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Whalephant - Kamma CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.00 | 22 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars One of the joys of being involved in the progressive scene for more than twenty-five years, is that I am often contacted and asked if I would like to review an album by a band I have never heard of. As I am always open to new experiences (how else would you know how delicious snails can be?), I inveterately say yes. So, this is how I came across Whalephant, yet another progressive band hailing from Russia. I can remember when coming across a Russian progressive act was quite a rare event, especially pre-internet, but these days the scene seems to be exploding over there, and what I find particularly of great interest is the way that they often refuse to conform to what many people view as 'progressive', both in terms of the music they play and the instruments they use to do it.

I had a look at their website, but given it's all in Russian it may as well be Greek as I don't comprehend it, but it is possible to stream the album, watch some videos and also look at their official press photos, which show a seven person line-up. According to Bandcamp, the line-up is Nickolay Inshakoff (composer, sound producer, violin, keyboards and synthesizers), Ilia Yartsev (clarinet, synthesizers), Veronika Chagrina (guitars), Dmitry Sokolov (bass), Anna Kuryachaya (drums), Ekaterina Bakanova (vocals), Elizaveta Yartseva (violins, violas), Aleksey Zlenko (cello), Ivan Shcherbakov (didjeridoo) and Ivan Kalugin (vocals) (I know that's more than seven, but what can I say?). Yes, there is quite a mix of things going on in there. There is also a statement from the band that reads 'We hope that everyone will find himself and his story in it, notice allusions and reminders inside the track and the album as a whole. Do not look for religious or political overtones - they are not there. Listen with your heart. Immerse yourself in the soundtrack to your dreams and thoughts. Take a walk with us on your own mind'.

In many ways I find myself being reminded of Roz Vitalis, and given how highly I think of them that certainly isn't a bad thing, as they bring the kitchen sink into their style of eclectic progressive rock. Another band that springs to mind is iamthemorning, yet another Russian act that are refusing to conform to any pre-conceived ideas. Whalephant have long instrumental passages, but also have some beautiful accentless female vocals, and musically the band melds and flows so that the instruments and even the number of those playing them can vary immensely from song to song. This is very much an album for the listener to lose themselves inside, and is one that is all the better for being concentrated on by using headphones.

Yet another wonderful debut album, from a band that need discovering and heard by a much wider audience.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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