The Ziggurat of Babylon Novice

The second tier of the Ziggurat of Babylon. You have seen the light and are privy to the first mysteries; still, many centuries worth of exquisite koans await your measured contemplation. Novice albums are characterized by their intensity and sublimity: these are the albums that may not impress you with their Inner Harmony at very first listen, but will soon come to seem as inevitable and necessary as the Wheel of Life itself. Follow your bliss.

1981 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
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The first Akvarium studio album. Boris's youthful worship of Bob Dylan is quite in evidence. Contains the perky song named "Chai" which every Russian rock band is obliged to record, plus many inspiring crazy, must-memorize singalongs. The recording is frustratingly murky, but it's still up there necessity-wise. Dzhrew, a "second-tier Dylan fanatic," feels the other gurus need to devote more study. And we do, of course.

1982 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
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Their second "let's do an electric album" album. Ranked highly by Bodhisattvas Dzhon and Dzhrew, along with various of Dzhrew's disreputable Far Eastern guardians of culture. Much crunch. Good introductory album for alterna-crunchers from Velvet Underground through Grunge to the edges of Sonic Youth.

1982 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
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Get all the power of early live Akvarium with none of the fluff. Great photo on the disk (legitimate copies only) of Lyapin playing guitar with his teeth and Boris doing something zany in the background. Go, Russkii rockerboys, go! In the book Songs, Boris identifies this as the first "realistically-electric Akvarium concert, with Lyapin and Pyotr." This is realistic; this is electric; this is liver than live.

1987
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Dzhrew's kid brother look-alike gets stabbed in the heart by Mafia types. Buy it. Love it, inadequacies and all. Bonus appearance by Victor Tsoi; he's a wonderful musician, and he's at least as good an actor as Elvis.

1987 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
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Their first venture in a "real studio" and the end of their underground period... also the end of the original Akvarium. The album is orchestrated, bassed, banged, flanged, fluted and descanted. Only those who can't stand the Music of the Spheres should stay away (You know who you are: Aroks i Shtyor awaits you.)

1993
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Collection: 1972-1992 is the essential companion piece to 14—Lyolya Sagareva edited both.

It's cover is basically the cover of the White Album in rectagular format. The "Collection" is a vast assemblage (unfortunately printed on cheap paper, and badly bound) of exclusive inside interviews, photographs, reviews, samizdat pieces, you name it, lovingly collected and ordered chronologically by a long-time Akvarium freak and assembled with the complete cooperation of the entire group. Sagareva pulls it all together with enlightening essays by herself and others (I excerpted one in my Radio London review).
All in all a fine and—dare I say it—absolutely essential collection.

1994
Medium

Live recordings—74 minutes of them—made at Moscow's famous Taganka Theater between 1982 and 1986. Lots and lots of guitar, voice & cello, some odd but beautiful song choices, and a tiny bit of goofing around make this a joy. The wacky slow "Molodaya shpana" (a.k.a. "Rock-n-Roll Hero"), in particular, is an interesting retake on an old classic. Guitarists! This is your source for solo guitar "Mochalkin Blues" in F (capo recommended).

1996
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A beautiful album. It's "of a piece" in sound, but widely varied in style, provoking a "I like it, but what is it?" reaction from many first-time Akvarium listeners: Is it pseudo-Irish folk? Is it a sometimes obnoxiously hard-rockin' anthem album? Is it something else? Yes. It is a wondrous gongranjameu of spagtratnastosterical confabulations. It is so good that evaluation of Snow Lion requires a shining new vocabulary.

1996
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This is the second album of Mit'ki songs. A great collection. Everyone sounds great, not just Boris. The four biggest-of-wigs on this collection are BG, V. Butusov (Nautilus Pompilius), Y. Shevchuk (DDT), and Chizh (Chizh & Co.) There are others, but we don't know who they are. Except for one, Aleksei Khvostenko (Khvost), who wrote that song "The City" that Boris sings from time to time. Guess what, Khvost sings it on this collection, and he stinks.

1998
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Taken from an acoustic BG concert in San Francisco's "Last Day Saloon" on August 9, 1998, this formerly "Internet-only" album (posted on Planet Aquarium among other places) has at last been released as a two disc set for the greater glory of the Net-less proletariat. If you're reading this, however, you have a computer...so what the heck are you waiting for? Download this puppy now!

2014 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
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Human beings don't genuinely need many things to survive, but Salt is one of them.