I logged onto this blog recently to discover that of all my page views, most of them were coming from Russia. I have no idea why this would be, but it is an odd coincidence because recently I've been thinking a lot about Russian culture and music.
I've always been fascinated about other cultures, when I was young I was raised with Native American beliefs and rituals, because my parents are major hippies. In fact one of my favorite stories is about how I lived in a tipi for over a year and participated in many a sweat lodge event. This grew into a fascination with Asian culture and an appreciation for other ways of life that has extended to cultures all over the world.
I never had an knowledge of Russian culture when I was young, it is entirely new to me and brought on over the course of the last 3-4 years ever since I moved to Los Angeles and then to Oakland, CA. I became enamored first with the writing, then the food, and then the music.
Although no "classic" Russian music has any interest for me, I developed an interest in some of the more industrial and experimental bands that have come out of Russia, in particular the works of Sergei Shubin and Биопсихоз. Written in English as Biopsyhoz, this band is at what I would consider the forefront of Russian industrial metal music, and a really fuckin good band.
I discovered Biopsyhoz by doing one of my time honored routines: going to a music store that features music from other cultures and randomly buying a CD based solely on cover art. Through this, I've actually uncovered more great bands than any research or other method I've tried. I didn't buy Biopsyhoz but my friend did, and so I got into them by listening to the CD he'd bought.
What a band like Rammstein did for Americans was make them realize that although it could be sung in a different language, music should be a universally appreciated idea. You don't have to know what they're saying to appreciate it. It is inevitable for me to compare Rammstein to Biopsyhoz because they're both foreign, both industrial, and both heavily influential. For my money (or lack of it, as Biopsyhoz gives all their music away for free on their website) Biopsyhoz is better, though.
What does better mean? I just like the dynamic involvement of experimentalism infused in their music. Their is an aspect of the other-worldly, a funky and glitchy almost IDM like approach that makes it stand out and makes the music more memorable.
Whereas a band like Rammstain has some good songs and some forgettable songs, just like a lot of bands, Bioppsyhoz has only memorable tracks. Really standout tracks are almost commonplace and going through their music creating a best of is difficult for me because I truly like about 100% of it.
They take some more unconventional approaches too when on certain tracks they invite other Russian singers, both male and female, some Russian rappers, and other guest musicians in to perform with them. In fact one of my all time favorite tracks utilizes a female Russian vocalist and is a bit more of a pop/rock song in sound than their usual metal/industrial approach.