NEWS
RELEASES
CONTACT
ARTISTS
E.A.R.
Faust
Formication
Michael Gira
Human Greed
Andrew Liles
Nick Mott
Sion Orgon
Steven Severin
Theme
Thighpaulsandra
Volga
Hannis Brown
Glass Out
6 Mini LPs

Volga band photo

Volga

This extremely hard-working Moscow-based group started in 1997 and have so far released six albums, of which 2004's 'Three Fields' CD (Sketis Music) gained widespread attention and critical acclaim in many countries outside Russia. A song from it, 'Red Roze', also remains available on the 'Extreme Music from Russia' compilation CD released by William Bennett's Susan Lawly imprint likewise in 2004 and helped introduce Volga to the UK. In turn, last year, a 'Selected Works' CD was released by Germany's Lollipop Shop, plus a CD of remixes on Sketis Music by a diverse range of artists including COH, Idioritmik, Pink Twins and DJ Kolombo. Besides this, the group often tours Russia and abroad and participates in many different international festivals each year, whilst one of the core members, Alexei Borisov, remains a prolific solo force in contemporary electronic sound-art. Together, Volga successfully weave a wide range of influences. Driven by the highly impressive, strong and often haunting voice of Angela Manukjan, Volga's sound carefully picks away at electronica's more interesting contours; electroacoustic elements; mantric dance rhythms and a variety of traditional, Shamanistic or folk styles from both their native country and far, far beyond. Most of Angela's lyrics are derived from 19th Century Russian folklore/text as well, lending the native vocals an even more unique slant. The group's seventh (yet fifth studio) album, 'Pomol', was released by LTCo in May 2007 and represents their most powerful, inventive and fully-realised work yet. Accessible and buoyant on one hand, dark and sonically confrontational on the other, it possesses a command only too rarely found in what can be loosely deemed pop music. They also played a successful tour of (mostly) Germany during February to help promote it. Watch this space for further information..

Volga Official Site

View photos from Volga's concert in Krakow, Poland


Review by Steve Pescott for Terrascope Online

The first time I encountered Alexei Borisov was with the uncompromising electronic gush of the innoculously titled ‘Polished Surface of a Table’ on Electroshock. And the same goes for Angela Manukian who provided the guest vocals on that album’s most arresting cut, ‘Dew’. They also comprise fifty per cent of the Moscow-based unit Volga, alongside Messrs. Lebedev and Balaskov. Formed in ’97 with releases on Sketis and Lollipop Shop, plus a cut on ‘Extreme Music from Russia’ (Susan Lawly) comes ‘Pomol’, their first CD for the Lumberton Trading Co’s imprint. The trio’s austere, windswept synthetics and strident electropulse locks in to Angela’s traditional folk drenched voice (a one woman ‘Voix Bulgares’) pretty much perfectly. On ‘Rubaha’ and ‘Detinushka’ indigenous instrumentation makes its presence felt – the former with some kind of surrogate musette action and the latter with its Anton Karas ‘Third Man’-styled zitherings that flit in and out of a Kraftwerk-slanted construct circa ‘Electric Café’. So, all in all, ‘Pomol’, with its unnerving looking turquoise-sculpted pig sleeve art, provides the listener with a challenging and inventive series of experiments, expansive and nerve tingling at one and the same time.

Review by John L. Walters for The Guardian

Friday June 8, 2007. On their MySpace site, Volga describe their music as experimental/electronica/folk, which will do as well as the "Slavic psychodelia" promised on their website. Angela Manukian belts out a variety of ancient texts, while her three Russian bandmates produce a sympathetic backdrop of beats and twangs. The results are variously invigorating, edgy, catchy, and occasionally thumpingly tedious. Their videos give the impression of a pre-makeover Kraftwerk appearing on a 1970s keep-fit programme: Europe Endless for short attention spans. The bespectacled Manukian sits on a stool while two of her colleagues hunch over their laptops. The fourth, Uri Balashov, saws away with a bow at a curious instrument called the zvukosuk; he also plays Tibetan cup and vargan (a kind of Jew's harp). Balashov is also a visual artist (responsible for the cover to Zappa's posthumous Civilization Phaze III), while Manukian is a folklorist, which gives an authentic note to Volga's incantations.

