tacit approval and cooperation.

1999
Medium

Alexsander Kushner's coffeetable-sized tome describes 100 early Soviet Underground Rock albums recorded/released between 1977 and 1991 on reel-to-reel tape. "Magnitoalbumy" are the "bobina" of Bodhisattva Lore: lingham/yoni enhancements to anyone who finds any one of these albums that hasn't yet been re-released on CD! (Ownership of Original Akvarium bobina, by the same token, qualifies you for the HOV lane to nirvana).

2000
Medium

Pentagonal Sin indeed. Devilish Decadence summoned forth from some Pagan Temple of Forbidden Delight, leading us not so much into temptation as into bewilderment. This album, the third "Aquarium Incognito" opus, reminds me of a glass of lake water I once kept all year in a corner of the basement to see what strange and wonderful things would grow there in the damp and dark and murk...