Monday, December 29, 2014

Vezhlivy Otkaz, Geranium

Today we return to the inimitable sounds of the progressive jazz-rock ensemble from Russia, namely Vezhlivy Otkaz. A few weeks ago I covered their latest album, Geese and Swans Today another, in its Edition 2013, called Geranium (Altrock CD & DVD). On it we have the CD from 1999-2000 with bonus tracks, and a live DVD of the band in various venues and on a TV broadcast in 1998, 1999 and 2006.

As with the later album the driving force behind the sounds is Roman Suslov who wrote the music, plays acoustic guitar and sings the lead vocals. Again as before the band is a tight-knit outfit of horns, keys, bass and drums working though genuinely original routines that are both elaborate and driving, combining elements of modern jazz and adventurist song-spinning that give the non-Russian music enthusiast a very complete earful of what makes the band exceptional.

It is not quite accurate to say that Suslov is a kind of Russian Captain Beefheart. The music is not like Beefheart's really. Yet there is an art-song sublimity and instrumental thoroughgoingness that is as ambitious and as oddly successful as Beefheart in his prime.

The CD gives you 13 tracks to immerse oneself in. The DVD is a significant slab of the band doing several sets live.

Altogether Geranium confirms what Geese and Swans suggested: a band wholly original, unique and musically strong. The lyrics are in Russian so unless you know the language that part will remain enigmatic. But the music comes through regardless. It is significant. It is an excellent thing! Try and find this if you seek something different.

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