…a blasting gig from Petersburgian trio Oligarkh, whose operatic deconstructions of party music (ranging from classical, new age, nu-folk, rave and house) threatens to teleport the audience to a scene straight out of Spirited Away. Richard James Foster for The Quietus
Started 2013 from the first gospel and world-bass mixes till now OLIGARKH keeps deconstructing Russian culture and identity with groovy modern electronics, visual pastiche and contemporary art practices. Crashing collages of sound, images and words draw from disparate musical and visual sources to create surreal juxtapositions of contemporary urban culture, deep folk memory and decades of popular expressions of the national character.
The Project made it’s anonymous debut in 2013 with his album Zemlya i Volya (Land and Liberty), described as ‘an abstract-orthodox mix of spiritual, folk, chanson and lyrical music framed by solid bass bells, 8-bit balalaika and broken rhythms’. This fall he releases the 4-th LP called Kramola (sedition/treason/conspiracy). The piece first planned as a mythical fairytale adventure turned into a grim but not hopeless image of wrecked nowadays reality. Vocals parts for album was created by russian underground artists and folk collectives Веданъ Колодъ and Deepfolk.
OLIGARKH‘s live gigs are augmented with a drummer and arresting video collages taken from historical films, documentaries, fairytales and old TV clips have always been a focus. It’s a journey through the Russian collective consciousness, from grand cathedrals to remote villages, from suburban ghettos to the enclaves of the rich, a try to find connection and empathy in a torn apart society. That communication became a milestone of OLIGARK’s art, a thing that attracted audiences and artists of absolute opposite spheres. Project been praised by Pussy Riot members and those who charged them for trial, Alexander Dugin and most liberal russian journalists, legendary KEXP radio and ultra-patriotic orthodox TV-stations. Artists doing rap, folk, post-metal, progressive and popular electronic music of different generations had collaborated with the band.
In almost a decade the band had been all over Europe (Sziget, Pop-Kultur, WOMEX…), toured China and took part in a huge amount of events in Russia ranging from official city holidays and biggest festivals to most underground venues and art-driven happenings.