Zodiac '1980 "Disco Alliance"
Зодиак '1980 "Диско Альянс"
Instrumental cosmic-disco band Zodiac in the year 1980 made a huge sensation all over Soviet Union and satellite states, releasing their first LP "Disco Alliance". "DA" was a home grown answer to the popularity of european synth music in general and especially Didier Marouani's band SPACE.
This long play even now still is the most popular latvian album - if you look at the numbers of copies sold. It was a huge bomb on a soviet market, and what also helped it to sell better is the fact that soviet state release label MELODIA quite rarely offered anything as good as Zodiac. Foreign imports were expensive and didn't distribute through official channels, so the demand for Zodiac indicated an interest for serious and quality music from a common man.
Album was available thoughout all the USSR and accordingly to unofficial statistics, more than 20 million copies were sold in USSR, Japan, Austria, Finland and other countries.
First lineup of the band was the following: Janis Lusens, Andris Silis, Zane Griva, Andris Reinis and Ainars Ashmanis. These guys didn't think of popularity at all. The students from different departments and courses of Latvian Conservatory came to Riga from various small latvian towns and were peacefully studying, going to become experts in the field of academic music, which happened a bit later, too.
"We were not thinking about some kind of musical innovation," - says Janis Lusens, - "We were living a usual student life, playing various kinds of music in various bands. We were interested in electronics, exchanged LPs such as Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre. I was trying to compose something like that at home".
Demo cassette was brought to the producer Alexander Griva - one of the best sound producers in USSR, who worked with serious musicians and also was a deputy director of the Riga department of MELODIA at the moment.
Griva knew the party doctrine - in spite of harmless instrumentals on a record, using the costly studio time for some young semi-amateurs can't be appreciated by the government. However, it pushed its way through and Lusens and Co. were allowed to all the sacred cows of studio. All the instruments that were used on this record are listed on the backside of the cover. Lusens was fortunate enough to play "ARP Omni" and "ARP Odyssey".
Practically all the melodies of this record are well known by everyone who watched soviet TV channels in the 80s. In the early 2000s one of the tracks was covered by a techno project PPK (released on Perfecto) and in the year 2003 Zodiac played several tracks off "Disco Alliance" live in Moscow - first time after many year of silence.