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Zodiac (Zodiak, Russian: ?, 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.
Zodiac was formed by J?nis L?s?ns, then studying composition at the Latvian State Conservatory in Riga (now J?zeps V?tols 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? , Latvian: Disko alianse) was released in 1980 on the monopolist Melodiya label, during the band members' studentship. The album was produced by Aleksandrs Gr?va, who was also the father of band member Zane Gr?va. 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: ) 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 ? ? ? (Woman's Joys and Sorrows, 1982) and (The Tank Crew, 1983), the soundtracks for the both films were released on a vinyl record Music from the Films (Russian: ) in 1985. The music of the group was also used in the documentary film about the cosmonaut artist Aleksei Leonov ? (Star Palette, 1982).
The album In memoriam was composed and produced by J?nis L?s?ns 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.
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.
All the albums are equally known under their Russian and English titles and had both spellings on their original covers.
Since the group rarely performed live every new album had a new line-up except the producer J?nis L?s?ns.
Music in the Universe:
The line-up on Music from the Films is unknown, the original CD cover has only the following info: