Thursday, 30 May 2013


Tuesday, 28 May 2013


For the Belarusian poet and Rock musician Sasha Ilyukevich the Spring single release is becoming something of a tradition, an opportunity to offer up the fruits of a winter spent writing and rehearsing with his band The Highly Skilled Migrants and to set the tone for the rest of the year’s creative output. It’s appropriate then that this process is reflected in the lyric of this the third in the series as it muses on the cyclical nature of life.

On this occasion though the words are those of Boris Grebenshikov, the most prominent of Russia’s underground heroes to emerge during the Soviet Era, though in it’s Rock’n’Roll injunction to stay sharp, alive to your instincts and true to your dreams, the recurrent metaphors of travel and transcendence, we’re dealing with themes that are the bedrock of Ilyukevich’s own poetry. In the tentative proposition of a Vysotsky-Grebenshikov-Ilyukevich Russophone Rock lineage the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The song was originally adopted as part of the band’s live set for a concert tour of Russia, the phonetics of the first line of the Russian Language lyric; Day Mne Napitsa (give me plenty to drink) meant that within Ilyukevich’s English speaking band the song goes by the unintentionally poetic Bozo-Bowieism Diamond on a Pizza and it would appear as such on the set lists of the 12 dates that made up the troubled train tour of Russia and Belarus documented in all it’s excruciating detail by the filmmaker Robert Dumas in the documentary The Nonsense Express.

Had they been furnished with a full translation of the sole solitary cover version the band has ever performed they might have recognised some of the righteous idealism of their own ill-starred undertaking in lines such as “…there are those who believe, and those who watch from the box…”, perhaps managed a wry smile at the “…the sound of a leaving train that you will miss...” and found something of a mission statement in Grebenshikov’s vodka mantra refrain:”let me drink plenty of railway water”.

More than cover version Sasha Ilyukevich and the Highly Skilled Migrants’ Railway Liquid is both a response to the lyric and an expression of the irrepressible Ilyukevich and co’s defiant energy. The band have created a joyous new setting for Grebenshikov’s poetry, stripping away the It Takes A Lot To Laugh melodic stylings of the original and fitting it out with a clap-your-hands soul groove and keening Southern Rock guitar.

RAILWAY LIQUID (Lyrics by Boris Grebenshikov)

Let Me Drink Plenty Of Railway Liquid,
Let Me Drink Plenty Of Railway Liquid,
I Like Summertime, Because It's Warm,
The Winter Is Good For Window Patterns And Storms,
I Cannot Be Seen Behind The Glass And The Snow Covers My Tracks.

When I Was Younger I Re-Arranged The Whole World,
When I Was Younger I Re-Arranged The Whole World,
But Now I Drink My Wine And I Eat My Cheese,
I Fall Without Knowing If It’s Up Or Down,
I Stay On The Top Of The Hill Without Knowing If It’s Here Or There.

We’ve Met Before, I've Heard It's A Fact,
We’ve Met Before, I've Heard It's A Fact,
But Today Your Brain Hums Like Machinery,
It's Too Bright And You Can't See My Eyes,
But Here I Sing, Can You Be In Tune With Me?

There Are Those Who Believe, And Those Who Watch From The Box,
There Are Those Who Believe, And Those Who Watch From The Box,
But When You Wake Up, Conceal Your Fear,
It Wasn't A Ghost, It Was Just A Sound,
The Sound Of A Leaving Train That You Will Miss.

So, Let Me Drink Plenty Of Railway Liquid,
Yes, Let Me Drink Plenty Of Railway Liquid,
I Write These Songs At The End Of December,
Naked, In The Snow, In The Light Of The Full Moon,
But If You Can Hear Me, Than It Wasn’t In Vain.

Released on 28 May 2013

Sasha Ilyukevich - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Chris Furness - Lead Electric Guitar, Back Vocals, Percussion
Ned Crowther - Bass Guitar
Phil Brunner - Drums
Martin Merenyi - Back Vocals, Percussion

Recorded by Gabor Halasz and Martin Merenyi at SAE London, 2013
Mixed and Mastered by Gabor Halasz at SAE London, 2013

Lyrics by Boris Grebenshikov
Music by Ned Crowther and Chris Furness

Produced by Sasha Ilyukevich & The Highly Skilled Migrants

Artwork by Moi Tran

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Le SACre 100 YEARS!

*Come and celebrate the 100 year birthday party of the premiere of iGoR StrAviNsKy's the RITE of SPRING.
*Observe planned and improvised performances inspired by the premiere.
*Relive the terrible fuss that posh french people made over funny looking ballet dancers.
*Re-imagine the russian legend.
*Mosh to all the best bits from the score.
*Heckle in french or any other language.
*Participate, perform, parade and pahrumpf.

Friday, 3 May 2013


The Dash Arts with Radio Gagarin Present

An eclectic evening of post-Soviet sounds – featuring music and experimental audio performance from concretist/electronic music collective Langham Research Centre; a roof-raising live set from “Belarusian Rock’n’Roll” band Sasha Ilyukevich and The Highly Skilled Migrants; and a DJ set from Max Reinhardt.