KOSTAREV GROUP - Works 1978-2006
Alexander Kostarev is a legend in Russian prog circles. The fifty-two year old guitarist has been the pioneer of the progressive rock movement, starting already in the Seventies in the Soviet Union, and considering that the ten tracks on this compilation come from all different periods, it's rather astonishing that Works 1978-2006 is only his second release.
The compilation can be seen as a three-part experience in anti-chronological sequence. It all starts with a recent composition called Who's Flying Over Me?, a perfect combination of prog, avant-garde, RIO, contemporary classical music and folk. The two following tracks from 2003 head into a similar direction. These tracks alone would have been 9 points worth. It's here where the band not only sounds its fullest (with instruments like saxophone, flutes and cello aboard), but also is produced ideally.
The next four songs are from 2001 and 1995. The 2001 tracks have a more sterile atmosphere, but are still decent fusion prog rock music. The 1995 tracks are even colder and a bit of a letdown, not too accessible and rather experimental.
The last three tracks, recorded between 1978 and 1985, have been restored from old tapes, and it shows. Although the sound quality is rather mushy, the last two tracks, especially the 13 minute long closer No Fears, show an impressive historical picture of Soviet era avant jazz rock music that I wouldn't have expected from that period in time.
Works 1978-2006 is an interesting walkthrough through the history of an extremely talented fusion guitarist who must have started out in the Seventies in the very deepest underground, then turned to more synthesized music in the Nineties just to have found back to his old form now in the new millennium, and we can hope that Mr Kostarev and his group will deliver soon a full-length album of exceptional instrumental avant-prog music.