Recordings Vol. 1 1987-1991


2023 repress! Historically informed violin player, prize-winning street musician, new age experimentalist, chamber ensemble performer and conservatoire deviant. The career of Valentina Goncharova (b. Kyiv 1953) shares parallels with those associated with the broader new music movement of the 20th century and the dissemination of home recording technologies. Valentina's was a youth spent immersed in the world of classical music study under soviet rule, first in Kyiv and later in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) from the age of 16. With the supervision of professors M. Vayman and B. Gutnikov she learned concert violin and developed alternate playing styles alongside skilled pianists. The improvisatory nature of free jazz and then-budding experimental rock circles also intrigued Valentina. Departing from the rules of the conservatoire, she briefly performed in underground rock clubs alongside future members of the industrial group Pop-Mechanika (Popular Mechanics). This perpetual state of flux is central to the variety found within Recordings Vol. 1, though as opposed to any degree of uncertainty Valentina's practice is one in flux by way of earnest curiosity. Pushing further into an exploration of solo electro-acoustic sounds, she took to home taping on a modified Olimp reel-to-reel recorder. Intrigued by the manipulability of dubbing and the fresh sounds of DIY effects chains, Goncharova developed pickups alongside her husband Igor Zubkov. Her infatuation with the music of Stockhausen, Xenakis, Ganelin Trio, and Pierre Boulez channels through considerations of space and erratic sound design, the three movements of "Metamorphoses" embodying this textural approach to musique concrete. The compositional skills developed in Leningrad unfold in the romantic gestures of "Higher Frequencies", whilst manipulated cello combines with synthesizer keys across "Passageway To Eternity". The slow, pulsating drone soundscapes recall the likes of Robert Rutman's US Steel Cello Ensemble or even deep listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros. The juxtaposition of written notation and improvisatory flare is central to Goncharova's sound world. This period of home recording documents a confluence of minimalism, free form and flirtations with new age tropes (including bell chimes and cavernous vocal mantras). Experimenting with unusual performance techniques, such as shouting into amplified cello strings, Valentina's home studio functioned as a place to foster full artistic and creative freedom away from any academic strictures. Relocating to Estonia in 1984, in a sense, the recordings on these discs offer only a glimpse into her lifelong body of work. Private experimental home-tapes unheard for thirty years.