That Was Propaganda

by Kurt Rongey

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $7 USD  or more




That Was Propaganda was conceived while I was in London in August 1991. At the time, there was a coup going on in Russia. The first notes of the first track were inspired a little later when news came across of the decision to change the name of the historical old city from the oppressive "Leningrad" back to the historical "St. Petersburg." This deliberate change of identity seemed like a rebirth.

Serfdom didn't serve old Russia well. But the aftermath of the 1917 revolution brought the people of its rich and spiritual land to an even lower, communal depth of despair. Uniting for a common cause should not be confused with surrendering one's will and identity to a collective. This is the subject of That Was Propaganda.

That Was Propaganda owes a great deal of whatever musical power it has to Bill Pohl. He contributed an enormous amount of time, energy and gear during the first recordings and re-recordings. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his seemingly inexhaustible patience, for his belief in the message and the music, and of course for his incredibly expressive guitar playing.

The recording of the first version of That Was Propaganda took place during 1991 and 1992. Most of the arrangements were realized with a Kurzweil K2000 keyboard, sequenced with Voyetra's Sequencer Plus Gold. Yamaha SY22 is featured more prominently in "Valutnaya" and especially "Kira." "Leningrad" uses a Roland JX8P (the main keyboard used on my previous album Book in Hand) and Alesis HR-16B drum machine . When the album was finished in 1992, I spent a great deal of time mixing and mastering the recordings, but the mix remained stubbornly unacceptable after several tries. In 1993, I essentially gave up on the project as I was financially unable to gain access to a good studio where I could finish the mixing work. Eventually, digital editing software and hardware made it possible to clean up the worst EQ problems of the original recordings. In addition, , as I found time between other projects, part of "St. Petersburg" and the entire "Valutnaya" were rerecorded.

First released on CD May 10, 2000 by Mellow Records.

"It's easily one of the best progressive releases of the year, maybe of all time. No kidding... If you like complex symphonic keyboard work, I think you'll agree with me that this is the greatest." - Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock.

"Ultimately recommended to every profound music lover, particularly to those considering the most complex manifestations of symphonic Art-Rock and both classical and avant-garde forms of Academic music." - ProgressoR

"" exceptional album in every way. Rongey has produced a masterpiece, terribly complex, totally demanding... The rare combination of creative genius and technical expertise finds full expression here." - Mitkadem


released May 10, 2000

Kurt Rongey: vocals, keyboards, drum programming.
Bill Pohl: guitars.
All music and lyrics by Kurt Rongey except "The
Interrogation" (Pohl/Rongey)
Produced and engineered by Kurt Rongey.



all rights reserved


Kurt Rongey Fort Worth, Texas

contact / help

Contact Kurt Rongey

Streaming and
Download help

Track Name: St. Petersburg - A. St. Petersburg
For acid lifeline works
the straight
and marrow filled in
barricade of
torrents warm
in every line of mine
presuming this is not a drill
We will
navigate our ways around
the buildings
that our fathers found
An entourage of sliding walls
She calls
aloud to them
and lays the wreath beneath

Rough skin
Telling it like a blasting furnace
Crying for her
We were

In this wide world
You are the hate untied
You are the grave inside

End this cold world
Running again
We're standing alone
Looking outside ourselves

In this dead light
Wandering, we're afraid
Wondering why we stayed
In this hard night
Tie us together
All into one
Make us forget ourselves

Rough skin
Telling it like a blasting furnace
Crying for her
We were
Track Name: St. Petersburg - B. Petrograd
Hand high
flag low
Swollen ground
If you know why
the world turns round
gravity fails

Show us new way
Harder day

I have
a friend
who does not know me.

Long life
Tired eyes.
My friend: enemy.

Hold my head
in your hands
hell to open.

Tearing every nerve apart
Our cracking hands
have drawn the chart
We drive the ladder
deep into the ground
Laughing as the tallest trees
fall down.

We stack them up.
We set the flame.
We plunder all
that fueled their fame.

The stories we were told unfold
around our heads
and we're defenseless.
Track Name: St. Petersburg - C. Leningrad
Track Name: St. Petersburg - D. St. Petersburg
With shackles
on the frozen waste
I give myself another taste of
Love that comes from deep within the mind
I ask you all
to leave the past behind.

