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(79:33, Trail Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ciolkowska: Below the Grass 7:29 2. Rada & Blackthorn: Ethno Song 14:18 3. Bowl Of Knowledge: Ganja Yoga 8:45 4. Sonora: Canyon 7:00 5. Cosmic Triggers: Syndicate 9:07 6. Ole Lukkoye: Dyatly Edit 15:28 7. Dead Man Tell No Tales: Suicide Trip 5:34 8. Kamni: Forest Song 6:00 9. Polska Radio One: Shangri-La 5:52 LINEUP: Main artists as described in the track listing
Prolusion. The US label TRAIL RECORDS has a good track record of being a high-quality label, specializing in psychedelic progressive rock in general and Russian artists active in that genre in particular. They have released several compilation albums over the years, and "Tripwave 2" is the follow-up to the first “Tripwave” album-project from 2011, showcasing some well known and quite a few lesser known Russian artists. This second CD in the series was released in the fall of 2016.
Analysis. This label does a good job of promoting many lesser known purveyors of psychedelic rock, progressive or otherwise, with their select quality releases. One may or may not like everything they have to offer, but the level of quality will never be a case to discuss with the music from this fine label. It will always be a question of taste in music with their productions. This, most recent, output of theirs is as good a case in point as anything else they have released, and for those who thrive on discovering bands others have rarely, if ever, heard about it is something of a treasure trove. Ciolkowska provides us with an elegant brand of blues-based psychedelic rock, of a kind that makes me think about some of Robin Trower's early solo albums given a run through a psychedelic filter. Rada & Blackthorn present something rather different, a fairly long creation book-ended by meaty, Black Sabbath style riff arrangements, but where the greater majority of the playtime is given over to music with more of a folk-inspired tinge, constantly developing in something of an improvisation-inspired manner, where the lead vocals and theatrical, dramatic vocal effects of lead singer Rada take the center stage. The word “tribal” probably needs to be applied to this composition as well, and also that some brief post-rock elements and a Pink Floydian style, elegant guitar solo section is a part of the proceedings. Bowl Of Knowledge also has something of a tribal, ethnic element to their contribution, but on this occasion with something of a relaxed reggae vibe as a recurring feature, again with some post-rock oriented details, before the track shifts to a firmer, edgier arrangement for the final phase. Sonora transports us right back into the tribal, ethnic sounding landscapes, with an expressive female lead vocalist that, to my ears, appears to be rather firmly inspired by Iceland's favorite elf Bjork. Cosmic Triggers shy away from the ethnic and tribal landscapes with their track, but hone in more directly and firmly on a folk-oriented take on psychedelic rock instead. Veterans Ole Lukkoye are represented with a 15-minute long, hypnotic creation that covers most bases as far as tribal, chant and ethnic goes, with a liberal flavoring of mystical sounds and effects to boot – hypnotic and enthralling. Dead Man Tell No Tales then takes a sharp left turn into landscapes with more of a rockabilly and alternative rock oriented tinge to them, especially in the opening and concluding sequences, with ghostly sounding instrument textures more central in the midsections. Kamni (Stones) explore landscapes of a similar nature, on this occasion with an Americana and possibly even southern rock flavored brand of psychedelic rock being the case, seguing nicely over to more of a Robin Trower style expression somewhere around the halfway point and then working their way back towards a mode of expression closer to what they opened with. Polska Radio One concludes this CD with a track from the album they released on Trail Records a couple of years ago, Shangri-La, which is more of a vintage, ‘60s style affair with more of a British sound and some garage rock tendencies added for good measure.
Conclusion. "Tripwave 2" is a solid collection of contemporary Russian psychedelic progressive rock. The album manages to showcase that there are many bands exploring rather different types of this music in Russia today, and while the more established bands do come across as slightly more interesting with their contributions, the CD as a whole comes across as a worthwhile, quality product. If you have a taste for psychedelic progressive rock in many flavors, this is a production that merits an inspection, especially if you are curious about music of this nature from the Russian scene to state the obvious.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 26, 2016
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