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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The High and Low Notes of Music '92

On a scale of one to ten, the rock, pop, and rave of 1992 should get an acceptable rating of 4.


The year began with an incredible explosion of rave parties, those all-night, sweaty bop-til-you-drop events. The legendary Gagarin I in December 1991 was followed by more Gagarins, Mobiles, and Technoire rave parties until it looked like Moscow was becoming the rave capital of the world.


Unfortunately, the concept was quickly adopted by commercial promoters, who introduced their own form of late-night clubs, such as the Red Zone, that are high on sleaze and sexist attractions, but low on style and music. By the end of the summer, every sports palace in Moscow had its own disco, which totally discredited the rave phenomenon among the city's hip crowd. Not surprisingly, the 'in' crowd turned its attention to smaller clubs with a selected audience and some kind of stylistic identity.


This fall, thrash rockers and Hell's Angels went headbanging at the new club. Sexton F. O. Z. D. ; artistic bohemians found their haven at Aktovy Zal (R. I. P. , I'm afraid), jazzmen got together in Arkadia, hip-hoppers jumped in the Jump, and new-wave kids welcomed the long-awaited F5. The Moscow club scene finally arrived, which I consider the most positive achievement of 1992.


Another impressive development was music radio. The number of FM stations in Moscow increased from zero in 1991 to six or seven today. None of the stations are sensational, and most of them sound alike, but at least the FM dial is no longer empty.


For the music industry, however, the year has been quite disastrous. Having far less money to spend, people usually prefer to buy food and clothes instead of light entertainment. While prices for bread, milk and sweets went up about 100 times, records and concert tickets were left far behind, costing only five to 10 times more than they did before. As a result, many record labels and concert agencies are on the verge of bankruptcy. The only highly profitable and flourishing sector of show business is piracy - hundreds of compact disc titles have been bootlegged, pushing us back into isolation from the world's music community. This has been the least positive achievement of 1992.


Concert activities have been rather lethargic. The only bigger events were heavy-metal festivals, featuring Great Britain's Napalm Death and Brazil's Sepultura among others, an ill-fated (not far from) Red Square rock event, and Victor Tsoi's memorial concert at Lenin Stadium. Local talent had little to show for itself in 1992, other than a growing urge to sing in English.


Here's a list of the year's most memorable musical events:


(Non) Event of the Year Madonna and Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones live at Red Square.


Runner-up: Alla Pugacheva losing weight.


Best Rave: Mobile I at the Velodrome.


Runner-up: World Beat Prazdnik at the Kinocenter.


Best Club: Aktovy Zal.


Best Pop LP: Bogdan Titomir, "High Energy".


Best Pop Hit: Natalya Vetlitskaya, "Look Into My Eyes".


Best Rock LP: Alexander Bashlachev, "Taganka Concert".


Best Rock Live Act: Mamonov & Alexei.


Best New Act: Yat-ha.


Best Promoted Turkey: Valeria.


Best Piece of Pop Memorabilia: Ticket to Madonna's (non)concert in Moscow, purchased at Arbat for $25.


Best Forgotten: Rock at the Barricades at the White House on Aug. 21.