The stories behind the music
How the Elements Awakened
1. We were asked not to sing on our new album. By all kinds of people. They would walk up to us and literally beg: please sing nothing on your new album. Naturally, we’d ask, “would you like us to not sing something specific? Exactly which song would you like us to not sing on our new album?” “Any song, - people would implore, - please do not sing any song at all”. “Maybe you would also like us to not sing an instrumental composition?” “Yes, that’s it, - people would rejoice, - and instrumentals, too. Sing nothing at all!” “And what language would you like us not to sing in?” – we’d ask, just to make sure. In Russian, - people would shout in chorus, - first and foremost, don’t sing in Russian. Then, in English. And then, you may also not sing in all the other languages.” That wasn’t an easy task, to not sing anything in any language. One could even consider it impossible and give up. But we stood up to the challenge. Nothing is impossible for a true musician! Besides, we did actually keep singing throughout the recording. Only the microphone was off.
2. About Schostoccata. In search for some arrangeable material, Didorenko looked through the classical music heritage. Rockers have significantly abused many Russian composers, especially Bach and Vivaldi. Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky were black and blue from constant arrangements. Fortunately, some of Schostakovich’s output still remained intact, due to his illegible manuscripts. Without wasting a second, we grabbed a piece of his 8th Quartet and adapted it into our environment. Truth be told, we ourselves couldn’t figure out all of it, because what we got wasn’t the best copy of the score. So we had to put in some of our own chords.
3. Infinity Street is essentially a spherical composition for 4 acoustic, an electric, and a bass guitar, plus percussions. When necessary, it (the composition) can also be utilized as a double-sided symmetrical snowball.
4. Name picking was going full throttle, sweeping everything off its way. Over the Islands – our favorite guitar riff-rock – was originally dubbed The Rings of Saturn. Akimov didn’t like the title – the associative train brought him, mysteriously, to the Lord of the Rings. Thinking on, we arrived at “Bahamas”, unfortunately, only as a figure of speech. “Bahamas” is a great name’ – Akimov said. “Beautiful” – Soloviev agreed, - “but what do we know about Bahamas? Is there rock-n-roll there?” “We must go, - Didorenko said, with determination, - and find out.” “Hawaii, Majorca, and Fiji would also be nice, - Soloviev added, meticulously counting his salary.” “Let’s pick a more general name, like “Flying over the Islands” – Didorenko suggested.” “Better just Flying Over”, - Akimov suggested. “Better just Over the Islands,” – Soloviev suggested. At which point we decided to stop.
5. About Simoom. Originally we planned a fast-driven thing depicting a typhoon. As an experiment, we decided to play it live at the concert and subsequently, the composition changed it’s name and took a dignified third place on the new album. Special thanks to Yuliya Basis for the piano part. They are both beautiful.
6. Couple of words about Paranoia Blues. No, wait… I think there’s someone hiding behind this curtain…
7. The Three States were composed as a concerto for 2 violins. There was also an idea to write 2 States for 3 violins and 1 State for 5. In case anyone is interested what kind of states were meant, we have a few explanations. The simplest one: those are dynamic, static and kinetic. But feel free to conduct your own research and disagree.
8. Collision of the Elements is a 5/8 composition with alternating time signatures occurring in unexpected places. Kinda complicated.
9. Scenery with a Guitar and Sky Wide Open are pretty, decorative pieces in a relaxing-meditative mood. Music, like any other woman, can sometimes afford to stop making sense and start just being beautiful.
10. We’ve got several thanks that we’d like to deposit to the account of our percussionist Veniamin Rozov, because, firstly he played with us, and secondly, he regularly threw fresh wood into the fire of our ideas.
11. Awakening of the Elements – a fragment of the process.
Soloviev and his flute came to visit Didorenko, who was deeply and securely submerged in the recording of a new composition. Upon seeing his friend, Didorenko happily pressed a microphone against his throat and said: ”Play this: E-D-D-E”. Soloviev, unabashed, took out the flute, a piece of staffed paper, a pencil, settled comfortably on the sofa and got ready to write.
D. (indignantly) There’s nothing to write! Just play E-D-D-E.
S. Wait-wait-wait, what do you mean E-D-D-E? I can’t just up and play E-D-D-E.
D. You can, too. Otherwise why did you graduate the conservatory?
S. And post-graduated as well.
D. Anyway, you should play here, first E-D-D-E, then G-F-F-G, then higher and more notes. Each time, higher and more notes, get it?
