Brick Wahl, "LA Weekly", 3/25/08
Their album Girls Sing was a real surprise — experimental Slavic weirdness with a typically Russian sad streak (those people sure know how to bum out). The result sounds way cool, so much so that trumpeter Frank London (of the Klezmatics), guitarist Marc Ribot and organist John Medeski got involved. Not sure if any of them will be joining the Russians onstage at Sam’s, but no matter, as they ought to be creative enough to impress all on their own.
"New Yorker", 3/24/08
Their music gathers rock, jazz, and ethnic elements into an irrepressible eclectic sound, anchored by Leonid Fedorov’s smoky baritone and Oleg Garkusha’s energetic vocalizing..
Stewart Mason, "All Music Guide"
Part of a long-running history of once-underground Eastern European art rock bands (Czechoslovakia's Plastic People of the Universe are probably the best known to Western audiences), Russia's Auktyon blend abrasive free jazz and prog rock (think of Henry Cow and the rest of the European "rock in opposition" scene) influences with loose, danceable rhythms that will be instantly familiar to anyone who's ever seen a jam band. The combination enhances both sides of the equation, giving the more experimental aspects an approachable context and making it harder to dismiss Pioneer as an album for recovering Deadheads to do the Awkward White Boy Wiggle to. This results in tracks like the bizarrely tuned "Son," which sounds like a mash-up of one of Robert Wyatt's acoustic tunes from the Soft Machine's Volume Two and a particularly noisy and lurching Residents track, alongside more familiarly Eastern European-sounding tunes like "It's Not Late," which slowly envelops a gypsy-style acoustic melody in waves of cacophony. Auktyon is not for the faint-hearted worldbeat listener -- at the very least, some familiarity with Captain Beefheart will be a tremendous help, especially with co-lead singer Oleg Garkusha's bearish growl of a voice -- but most of a musically adventurous bent will likely find it quite fascinating.
Carl Wilson, "Zoilus", 3/29/06
They're an eight-piece, folkloric-new-wave-jazz-ska cocktail at least as combustible as the Czech massives' molotovs. The jousting voices of leader Leonid Federov and hypeman Oleg Garkusha add up to a lyrical-inflammatory hybrid of Jacques Brel and David Thomas of Pere Ubu.
Aileen Torres, "The Villager", March 22 -28 2006
Auktyon, a hero of Russia’s avant-garde rock scene, is getting less and less underground these days, which is quite a bit of luck for Europeans and Americans. Together since 1978 and a member since 1983 of the subversive Leningrad Rock Club, Auktyon has gone through several incarnations and earned a cult following in their homeland and beyond. They may sing in Russian, but their music exudes a worldly eclecticism that dispenses with genre boundaries. Expect to hear elements of punk, jazz, North African rhythms and ‘60s American pop — all in one song. To top it off, their stage shows are always theatrical, dismissing draconian political gloom and doom to another era
Jay Ruttenberg, "Time Out New York", March 23-29, 2006
An Auktyon concert begins like this: The Russian band vamps wildly—an agitated burst of guitar, tuba, sax—as an oafish man, Oleg Garkusha, saunters onstage. Wearing the garish suit of an old-time huckster and carrying a briefcase, he begins to dance and yelp into his microphone, which sits center stage. In the course of a show, he loosens his tie, shakes a tambourine, jumps about and recites Russian poetry. It’s difficult to take one’s eyes off of him—which is notable, as he is not Auktyon’s true leader, but rather the group’s hype man. Look closer and spot the true top dog: Leonid Fedorov, a humdrum-looking guy who performs in Cheney-esque shadows, singing lead and playing guitar while a veritable circus erupts around him.
Siddhartha Mitter, "Boston Globe", 3/24/06
As with all great eccentric bands, its sound resists category. But the musical lineup, which leans to bottom-heavy horns such as tuba and bass clarinet, and the group's demonstrative, jaunty style set up connections from ska to klezmer. At every shift of tempo, the connections meld or vanish as fast as they formed. Heard end to end, an Auktyon album is very much a journey.
"The Dallas Morning News", 3/18/06
The Russian band Auktyon (the k is silent) turned Caribbean Lights into an art rock cabaret Thursday night. Blaring soprano sax, crazy rhythms and general wackiness were the order of the evening as hulking frontman Oleg Garkusha vibrated every inch of his body in unison to the beat after taking the stage with white gloves, an orange tie and an old briefcase. These guys were around before the wall fell, and they're still going strong.
Greg Quill, "Toronto Star", 3/23/06
The band is very much its own beast, unlike anything we've heard in the West, too seriously musical to be discounted as a novelty, too odd and otherworldly to be wholly embraced.
Dan Oko, "The Austin Chronicle", 2/24/06
Down but certainly not out, it's best not to bet against the Eastern Bloc. The heavyweight is St. Petersburg's
20-year-old Auktyon ensemble, an ecstatic Russian eight-piece that mixes native folk and jazz into its poprock
agitation machine. If Tom Waits remains outside the U.S. mainstream, imagine what he might have
produced if his compositions actually had been outlawed – that's pretty much where bandleader Leonid
Fedorov and his collaborators are coming from.
