Dolphin - EDGE (2019). Album overview

“And we want only warmth, And we only want light, After all, we want our bodies to grow through the ice in the summer!” ("Summer").

Dolphin on the edge: The last album as a monument to the protest movement

Dolphin is one of the founders of the Russian indie scene. He was and remains one of the few experimenters who prefer samples of new sound, original presentation of material, unexpected ideological background - instead of blind imitation, which Russian rockers sinned in their time, and now rapper "freshmen" are sinning. Even hip-hop, which Dolphin confidently refuses to be the founder of, was once chosen by his "Bachelor Party" as an innovative form of self-expression, as a protest not only against the primitive and monstrous pop culture of the 1990s, but also against the pretentious rock movement, who claimed an apostolic mission in the new Russia.


When hip-hop began to integrate into mass culture, Dolphin disbanded the no longer provocative "Bachelor Party" and began to try new sounds, new images, new text plexuses - his experimental projects "Oak Gaai" and "Mishina Dolphins" confidently stepped towards the just conceived on West of alternative rock, rapcore and nu-metal, but the musician did not stay at this level for a long time.

After the non-conformist debut Out of Focus (1997), he released an album that still impresses with its freshness, power of delivery, sincerity and spirituality - Depth of Field (1999), which significantly influenced the rock and hip-hop culture of Russia. The sound was innovative, mixed with bigbit samples (in the spirit of DJ Shadow), flavored with a defiant guitar onslaught à la Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam, although the pen cannot be reproached for imitation - the sound was so original and integral " Depths".

Developing his eclectic style, Dolphin continued to move in musical waters in 2000-2010, either disappearing into the obscurity of the elite underground, or suddenly emerging on the surface of the charts. The peak of this period can be considered last year's masterpiece by Dolphin "442", which announced current political topics with its rattling guitar sound and almost completely moving away from any associations with Russian hip-hop. Apparently, intentionally - in view of his principled apoliticality, which was repeatedly noted by the protest representatives of the Russian musical establishment, to whom Delfin joined (although not declaratively). The album "442" was favored by eminent critics (for example, Artemy Troitsky) because of its semantic and emotional relevance - it reflected the protest reflections of last year, which had just begun to crystallize into theses and slogans.

All fans of Dolphin were waiting for a new album in anticipation of the appearance of a new "teacher of life", as Shevchuk or Kinchev once were. And sophisticated music lovers cheered up with intriguing anticipation: what else can Dolphin surprise if he is already at the top of the charts, in the abundance of likes and views? Won't the new album be a throwback to the triviality of the protest posturing that nowadays provides hefty fees to dubious stars like "Pussy Riot" or "Little Big"? Will Dolphin lose the charm of an aloof thinker and insightful poet?

The album "EDGE" surprised everyone - both cynical critics and devoted admirers.

Let's start with the musical side, which for Dolphin has always been as significant as the text. To the surprise,
the album is completely devoid of any “fashion”: no grunting basses of dubstep, no clicking of vintage drum machines (with which Ghostemane infected absolutely all new releases that have at least some relation to hip-hop). None of this is exactly the opposite. The album deliberately copies the outdated gloomy synthpop sample of "Songs of Faith and Devotion" from "Depeche Mode" (1993), and almost to the level of plagiarism! The chosen sound is so out of step with the times and expectations that it made me pay more attention to the lyrics – not only in their refined and intellectual dimension, but also in the emotional and motivational one. And it was here that the true intentions of such a shocking retro entry of the musician were revealed. Synthetic sound of "flattened" guitars and "plastic" bass strung on the kraut-rock pulse of unsophisticated drum machines is not a challenge to fashion and not a demonstration of the performer's taste preferences. It is a graceful accompaniment to what Dolphin wants to say and why he does not want to say. He does not believe in words - the official

YouTube view of the album (and the darkest song is titled "1984").

"In the apples of our eyes
Worms of special services
They are watching each of us.
Rotten own needs,
Saliva sparkling with propaganda
turning inside out,
Hiding lies one by one
In the skulls of tin cans "(" 1984 ").

"Truth", "facts", "meanings" - everything is the object of manipulation by the media, both official and those seeking to seize the palm in the wake of the Moscow protests in the summer of 2019. Truth is Life itself, which Dolphin strives to express existentially from his first albums.

