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Happy 55 - Warm things CD (album) cover


Happy 55



4.00 | 1 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars Happy55 is a Russian group formed in Voronezh in 2007 by pianist and composer Yaroslav Borisov and drummer Alexander Bityutskih, with the line-up completed by Nikita Bondarenko (electronics) and Gennady Chukhlov (clarinet). They describe their music as chamber electronic and acoustic avant-garde, and consider their major influences to be Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, Trilok Gurtu, King Crimson, Can, Autechre and Herbie Nichols, so one can already feel what the band sounds like.

This album is taken from the first part of a session which took place in St. Petersburg in 2016, and has been released on the French- English label Bruce's Fingers. It is based strongly on Borisov's piano, which can be delicate and easy to listen to, or just striking some discordance which makes the listener a little uneasy. Also, the gentleness can also give way to some harsh and rough staccato attacks. The rest of the band may be making their presence felt by not playing at all, adding to the melody, or playing at odds, but always somehow maintaining an affinity to the main approach. It really does sound as if Can, Art Zoyd and King Crimson have sat down and had a discussion, and then come up with a piano-led approach instead of guitar, also adding some industrial noise elements into it, which can take it in different directions. The use of a clarinet provides warmth to what is sometimes quite a bleak approach. I only wish that they had included more of the session, as at just 28 minutes long these four songs really whet the appetite for more. Avant prog/RIO aficionados need look no further, and I know I've said it before but there is great music coming out of Russia that really needs further investigation.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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