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(67:01, Trail Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Kommuna Ra 14:09 2. Dyatly 17:37 3. Bela Dama 14:35 4. Just the Wind 16:47 5. Veni-Vidi-Vici 3:53 LINEUP: Boris Bardash – vocals; keyboards; guitars; gluckophone Frol – bassoon; keyboards Ness Yanushkovskaya – vocals Alexander Vahivski – jambi, ngoa, dav Yuri Lukyanchik – percussion, djembe, darabouka, drums With: Tatyana Kalmykova – vocals
Prolusion. The Russian ensemble OLE LUKKOYE has been a feature in the Russian music scene fro more than a quarter of a century at this point, initially formed by Boris Bardash, Alexander “Frol” Frolov and Andrei Lawrinenko back in 1989 and then going through a few line-up alterations as the years and decades have come and gone. They have around a dozen albums to their name at this point, live productions and compilations included, although many years have passed since they released any new music at this point. "Dyatly" (“Woodpeckers”) is their first studio album since 2006, and was released by the US label Trail Records in 2015.
Analysis. Ole Lukkoye is a fairly established band in Western Europe too, presumably because their music was a good fit for the zeitgeist when they were at their most active. Their take on the psychedelic and cosmic-tinged variety of space rock is one fairly accessible after all, and it is also music you can dance to. Combining that with hypnotic tendencies, in a manner not all that far removed from bands such as Ozric Tentacles, probably made them a known entity also and perhaps even primarily beyond progressive rock circles. And there are elements in their music even in 2015 that come across as somewhat alien for progressive rock fans, especially the older parts of this audience in general and those with a conservative taste for this music in particular. This is accessible music, the core of the music is kind of minimalistic too, and the developments come across as rather more improvisational than planned and written down to boot. And while they cite bands such as King Crimson and Can as inspirational, they are also fond of the exploits of a venture such as Massive Attack apparently, at least if the descriptions given on their Facebook page is anything to go by. On this album, I'd describe the opening two cuts as creations formed on top of a dual foundation consisting of a dub-oriented bass-line and tribal, elaborate rhythms. A few interludes aside, these two elements are ever-present, using a cyclical revolving approach to create a hypnotic feel and atmosphere. On top of this we're presented with quite the fireworks of a revolving arrangement however, as gentle echoing guitar details, acoustic instrument surges, surging synths and what might be a mournful bassoon sound come and go in variable levels of intensity and dominance, supplementing the alternating female and male lead vocals, with liberal amounts of chants added in for good measure. There's a fairly equal blend of futuristic and folk-tinged instrumental details throughout, and while the space rock feel is arguably the dominant overall impression, there's a fair amount of folk music-oriented details present as well, given a certain emphasis by the use of the tribal-like rhythms. The dub-flavored bass-line also gives these songs a slight feel of dance club music, although in a rather more sophisticated and also far more acoustic manner than actual club music, I must add. The next two tracks explore similar territories, but here the dub-oriented bass-line is replaced with one that has a funkier vibe to it, and the tribal elements now come across as restricted to the percussion, while the regular drum patterns have more of an elaborate but steady feel to them. The additional aspects and details follow a similar approach as on the opening two cuts though, the mood and general spirit are fairy similar, and the chants used still add a strong folk.music vibe to the proceedings along with the acoustic instruments. Still music you can dance to as well though, and it wouldn't be totally out of place to describe this as folk-inspired partially acoustic trance music, I guess, even if this would take away the additional aspects of cosmic sounds and space rock that is also a part of the totality of this material. Ole Lukkoye concludes this CD with a thoughtful, mellow and contemplative affair, a brief epilog fading to silence, in a suitably intriguing mood and atmosphere that brings with it a satisfying feeling of closure.
Conclusion. Ole Lukkoye's particular blend of folk music-inspired elements, space rock aesthetics, effects and electronic and bass details that at times is somewhat closer related to modern dance music and trance makes for an intriguing blend. Their elongated journeys are hypnotic and compelling, and the use of vocals and chants also adds a mystical sheen to them that makes these escapades all the more alluring, at least for someone born and raised within a western culture. Fans of a band like Ozric Tentacles should be first in line to give this album a spin, and then especially those more fond of the folk-tinged exploits by that band.
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