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Agatha Christie (Cyrillic: Агата Кристи, transliteration: Agata Kristi) is a Russian rock band led by brothers Vadim and Gleb Samoylov, that was established in Sverdlovsk (Ekaterinburg), Russia in 1988.
Agatha Christie has created its unique style incorporating post-punk/new wave music with decadent poetry in their lyrics and made a great contribution to Russian rock. They achieved the Grand-Prix at festival of young European groups "Open du Rock" (France, 1991), premium "World Music Awards" as the most popular Russian music band (Monte-Carlo, 1997), four national premiums "Овация (Ovation)", in 2000 it was voted the best Russian group of the 90s.
The founders of the band - Vadim Samoylov (born in Sverdlovsk, October 3, 1964), Aleksandr Kozlov (born in Asbest, September 25, 1961) and Petr Mai – were schoolmates, they played together in a school band. In 1985 they (together with Vadim's younger brother Gleb Samoylov, who was born in Asbest, August 4, 1970) created a music band named "ВИА РТФ УПИ" (which literally stands for: vocal-instrumental ensemble of Radioengineering faculty of Ural Polytechnical Institute). The original band comprises:
* Глеб Самойлов (Gleb Samoylov) – vocals, guitar, bass, lyrics, adaptation, keyboard
* Вадим Самойлов (Vadim Samoylov) – vocals, guitar, bass, lyrics, adaptation, keyboard
* Петр Май (Petr Mai) – drums, percussion
* Александр Козлов (Aleksandr Kozlov) – keyboard, composer/lyrics (now deceased)
They released several tape albums: "Если (If)", "Свет (Light)", and others. In the same year they changed the name of the band to "Agata Kristi" (the way Agatha Christie's name is pronounced in Russian). The name was chosen allegedly as best reflecting the band's sound style, a mysterious, eccentric, and at times sadistically spooky mix of glam, goth rock, and techno-like electronics.
The official birthday of "Agata Kristi" is February 20, 1988, the day of their first concert and the release of the first official album "Второй Фронт" (Vtoroj Front - Second Front). In 1988-1989 "Agata Kristi" played at several rock festivals and was beginning to attract attention. Still, two more albums to follow – "Коварство и любовь" (Kovarstvo i Lubov - Craft and Love) and "Декаданс" (Dekadans - Decadence) – seemed overly theatrical and pompous to many. There were also some internal tensions in the band: Petr Mai left and was replaced by Альберт Потапкин (Albert Potapkin), and then by Андрей Котов (Andrey Kotov) (born in Sverdlovsk, April 3, 1963).
In 1993 the band released a much more focused and balanced album: "Позорная Звезда" (Pozornaya Zvezda - Shameful Star), which marked a shift from the guitar-driven glam rock of the previous albums to a synth-based post-punk with a more subdued vocal delivery. The next album "Опиум" (Opium) enjoyed considerable success. "Agata Kristi" quickly became a popular act. Two songs from "Opium" – "Сказочная Тайга" (Fairy Taiga) and "Опиум для Никого" (Opium for Nobody) became hits. The next albums - "Ураган" (Uragan - Hurricane) and "Чудеса" (Chudesa - Miracles) – were gloomy, even depressive, and loaded with electronics, a move which was not well-recieved by many of the band's fans. 2000's "Майн Кайф?" (Main Kaif? - a word-play derived from Mein Kampf (Hitler's autobiography) and the Russian word "Kaif", meaning 'bliss' - featured sound no less gloomy and bleak than its predecessors, but received critical praise because of its unorthodox composition and song structures. In 2001, the founding keyboardist, Alexander Kozlov, died, which is said to be the reason for prolonged creative stagnation. Only in 2004 did the Samoylovs release the next album: "Триллер Часть 1" (Triller Chast' 1 - Thriller Part 1). It was a significant stylistic deviation from the band's trademark murky electronic sound. This lean, heavier, hard rock-infused album was generally well received by critics, that have found a likeness with the "Opium" album, and it has divided listeners & fans in two: those who stayed with the band, and those who didn't accept the new style. Several songs from this album made it to the top of the charts in Russia and made appearances on the radio.
While being less prolific in the 2000's, "Agata Kristi" has proved to be quite long-lasting a project. Over their history, the band explored a variety of styles, from the synth-pop of Depeche Mode and Freddie Mercury's extravaganza to the gloomy post-punk of The Cure and The Damned. Unlike the majority of the Russian rock scene, which historically adhered to the guitar-driven rock, "Agata Kristi" embraced a hefty share of synthesizer rhythms and drums, which, together with the characteristic vocals switching from a suggestive whisper to hysterical shrieks, makes their style easily recognizable.
Starting officially on 11.10.2008, after Andrey Kotov was driven out of the band - Agatha Christie was comprised of the Samoylov brothers and the following new members:
* Дмитрий "Снэйк" Хакимов (Dmitry "Snake" Khakimov) – drums, percussion
* Константин Бекрев (Konstantin Bekrev) – keyboard, bass
As for now the band does not give and live concerts anymore. Their last and final album "Epilogue" is announced to be released in spring 2010.
For more information visit the official site of Agatha Christie - http://agata.ru/
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