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Sergey Kuryokhin & Henry Kaiser - Popular Science (1989)

Sergey Kuryokhin (1954 – 1996) was a Russian film actor, film composer, pianist, music director, experimental artist and writer, based in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Kuryokhin began his acting career as a piano and keyboard player with a school band in Leningrad. After playing with professional jazz-bands as well as popular rock musicians, Kuryokhin went through several stages in his career, and eventually became one of the most recognisable names and faces in Russia during the 1980s and 1990s.

By the end of his life, he had emerged as an avant-garde film composer, performance artist and film actor. Outside Russia he is primarily known as a jazz and experimental musician, through his works released since 1981 on UK's Leo Records, as well as his concert tours with Ensemble Pop-Mekhanika and his happening show also titled Pop Mekhanika. He also made a significant contribution to several albums (in particular: Triangle, Taboo and Radio Africa) of the famous Russian rock band Aquarium.

His memorable film works include starring in (and composing music for) Two Captains II, a comedic pseudo-documentary about World War I; the soundtrack to the neo-noir Russian horror film, The Designer, and the lead role of the combative nerd taking on the local mob, in Lokh pobeditel vody.

Kuryokhin shot to fame after creating one of the first popular media viruses in the Russian media. It was one of his semi-improvised acts of performance art, broadcast live on Russian television in May 1991. As a guest on the popular talk show Fifth Wheel, Kuryokhin provided "proof" that Lenin was a mushroom. During the 1990s, Kuryokhin was a board member of the St. Petersburg City Council for Culture and Tourism.

He died of a rare heart condition, cardiac sarcoma, aged 42 in 1996, and was laid to rest in the Komarovo Cemetery, near the tomb of Anna Akhmatova.

The Saint-Petersburg Annual International Music Festival SKIF (Sergey Kuriokhin International Festival) is named after him. Kuryokhin festivals annually take place in Berlin, Amsterdam and New York. (wikipedia)

Guitarist Henry Kaiser is a prolific member of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, as well as being a globally recognized leader of the "second generation" free improvisers who came of age in the '70s. His earliest musical inspiration came from the spiky sounds of English improvising guitarist Derek Bailey and the many guitarists in Captain Beefheart's Magic Band; later on Kaiser absorbed the subtle string textures of the American blues stylists and traditional music of Asia, particularly India, Korea, and Vietnam. His initial recordings documented solo projects and spontaneous groupings with other energetic improvisers like Fred Frith, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, pianist Greg Goodman, and vocalist Diamanda Galas. Kaiser's restless creativity unearthed many new and unconventional electric guitar techniques during these years, and he combined these innovations with a strong sense of logic and concise development, often aided by sophisticated sound-processing devices.

During the '80s, Kaiser projects tended toward the rock sound of the '60s and '70s, with a special fascination for the music of the Grateful Dead and participation in a number of tribute albums for Imaginary Records. Just when people were starting to peg him as a "cover artist," Kaiser ditched his rock stylings, for the most part, and went back to more of a free improvising style. He recorded albums with Derek Bailey and Jim O'Rourke, and did new recordings with his old duo partner Fred Frith. The '90s also saw Kaiser increase his profile through his successful collaborations with David Lindley and local musicians from both Madagascar and Norway. He was also involved with a number of recordings made in Burma, also for the Shanachie label. The late '90s saw another stylistic shift, when Kaiser joined forces with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith for a tribute to the early-'70s sound of the electric Miles Davis bands. The project lasted for several years with a rotating lineup and produced several releases, including 1998's Yo Miles! on Shanachie and a pair of mid-2000s releases on Cuneiform, Sky Garden and Upriver.

In late 2001/early 2002 Henry Kaiser joined a group of scientists for two and a half months in Antarctica, where he became the first musician to record on that continent (some of this music has been released digitally).

Kaiser appears to be constantly busy, recording in different settings, although his release schedule is sometimes not as active as his recording schedule, a case in point being the release in 2003 of Guitar Party with Glenn Phillips, which was actually recorded in 1990. However, Kaiser has remained active in performing and recording with a variety of projects (including and in addition to Yo Miles!) in the 21st century, including an avant improvising power trio with drummer Weasel Walter and drummer Damon Smith (releasing Plane Crash in 2009). Kaiser also collaborated on Richard Thompson’s original score to the 2005 Werner Herzog film Grizzly Man. In addition, Kaiser is a noted underwater photographer, and his photography has in fact served as an inspiration for Herzog’s own film work. Herzog's 2005 sci-fi film The Wild Blue Yonder used some of Kaiser’s footage, and the German director’s 2007 Antarctica documentary Encounters at the End of the World featured more Kaiser underwater photography; Kaiser also produced the latter film and co-composed and performed the music of its original score with David Lindley.

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