S. What notes?
D. Just notes, any notes.
S. You sure?
S. Here you go, then!
Didorenko, rubbing hands, leaps to the computer and hits “record”. Soloviev plays a few notes and stops, pensive.
S. I doubt it.
D. Sounds cool!
D. What the doctor ordered!
S. Totally sucks.
S. Well, is it on?
D. What for? We’ve already done it.
S. (in disbelief) Really? No, c’mon, wait, I’ll play one more time.
S. You drunk?
D. I’m telling you, it’s all fine.
S. (yells) Let me play again, you idiot, flute is out of tune, notes all wrong!
D. (doubtfully) Sounds OK as it is to me. All right, an extra take, just in case.
Recording on. Soloviev plays. Stops.
S. (satisfied) Now we’re talking!
D. (unconvinced) Yeah?
S. (confident) Of course!
D. I dunno, I think it was better the other time.
S. That other time, I played total rubbish. Now, at least it makes sense.
D. None whatsoever. Do it again.
S. I don’t know what’s not to like… OK.
Recording on. Soloviev is not playing.
S. So what do I play?
D. (exasperated) No idea. It’s all done already.
S. Yeah, I think so. Second take is awesome.
D. First take is perfect.
Akimov. (comes back from the kitchen, chewing) That’s it, then! We’ll take take one part one, and take two part two. And we’ll start mixing.
S. Thank God. Just make the flute really quiet, so it can’t be heard. It really sucks.
D. Flute’s great! But do make sure one can hear the guitar and bass. And the violin. And the keyboard, too.
A. Don’t worry guys! (Turns on drums, top volume). So how’s balance?
S. Super. A little less flute, though.
A. What flute? There isn’t any flute.
S. Aha. I guess all’s cool then.
A. Let’s even out those drums first. (Puts on headphones, becomes immersed in sound of bass drum).
D & S sit in silence for a while, then exchange meaningful glances, get up, and tiptoe to the kitchen to boil water for dumplings.
The idea to fully reconstruct the album came up in 2014. It became clear from the start that the original tape should be treated as a demo, and the album would have to be re-recorded from scratch, with the lyrics re-written and drums live. It seemed like a lot of work, and even though some guitar tracks were recorded at that time, the project was shelved in order to focus on Of Things and Beings.
In May 2018, Andy undertook a titanic job of replaying all the instruments by ear, guided by the 1992 tape (excluding the Midnight in Venice which was scored in 1992). After that, Vasya was summoned to record the flute and vocal parts, which he did on June 28-30, 2018. Just two days before, the flute parts for Spheres Aligned were also recorded.
The last phase: confined to his apartment by the pandemic in 2020, Andy searched the internet for a drummer. The young and versatile freelance drummer Matt Brown was found, and from his studio in London, he recorded the drums in June-July 2020. The album was mixed and mastered in November-December 2020 by Andy and Alex.
The Original Premises
1991-1992 academic year is our third year at the Academic Music College, Moscow. Vasya is living with his mom, an acoustic guitar, and a cat in a tiny apartment near Paveletzkaya Station. Andy lives in a college dorm room #8 with Alex and Misha, two fine piano students. Andy, a self-proclaimed guitar and bass player, is in possession of a double cassette tape recorder, a Diamond bass guitar, a Formanta electric guitar, and a Yamaha VSS 200 keyboard brought from Japan by his older brother. A borrowed Boss drum machine is also involved. Hardly top-notch equipment, but at that moment it provides enormous inspiration and a possibility to write and record our own vision of what art rock music is about. Vasya tapes his demos at home and then comes to the dorms to drink tea and record. Alex has soldered five 5-pin jacks together, thus resolving the problem of an absent mixing desk and enabling overdubs. The general understanding is that we are wasting valuable time doing this, instead of practicing Bach and Tchaikovsky.
Vassili Soloviev – vocal, flute, guitar, keyboard
Andy Didorenko – vocal, bass guitar, guitar, violin
Mikhail Ralenko – keyboard
Alexander Akimov – keyboard
Faithfully reconstructed in 2018 - 2020 by:
Vassili Soloviev – vocal, flute
Andy Didorenko – vocal, bass, guitar, keyboards, violin
Matt Brown – drums
Track by Track
The Underpass Theme
Transferred from the original tape. The street noise was recorded on March 17, 1992, at 9-10 PM at Park Kultury Metro station. Andy's melody, along with the coin drop, was recorded by Vasya in the dorm shower.