Review by Boomkat

This latest album by Moscow's Volga is a gloriously strange affair, bringing together electronic beats, Eastern instrumentation and the often other-worldly vocals of Angela Manukian. The album begins with the somewhat eerie 'Reapers', which showcases Manukian's vocal wares at their most subdued, while a nebulous soundscape floats around her. This beatless opening number gives little indication of what's to come however: were it not for those singular, distinctive vocals, Pomol might be justifiably described as a techno pop album, but instead tracks like 'Kozel' sound like a kind of Bollywood reworking of Bjork's Debut. Midway into the album, some of the band's more experimental tendencies are revealed by the crunching electronic weirdness of 'Svaha' and the 4/4 echo drone of 'Tausen'. The album draws to a close with two tracks that represent the opposite ends of their broad stylistic spectrum, with the almost Tatu-like hyperactive electronic pop of 'Ropes' coming immediately before the abstract vocal piece 'Sufi', which harkens back to the album's impressive opening track.

Review for Piccadilly Records

Driven by the highly impressive, strong and often haunting voice of Angela Manukjan, Volga 's sound carefully picks away at electronica's more interesting contours; electroacoustic elements; mantric dance rhythms and a variety of traditional, Shamanistic or folk styles from both their native country and far, far beyond. Most of Angela's lyrics are derived from 19th Century Russian folklore/text as well, lending the native vocals an even more unique slant. The group's seventh (yet fifth studio) album, "Pomol" represents their most powerful, inventive and fully-realised work yet. Accessible and buoyant on one hand, dark and sonically confrontational on the other, it possesses a command only too rarely found in what can be loosely deemed pop music.

Review for The Milk Factory

Moscow-based quartet Volga finely balance archaic overtones sourced from traditional Russian folklore and hypnotic rhythms with modern textures expressed through dense post-industrial electronics and processed acoustic instruments. This singular outlook gives the band a totally unique sound as they link past and present together with oriental and occidental musical forms. Formed in the later part of the nineties, Volga released their eponymous debut album in 1999, and have since delivered three albums and a number of live recordings and remix projects. The voice of lead singer Anjela Manukian evokes the soft tones of Kate Bush and the many incarnations of Liz Fraser or Lisa Gerrard, yet there is a particular grain in her voice that is reminiscent of the spellbinding power of Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares. Tearing through hypnotic percussions and post-industrial electronic experimentations, she apposes ancient Russian texts, sung in a variety of dialects, that she has collected during years of researching Russian folklore. She is backed by multi-instrumentists Alexei Borisov, Roman Lebedev and Uri Balashov. Pomol opens and closes in similar fashion, with Angela Manukian’s voice set very much as the main focal point of each song. Elsewhere, it is framed with tribal drums and harsh post-industrial electronic formations that are only softened by the addition of processed traditional instrumentation. All throughout, the music is deeply rooted in tradition, but the treatment applied on every single aspect of these thirteen songs places them at the heart of thecontemporary experimental electronic scene. Tracks such as Corn, Sonnaja, Svaha, Tausen or Rubaha betray very little of their origins, but others, such as the title track, Kruchu or Detinushka, appear to bear the weight of centuries of history. The latter, with its exquisite guitar motifs and enthralling beauty, is undoubtedly the highlight of the album, but pieces such as the wonderful Pomol, the high octane Tausen and Ropes or Volga Mother, with its crystalised dub, all convey a great deal of emotions and prove very interesting offerings. The album closes with Manukian’s most beguiling vocal performance on the atmospheric and mysterious Sufi. The album may originally be let down by the rather rigid and martial aspect of the arrangements, but the post-industrial approach adopted by the band, which contrasts greatly with the highly ornate vocals, actually serves to emphasise the sheer beauty and complexity of the melodies. Volga negotiate the difficult amalgamation of tradition and modernism very well here and manage to create a rather impressive collection of emotional electronic music.

