Various Artists (Compilation album, 2000) !DSO Recommended!
Russian Gothic Project
A Russian gothic compilation. This simple description conjures up all manner of images and sounds but none that popped into my head when I received this did justice to what I heard. Fearing the very worst: a bunch of amateurish goths obsessed with the 1980s, what I got was very different indeed. edge of the night pushes the boundaries of what is commonly labelled 'Gothic' music. A few of the sixteen artists included here (No Man's Land, Phantom Bertha), do sound as one would expect with the spirit of their heroes much in evidence. Others are more directly influenced by traditional folk music (Caprice, Djembe). Whilst some inhabit realms as diverse as trip hop, synth pop, ethereal ambient and theatrical soundscapes.
In the sleeve notes, the compilers note that this is just "another disc from the countless [other] gothic compilations", but they then go on to suggest "our has a serious distinction" and they are absolutely correct. Realising they cannot be comprehensive, and aiming only to show the diversity of the Russian gothic scene, they have succeeded admirably and the result is sixteen tracks of constantly surprising and impressive music. Cyclotimia's Paradise X is a nice blending of synth pop and digi-goth, and TNT Art are alone in using a sampled voice on Better Than You? that has a subtle touch of Attrition about it. Artists deserving of a special mention are Canonis (Snow River) whose vocalist recalls to mind Trish Keenan of Broadcast; Caprice (Princess Mae) with their deft use of harps and flutes, Damsel's Dream for the unexpected trip hop of Elegy for a rhythm-box; the Celtic/medieval Djembe on Tourdion, and Moon Far Away's stirring December of Times.
edge of the night is a fascinating and rewarding overview of the Russian gothic scene. The strength and diversity of which is something that those in other countries will be both surprised and excited by. Unbeknown to many outside of Russia, some of the most creative, imaginative and progressive gothic music anywhere is being produced here. This limited, hand-numbered, edition (of 999) ensures that this inspirational scene gets the wider exposure it so justly deserves. 8/10
Rob Dyer (August 2000)
Russian Gothic Project website: http://www.gothic.ru