John Pareles, “New York Times”, NY 1/23/06
Auktyon, from St. Petersburg, Russia, was even more rambunctious in its bruising rock songs. Its frontman moved like a floppy-armed version of Zippy the Pinhead; its songs held hints of Slavic tradition driven by a burly low register: bass, baritone saxophone and tuba.
Bill Bragin, Director of Joe's Pub at the Public Theater
When I booked Auktyon for the first time I was unexpected for the power and range of their live show. From art-rock to post-punk, from free jazz sax squall to Latin percussion to military marching band tuba holding down the bottom, they are unlike any band I've seen before. Despite the difficulty of describing them without resorting to stacks of hyphenated phrases, they can connect with fans of everyone from Gogol Bordello to the Boredoms, Talking Heads to Pere Ubu, Ozomatli to Mr. Bungle. Their live show is high energy, kick you in the head fun, and the fact that you probably don't understand Russian is besides the point.
“TimeOut”, NY May 2005
Legendary and undefinable, the veteran Russian alt-rock band Auktyon serves up a swinging, horn-driven skank that’s drawn comparisons to Tom Waits and Beck – appropriate enough, but still short of describing the band’s boundless, theatrical energy and instantly memorable melodic hooks.
Monica Kendrick, “Chicago Reader”, 5/6/05
This Saint Petersburg eight-piece has been playing together in something like its current form since the mid-80s, and I can't imagine the typical capitalist gets it any more than the Soviet bureaucrats did. Nevertheless, the band's augmented its devoted Russian fan base with an auxiliary chapter in Portland won over by a roof-rocking North by Northwest appearance in 2000, and it's well established on the European art-rock circuit. If one wanted, one could place these guys alongside Prague's late, lamented Plastic People of the Universe in a pan-Slavic tradition of wild-ass pre-perestroika hairiness. But really, the profligate frenzy of Auktyon - very high-energy, very strangely arranged, very globally crossbred and sweatily choreographed - belongs in its own category.
Laura Sinagra, “New York Times”, NY 5/6/05
These veterans of the Leningrad rock club scene known for their Dadaist lyrics and riotous stage show fuse traditional folk with frenetic punk and jazz.
Zach Dundas, “Willamette Week”, Portland, OR 4/27/05
Lead singer Leonid Fedorov is something of a Leonard Cohen-style heartthrob, all husky, romantic intonation and lyrical poetry. It's tempting to concoct more elaborate analogies ("If Herbie Hancock had a Russian grandfather and jammed with Black Sabbath and the Barnum & Bailey band...") to describe the band behind him. Let's just say an exceedingly unusual mind-meld awaits.
Alex Kan, London, September 2004
Auktyon are a legend in their homeland and a cult band in continental Europe where they spend half of their time touring. In spite of having been around for more than two decades they remain an ever-developing creative laboratory. Their sound keeps changing all the time and now, complete with assorted percussion, multi-reed player, a trumpeter and a tubist, it approaches tight jazzy arrangements of Charles Mingus or Radiohead Kid A style.
“Village Voice” NY 9/29/00
Just about the only Russian rock band (lemme reiterate here, rock) to nurse out a sound that resists an easy matchup with a Western source, Auktyon are consistently and wholly original. Sure, they’ve traveled from psycho theatrics to lo-fi trickery to Beck and back, but with the constants (vocalist Lenya Fedorov’s crusted-molasses voice, the clearly relished fret buzz, the tragicomic horns, and the truly bizarre stage presence of clowning percussionist Garkusha) still in place after 15 or so years, they are quiet simply the best music out of today’s Russia.
Charlie Gillett, radio BBC London
...But a surprise is how good 'My Love' by the Russian group Auktyon sounds, with its syncopated handclaps and dissonant guitar. (CD "World 2000", HEMISPERE)
Scott D. Lewis, "The Oregonian" Portland, OR, NXNW 2000
Listening to the inexplicable arrangements that used time signatures and musical phrasings that were anything but Western-based, and watching the manic tambourine player/co-yelper and the tuba player theatrically slap each other on the shoulder in time to the beat, I was finally transported to a different place.
“Pulse Magazine” May 2000
Exquisitely produced underground lo-fi – is that possible? These seasoned Russian provocateurs turn in a batch of songs that combine deep subterranean grumblings of late Tom Waits with absurdist studio trickery of early Beck. The real surprise comes when you find yourself humming the choruses. (On a US release “Sky Down the Middle”)
John Graham, "Williamette Week" Portland, OR, NXNW 2000
Simple rule of thumb: Unique music requires no added input of the liquid sort. Rating: A
Zach Dundas, "Williamette Week" Portland, OR, NXNW 2000
The Russian in white shook like a seizure victim, vibrating in place on the Green Onion's stage. Tall, ostrich-thin and awkward, he sometimes leaned to the microphone to flap his tongue and hiss. Mostly, he let the off-the-rails momentum of Auktyon, his eight-member post-sane carnival from St.Petersburg, drive him further into the quivers. If Auktyon's ecstatic, volcanic Saturday night coup de grâce captured everything right with the annual gathering of bands and music industry types, it was because it was far, far removed from the shop-talk and schmooze that mars the festival.