Friday, June 5, 2020
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Artist: Valery Siver & Kirill Trepakov
Title: Music From The Russian Pages
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Distributor: DWM Music Company
Rated: *****
Valery Siver and Kirill Trepakov are both Russians musicians from St. Petersburg and Moscow respectively. Although they both have backgrounds in classical guitar, the music on this album is much further afield from their traditional beginnings. Among other projects and releases, Siver might be best known for the melodic trance mix of Russian trance artist PPK's 'Love Unlimited'. Both Siver and Trepakov also have other releases including collaborations. 'Music From the Russian Pages' is actually their third collaboration together. Conceptually, tracks from this album are inspired by literary works from prominent Russian writers ' Gogol, Gorky, Nabokov, Pushkin, Pasternak, and others. I admit my knowledge of Russian literature and authors if fleeting and cursory at best, so I can only comment on the music as it sounds.

Initially, the album is reminiscent of what it might sound like if you mixed Durutti Column with a restrained Pat Metheney and let Seefeel co-produced it with Brian Eno. It has a definite ambient atmosphere with occasional touches of the cinematic. The moods are varied yet generally on the light side. Although there is guitar in the music, it is not dominant throughout the album. On 'The Fetters of Reality' (based on motives of Pasternak's 'Dr. Zhivago') for example, classical style piano plays over a background of radio static and wave oscillation. No genre is dominant though as the musical formats shift from classical to light jazz, to experimental pop to nearly pure ambient, usually with some melodic content.

'Russian Troyka' (Part II), based on Nikolai Gogol's poem, The Dead Souls' reminds me most of Durutti Column with its shimmering tremolo guitar, with a chorus of voices echoing in the background. Yet the beat and the lead guitar has a smooth jazzy feel Metheny would feel comfortable working in. And then the next track, 'Synesthesia' sounds like it could have been inspired by one of Vivaldi's Bassoon Concertos. Following that is 'Fairy Tale' with a lot of electronic keyboard work and vocoder. Here it's a pop fantasia highlighted by chimes, and bits of bells and celeste. The album as a whole is a potpourri of gentle eclecticism that crosses many different musical forms, yet remains true its ambient leanings. There is a good deal more musicality and musicianship on 'Music From the Russian Pages' than you will find in most ambient music. Yet the dreamlike quality shines through. Often a real delight, and something worth seeking out.