The Ziggurat of Babylon Pilgrim

The third tier of the Ziggurat of Babylon. You have absorbed the earliest foundational mysteries: now it’s time to cast off the rest of your material wealth, don sackcloth, and visit the Holy Land. Pilgrim albums are characterized by their waywardness: they can beautiful as Himalayan vistas or stinging as a scourge of nettles. Though among them are scintillating, multi-faceted gems, they seldom make good first purchases, and the uninitiated may soon lose their way in the Vales of Error.

1981 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
Medium

The once incredibly-elusive companion piece to Acoustics, this is two drastically different electric "albums" in one. The first half is from a 1980 concert in Tblisi that pissed off the apparatchiki and got Boris kicked out of college; the second half is Russkii reggae/ska ala The Police. Both halves form the whole and brilliantly span the whole range of electricity—from a gentle static shock on a dry winter day, to the mad scientist's Jacob's ladder, and from highline hum, to Ben Franklin tying you to an electric cello in a lightning storm.

1981
Medium

Uneven brilliance by wacky artists of primitive rock; think early Velvet Underground with a sense of humor and fewer prescription depressants. Contains "Mochalkin Blues" and "Starik Kozlodoyev," both of which are key songs, plus a great deal of freaky wondrousness and some beautiful guitar-cello-vocals pieces. Worth buying for the jazz piano M. Blues (Kuryokhin is the man) alone, but not a good first purchase.

1984
Medium

Notoriously elusive compilation, containing studio versions of "-30" and "Marina," among other gems, which are otherwise only available in wigged-out live versions. For over two years we had the following challenge on this site: "The first person who gets a copy of this record in the hands of a Guru will receive a crappy 'BG With Skull' bookmark. Let the games begin!" Dubbear won by submitting a review and sending CDs to various Gurus. That's devotion.

1984 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
Medium

This is a collection of live recordings from the period when Akvarium was a Band On the Run, playing illegal concerts advertised by word of mouth in the apartments of friends and supporters. Terrific songs more than make up for a sound-quality that is often less than ideal.

1985
Medium

The last (official) live album from the original Akvarium. An excellent record, with crowd noise, energy and enough differences from album versions as well as new material to make it worthwhile, though there is by and large agreement among the Lamas regarding the title track (better version on Acoustics? Yep.)

1985
Medium

Controversial album amongst the Gurus. Dji v. The Rest of Them has been in litigation ever since Dji foolishly dissed this one. The record swings from irritating experimentation (theoretically Eno-inspired, but sometimes sounding like "Thriller" two-thirds-unplugged), through 50s-inspired up-tempo blues ("At the Hop, bop, bop, bop.."), through cuckoo birds, through Russia's answer to "8-6-7-5-3-0-9, Jenny Jenny." A record made in the 80s that often sounds like it was actually made in the 80s.

1986 Buddha 0435a904765ab989fafb9ce7dd38f45dbb8c3259b1b4a4f12ff06aedf3f99b4f
Medium

Soundtrack to Sergei Solovyov's hugely influential cult classic from the late 80s. Akvarium and BG contributed five of the tracks.

1989
Medium

The breaking of Boris' Western recording career. Do not watch this until you've fully digested the post-America brilliance. You may also want to listen to Radio Silence before you watch this, so you can be properly prejudiced.

1989
Medium

A feast for the ears, this soundtrack has a little something for everybody, from Bardo-esque experimental soundscapes to some of BG's most memorable lyrical efforts. Don't be fooled by its presence in this category: This is a key album that no Akvarium/BG fan should be without.

1991
Medium

A post-Akvarium I breakup, pre-"B.G. Band" collection of previously-unreleased-on-disc tunes. Offbeat, and sometimes disappointing, but by no means a throwaway. Could easily and weirdly be "someone's" favorite album. Memorize the song about drinking at work ("Alternative"). Practice singing it while you're drinking at work.

1993
Medium

Of the "Archive" albums, Library of Babylon probably comes the closest to being a "must-have." Contains a number of popular favorites from Akvarium's live shows that never made it onto the studio albums of the 80's (e.g. "Sister," "Silver of My Lord," "Assholes," "Jungles") as well as lesser-known (but still excellent) songs in a dazzling, dizzying array of styles.

