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(49:15, Theo Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Umbraya Erze 5:27 2. Vetvi 4:05 3. Salameika 4:32 4. Kukushka 5:24 5. Aion 6:21 6. Niti 4:08 7. Veter 5:08 8. Yaard 5:30 9. Beliy Gorod 5:15 10. Kolodec 3:25 LINEUP: Yana Veva - vocals, morin khuur, synths, organ, ocarina, flute, guiro, shaker, horns, keyboards Fedor Svolotch - horns, drums, daf, hummel, guitars, effects, percussion, vargan, ukulele, vocals, bass, keyboards, dulcimer, doira, caxixi, vargans, gongs, glukophone, buben With: Kusas - dunchen, riq, congas, cajon, metallophone, shakers, mabira, percussion, didgeridoo, davul, vargans Vadim Sergeev - guitars, ukulele, bass Alexey Kalinovskiy - hurdy-gurdy, keyboards Natalia Nazarova - cello Mariya Broccoli - flute Gulya Naumova - violin Kirill Serov - djun-djun, shaker Alexander Platonov - vocals Lauda Chamber Choir Filipp Barskiy - harp, santur Andy Vladych - drums Pavel Paukov - bass Pavel Hrabrov - bass Taras Frolov - keyboards Olga Glazova - gusli Namgar Lhasaranova - vocals
Prolusion. Veteran Russian band THEODOR BASTARD started out back in 1996, and in their more than 20 year long history they have almost a dozen studio albums to their name. "Vetvi" is their most recent studio production, and was released through the band's own label Theo Records in 2015.
Analysis. I was rather impressed with the previous album of this band, as can be seen elsewhere. The manner in which they pulled in ethnic and tribal sounds and orientation into landscapes of the kind that bands like Ole Lukkoye have explored as well as adding a possible slight touch of early Ozric Tentacles into this mix was as intriguing as it was hypnotic. For better or worse, the band have chosen to go in a slightly different direction on this album. The material on this latest CD comes across as rather more modern in many ways. The rhythms and song structures are rather more contemporary, the progressive elements are toned down, with some possible traces of dub and trip hop appearing here and there instead. At the same time, the elements used to create the music comes across as rather more ancient. The presence of keyboards and synths and other electronic effects appears to be toned down quite a bit, with more room for the myriad of presumably older acoustic instruments to shine instead. I haven't researched the vast list of instruments used, but I rather suspect that many of them are old and traditional rather than new and electronic. This album is for me then more of what one might describe as a neo folk production. We have the chant style vocals alternating with more regular style lead vocals, a vast array of traditional instruments used, more often than not with something of an older folk music sound as an ongoing feature, but as explored within a more modern and electronic flavored atmosphere. The old world paired off with the new world, possibly with a slight flavoring of the future. For me this album doesn't manage to grab me in a similar manner as the previous production by this band. I rather suspect that commercially speaking, this is an album that has a stronger potential, that the material here will have a broader general appeal. But for me and my taste in music, this production only rarely manage to twinkle that additional magic that marks it down as a brilliant album I have a need to explore further. A good album though, and with occasional glimpses of magic.
Conclusion. I rather suspect that if this band would ever get some playtime on commercial FM radio here in the west, "Vetvi" is an album that would interest a rather broad audience demographically speaking. The mix of folk music elements, some rather ancient I suspect, with modern songwriting and modern music is one that tends to attract many listeners. While not as interesting from a progressive rock point of view, I do however think that those who tend to enjoy bands described as neo-folk should find this album to be a rewarding experience.
Progmessor: October 22th, 2017
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