Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Russian music in the key of New Jazz on Leo Records part 2 - Kruglov / Lapin / Sooaar / Yudanov - Military Space

Kruglov / Lapin / Sooaar / Yudanov - Military Space
Alexey Kruglov - alto and tenor saxes, bassethorn, block-flute, tenor sax with trombone mouthpiece, prepared saxes
Jaak Sooar - electric guitar, live electronics
Alexey Lapin - piano, prepared piano
Oleg Yudanov - drums, percussion

Leo Records 2013

The part 1 of this mini-cycle features "Impulse" recorded by Kruglov / Lapin / Yudanov, here the trio is augmented by the Jaak Sooar from Estonia on guitar (check "Karate" recorded with his trio and Kruglov for previous references).

The change in the sound is evident from the very beginning as Kruglov's guitar add a heavy hard rock riff in the "Assault". "Energy" is a bit of surprise (given the title), it starts with a lyrical, impressionistic piano interlude, with the original trio section in the middle (pensive and restraint) and subtle drums solo in the end. The guitar comes back for the "Rear Services" with slightly schizoid repetition (mirrored by Lapin on piano, completed with Kruglov's sax shouts and countered by light drums beat). There's a citations from "Giant Steps" and lyrical, romantic piece with delicate piano tones, harp-like guitar lines and soft if off-register sax whistles (Kruglov's fond of deconstructing the instruments at hand). The dream-like landscape turns slowly more surreal and psychodelic and darker with each minute. There's more psychodelia coming with the pulsar wah-wah guitar solo in the "Secret Briefing" and the heavy riffs exchanged by the guitar and piano along the sharp tenor solo.

The latter half of the tracklist are shorter pieces and more intimate playing. "Plan for the Future" is a lyrical and very melodic a piano-guitar duo (with some spare percussion). "Battlefield" is a bit too restraint I think but the knotty lines intertwined between sax, guitar and piano are intriguing. "Second Breath" is a piano-drums duo, that slowly gathers its pace, beginning with a small gong and percussive tone of prepared piano, it features a great solo by Lapin's who by the middle of the piece is all over the keyboard. The cd ends with the "Triumph" with all four instruments back together, colliding together in their ecstatic journey.

Some great, playing and o lot of variety on this one, including silent meditation, melodic chants and explosive spontaneous combustion. I believe the cd could gain more consistency if the guitar-less pieces would be excluded, but one should not complain about too much of a good thing.

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