Review by MYO for Unknown Public

Volga succeed in taking away all misconceptions that ancient music is monotonous, primitive and simply boring. They have made it accessible to this age and have done so in a novel sounding way: a swish blend of traditional Russian ritual songs with post-industrial electronic beats and tribal rhythms. Don't let the electronic beats put you off. They set the atmosphere for a pagan ritual dance and aid in modernising and enhancing the ancient song which are texts originating from 1100-1800, sung by Angela Manukian who brings these to life. Manukian's voice is versatile: ranging from soft haunting coy quivers to a motherly Babushka lullaby voice to sharp shamanistic yells. She perfects the dialects and singing styles from which these ancient texts come, creating a very individual feel for each song in the album. Together with multi-instrumentalists Roman Lebedev, Alexei Borisov and Uri Balashov (also an inventor of instruments and artist of the rather surreal coverwork of the album), Volga succeed in bringing about yet another unforgettable (seventh) album Pomol – restoring the past to the present.

Review by Karsten Zimalla for Weestzeit

Lumberton Trading Company/Cargo Danke, lieber Zufall! Ich verwechselte die Band um Roman Lebedew mit dem ECR-Projekt Wonga (dabei war Volga auf "Extreme Music From Russia" vertreten und hat auch auf Lollipop veröffentlicht) und wurde von dieser reichlich sensationellen Scheibe aus Moskau angenehmst überrascht. AvantPsychFolk: Eine feine Kombination aus vertrauten, aber sehr findig zusammengebauten Elektroversatzstücken und eindringlichem, oft ans schamanische heranreichendem Gesang (ganz groß: Angela Manukjan!). Diese Stimme ist so wohltuend weit weg von europäischen Einheitlichkeiten (sei's DSDS-Vibratoterror oder skandinavisches Feenwispern!), bewegt sich so sicher zwischen Tradition und Experiment, daß Verwechslungen in Zukunft mit Sicherheit nicht mehr vorkommen.

Review by Roberto Michieletto for Dagheisha.com

Quando meno te lo aspetti. Quando credi (forse anche a ragione) di aver già ascoltato di tutto. Quando sei certo che determinati ambiti sonori non avranno più nulla da dire (o, quanto meno, da dirti). Quando hai gettato la spugna. Quando hai cambiato frequenza di ricezione. Quando tutto ciò pare essere parte di un processo irreversibile. Ecco che ti viene messa di fronte un'ulteriore prova, quella che arriva all'improvviso, senza proclami e assolutamente inattesa. Per molti versi. Specie se si considera che i Volga provengono da Mosca, che alle spalle hanno altri sei dischi (di cui quattro in studio) e che, ad esclusione di alcuni canali minori, sono sinora rimasti relegati in contesti divulgativi riservati a una eletta minoranza. L'analisi delle tredici canzoni che animano 'Pomol' ci permette di rilevare come il quartetto russo sia portavoce di un suono particolare, non tanto per innovazione, quanto per abbinamenti compositivi e musicali, oltre che per il saper esprimere un linguaggio (di suoni e voci) che riesce a coniugare e congiungere mondi lontani e generi distinti, con una spiccata abilità nel gestire atmosfere surreali (anche e soprattutto in virtù della particolarissima voce della cantante Angela Manukian) e intersezioni tecnologico/strumentaliperfettamente dosate e congeniate. Sono certo che se i Coil, posseduti dallo spirito di qualche anima in pena di provenienza slava, fossero stati catapultati indietro nel XIX secolo (concedendo loro il privilegio di portarsi appresso elettroniche varie e chitarre) e avessero fornito una versione psichedelico/pulsante/ipnotica di brani della tradizione folkloristica dell'ex impero sovietico con una deriva percussiva digitale (lineare, spezzata o rallentata) e pop/rituale etnica (echi mediorientali e africani compresi) avrebbero assunto le sembianze dei Volga. Sorpresa transglobale sotterranea.

