Ivan Sokolovsky

Ivan Sokolovsky (1962 - 2005)

Ivan Sokolovsky was born in Leningrad on February 10, 1962. On graduation from the Moscow State University where he was studying Philosophy and History, Sokolovsky was offered to write for a number of magazines on post-modernism, post-historicism, and on Russian religious philosophy of the XIX-XX centuries. Instructed in the principles of conceptual composition and sound sculpture, Sokolovsky also began experimenting with self-made synthesizers and tape recorders. In 1983 he rose to prominence as a co-founder and a major composer for the underground band NOTCHNOI PROSPEKT, playing the synthesizers and electronically treating the band's sound. Despite the public acknowledgement he left in 1989 to continue as a professional composer and to embark on a series of solo-projects. In 1991-1996 Ivan Sokolovsky played at a number of prestigious international music festivals in Europe: World Wide Music (Berlin, Germany), Ultima (Oslo, Norway), New Ethnic (Leipzig, Germany), etc.

Фото. Ivan Sokolovsky, Sergey Letov, Alexei Borisov. Concert in Smolensk 1988
Ivan Sokolovsky, Sergey Letov, Alexei Borisov. Concert in Smolensk, 1988

In 1993 he launched own Random Studio to explore music delving into ambient, space, experimental soundscapes, acid, electronic and more. "Formed as a vehicle to allow us to release individual music of the most experimental and innovative character, Random has gone different stages in nine years that it has been in existence... Home of the intelligent wayward and the bizarre experiment we are building up a roster that is as unique as it is ground-breaking. There are no boundaries to the music, it is dedicated to bringing you the most interesting results of artists existing in a true underground space." Since 1996 the composer has been involved with the SOLDAT SEMYONOV project, which is putting together an ambitious mix of art-readings by Arkady Semenov and music by Ivan Sokolovsky.

On May 15, 2005, Ivan Sokolovsky died from cerebral stroke.

Sokolovsky - Letov / Simulated Prison (2005) / N/A
(8 tracks - 70 min.)

“Simulated Prison” is a sort of space-electronic or kraut-rock jam played live by Ivan Sokolovsky (synthesizers) and Sergei Letov (wind instruments) at one of the down-town clubs in 2002. The music blends progressive, groovy, ambient tunes with soundscapes of indefinite complexity and psychedelic atmosphere. There is a great feeling for details without losing the general tonal picture in this work. Also features: Mikhail Plotnikov (percussions) and Dmitry Kutergin (electric violin).

Virtual Flowers / Dark Coctail (2004) / N/A
(6 tracks - 54 min.)

In Sokolovsky’s diverse list of works one thing remains unfailing: his dedication to finding the proper players and getting the sonic atmosphere he needs to accomplish his musical ideas. On his VIRTUAL FLOWERS project he assembled a virtuoso vibe-player Vladimir Goloukhov, and a saxophonist/flutist exceptional Anatole Gerasimov to embark upon an adventure with a subtle trans-psychedelic aroma. Rhythmically, all tunes – mostly preprogrammed electronic – are simple enough but have certain magnetism in its insensibly progressing details. Fluid passages of keyboards, vibes, sax and flute add sparkling colors and seducing sweetness to this “dark coctail”.

Zoo-Jazz Project / Hivernale Pudeur (2003) / N/A
(6 tracks - 64 min.)

The concept which Ivan Sokolovsky and Sergei Letov utilized for ZOO-JAZZ PROJECT has been tackled by many musicians, taking preprogrammed electronic structures and accommodating them to the practice of intuitive improvisation. This mixture has sometimes resulted in fancy acid jazz (take for example Sokolovsky’s SOFT ANIMALS) or, in worst cases, inarticulate experimentalism. The live acts, which were recorded for a “Hivernale Pudeur” album in 2002-2003, though fall short of novelty, have a certain portion of eccentricity. Sokolovsky doesn’t play much his electric organ and piano, but programmed the rhythm-patterns and contributed music in general (some of sounds and themes were taken from his forthcoming solo-release). The jazzy improvisational elements are brought in by saxophonist Sergei Letov, tuba-virtuoso Pascal Rousseau (he is also an important voice on most of the tracks, occasionally with French lyrics) and oboist Christophe Sanyas (both are alumnus of the Paris Conservatory). Finally, Yuri Rubin is a percussionist; he not only contributes the rhythm-section but also introduces light ethnic touches to the sound. Two final tracks on the album which are dominated by Sokolovsky’s electronics deserve special mention: well thought and catchy, with shifting rhythm organization, multiple inward developments, and lots of textural nuances - they stand a bit apart from the whole program. Nevertheless, the biggest merit of “Hivernale Pudeur” (can be translated like “The Winter Pudency”) is that it never sinks into banality, with all participants eager to play truly advanced music.