A refuge in the world within
O let the river here begin
The falling shards of hate begone
And perish all the words
that still destroy.
Track Name: Some Things Should Not Be Expressed in Words and Music
Some things should not be expressed in words and music

Like the anger after the fact
Stories that I sometimes tell
to myself

That you were mine
and I was yours
and we had saved our souls
The thought I banish
And I hate myself
for being wrong
and being selfless.

Like the silence inside my head
After I questioned why
And you're always around
And contact is closer
than flesh to flesh

cold caress that still hurts me.

Like the hatred
you could not stop.

Still hanging on to self-denial
Taking every blow
Compassion that could kill
All they could do
with words and notes
was beat you senseless.

Some things should not be expressed in words and music.

Like the things
we say we want back
Fool am I.
How can I part with myself?
Track Name: In The Know
Track Name: Valutnaya
Marked with cruelty
Throwing flares
To cars and carnivorous men

Empty bottle
Open context
There's nothing left to defend

Lurid as the purest drug
Arrayed and racing
Flock of worry
Grinning angel
Walk of fury
Smiling angel
Shades of eros
Naked aching
Body shaking
Shoulders arch
And money is the cure

I am your guide
Come with me
Ride with me
Nothing can change my way
Gravity serves me.

Racing illness
Sheltered in a maze
of perpetual love

Wordless passion
Hope and glory
All she can give is enough

Looking close at living color
Border guards are
Braving rapids
Grazing sheep
And giving to the smiling angel
Shades of Eros
Naked aching
Body shaking
They have never seen
a drug so pure


You were with me
Black curtains fell away
You were here
By my side
While we watched

Give me a chance
Searching my deepest, darkest secret place
Can a puzzle solve itself?
My old self
Dragging me back to the time when I lost you
Missing piece I cannot find

Maze of motion
Fault is open
Finding the medicine man

Walking causeless
Just like home
She climbs in as far as she can

Slipping slow
and sleeping through
the steepest stillness
Lying here the deep depression calmly shakes us
Sleeping in a scathing sleep
While chiming choppers
Ringing butchers
Listen calmly
Nothing is for sure

She is lifted while she lies
In pleasure
Dreaming of
Dreaming of
Dreaming of
Track Name: Palach
Track Name: Kira
Night that pales me
This cold is mine
When I dreamed of
That wondrous line
Brave as heroes
I wrote this tale

Gate that opens
When I see you
Gate that opens
Inside myself

Opened wide
The lasting smile
I feel them
Shining life
That lasts beyond
I'm holding tight
I scream at dead light

Hear me.
Track Name: Terror Is the Cure
We're each a microbe
And when we come together
When I tie myself to you
And you and you
And every single one of you
Everybody knows what we are
And everybody knows the cure

Flames outside my frigid cradle
Slow, quiet long strokes
Bathing me in carnal hate
Sliding walls
Circling around each other
Stepping to sides

An ocean of singing
The questioning song we don't often hear
Mother's overhead with

A gun. Mine.

I can kill myself without touching
And I can join hand in hand with you again
And kill myself without touching.

Mine. A gun.
Track Name: The Interrogation
Track Name: Desperation
Golden land
Our crate of orphans
Separated from the past
Sailing by the beast of anguish
Passion tied us to the mast

Walls that slide
Around us quickly
Grabbing on to all we've got
Finding out it comes to nothing
Empty hands and overwrought

Bankrupt, Faltering
Every tree cut to the ground
Whitewashed credo
Wishing we could
hear the sound

Blind, deaf, crawling
Faith brought this to us
Floating weightless

Tethered to the iron barracks
Mortals all we cannot fail
Holding close
our barren mother
God below we shrink and pale

All we learned
to live and fight for
Humbly gave it all away
Stripped ourselves
of all we cherished
Wrote this heartless
passion play.

Grasping hammerhand
Fleeting in the limelit sky
Crazed and desperate
Fast the moment passes by

Waiting inside
We ponder our silence
We rest on our silence
Killed by our silence.

Whitewashed credo
In this dead light
Please call for me.
Track Name: Y-Clad
I don't fall
Fragrant in the sieve
A plaster group of tidings

Wide and narrow
Building above the salty plain
And home is plowing deep

Lock the door
And show the way to the sea astir in us
Create my god
Nail him to my heart

I sway with anxiety
Shake away the hate
Track Name: Poem