Kalutaliksuak


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Kalutaliksuak (2007), 6/10
Last Day of Sun (2008), 6/10
Snow Melts Black (2011), 6.5/10
Death of the Alpinist (2014), 5/10
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Kalutaliksuak debuted with Kalutaliksuak (2007) when they were still a drum-less trio using a drum-machine: Vladimir Konovkin (keyboards), Alexander Chuvakov (guitars) and Bath Gremlin (bass). They shall catch you up for sure (8:00) is a demonstration of austere and enigmatic prog-rock intersected by cosmic drones. While he sits in ice cracking a whip around contaminates those cosmic overtones with some of Zappa's humor (the quacking synths), psychedelic trance and minimalist repetition. The influence of sci-fi soundtracks is felt in They usually eat humans. The grandiloquent wasp-like guitar distortions and fast repetitive keyboard patterns of Crow-quill clothing (9:35) led a journey into ominous psychological depths. The confusing Put this sucling into her head (15:38) feels like a mellow, lite jazz-rock shuffle before some raga-esque and Terry Riley-ian pattern emerges, the signal for a hard-rocking guitar to enter. The Pink Floyd-ian ballad What are your feet eating? is their attempt at melodic rock music. The drum-machine takes a toll on these pieces, which in any event feel unfinished (and sometimes even unbegun).

Last Day of Sun (2008) more dynamic drumming Sailing into the sunset to a new night - Sun Phase 1 (8:48) the guitar starts out in a traditional swinging jazz mode but then indulges in prog-rock era acrobatics while the drumming becomes torrential. Theatrical vocals mar the chaotic and otherwise intense Sailing into the sunset to a new night - Sun Phase 2 (13:14) as well as the prolonged, if inconclusive, suspense of Sailing into the sunset to a new night - Sun Phase 4 (10:10). Sailing into the sunset to a new night - Sun Phase 5 (13:36) is the highlight: a multi-part King Crimson-ina suite whose dense and jarring sound mutates with elegance until, after about nine minutes, a melancholy hymn-like chant rises and the finale is a cryptic mournful lament. The other lengthy piece, instead, sounds like a leftover: a brainy exercise in guitar soloing, Her names are miles away in the sea & Whales come to answer (15:37) drags on without much conviction. Alas, the more subtle electronic vignette Sailing into the sunset to a new night - Sun Phase 3 (4:28) is not expanded properly.

The four lengthy instrumental suites of Snow Melts Black (2011), recorded by the quartet of Chuvakov, Konovkin, bassist Alexei Ohontsev and drummer Sergei Titovetz, followed the model of Sun Phase 5: a calm, methodic exploration of moods within the same song. The results are mixed. After 12 minutes Hear the snows are melting, breath the floods are growing (19:44) doesn't know where to go and restarts as a more interesting shamanic voodoo jam. The longest song, Sing your bliss of love to the Mighty (22:25), begins with a shamanic invocation that turns into clownish theater. Then a combination of cosmic keyboards and vicious guitar wreaks havoc until the cacophonous ending. A circus-like march opens You shall gain what you have prayed for (20:56) which, after much hesitation, indulges in a funky dance. The guitarwork is more interesting in On the morrow and the next day (9:57), hysterical and frenzied all the way.

Death of the Alpinist (2014) repeats that format of four lengthy instrumentals. Hard Climbing (21:00) moves from energetic to languid and to comic without finding a center of mass. Shambhala (7:03) is seven minutes of guitar pyrotechnics. Buried Horizons (20:24) the atmospheric peak, with new-age synths dancing on a driving beat and then a flute hypnotizing the music. Not a King (9:36) is their venture into exotic music and possibly the album's most cohesive composition.

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