Welcome back after this longer-than-usual brake. I’ve spent this time taking a major turn in my professional career. Luckily that didn’t impact my music research, unfortunately it did impact my other activities, blogging included. Now that the storm is over, I come back to tell you about all the great music I’ve discovered during that period. Ready? Lets start with this fresh, or should I say freshly reheated, treat from Estonia.
As you may remember, last year I’ve made an observation, that from the vast diversity of labels in my CD collection, three appear more frequently than others: Soleil Zeuhl, AltrOcK and Cuneiform Records. Last year, I’ve focused on the first one which basically ended up in me buying over 2/3 of their catalogue. This year, I concentrated on AltrOcK and I must say that I have found it to be as rich source of stunning music as Soleil Zeuhl was to me in 2013. Each of these discoveries is a gem on it’s own right and there is really no point in grading them in any way, so I decided to start with something relatively new to strengthen the impact it will make on the market (hopefully!).
Kõik Saab Korda is a new entry in AltrOcK’s catalogue but it actually premièred on the market back in 2012, self-released by the band. I’m very glad that things went that way and the album got re-released, because otherwise I might overlook this great band.
Delivered in a very simple yet well decorated extra-thin digipack, KSK stands out from the other releases from AltrOcK, which are mostly jewel-cased. There is no booklet inside and the description on the back cover is in a language I do not comprehend (Estonian, I presume), which leaves very little clue as to what to expect inside. Do I consider it a disadvantage? Certainly not! After all, the music should speak for itself and as for the rest, I prefer it that over some forced low-quality translation. At least it’s authentic and If I get really curious I can always use a dictionary.
Enough about entourage, let’s get down to business. The album is relatively short, it lasts just a bit over 47 minutes, but it feels even shorter when you listen to it. It consists of 11 pieces of relatively even lengths of around 4 minutes. Each track, however, is very unique. It’s not that Wrupk Urei don’t have their own sound, it’s just that each time they tell a different story and, well, they just don’t repeat themselves (a rare trait these days indeed). This makes the listen a very interesting and enjoyable experience, a lot easier to digest then most of the releases from other band that boast of being avant/progressive. The album is filled with so many great ideas and motifs, and the band just presents them fully deployed, as if we were treated with the very essence of the matter. Not a second is wasted and there’s not a single dull moment there. Plain fun.
Though music is strictly instrumental, it is full of content. It sounds so fresh and open-minded, self-confident and thoughtful, yet sunny and jovial (just like the colourful cover might imply). Band often uses modern sound effects, loops, various samples which are omnipresent, but never seem to replace the musicians in their duties. Their main purpose, it seems, is to lighten the mood add make it sound a little less serious and a bit more like a foolery. This reminds me of Canterbury style, but just in the general approach to the subject, Wrupk Urei do this in their own fashion.
Throughout the album, concepts flow around and penetrate each other seamlessly. For instance, one tune may start like a contemporary electronic masterwork just to imperceptibly shift into this retro style with heavily overdriven guitar sound and vintage keyboard inputs and then it might returns to the present, or just drift off into the sounds and noises of the street and conclude there. Everything is possible, changes happen unexpectedly, yet they don’t feel random. There is always this sense of purpose, of a solid idea behind each track that is presented with wit and flair, much to the listener’s amusement.
It’s always great to discover such a great album, but it’s even better to know that it will get the recognition it deserves. What very little I can do about it – I do. The rest is up to the audience. A big round of applause goes to the unceasing AltrOcK crew from digging out such a gem for me, and most of all for the boys (and girls?) from Wrupk Urei for being that precious stone. Wherever you are around the world, your work is appreciated.