Happy new year one and all! Let’s hope this year is somewhat less vicious when it comes to beloved celebrities and musicians.
Anyway, back in 2000 a Russian DJ by the name of Oleg Kvasha had a hit in Russia with a fairly generic dance track titled зеленоградское такси. For those of you unable to read Cyrillic (what are you doing with your life?) that’s Zelenogradskoe Taksi or Green City Taxi – although it often seems to be referred to as Zelenoglazoe Taksi instead which means Green-Eyed Taxi. Here it is…
Not long afterwards musician and TV presenter Aleksandr Pushnoy re-recorded a bunch of popular Russian pop and dance songs in the style of scary German Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein – including of course Zelenoglazoe Taksi. And the result is glorious! 😀
The video – despite fitting so well – isn’t original to the song. It’s the intro from a 1994 computer game, the Doom clone Quarantine. In this game you play a post-apocalyptic taxi driver picking up and delivering passengers around the crazed streets of Kemo City, shooting up and running down attacking psychopaths with a variety of vehicle mounted weapons all the while. You know, good old fashioned fun.
Jumping forwards to 2007, the Austrian group Global Deejays released their own remix of the song, titled Zelenoglazoe Taxi…
What’s interesting about this is that I strongly suspect it’s the inspiration for Stalingrad Tank Trap, a track mentioned in Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant novel Whispers Underground…
I put my ear against the cold metal of the nearest door – the bass rumble was enough for me to identify the track.
‘”Stalingrad Tank Trap”,’ I said. ‘By Various Artiz.’
I like a bit of drum and bass to dance to, but Various Artiz were notorious for cranking out one identikit track after another – they were as close to mainstream as you could get on the club circuit without turning up on a Radio Two playlist.
My logic is as follows.The original name of the track referenced the Russian city of Zelenograd, hence “Zelenograd” = “Stalingrad”. “Tank Trap” sounds suspiciously similar to “Taxi”. Naming your group “Global Deejays” is only slightly less inane and generic than “Various Artiz”, and from what I can gather the general opinion of Global Deejays is pretty much as Peter narrates in the extract above. Quod Erat Demonstrandum!
Maybe I should tweet Mr Aaronovitch about it? Or maybe not 🙂
To quote the Propellerheads – that is all!
2 thoughts on “Stalingrad Tank Trap”
Kvasha co-wrote “Zelenoglazoye Taksi” for singer Mikhail Boyarskiy back in 1980s. “Green eye” referred to the green lamp on the windshield, which indicated that the taxi is free (and will stop if you wave). The original version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w9M1jDUVDA is rather melancholic, it was dropped from the project, for which it was written, but to everyone’s surprise it became quite popular for a few years.
In the 1990s there was a copyright dispute around the song. Kvasha sued a publisher and a band, who did not pay him for using it. In the end they agreed that the guilty publisher would publish and promote Kvasha’s new album with a new version of “Taxi”. Thus the upbeat version on this page was born. Here’s the official video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_XF8TuUbV0
As far as I can tell, the original Boyarskiy’s version is still better known in Russia.
Thanks for this info!