I Wanna Drift Away
One of Vasya's first songs, written in November '90. Originally recorded between April 2 and May 20, 1992. Andy and Vasya wrote their first song together in the spring of 1990, thus forming the long-lasting future partnership. Most of the songs and compositions, however, were written individually and later developed and finished together.
Conceived by Andy on guitar and bass in December '91, and reworked in collaboration with Alex on June 4, 1992. The concept of a man lost in a city is one of the recurrent themes in Lost World Band's music. Moscow has changed radically since then (except for the weather - you can go for weeks without the sunshine). In 1992, it was a bit scary yet very exciting to live there.
Originally titled 'She', Vasya's opus about unrequited love was the first-ever melody he brought to his bandmates to adore in the early autumn '90. It was later embellished with a Vivaldi-esque introduction and a middle section. Admittedly, not one of the band members was in a successful relationship at that moment. The sexual frustration was suppressed and took a form of romantic lyrics and music.
Written in the fall of 1991, Andy's song, inspired by Prokofiev's theme from Romeo and Juliet, was cleverly transposed and fully reworked, with time signature changed from 3/4 to 6/8 and melody and lyrics added on top. Naturally, the Dance of the Knights, a.k.a. Montague and Capulet, was also adapted for a rock version but not recorded on the album. Half a year later, to our astonishment, we learned that ELP did it on their Black Moon album.
Cold Moon Bolero
Originally, this spontaneous improvisation by Andy on guitar and Vasya on flute in an old, half-demolished church on July 15, 1992, was inspired by the enigmatic acoustics of the place. Later, Vasya added two more flute lines to it, and Andy came up with the bass. Not included on the original album but presented here to complete the picture. The word Bolero was added to the title to acknowledge that the first element of the melody resembles the famous Ravel's Bolero.
Going Back Home
Andy's song, written in October '91 and recorded between March 19 and May 20, 1992. It was considered pretty advanced to have a riff and two separate melodies running at the same time. Per Alex's suggestion, the 5/4 bridge was added. Misha contributed a keyboard solo. Same as the rest of the lyrics on the album, while preserving the original idea, words were re-written by Andy in 2018 and edited by Yuliya Basis.
Midnight in Venice
On July 12, 1992, Andy appeared at Vasya's dacha to walk along the fields, play soccer, and compose a string quartet with his friend. An extra challenge was added by the absence of the piano. The third movement of this quartet, written solely by Vasya, is presented here as a later addition to the album, played by Andy on four acoustic guitars.
Uncharacteristically, a pop song, written by Andy on April 27, 1992. Lost World wasn't supposed to be a pop album, but this one sneaked in because it had a rhythm pattern running through and a nice bass guitar riff. Another fine solo contribution by Misha.
House of the Past
Written by Vasya with Andy's lyrics in the fall of 1991. Recorded June 3 – June 11, 1992. Andy and Vasya re-recorded Vasya's flute and vocals in two sessions in June 2018. 26 years passed since they had sung and played these compositions. It was the strangest mix of feelings, a whole life lived between now and then, a touch of nostalgia, flashes of memories, a bit of pride that our very first opus still sounded imaginative and mellifluous. All the flute parts were recorded in one or two takes, although the vocals took much longer to recapture.
At the end of May '92, Andy and Vasya conceived a psychedelic improvisation on bass and flute
which incorporated the elements from the Underpass Theme and the unprecedentedly beautiful melody Vasya wrote in the fall of 1990. The chord progression of this melody was absolutely enchanting. The
original version was recorded in one take and completed on June 19, 1992, after Vasya overdubbed an organ part.
There was a joke from the mock interview Andy and Vasya improvised: 'Have you written anything for a flute, double bass and a hi-hat?' It did sound funny, like a totally random set of instruments.
On the other hand, a bass guitar and flute duet was very appealing for both players. It gave each instrument lots of space, and they would never interfere with one another. There were no drums in the original version, but Andy took the risk of asking Matt to come up with the drum part. Thus the integral hi-hat part was added, and the flute/double bass/hi-hat trio is now complete.
Vasya's composition, a conflation of his song from the fall of 1990 and a guitar prelude of the same period, with Alex's melody on top. Although Andy and Vasya considered themselves a team of songwriters, they each had a distinct approach. While Andy leaned towards simpler rock sound, Vasya added classical music flavors to his compositions by using advanced modulations, broken time signatures, and more.
