Thursday, October 27, 2016

H-Ural - "Дорога шамана" [2013]

Artist: H-Ural
Title: Дорога шамана
Genre: Industrial Rock, Folk-Rock
Country: Russia
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Миш ар
  2. Салы урнэ ойка эрыг
  3. Осхул арые
  4. Ханшан лук эвие
  5. Ай куль
  6. Дорога шамана
  7. Акем ар
  8. Шануш пох
H-Ural, formed in early 2007 in Ekaterinburg, are probably the only band to play a fusion of industrial rock and the traditional music of the eastern Ugric peoples (Khanty & Mansi). The band members also do a lot of ethnographic work, and have participated in many Uralic/Finno-Ugric culture festivals.

Their early recordings have interesting musical ideas but, unfortunately, a quite "cheap" sound (reminds me of early Nord'N'Commander, but with an "Uralic" touch). This is their second album, released in late 2013 (or, according to other sources, in early 2014), which is significantly more mature. The lyrics are mostly in Khanty, with a couple of songs in Russian. Interestingly enough, the language doesn't sound much alike its western Finnic relatives, or the Hungarian language; reminds me rather of the Tungusic languages. The music ranges from industrial/electro-rock to more traditional folk-rock inspired by the shamanic practices and ritual music of the Yugra people, with a prominent use of instruments like khomus (also known as the mouth harp). It's also influenced by the Amerindian (Sioux & Iroquois) shamanic musical traditions, which were extensively studied by one of the H-Ural's founding members, Sergey Yalunin.

Overall, the album makes for a nice listen, even if the vocal work seem to be weak at times. I'm currently listening to it while reading the works of Vladimir Napolskikh, the most competent Uralic ethnohistorian I know so far. If you liked this album and are interested in their earlier releases, all of them are freely available on the band's official site. Here's a couple of their early tracks, recorded around 2010:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vocal group "July" (Komi Republic)

To continue with the Komi theme, here's a folk/pop vocal group from Ust-Kulom (Kulomdin) - a small town in remote southeast Komi Republic, which is one of the few places where the original Komi-Zyrian culture is still more or less alive and well. As far as I can understand, they mostly sing about their homeland and its beauty. The female vocals are predominant, yet they two male backing vocalists as well. If you liked the Komi folk I've posted here before (Lydia Loginova, Victoria Pystina), you probably would enjoy this band too.

Don't know if they have released any proper albums (I think they do have a CD, but couldn't find any detailed info about it), so I just have compiled all their songs I could find (which wasn't easy, as their name "Июль" / "July" surely isn't search-friendly). Enjoy:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vazhes - "Deep Komis" [2010]

Artist: Vazhes
Title: Deep Komis
Genre: Ambient, Dub, Ethno-Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2010

Track List:
  1. Pu Baraban
  2. Chudskoy Otir
  3. Chereshlan
  4. Deep Komis
  5. Pasture Dub
  6. Oshkar (ft. Rapoon)
  7. Vazh Otir (ft. Fanum)
  8. A Dream Within A Dream (ft. Northaunt)
Vazhes is one of the monikers used by Sergey Gabbasov, an ethnologist from Moscow who also makes music. This album is dedicated to the Komi-Permyak people living near the northwestern slope of the Urals. "Vazhes" itself is a traditional Komi name for the "old people" of unknown origins who lived in these places before Komis came there, and the name of the album is apparently a homage to Deep Forest. The other albums released by Vazhes (at least the ones I've listened to) are mostly dedicated to the various Central Asian cultures, and appear to be more influenced by Muslimgauze (with some rhythmic noise elements).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

From The Forest - demo [2016]

Artist: From the Forest
Title: demo
Genre: Post-Rock
Country: Russia
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Road to Sanda-Gora
  2. You Are Here!
  3. Sharya
  4. Three Angels Are Sent To Kologriv
Nothing is known about this band, except they're from Kostroma and they're playing instrumental post-rock inspired by the nature of their home region and its Meryan heritage. The Merya were an ethnic group inhabiting the territory between modern-day Moscow and Kostroma about a millenium ago. Next to nothing is known about them or their language, except for the fact of their existence, yet they're generally assumed to be Volga Finno-Ugric people, probably related to the Mari people.

The area formerly inhabited by the Merya is well known for having a lot of apparently non-Slavic toponyms with no clear meaning and etymology, which most likely come from some unidentified non-Indo-European languages. Quite a lot of these place names (especially those ending with -ma, -ksha, -khta) appear to come from a single language whose word structure and phonetics are surprisingly similar to what's reconstructed for the hypothetical Proto-Uralic language. Some people assume it to be the Meryan language, although it's highly dubious. This demo is fully instrumental anyway, so the knowledge of Meryan isn't required to enjoy it :)

From what I could gather, the band was planning to release a 5-track EP titled "A Morbid Tale", but there were no news from them since May 2016, so I don't even know if they still play together. Anyway, these 4 tracks are good (especially the last two ones), and I'm definitely going to listen them in my future trips to Kostroma, Sharya, or elsewhere in that region :3

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Goblin - "Suspiria" [1977]

Artist: Goblin
Title: Suspiria
Genre: Avant-Prog, Jazz-Rock
Country: Italy
Year: 1977

Track List:
  1. Suspiria
  2. Witch
  3. Opening To The Sighs
  4. Sighs
  5. Markos
  6. Black Forest
  7. Blind Concert
  8. Death Valzer
  9. Suspiria (Narration)
  10. Markos (Alternate Version)
  11. Suspiria (Intro)
  12. Suspiria (Daemonia Version)
There are several progressive rock/RIO releases from 80s and late 70s which were claimed to be "some of the scariest music ever recorded", i.e. "Heresie" by Univers Zero and "Les Morts Vont Vite" by Shub-Niggurath. Although Goblin never were a part of the RIO movement, many of their works deserve to be on that list too - especially this particular album, which is a soundtrack for Dario Argento's 1977 movie "Suspiria". Without the soundtrack and the unusual color scheme, "Suspiria" would be just an ordinary horror movie like many other, but the combination of vibrant colors and blaring music created a very intense atmosphere (because of which, "Suspiria" is often considered to be one of the scariest horror films of all time).