Zodiac (band)

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Zodiac
Also known as Zodiaks
Origin Riga, Latvia
Genres Electronic music
Space disco
Years active 1980–1992

Zodiac (Zodiak, Russian: Зодиа́к, Latvian: Zodiaks) was a space disco music band that existed in the 1980s in Latvia, then a part of Soviet Union. The band was extremely popular in the Soviet Union and has been credited by critics as the Soviet answer to the French band Space who were popular at the time.

Biography[edit]

Zodiac was formed by Jānis Lūsēns, then studying composition at the Latvian State Conservatory in Riga (now Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music). The other four members of the group were also students of various faculties of the same conservatory.

Zodiac's first vinyl record Disco Alliance (Russian: Диско альянс, Latvian: Disko alianse) was released in 1980 on the monopolist Melodiya label, during the band members' studentship. A significant part of the group's success was that the album was produced by Aleksandrs Grīva,[who?] also the father of band member Zane Grīva. The music featured a lot of then-unusual synthesized sounds and effects together with more conventional euro disco elements.

The second album Music in the Universe (Russian: Музыка во Вселенной) released two years later was much inspired by a meeting with cosmonauts in the Star City, Moscow and their tales about space flights. The music of the second album was much more rock-influenced than the first.

During that time the band also performed the music of Viktor Vlasov for the films Женские радости и печали (Woman's Joys and Sorrows, 1982) and Экипаж машины боевой (The Tank Crew, 1983), the soundtracks for the both films were released on a vinyl record Music from the Films (Russian: Музыка из кинофильмов) in 1985. The music of the group was also used in the documentary film about the cosmonaut artist Aleksei Leonov Звёздная палитра (Star Palette, 1982).

The album In memoriam was composed and produced by Jānis Lūsēns alone and released in 1989. The album was dedicated to the ancient and modern cultural and natural heritage of Latvia. The sounding of the album turned from disco to light techno/synthpop while gaining a lot of classical music influences as well as the influence of Jean Michel Jarre's ambient works.

The last album "Clouds" was released in 1991 by RiTonis (former Melodiya). It contains a hit song of the early 1990s in Latvia "My favourite flowers".

Disco Alliance and Music in the Universe were released together on compact disc by Mikrofona Ieraksti (which represents EMI in the Baltic states).

In the early 2000s, the Russian electronic duo PPK recorded a remix of Zodiac's composition "Zodiac" from the Disco Alliance album. This remix, titled "Reload", entered the charts in a number of territories.[citation needed]

Discography[edit]

All the albums are equally known under their Russian and English titles and had both spellings on their original covers.

  • Disco Alliance (1980)
  1. Zodiac
  2. Pacific
  3. Provincial Disco
  4. Polo
  5. Mirage
  6. Rock on the Ice
  7. Alliance
  • Music in the Universe (1982)
  1. The Mysterious Galaxy
  2. Laser Illumination
  3. Silver Dream
  4. Photo Finish
  5. The Other Side of Heaven
  6. In the Light of Saturn
  7. Flight Over El Dorado
  • Music from the films (1985) (Russian only)
  1. Prisheltsy (The Aliens)
  2. V Tayinstvennom Kvadrate (In the Mysterious Square)
  3. Zelyonye Chudovischa (Green Monsters)
  4. Poyedinok (Battle)
  5. Mirnoye Nebo (Peaceful Skies)
  6. Ognennye Dorogi (Roads of Fire)
  7. Deviychiy Gryozy (Maiden's Dreams)
  8. Volshebnaya Noch (Magical Night)
  9. Iduschiye Vperedi (Walking in Avantgarde)
  10. Serdtse Stuchit (Heart Beat)
  • In memoriam (1989) (Russian only)
  1. In Memoriam / V Kurzeme (In Courland)
  2. Ostrov Moritsala (Moricsala Island)
  3. V Muzeye Pod Otkrytym Nebom (In the Open Air Museum)
  4. Rundalskiy Dvorets (Rundāle Palace)
  5. Doma Staroy Rigi (Houses of Old Riga)
  6. Pastorale
  7. Na Gore Zilayskalns (On the Mount Zilaiskalns)
  • Mākoņi (Clouds) (1991) (Latvian only)
  1. Twilight Flowers
  2. Staburags and the Daughter of the Sun
  3. Dedication
  4. Daugava
  5. My Favourite Flowers
  6. Clouds
  7. Searching for You
  8. A Game
  9. Bohemian's Song

Line-up[edit]

Since the group rarely performed live every new album had a new line-up except the producer Jānis Lūsēns.

Disco Alliance:

Music in the Universe:

The line-up on Music from the Films is unknown, the original CD cover has only the following info:

In memoriam:

Clouds:

External links[edit]