EVGENY MASLOBOEV / ANASTASIA MASLOBOEVA – Russian Folksongs In The Key Of Sadness + Russian Folksongs In The Key Of Winter


Escaping the asphyxiating exhalations of media-regulated attempts to generate mass depression while a large chunk of the social segment is being stuck with the “poverty” tag is getting tougher even in the so-called land of the sun, dear readers. The sharks will never take me alive, though: drugs and pills are verboten here. Why am I ranting about this before reporting on excellent music? Because the pair of CDs from this father & daughter duo – respectively the second and third part of a triptych started in 2008 with Russian Folksongs In The Key Of Rhythm – constitutes one of the most gratifying acoustic companies experienced in these last weeks, informed by mental tiredness and preoccupation with various aspects of life, largely – and obviously – related to the increasingly down-spiraling situation in the allegedly “civil” country named Italy.

Young Anastasia’s innocent voice – no wonder if you look at how graceful she is on the albums’ covers, an authentic flower fairy – is evidently the centre of the listener’s attention. Her timbre is haunting and angelic at once, the rendition of aged tunes enriched by the intrinsic mysteriousness (for us poor Westerners) of the local language. Occasionally, the stratified-and-looped melodic fragments give birth to the same type of baffling harmonic echoes that we have associated to diverse incarnations of Bulgarian female choirs heard over the decades, enhanced by aromas of early Clannad – but dressed in Soviet uniforms – and native American-like rituality. Masloboeva’s intonation is luminous enough to maintain a level of childish candour in the singing. This, engraved in the mesmerizing sonic mirages expertly assembled by the family’s boss, stands as a fundamental feature in the envisioning of an ideal point of equilibrium between purity and inscrutability.

Speaking of Evgeny Masloboev, it must be told that his offspring’s vocal charm would not suffice without the momentous soundscapes that surround it, created with an array of traditional instruments, samplers, field recordings, radios, kitchen utensils and pieces of industrial junk. Whereas in Sadness – dedicated to Evgeny’s late mum – the forward-looking character of the instrumental supplements is clearly designed to exalt Anastasia’s magically enchanting renditions (aim achieved successfully), in Winter there’s a distinct tendency to keep the different issues merged and less distinguishable, as if impenetrable memories from ancient times and an evolved scheme for the amplification of present-day inquietude had been chosen as the ingredients in the cauldron prepared by a superior entity of sorts. Blurred visions and crystal-clear individuality coexist in an enticing sound world, the entire set of discs coming very highly recommended. And that includes the extreme fringes populated by unwise psychedelic folk and dark ambient zealots.

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