The Underpass Theme (Reprise)
Andy's theme, here re-harmonized by Misha, originally recorded on the keyboard, re-recorded in 2019 by Andy on violins.
A fast art rock composition written mostly by Andy with various suggestions from Alex and Misha. It brought together many riffs and elements evoking the image of a speedy drive through the city at night. It was originally recorded live by Andy on bass, Misha on piano, and Alexey (our younger friend) on violin. The recording was only possible because Misha had the ability to play all the riffs and solos at an incredible speed, and also “pull off Emerson” - play 5/8 and 7/4 simultaneously. Recorded on June 10-11, 1992
Trajectories 1 - 3
Materialized in the summer of 2001 when the composer Soloviev - Didorenko had conceived something like a violin-and-flute concerto. All three movements were written
one after another within few days; they represent the pure water crystal of the co-authorship. For example, the chords for the flute theme in the third movement were composed by Didorenko but the
melody was written by Soloviev. Perhaps we shouldn't dig too deep into the details. We cannot help but mention, however, that Soloviev came up with two thirds of all the first movement's F
sharps, whereas most of the B flats belong to Didorenko's talented pen. Another amazing fact is that there exists the arrangement of this piece for a symphony orchestra; the score is kept in a
safe place. The Vienna Philarmonic has not yet risked to undertake the performance; so all our hopes lie with the New York Phil.
My Heart Was Crushed
Composed together with the Trajectories. Didorenko wrote the lyrics, and Soloviev wrote the guitar riff to be performed by himself. From the sound of it, one may get the impression that Akimov played the double bass. As a matter of fact, it was the violin put down an octave and played by Didorenko. A certain quasi-oriental flavor is explained by our quasi-love for it.
A short but advantageous composition, since you get four Soloviev the flutists for the price of one, skilfully playing on four tracks, plus Didorenko the timpanist. Akimov made the noise.
A remarkable composition for those who like avantgarde, minimalism, improvisation, and all other kinds of modern obscurities. Unattractive guitar chords personify, as the rumour goes, the permafrost; flutes and the acoustic guitar scurry about to stay warm. A moody piece.
There's Day, Here's Night
A song. We, personally, like it. In general, we, personally, like all of it. A group of russian tourists who went to North Korea for vacation and missed their train could relate to this song particularly well. They sang it until they ran out of water and cigarets. Whatever happened to them afterwards remains unknown. Just kidding. It really is just a nice lyrical song with simple but expressive text. Was nicely sung by Alexei Rybakov and one more Alexei Rybakov as a back vocal.
Another flute/guitar composition by the same co-authors. Starts out of nothing with a soft flute solo and crescendos head-on to harsh atonal rock.
The Yesterday Night
"I just love to turn it on nice and loud in the car and drive cutting off the others," Soloviev admitted once.
The song's basis was recorded in the summer of 2000 while in Soloviev's village, in the field conditions. "We boarded the Oka and arrived at Vassily's hut, full of enthuziasm. To honor our arrival, the thunderstorm began, and a tree fell down on the electric line. As a result, we were left without electricity for more than 24 hours, so we had to go mushroom-picking, play soccer, swim in the peat lake, that is, to waste away the time."
A Didorenko-Akimovian composition. It is a subject of Didorenko's pride since he played all the guitar parts while Akimov was putting in the percussion and aligning the structure.
Hills Are Breaking Into the Ground
A song with nice harmonies and interesting text. By the way, the English translation of this text is interesting in its own right. During the recording, Alexei Rybakov attempted to alter the words to "Bills are breaking into account" but received a note of protest from the authors. The music of this note had not survived.
The most freshly recorded of the album's pieces. In the coda, the theme of the "Hills..." song is quoted. The album's musical and ideological high point. Was written in the summer of 2002. Didorenko and Soloviev had instantly created the first few chords and came to a dead end of the creative process. After about a week of dead still, the inspiration came back and followed the composers up until Akimov gave the piece its final mastering and introduction.
The Day Has Come
An art-rock song in the best tradition of art-rock songs. The words "We will open our eyes" were written by Daniel Harms in his poem "The Song." On the whole, Harms' heritage plays an important role in Lost World. Also noticeable in this song is the flute solo with distortion.
The album had to have its curtain. It was found by Soloviev and Didorenko one beautiful summer evening of 2002. In the piece's middle section one can hear a fragment of "There's Day." To do so, one must first locate the middle section.