"The moon hides the diamonds
In the sorrows of your dust
On the side that is forever dark -
Tears of love.
Star shining in the sky
The sun of someone's dawn
We are for each other with you forever
In the immortality of our love” (“J2000.0”).

And this inexplicable, inexpressible Life has no conditions for realization in the current social conditions. Everything that drives a modern Russian - from indiscriminate conciliation to inexplicable protest - is a product of manipulation that turns the consumer of information into a cyborg functionary. It is unlikely that anyone could comprehend the current Russian protest movement deeper and more compassionately than Dolphin. He does not rely on him, like BG or Shevchuk, does not gloat, like Makarevich, does not withdraw himself, like Chistyakov. He recognizes this "Protestantism" as the triumphant end of twenty years of suppression of the human in man, the "swan song" of the latest movements towards Law and Freedom, with empty images of which we were stuffed in the 1990s, and in our time they refused to even recognize any kind of meaning other than propaganda...

"A floating corpse on a gun carriage,
Behind him dancing youths
Through the slit of licked lips
You can hear brain bells.
Weeping country
Drowning in green snot
Hope touched the bottom -
Dna in hot coals "(" Summer ")

Everything that happens in the minds of the ideologically unformed “dissatisfied” youth is an apotheosis of hopelessness, the way out of which is a Nietzschean colorful death, turning into an ethereal hero in a moment before complete oblivion.

"And someone, straightening up to his full height,
He will raise his fingerless hands to the sun of victory.
Bullet drinking from the red river blackbird
Stops the beating of the heart.
And falling on Moscow spat on the sidewalk,
Or trampled down by the Chinese Nevsky,
Face to dead will change avatar
The winner of a lost battle
But - royal! ("Joy Stick")

That is why Dolphin made a bet on the scale invented by the main preachers of hopelessness, the prophets of meaninglessness - the Depeche Mode group. There is no better illustration of what is happening: a mediocre life that gives rise to futile protest, leading to inglorious disappearance and oblivion. The most important thing disappears - the inner, sincere desire, the ability and ability to Love, to which Dolphin reduces the whole essence of a person.

Moreover, Dolphin does not rely on the sound of the mature "Depeche Mode", now defiantly dull hipsters who have once again become idols. Dolphin appeals to the darkest sound of the darkest period - the beginning of the 1990s, when all of us, despite the horror of everyday life, imagined in the distance the beautiful outlines of Russian Europe with a market economy, legal statehood and civil society ... Then nothing happened - it won’t work now . The plastic synth of digitized guitars is like the channeled intentions of the modern social media slave; a shallow bit of electropercussion - as a superficiality of feelings and reflection; the background sound of a retrosynthesizer, seasoned with careful orchestrations, is like a truly ecclesiastical fatalism: “There is nothing new under the sun, because everything that happens has already had an accomplishment in the ages…”.

"Black on white brains
Scrawled words with crucifix knives.
Watch how the head rolls on the pavement
With a howl of curses.
A lump of lies to blood-stained feet
Those who shouted:
"This world is yours"
A world of sadness…” (“MSKV”).

Of course, this is a very conditional, subjective reflection of my perception of Delfin's latest album (let's play with the meaning of the word "edge") - you can't dissect a musical-text work like that, much less so integral, sounding like a single song. Dolphin diagnoses the social atmosphere in the language that does not accept variability and criticism - in song. Music reflects not views and thoughts, but sensations and feelings. And they don’t argue about feelings - that’s why the text, clothed with music, does not allow any “critical analysis”. A word without music, without emotion, without feeling is a lie, like any “spoken thought” (here Dolphin shows himself to be a real Russian poet and philosopher). And the established skill of the modern average Russian - to insensibly produce gigabytes of words (no matter what political color) - is an alarming sign of spiritual rigor ... Dolphin grasps the very spirit of our time and puts a musical monument to its leaders, their desires and ambitions. And this monument, according to his feeling, is a tombstone.

And we only want warmth,
And we only want light
After all, we - so that our bodies
Through the ice grew in the summer! ("Summer").

The author of the article is Kiril Kungurtsev

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