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Kostarev Group - Live@InProg 2003 CD (album) cover

[email protected] 2003

Kostarev Group

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Vegetarians are arriving the Oasis ...

Alexander Kostarev has worked out elaborated songs and the band is performing them excellently. Recorded live February 2003 in Moscow this is Jazz Rock with an Avantgarde attitude and some Symphonic injections. First we have to state an interesting mix of instruments - besides the 'usual' there are also violin, harmonica, flute and saxophon. Kostarev's squeezing and squeaking guitar is obvious and well corresponding to Lavrentiev's violin.

Vegetarian is fusion at its best with confident keyboard playing. I also recommend to have a look at the video from their website. Every musician gets enough room for soloing - amazing. Heavy Water is heavy grooving. Kostarev proves that he's also a good harmonica player. A very dynamic song with a special guitar and violin duel (Lavrentiev wins in my opinion!). Purgatory with its asian rhythm and tabla using remembers me at an OLE LUKKOYE concert which I had the chance to enjoy some years ago. Oasis - I like this song very much - listening to this relaxed slowtempo piece it's a feeling like riding on a camel across the desert - a successful interpretation!

A-Theist Hacker is a song which I haven't fully explored until now. Please give me 10 other rounds or so - the only thing I can say - absolutely crazy! The Concerto Grosso closes - a suite with five sections which is more Symphonic oriented (as the titles promise). The band gives all the power to celebrate this. A complex and explosive blend referring to RIO/Avant. The same as with the song before - it needs several rehearsals to get in touch with

Another russian gem which inspires the genre. At first I'm giving four stars with tendency to five. Actually the whole recordings are free for download from the website. In spite of the fact this recordings are restored from cassette tape the sound quality is very good. So if you are interested in listening to excellent Jazz Rock/Fusion with transitions to RIO/Avant don't be shy - otherwise you'll miss the train.

Report this review (#125303)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink

Incorporating everything from folky medievalisms to wacked out phase-shifted cosmic guitar riffing to maniacal screeching violin and frantic flute this live recording of the Kostarev Group goes everywhere and beyond and redefines the art of the musical spectrum. Veering off into free form explorations with their zany instrumental pyrotechnics the listener is nevertheless constantly reminded that these guys ( and girl ) have a bottomless pit of artistic depth with the ghosts of everyone from Hendrix to Vivaldi dropping in when least expected. In fact, everything here happens when least expected! Devoid of vocals, a phantom like synth bass also replaces the bass guitar throughout which adds to all the wonderful weirdness. An east indian tabla apears on a couple of tracks as well, complementing the tight accented drumming which is sort of like a voice in itself amidst all the mayhem.

The first part of the performance consists of a series of compositions on which each sends out it`s own individual message. The pulsating synths from keyboard sorceress Ekatrina Morosova who looks more like an olympic figure skating coach than a member of an loud fusion band are used in a very ubiquitous yet ostenatious fashion. She has an arsenal if tricks up her sleave which just go fom wierd to weirder which paint canvases for the outrageous art which is to occur on each with fuzz-guitar/flute/violin and saxophone exchanges in fluctuating time signatures and tempos.

The almost sinister upbeat Heavy Water, seems to warn, musically, of an impending nuclear tragedy with it`s ominous aquatic like effects, while the hypnotic Oasis is enhanced by the mystical tabla rythmns of Gennadiy Laurentiv which create ethereal hedonistic images. Equally as moody are the intros to Pugatory and Vegetarian which contain tons of weird synth effects. On Purgatory the spooky howling effects will either send shivers down your spine or make you smile deviously. A-theist Hacker has art/religion conotations as explained unclearly by group leader Alexander Kostarev, but it`s as crazy as jazz fusion can get nonetheless.

The album culminates with a Concerto in 5 movements, Concerto Grosso #1, which invites the listener to imagine a 17th century Italian composer, frozen for centuries in an alpine glacier who is brought back from the dead and given the resources and knowledge of a modern day 21st century composer. The result is a confused artist who is torn between the music of his day and the exciting new developments which have occured during his slumber in netherworld. An initial neo classical theme is stated which is revisited throughout the work and almost goes into instant modern day overdrive with an abrupt tempo change which introduces Kostarevs overdriven flanged out speed guitar which shows our composers desire to ýtilize his new tools. The composer becomes inebriated and overcome by his creation and the second movement becomes more pathetic and melancholic as it progresseses. By the third movement the listener becomes more and more convinced that this piece was actually written by an ecclectic 17th century Italian composer recently returned from the dead rather than a 21st century Russian avante garde musical troupe. And it just keeps getting weirder and well... more weirder by the 4th movement, which has the most coherent and melodic guitar on the whole album. As one would expect the Finale is not just a finale but a grand blowout of a finale with a freeform freakout by all the players with everything turned louder than everything else which ends of with a brief statement of the original theme presented at the beginning.