Ivan Sokolovsky / Regredimur (2001) / CD
(7 tracks - 45 min.)

If composer and keyboardist Ivan Sokolovsky is new to you, then "Regredimur" is an excellent place to start giving a great sampling of his music from the early 90s up to the present day. The album has been assembled from 4 tracks that appeared at various compilations between 1990 and 1998, and includes 3 previously unpublished tracks. It features Ivan's favorite musicians - Dmitry Kutergin (electric violin), Victor Lukianov (guitars) and Larisa Segida (voices) among others.

Ivan Sokolovsky / Khan's Afternoon Rest (1996) / CD
(5 tracks - 62 min.)

With "Khan's Afternoon Rest", Ivan Sokolovsky set out to create large-scale versions of the ominous, spiritualized music of Asiatic nomads. Utilizing a talented cast of vocalists Sainkho Namchylak and Albert Kuvezin, the composer keeps the music relatively dark and steady. Shimmering bells, whispering shaman-tambourines, plaintive windpipes, Dmitry Kutergin's mournful violin, Victor Lukianov's sorrowful guitars, and Ivan Sokolovsky's weird synthesizers flow together in the intense and threatening stream. Some pieces are made quite scare, when Sokolovsky is not taking new age tangents. There are moments of great power telling about human's eternal spiritual quest for higher perfection in the universe and the struggle to achieve this illumination with dark ancient forces that crash such ambition.

"The music is a bit on the harsh side for New Age. It contains elements of Industrial and Techno, plus interesting sound-sculpting racket alongside more melodic parts. The quality of the recording is excellent, and makes for an enjoyable listening experience." - Fred Trafton (New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, April 2001).

Soft Animals / Conquest Of The Arctic (1995) / N/A
(12 tracks - 74 min.)

In 1993 Ivan Sokolovsky embarked on collaborations with a number of prominent Russian jazz and rock musicians - violinist Dmitry Kutergin, trumpetist Konstantin Mikheev, guitarists Sergei Sabinin and Sergei Gneushev, saxophonists Sergei Letov and Alexei Rakhov, trombonist Maxim Likhachev, drummer Andrei Belizov, and percussionist Serge Pakhomov among others. Taking the name SOFT ANIMALS, the musicians led by Sokolovsky mounted a series of live performances in Russia, France, Germany and Italy that positioned the project as the first and the most popular Russian acid-jazz act. The national scene has never produced a more stunning fusion of electronic music with live jazz instrumentation than "Conquest Of The Arctic", which is both intricate, yet sensitive and emotionally charged album. It surfs a wave of break-beat funk that includes nods to world fusion, dub, techno, drum'n'bass and hip-hop.

Yat-Kha / Tundra's Ghosts (1993/1996) / N/A
(14 tracks - 64 min.)

"Tundra's Ghosts" is a re-mastered edition of a landmark self-titled album by the YAT-KHA project, which fused electronic music and exotic percussion with a pioneering use of nomadic throat-singing techniques (by Albert Ku-ve-zin), and was originally published in 1993. The duo represents a new direction in the cultural tradition where a singing is not only inspired by elements of nature, but also by the voices of industrial civilization. A new edition has a multi-color booklet with paintings inspired by the Tuva people's ancient myths and legends.

Ivan Sokolovsky / Pressure: Music For Rich (1991) / N/A
(9 tracks - 61 min.)

