This podcast, produced in the context of the exhibition Russian Dada 1914-1924 at the MNCARS in 2018, led Coral Nieto García and me to put forth a history of electricity and sound in the Soviet context of the first three decades of the 20th century.

In doing so, throughout several episodes, and taking as starting point Lenin’s motto (“Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country”), we unfolded a whole series of interrelated content. The first was the promise of the “Victory over the sun,” so cherished and spread by the Sovietic project, eager to murder that star by way of light bulbs and the technological progress derived from electricity. Then we dealt with zaum, the “transrational” language proposed by the poet Aleksei Kruchenykh in 1913. Then, we switched our attention to the figure and work of Arsenni Avraamov, forever igniting the “revolution” of all the aspects of music, who conceived not only a system of 48 musical tones, called “Weltonsystem” or “ultra chromatic,” but was also capable of synthesizing human speech into six elements. This exercise of extreme sanitary synthesis laid the foundations for a new way of understanding music: that of synthesizers.

This podcast, therefore, digs into the years before Lenin’s quote. The time frame when Lev Termen developed his Theremin, the most famous of the early electronic instruments. And it was, indeed, next to him that his great love, Clara Rockmore, became one of the key figures of electronic music in the 20th century.

All things considered, this series is conceived of as a journey through the most important stepping stones of Soviet sound creation, which entailed enormous and remarkable experimental production within the compendium of the European avant-garde movements.

*Moreover, to provide greater experimentation and enjoyment, the musical pieces included have been also compiled in another playlist without mixing or commentary.