Sounds of Sputnik

Sounds of Sputnik is the brainchild of Roman Kalitkin, whose signature sound mixes post-rock, shoegaze and dream pop with a slight kickback to noise pop. He draws inspiration from My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Sonic Youth, Happy Mondays, and Slowdive. Dubbing himself a “white crow”, the music he makes has always gone against trends within his home country of Russia, both now as a solo artist and throughout his twenty year career, which has seen him play in various post-punk, alternative and shoegaze bands.

New Born is Sounds of Sputnik’s debut album – a kaleidoscope of reverb-soaked guitar, calculated drums, thick bass, and angular guitars intertwined with ethereal vocals. This is extraordinary noise-pop, demonstrating an impeccable ability to blend genres, complete with layered harmonies, interlacing synth and distorted guitars.

Sounds of Sputnik have paired up with Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma to co-write, produce, and record this album, released on UK label Ear to Ear Records. Ummagma’s Shauna McLarnon and Alexx Kretov both contribute solid warming vocals to the record, which leans heavily on a shared love of melodic dream pop, post-rock and shoegaze. Each member brings their own influences to the project: aspects of Lush, Curve, My Bloody Valentine and No Joy cleverly blend with Hammock, Jesus & Mary Chain and The Twilight Sad to create remarkable “dream noise”.

The duo Ummagma emerged on the music scene by simultaneously releasing two LPs (Ummagma & Antigravity) in 2012, more recently releasing the double A-side single Rotation and the Lama LP on Emerald & Doreen Recordings. The band has been the focus of a full-page feature in Rolling Stone Russia, won Alternative Eurovision competitions for 2 years in a row (Amazing Radio & Pure 107.8 FM), and received 2 awards at the 2013 Australian Independent Music Video Awards. Ummagma has also caught the attention of Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Malcolm Holmes (OMD), who have both remixed tracks for fall 2014 release.

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To look at the origins of Sounds of Sputnik, we have to rewind to 2002. Roman, Shauna and Alexx were making music together until Shauna and Alexx (Ummagma) moved away from Russia. After losing contact with Roman for an entire decade, the three finally reunited last year and quickly began working on new material. This project represents a heartfelt attempt to create something of beauty in the face of the hostility currently occurring between Ukraine & Russia.

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New Born boasts several legendary guests: Graham Bonnar (Swervedriver/ Brian Jonestown Massacre) drums on ‘Overdrive’, and there are remixes from Malcolm Holmes (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark), psych rock producer Fran Ashcroft (Damon Albarn, Lords of Acid), Russian producers Morozov and Oleg Mezherovsky, and Brazil’s Mind Movies. British producer Marc Joy (Primal Scream, Oasis, Bernard Butler of Suede, Mike Peters of The Alarm, Golden Fable) provides mastering support.

Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as hosting interviews for the weekly XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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