In 1991 Ivan Sokolovsky turned to his first solo project, assembled from early tape recordings (1983-1989) and digitally processed, the quirky and widely experimental "Music For Rich", which reached the top 10 Russian Music CD.

"...This is a solid release and quite enjoyable." - Fred Trafton (New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, April 2001).

"The composer calls on techno beats, ambient sounds, collages on which the different instruments come and weave a very organic tissue. Music For Rich could be taken as a soundtrack and the atmospheric character is rich in textures created by trumpet, guitars, violin, ethnic voice, bass, drums and of course keyboards and electronics." - Pierre Tassone (Music By Mail, January 2002).

Official Discography

Ivan Sokolovsky is a young philosophy scholar who graduated from Moscow State University. He has written articles on post-modernism and post historicism, as well as number of works on leading Russian thinkers of the late nineteenth - early twentieth centuries: Alexei Khomiakov, Konstantin Leontiev and Ivan Kiriyevsky. Sokolovsky is better known to the public as a musician and composer having played in active role in two popular Moscow groups - "Nochnoi Prospect" and "Centr".
Ivan's musical career begins while still at university when he, being the sole student in his course "Religious Philosophy of the Peoples of the USSR", suddenly developed an interest in experiments with sound and electronics. One thing led to another, and very beginning of the 1980s he and a history student by the name Alexei Borisov formed the first electronic new wave group in Russia - "Nochnoi Prospect".

Sokolovsky remained with the group until 1989. He then did a short stint with the popular group "Centr", created a duet "Yat-Kha" and the ensemble "Soft Animals". In parallel with these collaborative projects, Sokolovsky spends much of his time working on solo experimental projects. Over the period 1986-1989 he succeeded in recording several cassette albums on which he employed the talents of some of Moscow 's leading underground musicians. The CD "Pressure" is a unique compilation of Sokolovsky's solo works comprised of recordings from early '80s up to the turn of nineties. Ivan Sokolovsky relates to that rare category of artists playing "progressive" music whose interested range from exotic folklore and academic advantaged to new jazz, techno, trance and ambient. Ivan has the happy gift of being able to infect those around him with creative energy. He boldly solicits the creative inputs of musicians from diverse cultural traditions and musical genres to take part in his projects.

(Andrew Borisov. From annotation to CD "Khan's afternoon rest" Exotica EXO 96103)

Additional Information:



  1. Nochnoi Prospekt. Concert at DOM Pentagramma 030 CD
  2. SL-Project. Ivan Sokolovsky + Sergey Letov. Pentagramma 031 CD
  3. SL-project-2. Ivan Sokolovsky, Sergey Letov, Mikhail Plotnikov at Rotonda, Moscow. November 7, 2002 Pentagramma 036 CD
  4. Suprematism Project: Sergey Letov, Alexei Borisov, Ivan Sokolovsky in DOM. Moscow, 2003 Kazimir Malevich Anniversary 039 CD


  1. Ivan Sokolovsky / Pressure: Music For Rich (1991) / (BSA Records)
  2. Yat-Kha / Yat-Kha (1993) / (General Records) CD
  3. Various Artists / River, Lake, Sea... (1994) / (Random Music) CD
  4. Soft Animals / Conquest Of The Arctic (1995) / (Random Music) CD
  5. Yat-Kha / Tundra's Ghosts (1996) / (Random Music) CD
  6. Ivan Sokolovsky / Khan's Afternoon Rest (1996) / (Exotica) CD
  7. Ivan Sokolovsky / Regredimur (2001) / (Random Music) CD
  8. Zoo Jazz. Hivernale Pudeur. Sergey Letov. Pascal Rousseau. Ivan Sokolovsky. Exotica EXO 03137
  9. Virtual Flowers. Dark Cocktail. Random Music. www.golovibes.sovintel.ru RNDCD 006
  10. Sokolovsky Ivan, Letov Serguei. Simulated Prison. Random Music, 2005 RNDCD 007
  11. GOSPLAN TRIO/The New Blockaders. Sound Sketch for Raging Flame. http://www.klanggalerie.com gg92 CD