Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Russian music in the key of New Jazz on Leo Records part 4 - Anastasia Masloboeva, Evgeny Masloboev and Alexey Kruglov

The final chapter and the cd that gave the title to our mini-cycle.

Russian Folksongs in the Key of New Jazz
Anastasia Masloboeva - voice, cymbalo
Evgeny Masloboev - percussion, drums, plastic bucket, metal washbasin, speaker
Alexey Kruglov - soprano and alto saxophones, clarinet, baby saxohphone, prepared saxophones and clarinet, mouthpieces
Sergey Starostin - russian folk wind instruments
Renat Gautalin - piano, prepared piano, programmed synth
Arkady Shilkloper- french horn, alpine horn; Anton Kolosov - bass guitar; Vitaly Labutin - el. guitar

Leo Records 2012

"Russian Folskongs in the Key of New Jazz" was recorded when Anastasia and Evgeny came from Irkutsk to Moscow and met with Alexey Kruglov, a busy-bee of the Moscow's improvising scene. The three are joined by Sergey Starostin on folk wind instruments and Renat Gataulin on piano and synth (Arkady Schilkoper plays on three tracks and Vitaly Labutin and Anton Kolosov guest on one).  The music included on the cd is truly an amalgam of personal styles and musical genres.

There's something truly beautiful in the contrast between the pure crystal voice of Anastasia and Alexey's raw sax sound. "Kukushechka" is possibly my favourite song, and it opens the cd (after a short instrumental interlude) with Anastasia's voice surrounded by the frenetic sax, joyful flutes played by Starostin and lyrical piano ornaments by Gataulin. The cd will close with the similarly happy tones of "Gulbushka" (with a particularly soulful sax solo and proud tone by Arkady Shilkloper). The "Pacification" gives a chance to listen to Kruglov-Masloboeva duo alone and the two connect on every level as they entangle together the tone and timbre of human voice and saxophone.
"Over the River" is a bit whimsical battle of whistling, a reminder of how folk music is for Homo Ludens, while minimalistic "Nora" or "Lullabye" bring back the ethereal, metaphysical feeling from the Evgeny-Anastasia duo cds (the first one features as well majestic tone of Arkady Shilkloper's horn again). "Kvashnya" is the other favourite of mine, a mixed bag of sounds with tumultuos drums and bass-drum tone, rapid flute, rushed tune and possibly the most feverish sax solo of the cd (Kruglov's hot tone reminds often of Rahsaan Roland Kirk).

Half of the 14 pieces are composed by Evgeny Masloboev and they emphasize the "russian folksongs" aspect of the recording. The other half (and mostly instrumental) are group improvisations, given the changes in the line-up there's less consistency but the effects are worthwhile nonetheless. Especially the "Siberian Song" with circular sax line (inc, insisted cymbalo figure, some more agressive singing by Anastasia and dense, forward-pushing drumming by Evgeny. The cd ends with a spare, romantic piano tones. The pauses filled by the resonating sound of a metal gong.

"Russian Folksongs in teh Key of New Jazz" is a definitely happy and successful marriage of ethno, folk, free jazz and just a hint of electronica. Highly original sound, with love from Moscow courtesy of Leo Feign.

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