Eclectic music by Ed Kabatsky

Eclectic music by Ed Kabatsky

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Monday, 03 May 2021
Music News

The creative duo met around 1996 at the art studio of Russian-born artist Dmitry Strizhov near Central Park, New York. They quickly discovered similarities in taste of music, arts and expression of creativity. One was a formally trained artist and a passionate poet, as well as an entrepreneur and “Proforma Records” label owner. The second a naturally gifted musician, composer, a music producer as well as a skilled designer and an engineer.

Dmitry Strizhov – New York, 2001
Photo: Igor Katrach

Their first collaboration wasn’t about music, indeed it was related to design and print publishing work. At the time Dmitry was working on a print publication of his own creation: “Profile” magazine – dedicated to arts, poetry and music. It was quite a unique publication in Russian language created and published in New York. Beautifully illustrated pages, interesting poetry, exclusive interviews with prominent dancers, poets, artists, musicians and other legendary figures. Profile magazine generally had inspiring content and probably was the best of its kind amongst the Russian diaspora in New York or even possibly the United States.

Profile Magazine
Designed and published by Dmitry Strizhov in (1996 – 1998)

Aside from the magazine, Dmitry and Ed also collaborated on other design projects as well, such as CD covers, tapes, flyers, including the art book and catalog of Dmitry’s paintings “The Enigmatic World of Dmitri Strizhov” by Robert C Morgan.

“The Enigmatic World of Dmitri Strizhov” by Robert C Morgan.
Digital art design by Dmitry Strizhov and Ed Kabatsky

Dmitry earned a reputation for being a passionate poet, who always performed his act with elements of sarcasm, various theatrical actions and a degree of eccentric play. Sometimes during these performances Ed was inspired by an idea of using some of his electronic music and Dmitry’s poetry. Shortly after some poems ended up in Ed’s hands, consequently he returned with rough ideas for spoken word music compositions and actual songs. One of the first songs that Ed composed was “King”. The song turned out to be light and soft, protruding mellow harmony and soft vocals. Dmitry seemed to like and enjoyed the new tunes and their musical endeavor flourished. The meeting point was Stizhov’s art studio at West 69th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. During breaks they strolled to nearby Central Park, conveniently located just two blocks away to look at “secret” castles and artifacts hidden in the green forest and alleys.

“Lilith”, 1997 by Boris Grebenshikov
Art design by: Dmitry Strizhov and Ed Kabatsky
Ed Kabatsky and Dmitry Strizhov in Central Park, New York (1997)

As the time passed, Ed had composed and practiced a dozen songs – now was the time to start recording the new material. Dmitry invited an American music producer that he participated with on other musical project for an album “Lilith” with Boris Grebenshikov. A legendary Russian rock star, the “founding father” of Russian rock music. Sometime in fall of 1997 the first version of the song “King” was recorded in collaboration with an award winning music producer Benny Kay known for his works with Bonnie RaittMuddy WatersJames CottonBig Walter HortonJ. B. HuttoJohn Lee HookerFrank ZappaCaptain BeefheartBlood Sweat & TearsNRBQBob MargolinJanis IanThe Nighthawks and many others.


Benny Kay – American Music Producer, New York (1997)
Photo: Ed Kabatsky

When Benny Kay joined, the quality of music was lifted to a new level, adding flavor of American classic blues and jazz piano. All the songs began to mature with the added jazzy, blues and and western features. Ed and Benny continued to work together and recorded around twenty songs in 1997-98. Ten of those recordings were included on their first album titled “Collection” (in Russian “Колекция”) and released on promo tapes in early 1998. All based on lyrics by Dmitry Strizhov. The entire album is available now at neomatik.bandcamp.com

The song “King” opened an entire new door in Ed’s musical journey. From 1992 till 1996 Ed was mostly composing experimental electronic music and was focused on sound and beats experiments. Meeting Dmitry Strizhov and his poetry sparked the interest to different type of music composition. The new passion arose and new melodies were composed using classic instruments such as guitar and piano.

Following the first release of album “Collection” Ed resumed to compose new songs. During that period of time Dmitry Strizhov was finishing up his other project with the legendary Russian music star Boris Grebenshikov. In spring of 1997 Dmitry invited Boris to New York from St.Petersburg to record music with members of “The Band” (re: Bob Dylan).

More songs were written and composed now it was time for the next album. For the next album Dmitry wanted an american producer Nick Caiano who was also working with Boris Grebenshikov just few month earlier at the studio in Catskills, upstate New York. Nick participated as lead guitarist, harmonica and drummer all in-one. Amazingly he accepted the invite and joined the team with Dmitry, Benny and Ed. The new material was ready, some earlier songs were rearranged (ex. “You Came To Me”, “Practical Man”) and some original ideas were left untouched (ex. “Live Bullet”, “King”). The song “King” was recorded in multiple arrangement and in different genres, including a fully produced version .

Nick Caiano – American Music Producer
Photo: UNCLE FRETSTER

At least two of the original recordings of the song “King” produced in collaboration with Nick Caiano, Benny Kay and Dmitry Strizhov are still unreleased to this day. Those recordings will be released, on the their 24th anniversary sometimes in fall of 2021.

Ed Kabatsky (left), Dimitry Strizhov (right)

During the same year (1998) Ed with help of Nick recorded additional eight tracks, produced by Nick featuring Steve Kaplan on bass and a full band sound. None of these songs were ever released except “Live Bullet” in the form of promo tape in late 1998. An unplugged version with Ed playing acoustic guitar and Nick playing solo guitar was released on promo tapes as a single before the back then upcoming new album with temporary title “Live Bullet”. This recording is now available on bandcamp.com

Promo sleeve for (unreleased) album “Live Bullet” by Ed Kabatsky & Dimitry Strizhov

In late 1998 and early 1999, Ed switched his focus from making music in purely acoustic genre back to electronic music. The mood in the air at that time was inspired by groups like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Swans, Laibach, Union Jack, Front 242 and Crystal Method. During that time Ed composed several songs with heavy electronic sound influences based on Dmitry’s lyrics and eventually took a long pause by the end of year 2002. In 2018 once again their paths have crossed with new ideas and new experiences. This time Ed brought his younger son Nicholas along with him, who followed his father’s steps and shared deep love for music. Just like twenty years before they’ve met with Dmitry in his art studio but this time in St.Petersburg and quickly became friends. The story doesn’t end here. Stay tuned for more.

NIck Kabatsky (left), Dmitry Strizhov(right) – Art Studio

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