This debut CD by a group of Russian expats based in Berlin bears all the hallmarks of a potential cult. It has a pervasive lugubriousness, and parades its technological poverty, but at the same time is wonderfully convivial. The title comes from the cassettes young Russians used to send each other in Soviet times – voice letters in which they vented all kinds of forbidden views and emotions. The lyrics deal with matters which in Soviet days were weighty – the importance of finding wild mushrooms, the availability of cheap plonk – and with memories of the Second World War. It’s just a pity that there are no English translations of the lyrics included…

by Fiona Shepherd




…The album has the multi-layered depths of a collage, mixing found and favourite texts – anonymous Gulag poetry, a drinking song…with musique concrete textures such as the mechanical, otherworldly sound of the music box on track one, which acts as the album’s opening charm before the jagged-edged guitar chimes in alongside the sound of Doubrovskaja’s wheezing, antique fairground organ… a kind of Russian gangsta-rap usually featuring just voice and guitar, playing a distinctive choppy rhythm that’s somewhere between a forced march and a ska beat… 

by Tim Cumming


 les-inRocks CRITIQUE

…La petite communaute russe de Berlin reunie au sein d´Ersatz Musika et autour de la chanteuse Irina Doubrovskaja donne une touche toute personnelle a ce melange d´epure et de lyrisme. Avec des instruments de fortune (une guitare electrique volee a Marc Ribot, des claviers de quat´sous, un accordeon, un xylophone, des percussions), ces gens-la ne chantent pas seulement la nostalgie de leur pays d´origine. Ils disent aussi leur joie d´habiter desormais dans un univers poetique a part entiere, ou leur imaginaire est roi et ou toutes les musiques qui les ont nourris (folklores slaves, airs tziganes, post-punk, tango, valse, reggae´) peuvent vivre en harmonie…

by Richard Robert