The Big Adventure
(2019 - Addicted/Noname - Russia)
A very tricky band with what starts off as a very sing along (although the album is all instrumental) style set of bars, soon becoming what I am convinced is purposely done to fool the listener. Specifically being misled (in a most pleasing way) from being aware of the utterly knockout twists and turns, that are thrown in, to thrill all of the RIO, experimental and progressive rock lovers. So it is important that no one only spot checks this recording. Make sure you do NOT judge the sound on the first tune alone. There is so much more to come after that. In fact the sum of the project only reveals itself after an entire listen or two. The title is 100% appropriate on this, the 7th release (includes singles and EPs) from this inventive Russian outfit.
This band has featured Anton Efimov (of Der Fingers) however, on this, the band went back to their original lineup of Konstantin Mochalov: guitar, sound engineering / Sergei Bagin: guitar, synthesizers/ Nikolai Syrtsev: bass/ and Eugeny Kudryashov: drums. Guests include Igor Bukaev: accordion/button accordion on track 2/ Ekaterina Morozova: piano on tracks 3 & 8/ Vasily Tsirin: cello on track 4 and Vadim Sorokin: mixing on all tracks, synth on tracks 6 & bass on track 8. While their history begins with a more standard progressive rock album, with nice dynamics and excellent musicianship, it is after that the band began to add the more eccentric and daring music that one can hear influences, from Samla Mammas Manna and the more outside world of the rock in opposition. The one oddball in the bunch is 'Nature' (2018), which has 3 long tracks all using field recordings and tape manipulation of various things, along with sound effects, to visualize those subjects (Planets, Trains, Animals). But with this 2019 full release, they continue a hybrid that instantly reveals mystery, suspense, and interest as to what comes in the next moment. What may start as a jolly family friendly guitar picking ditty, could turn into a nutty roller coaster ride of several genres rolled out for your pleasure.
'The Big Adventure' has many dimensions from fun, to intellectual excursion, and that 'anything can happen' attention to detail. If you will take the time to get to the third song ('Chaos Point') containing some dizzy hyper runs, among the partly lazy rock groove, then you will be hooked into the world of Disen Gage. Just let it play, and the magic and multiple skills of the band appears with big ambitions. The recording is jam packed with goodies. They remind me of Motorpsycho, in the way they can go from style to style, with virtuosity. If you need a rest, then 'Enough' (track #4) has a mellow dreamy beginning, slowly building with complex guitar interplay and sweet avant rock (Gentle Giant and Jean Luc Ponty combined, for a start). While these songs can have places where fairly normal styles (reggae and campfire rock/folk) serve as an illusion to the next corner, they come as a complete package to be some of the best esoteric music you will ever hear. 'Selfish Tango' (track #6) will not make you wait for the zany stuff, as it blasts off from the start. I have never heard anything exactly like 'Carnival Escape' (track #7) with its fantastic epic free for all.
Patience will pay off generously on 'The Big Adventure'. With each composition, a curveball awaits. Enjoy the mixture of styles, close to the esteem of Pierre Vervloesem (X-Legged Sally/FES/etc), Wooden Trucks, and Zamla, somehow attached to NPR 'safe' radio music. Plenty enough to satisfy both whacky rock lovers and the more serious hybrid fans. Very much an opposites attract album, and it has indeed induced me. RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 7 - 16 - 2019