Gulag – March of the Pioneers

The head of Stalin on the front of the red cover gives you an idea what to expect. It’s time for hammer and sickle, military parades and community efforts. From the French Mechanoise Labs label comes this cute looking 3″ cdr, limited to 50 copies. This is the first release by the Gulag project. They describe their music as ‘proletarian march music’. The music really gives you an uneasy feel. Sharp metallic sounds, distant scattered rhythms and percussion and eerie, estranging sounds.

The mood on ‘Shadows of an iron curtain’ is extremely cold and bleak. The sampled hammers and tools on ‘Socialist imperialism’ make you think of camps and forced labor and sacrifices of the people. ‘Stakhanovism’ was a movement aimed at increasing industrial production by the use of efficient working techniques. Well, the tools are working hard here, waves of sound overflow you. ‘The hammer and the sickle’ contains powerful staccato percussion like hammers, combined with a solemn atmosphere. My favourite song for sure. This cdr does not make you long for the Stalinist Soviet regime… But the music is quite alright, with original percussion, well-placed sounds and a striking atmosphere.

artist: Gulag
label: Mechanoise Labs
details: 5 tracks, 20 minutes