Yury Morozov "Cherry Garden of Jimi Hendrix" (1973/2015)
Morozov may be Russia’s most prolific artist, with estimates of more than 100 albums in his discography before his passing in 2006. This reissue of his 1973 masterpiece (hailed as “Russia’s first psychedelic album”) appends a healthy selection of bonus tracks from the same period (ca. ’74-’76). The variety of musical styles is staggering, from Beatlesque pop (McCartney is rumoured to contribute drums to one track!) to experimental musique concrete to avant garde jazzy skronk to eerie, haunted house organs (most of which are present in the offbeat opener “The Day Will Come”. Morozov recorded everything himself in his homegrown studio, often with homemade mixers and other recording equipment. Like Bevis Frond, Balduin, and Rick Corcoran, Morozov squeezes as much as possible out of his primitive surroundings, often dropping every sound effect he could muster into the proceedings.
Vocals occasionally grate, with his excursions into the upper registers particularly unsettling. But for every wackadoodle workout, there’s a pleasant pop song dying to get out, with “My Friend Pony” veering from acoustic folk to Beefhartian shenanigans all under three minutes. Fans of electronic experimentalist Joe Byrd (United States of America, The Field Hippies) may enjoy Morozov’s “Hippie Song” and the title track, which includes maniacal screaming/singing/chanting that reminds of Ya Ho Wa 13 at their supreme heaviest.
Lyrics won’t help unless you speak or understand Russian, but the English translations may give you an inkling of what transpires inside Morozov’s head: “Requiem for a 6-String Guitar and A Boa”, “In The Kingdom of Masks” (a beautiful, flute-driven folk tune), and “Exhibition of Geishas” are some of the more colourful titles! The rest of the album reveals unusual surprises around each turn, whether it be wacky, helium-induced vocals, fractured fuzz guitar workouts, soothing acoustic folk meanderings, Sgt. Pepperish toytown pop, and other excursions just too weird to put into words! From the Bert Janschy “I Believe Anyway” to the fractured acid folk of “The Last Night” to the wacky, Bonzoid “Everybody Is Hiding Something” to the Country Joe & The Fish-like singalong frivolity “Please Allow Me Just A Little Bit”, this is an exciting collection of home made music from a genuine overlooked talent. Hopefully some of those other 100 albums will start to trickle out. Morozov’s wife Nina is hoping to obtain funding for issuing more of his albums, so visit his excellent, informative website (in both Russian and English) if you want to help out.
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