1993
Medium

Favorite Songs of Ramses IV is a great example of the so-called new Akvarium. It contains almost every ingredient that is by now became a part of Grebenshikov's arsenal of choice. Able to afford children's choirs and harpsichords along with sitars and other post Sgt. Pepper fluff, he indulges in it with the appetite of a deprived child, but with a surprisingly good end result.

1994
Medium

Transitional period live show. Lots of stuff from all periods, but focusing on the early 90's. Interesting structure: Intercut with the live footage, they show scenes of the band (mostly Boris) coming to town, setting up, goofing backstage, breaking down their equipment and getting on the train to go home. Boris does his "I'm a Buddhist, bless you" salute lots o' times, once or twice even in slow motion.

1994
Medium

Ruddha buddha buddha, chock full of Russkii buddha. Say howdy to the throat singers and welcome the return of whirligig instrumentation and even the Munchkin chorus as B.G. and New Akvarium perfect their move into Trans-World Music. After this, nothing is forbidden.

1995
Medium

Live concert footage filmed sometime around the release of Navigator and drawing most heavily from said album. (Presumably a must for souls suffering from calenture, and who think Navigator is the best Akvarium album. They say that drowning is an excellent way to die.) Available separately on PAL video, and on VCD as part of a deluxe, two-disc rerelease of the Navigator album in Y2K.

1996
Medium

Mostly vocals, guitar and accordion on versions of traditional Russian songs. According to the liner notes, these are songs to listen to as you sit around a round table with friends and drink drink drink. Do as instructed. Listen with friends. Love it with friends. With or without booze, you'll get drunk and your older Russian friends will get all misty… then they'll get confused for a bit as, on the album's one original song, Boris sings of "My New York Troubles," which mostly involves lots of drugs. But that song's far enough into the album that you can probably contrive a toast to distract anyone who might be offended, so fire away.

1997
Medium

See Boris play phat, phat, phat rock & roll with the original Akvarium. A few clips of earlier performances which cut into 1997 concert footage of the same song. Unfortunately, the quality of the recording varies throughout. Get it for the clips.

1997
Medium

Misleadingly named. This is not one of Boris's bizarro solo projects; this is a bona fide bizarro "Aquarium Incognito" project. The "Russian-Abyssinian Orchestra" is just the usual Akvarium guys playing chanted, droned, flauted, rondoed, saiaiaiaii-ed, mantra-ed music in a fantabulous language all their own. (Sorry Sigur Ros, but Boris was merrily singing vaguely suggestive syllabic nonsense when you were still in Icelandic Huggies). Upside of that: you don't need to understand a word of Russian to fully appreciate this album. Fans of Oleg Sakmarov (you know who you are, you call him "Ded") need this record.

1999
Medium

Psi

In the spirit of the Artist formally known as the unpronouncable symbol formally known as Prince (Nelson), this album is actually called Ψ. We think BG may have done this in order to give our web-page the hiccups. Ψ it is, then, on formal occasions, but "Psi" or "Pitchfork" to those of us who are на ты. Opinions differ, but an infinite number of Bodhisattvas agree that Ψ is a good album... though they differ on exactly how good.

2000
Medium

Aaaaaaaaa-oooooooo-oooooo! Live internet-only album recorded January 22, 2000 in Samara. Is that BG howling his true devotion to Artemis...or is that an attempt at Tuvan throat-singing? Sprites and dryads dance in a faerie-ring, and we, the True Believers, get a basketful of goodies на халяве. Who could ask for anything more?

2001
Medium

The most complete compilation of BG/Akvarium song texts to date, but, except for including songs written during the last four years, it's far inferior to the 1997 ËÅÀÍ Press publication B.G. Songs. It does, however, have the signal and indisputable advantage over Songs of being both in print and readily available by mail-order.

2002
Medium

Wash this article in the synthetic cycle only or dry clean. A December's Children for the new millennium? Perhaps so, in its unabashed use of samples, synths and electronic sounds...and in its strong tendency to divide Bodhisattvas along strictly sectarian lines, chanting conflicting mantras into the starry void.