‘Evil’ is a new album by the Russian expat band Chelovek, kotory (meaning ‘The Man Who’). After the outbreak of war in Ukraine we were forced to leave Moscow and ended up living in different countries. ‘Evil’ is a plot-rich story told using the language of García Marquez’s magical realism. This is a meditation on the fate of Russia, full of love and sorrow for our homeland. It is a product of our belief that our country, sick and ugly, will be able to overcome the current catastrophe and heal itself. And then, liberated, ‘we will walk upon the renewed earth.’
Melodically, ‘Evil’ is a collection of six songs with interweaving arrangements, resembling plants and flowers. The arrangements include distorted guitars, cello, trumpet, saxophone, flute, piano, and melodica. Lyrically, it tells stories about the search for happiness in everyday life under dictatorship; about the lack of freedom and attempts to overcome it through non-violence; about the timeless Russian questions of ‘What is to be done?’ and ‘Who is to blame?’.
Our album is an adventure throughout Russian history, which ultimately presents itself as an ‘endless Russian thriller.’ It departs from today’s Russia, where the police's ‘dark magic department’ suppresses any protest and encourages silence. It passes through the Russia of 2000’s, when, on the one hand, our happy childhood took place, and, on the other hand, the dictatorship began. It goes far into the past reaching the 1930s’ USSR with its great terror and prisoner camps, where the ‘bloody mouth eats cold bread.’ And paradoxically, though this train is heading to Ancient Russia, it finally arrives in the 2040 Siberia that after a nuclear war turned into tropical forests inhabited by guerrillas (God forbid!).
This is our most important album, which we had been putting off, probably out of fear that its post-apocalyptic plot would materialize. On February 24, our dark prophecy began to come true, and we began the recording process without further delay. Most of the album was recorded in Moscow during the summer of 2022. The finishing touches were done in Belgrade in the spring of 2023. Most of the instruments were recorded by the sound engineer, a specialty coffee lover and now also an emigrant, Pavel Nikolsky, at the Siniy Les studio in Moscow. Mixing and mastering are also his work.