Cukor Bila Smert’ Recordings 1990​—​1993

Label
Shukai
Released
29th March 2024

Format Info

2LP - Black Vinyl
The founders of Cukor Bila Smert’ (Ukrainian: Цукор – Біла Смерть, English: Sugar – White Death) band were Svitlana Okhrimenko (a.k.a. Svitlana Nianio), Oleksandr Kohanovs’kyi, and Tamila Mazur, who studied at the Reinhold Glier Kyiv Academy of Music in 1984-1988. In the summer of 1988, they got acquainted with Eugene Taran, a young guitarist and artist. He joined the band and also became the ideologist of Sugar – White Death. Moreover, Eugene coined the name for the band: the irony towards the Yellow Press. The musicians gathered at Kohanovs’kyi’s house, where they spent their free time not only playing music but also listening to and discussing new records and thinking about the conception of their new project.

For two years, the band recorded a few home-made albums, such as “Rhododendrons Coral Aspides” in 1988 (which is considered lost), where Kostyantyn Dovzhenko took part as a guitarist and sound engineer. He also replaced Taran during the recording session because Eugene was passing an exam at that time. The band also recorded another album – “Lilies and Amaralises,” in 1989, which is also considered lost. Eugene remembers that the band made a lot of recordings but did not pay so much attention to them. Sugar – White Death played live occasionally but spent more time creating their own sound, which was named by Oleksii Dekhtyar (a founder of “Ivanov Down”) as a “sugar calypso sound.” At that time, the music was mostly created by Oleksandr Kohanovs’kyi, and the lyrics were written by Svitlana Okhrimenko and Eugene Taran.

In February 1990, a quartet came to the Scientists House Studio in Kyiv, where they had one studio session only, recorded by Valerii Papchenko. Musicians played live for about one take. This session was represented on the “Mannered Music” compilation by several blocks – “Venus with Long Neck,” “The New Sissies,” and “Rhododendrons Coral Aspides,” which was shortened to “Rhododendrons” on the cassette (two songs from which – “Summer Will Not Come” and “The Great Hen-Yuan’ River,” dedicated to Grigorii Khoroshylov, the sinologist from Kyiv). The compilation cover design was created by Eugene Taran. Later, this tape got to Vlodek Nakonechnyj, the founder of Koka Records, a young Polish label, who released “Mannered Music” on cassettes and made efforts to invite Sugar – White
Death to play several gigs in Poland.

In November 1990, Sugar – White Death played their last gig as a quartet in Kharkiv. They were invited by Sergii Myasoyedov, who curated the art association “Nova Scena” (The New Scene). The band played selected tracks from the albums “The New Sissies” and “The Shellfishes in Gold Wrappers” (the last one is also considered lost). Due to Sergii Myasoyedov’s efforts, the performance was documented: he saved a lot of photos and fragments of soundboard recordings on reel-to-reel tape.

Later, Oleksandr Kohanovs’kyi and Tamila Mazur left Sugar – White Death: Oleksandr founded his own project Pan Kifared, and Tamila became a bass player of Shake Hi-Fi (whose co-founder was Eugene Taran). Sugar became a duo of Svitlana and Eugene. They started to focus on their next work: “Antinoy Is Leaving” in late 1990.

In 1992, they were also invited by Sergii Myasoyedov for a studio session in Kharkiv, where due to the efforts of Oleksandr Vakulenko, Sugar recorded the new album called “All Secrets Of A Poem”. Some tracks from the work (“Dead Ceremony,” “Vienna Is Sleeping,” and “Untitled”) were released on their next and last album, “Selo” (“The Village”). The rest compositions were published as a part of the compilation for the first time.

In the autumn of 1992, the musicians went to Poland, where Vlodek Nakonech- nyj, who wanted Sugar to come to a “real” studio, organized their last recording session. Although the journey’s beginning was unsuccessful (Eugene’s guitar was taken away by a customs officer when crossing the border), the musicians worked fast during the session at the Arek Waś studio at Marki on an 8-track reel-to-reel machine. Boleslav Blazhchyk took part as a cellist, playing the parts created by Svitlana. The album was completed in three days – the musicians spent two days recording and one-day mixing, mostly done by Eugene Taran. In 1993, this work was released as “Selo” (“The Village”) album on cassette tapes by Koka Records (remastered by Tadeusz Sudnik). Later, Sugar – White Death was disbanded.