Publisher: Franz Pomassl & Antje Mayer (Laton & Redaktionsbuero OST)
Produced in: 1998-99 Benzo-Studio, Moskow
Text & Sound: Richardas Norvila
Covertext & Textediting: REDAKTIONSBUERO OST
Pictures: Alexander Podosinov, Dimitrij Redkin
Date of issue: 2004 (Laton028)


Laton

 

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БЕНЗО

THE TAPES

This rare CD resulted from a joint research trip to Moscow by Franz Pomassl and Antje Mayer, where they wanted to get to know the Russian electronic music scene. They were told that they should visit a man in his workshop outside Moscow. The journey from the centre of Moscow to the grey suburb took a good two hours. What they found there in a small one-room apartment in an unremarkable apartment building was a brilliant musician with a no less brilliant collection of old Russian synthesisers. They became friends, and shortly afterwards this collection of “Russian electronic folk songs” appeared. For Richard Norvila this was the start of an international music career.

On the CD

Richardas Norvila aka Benzo, as an independent composer and psychotherapist, began in 1998 to look for old Soviet analog players in Moscow, and developed a kind of “therapy” for fragile and broken-down, or – in his own words – “sick” synthesisers. Over time the number of rehabilitated patients grew in Richardas’ technopark – a one-room prefabricated apartment on the outskirts of Moscow, where the pieces of apparatus now tower up between faded flowery wallpapers. The many electronic devices Richard has collected have become unique items because they have not been simply repaired but adapted and converted. His music sounds like that too. The personal pieces of music in this remarkable CD cover, surrounded visually and linguistically with sound, tell little urban stories and are portraits of people who live in this metropolis. Funny, melancholy, sometimes preposterous or cute, they are not arrangements, nor carefully thought-out songs but improvisations, resembling the strolls of an urban flaneur who has enough time to pay attention to what he sees.

Norvila comments on one of his experimental sound pieces, “Where am I at home?” as follows:

“Where am I at home? is a typically Russian question. Metaphysics is an important aspect of the Russian soul. Many people who live in Moscow come from the provinces and have no idea what they should do in this crazy city. The question is to be understood quite literally. But it is also a search for the roots of their spiritual existence. It is a question posed by people who are unable to find peace of mind in this metropolis.”