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Garsnek, Igor (Estonia) - 1986/2001 - "Animal Farm"
(40 min, "Boheme Music")


****+

Tracklist:

1. Prologue 4-06

2. The Boar's Speech 4-29

3. Beasts of England 1-54

4. The Great Animalistic June Revolution 2-59

5. The Song of Creative Work 3-10

6. A Grave Exposure 3-14

7. Comrade Napoleon 2-00

8. Manifesto 3-17

9. Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better 3-24

10. So Life Goes On 2-47

11. Freedom Rock 2-04

12. What an End 5-22



All music by I. Garsnek.

All lyrics by Urmas Alender.

Recorded by I. Garsnek.

(Lyrics are on the same themes

as George Orwell's tale of the same name.)



Line-up:

Igor Garsnek - keyboards, synth-bass

Urmas Alender - vocals

Tiit Aunaste - drum programming

with:

Mihkel Raud - guitars (a special guest)

and:

The mixed choir "Olevine" - conducted by Vello Rand.

Based on the George Orwell "Animal Farm" novel, the first and only Igor Garsnek album of the same title as the novel sounds very in the mood of it, at least vocally, because the majority of the album's varied and rich in arrangements vocals parts are full of diverse forms of distinct irony which is quite typical for anti-utopias in general. I hear the Estonian language on "Animal Farm" by no means for the first time, but it sounds here so good as never before. In addition, there is an English translation in the booklet so I feel quite comfortable listening to this music and looking at the English 'version' of lyrics at the same time. Only Urmas Alender vocals are already something special here, though, of course, the vocal palette of "Animal Farm" is especially rich in various colours when he sings along with the Olivina choir. So, in my view, Garsnek's "Animal Farm" is nothing short of a (very original) kind of Rock Opera (in the album's booklet this work is labeled as "Rock Oratorio"). But, even if Urman had sung alone this album I would still have considered it (as well as the majority of you) a Rock Opera anyway since there is a lot of conceptual albums with one singer at the microphone that are hailed as Rock Operas. There's no even need to name a dozen of such albums. Although about two fifth of all instrumental canvas on "Animal Farm" is used as a background for various arias, you won't hear such primitive things as keyboard chords, rhythm guitar moves, etc typical only for mediocre performers of Neo genre. It is simply amazing how diversely the musicians play their 'background' parts along with vocals the album throughout. You'll hear a wide variety of unusual and, at the same time, very original sounds on "Animal Farm" which is (doubtlessly) one of the most theater-spectacular album I ever heard. I wonder at how Garsnek was able to elicit several really unique sounds from his archaic keyboards. You'll hear on this album, for example, such solos that sound like a talk between two dolls or like a childish (or dolly's) drivel, apart from Karabbas Barabbas-alike vocals, other strange voices, etc. Of course, 'pure' instrumental parts are the most progressive here. Already in the beginning of the album Garsnek does quite a long, tasteful, speedy and, that's the main thing, stylistically highly original keyboard solo and there are a lot of Garsnek's diverse solos the album throughout. Guitarist's solos are also excellent, though in places he supports Garshnek's endless passages, roulades and solos with quite heavy electric guitar riffs. There are only two minor drawbacks on "Animal Farm" - the absence of a bass guitar player and a drummer. Their absence is by no means too notable on this album, as there's too little room for a strong rhythm-section on it. The presence of the real rhythm-section would have helped an overall sound to be way tighter. All in all, from the two Igor Garsnek albums (the first one was "Synopsis" released a few months earlier in the same year of 1986), the second one I consider his best. Unfortunately, I know nothing about this talented musician's following life in the independent country Estonia, though, it seems to me that "Animal Farm" was his final album (at least solo).

VM. July 16, 2001


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