Russkie Wig-Out : Demented Surf/Electro/Exotica From Behind the Iron Curtain

Despite its many and varied political and economic flaws, Russia has always been a formidable beast. Napoleon secured his place in history as a flawed megalomaniac military leader when he decided to invade Russia in the early part of the 19th century; almost 150 years later Hitler snuffed out any hint of sanity when he made the same, ill-fated, decision. The unravelling of communist rule has resulted in a country just as a challenging, and arguably twice as dangerous. No-one fucks with Russia – certainly not on their own turf.


From the heart of Russia – wherever that is – comes Russkie Wig-Out, a compilation a Russian surf-garage-space-electronic material. The story – as vague and possibly artificially constructed as it is – is described in the liner notes. In the wake of the seismic shift in Russian political and social organisation, two artists – Oleg Kostrow and Oleg Gitarkin – explored, indulged and exploited the weird and wonderful sounds of the surfside margins of electronic rock together, and as protagonists in other outfits.


Russkie Wig-Out is weird, confronting and sadistically pleasurable. Messer Chups offers violent B-grade movie battles between primitive surf beats and screeching keyboard riffs (How To Become A Vampire) and Cab Calloway-meets-oriental surf-lounge (Cannibal Twist) and Atlantics-in-Leningrad lickalicious beach-rock (Hexe Chips). Messer Für Frau Miller loiters in the shadows of electronic garage rock ( The Best Girl In The USSR), plays the insane scientist with bubblegum pop (Funny Man Under Anaesthesia) and takes auto-erotica into the far-flung regions of space rock (Ultrasound Vibrator). Supersonic Future (largely an Oleg Kostrow solo project) drags Herbie Hancock behind the Iron Curtain and forces him to create post-new wave pop classics with nothing but a cheap Casio keyboard (the band’s contributions to the compilation are titled in Cyrillic).


It’s arguable that Russia makes the most arresting weird cultural shit around. As a piece of artistic analytical rhetoric, that doesn’t make much sense – that is, until you hear Ruskie Wig-Out. This is weird-arsed rock ’n’ roll from the fringes of cultural experience. Ignore it at your peril.