Review by Tom Sekowski for Gaz Eta

So what if I don't speak Russian? Do I have to speak a native tongue of a band to enjoy its music? Do I have to know any interesting tid-bits of its existence thus far to relinquish an album to the recycling bin or praise its valour so more copies will move from store shelves? Russian outfit Volga [named after infamous river winding its way through that country's domain] have just released album number seven. "Pomol" is neither traditional music nor is it purely electronic music. Rather, it sits somewhere on the borderland between the vaguely old-school tradition and the electronics of the present. Vocalist Angela Manukian possesses a tender set of vocal chords. Oftentimes, her weaving voice recalls the steppes of Mongolia and the music that originates there. Her tenderness isn't to be mistaken for any sort of a waif quality. Far from it, her vocal chords possess an undeniable strength that shakes things up when need be. When you listen to her furious cries on "Tausen", you know you're in for a thrilling ride. While processed, Manukian's voice is still able to project traditional yells and whimpers that are so prevalent in eastern music. When unprocessed and left alone [such as on "Sufi"], Manukian sounds like a beast unfurled - all fangs and spine-tingling beauty drenched in reverb. The rest of the band uses electronics and entice the listener to be lost. The lyrics are taken from 19th century Russian folklore and the sounds we hear are folk drenched in modern instrumentation. Do we listen to the electronics, guitars and traditional instruments [zvukosuk, vargan and Tibetan cup] or do we pay attention to the vocals? It's hard to tell which is more important. In all honesty, the band shies away from pointing a finger as to the direction they're at or direction they've chosen for the future. Perhaps pure electronics will take over and Volga will do a pure dance record next time around or maybe traditional sounds will tend to permeate their next record. Who knows?

Review from Londonmilk Blogspot

Moscow-based quartet Volga finely balance archaic overtones sourced from traditional Russian folklore and hypnotic rhythms with modern textures expressed through dense post-industrial electronics and processed acoustic instruments. This singular outlook gives the band a totally unique sound as they link past and present together with oriental and occidental musical forms. Formed in the later part of the nineties, Volga released their eponymous debut album in 1999, and have since delivered three albums and a number of live recordings and remix projects. The voice of lead singer Anjela Manukian evokes the soft tones of Kate Bush and the many incarnations of Liz Fraser or Lisa Gerrard, yet there is a particular grain in her voice that is reminiscent of the spellbinding power of Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares. Tearing through hypnotic percussions and post-industrial electronic experimentations, she apposes ancient Russian texts, sung in a variety of dialects, that she has collected during years of researching Russian folklore. She is backed by multi-instrumentists Alexei Borisov, Roman Lebedev and Uri Balashov. Pomol opens and closes in similar fashion, with Angela Manukian’s voice set very much as the main focal point of each song. Elsewhere, it is framed with tribal drums and harsh post-industrial electronic formations that are only softened by the addition of processed traditional instrumentation. All throughout, the music is deeply rooted in tradition, but the treatment applied on every single aspect of these thirteen songs places them at the heart of the contemporary experimental electronic scene. Tracks such as Corn, Sonnaja, Svaha, Tausen or Rubaha betray very little of their origins, but others, such as the title track, Kruchu or Detinushka, appear to bear the weight of centuries of history. The latter, with its exquisite guitar motifs and enthralling beauty, is undoubtedly the highlight of the album, but pieces such as the wonderful Pomol, the high octane Tausen and Ropes or Volga Mother, with its crystalised dub, all convey a great deal of emotions and prove very interesting offerings. The album closes with Manukian’s most beguiling vocal performance on the atmospheric and mysterious Sufi. The album may originally be let down by the rather rigid and martial aspect of the arrangements, but the post-industrial approach adopted by the band, which contrasts greatly with the highly ornate vocals, actually serves to emphasise the sheer beauty and complexity of the melodies. Volga negotiate the difficult amalgamation of tradition and modernism very well here and manage to create a rather impressive collection of emotional electronic music.

Review for Westzeit

Review for Westzeit

Review for The Kilburn Times

Review for The Kilburn Times

Review for De:Bug

Review for De:Bug

Review for Rif Raf

Review for Rif Raf