Kalutaliksuak - Last Day Of Sun

8 songs
78:07 minutes
***** ***


Starting out in the early Nineties, Russian avant-garde rockers Kalutaliksuak never really made it to a regular album, although two years ago, some of their early material was made available in remastered versions. Now they are finally back, this time with their first real album of new material, and it shows. Core members are Alexander Chuvakov on guitars, flutes and occasional vocals and Vladimir Konovkin on keyboards. The rhythm section consists of Alexei Ohontsev and Sergei Titovetz. Their archive material suffered from a dusty production and sterile drum programming, two things that have been worked hard on this time, making Last Day Of Sun a much better album in every possible way.

It is known that Kalutaliksuak prefer long songs, but starting the album with a fifty minute long epic is something only few bands dare. The title track Last Day Of Sun is subdivided into five parts, and although most of it is probably improvised, the musicians’ dexterity makes sure that you won’t be bored during this nearly hour long journey through the spirit world of the cold and nearly infinite Russian winter nights. Chuvakov is a master guitarist, inspired by the long drawn notes of a Robert Fripp. His flute sounds haunted, and his vocals add to the creepy atmosphere of the music. Konovkin provides icy keyboard textures that guarantee goosebumps even when it’s warm outside. The rhythm section offers the necessary backbone, where especially the sometimes nervous bass guitar knows to set accents. This incredibly long opener combines elements from psychedelia, progressive rock and avant-garde into an improvisational melting pot that feels like modern day King Crimson jamming with ancient Amon Düül II.

Somehow the last three songs, that still add up to nearly half an hour, can’t compete with the genius of the opener, and you wonder if the album had retained even more power, had the band decided to stop it after the opener. Be that as it may be, Last Day Of Sun is a surprisingly interesting and original addition to experimental Russian music. Fans of improvised guitar music will happily immerse themselves in the long and winding sonic journeys featured on the CD.

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