Experimental and esoteric, Kostarev [email protected] 2003 is a feat of modern composition and musicianship while maintaining an old fashioned mindset. Distant comparisons could be made to 70`s bands like Gentle Giant or Hoelderlin but Kostarev Group is light years beyond any of the two. Strap yourself into the ejection seat for this mind numbing journey into musical oblivion.Eye watering brilliance.

Report this review (#125593)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I guess it was a chance for me to step out for a while. I mean I got a reputation of Russian/Post-USSR Prog-Rock devotee, and sometimes this works against me :). So I let few people review KOSTAREV’s works before my pipers would sing halleluiahs to him and his long green thing. Yes, I meant guitar baby ;).

OK, here we have high-class fusion with elements from almost every genre of contemporary music – from cold academic passages to almost dub beats and metal riffing. Kostarev doesn’t overshine all the time, shadowing the rest of the band. You can easily recognize outstanding level of other musicians’ skills and unique signature of band’s songwriting talents. All tracks are played live, without any overdubs and cleanings; you can hear the crowd going mad from what these men doing with them. I’m afraid I won’t name any band musically close to what Alexander and Co are playing. FROMUZ? DJAM KARET? LIQUID TENSION? I’m too new to a genre to judge, but all I know is that it sounds unbelievably fresh and mind-blowing. Shame they have limited opportunities to spread their music and earn their living from it. On the other side, both albums are available FREE TO DOWNLOAD VIA THEIR WEB-SITE!!! This is the Art for the Art’s sake.

Pure enjoyment and extremely recommended hour of music to waste your life and money on ;). Give up hesitation and load few songs first. Than write me a thankful PM and got everything KOSTAREV GROUP has released (hope they’ll manage to make a studio album soon). Good luck in that and keep on…ermm, fusionin’!

Report this review (#130849)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a nice surpirse! Alexander Kostarev Group is one of the most freak things that I've heard the last months!

First of all, is not difficult to get this album cos is available officially in AKG webpage. Second, if you are a fusion and/or avant garde/RIO fan, this album wouldn't disspoint you. A short folk Intro opens the way to some weird compositions with emphasys on great keyboard, violin and guitar solos and a tense and powerful and syncopated rhyhmical bases. Of course you can also find extraordinary mixtures of really avant garde sections a la Happy Family, distorted keyboards and guitars whit rhythmical sections specially on the first part of the album. My highlights here are: Vegetarian (weird, chaotic, tense), Heavy Water (great rhythmical base), Purgatory (oriental inffluences) and A-theist Hacker (another great piece with avant garde inffluences and an awsome flute work)

The second part is a long piece called Concerto Grosso #1. Is divided in five parts and it's a little more proggy and the band sometimes even sound like a chamber orchestra. However the solos still are powerful and complex and some calm moments are followed immediatly by freaky fusion or avant garde sections.

A great discover. Wonderful and surprising album which deserves all the attention of prog fans. 4.5*

Report this review (#143920)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Alexander Kostarev is a lesser-known Russian instrumental musician,who's career started back in late 70's but became widely known only through this millenium.The roots of his group can be found back in mid-80's,but the fact is that it has changed so many names and line-ups,that its almost impossible to clarify the full history of the band.Fortunately his work was finally known through this Starless Records' live release from 2003.

Fusion becomes a meaningful word just by listening to this album.Kostarev's instrumental group blends Jazz,Classical,Ethnic and Avant-Garde Music in an awesome rockin' way.A full hour of a totally challenging journey through complex passages,energetic grooves,dynamic interplays and peaceful melodies.Actually the 2/3 of the album are closer to the jazzier side of Prog Rock with dominant violins,freaky flutes,harmonic organ sounds,deep bass lines and the highlight performance of Kostarev on guitars with also some Avant-like electronics and a mix of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA,DR. DOPO JAM and FRANK ZAPPA would be close to reality.The last 1/3 of the album is the long epic Concerto Grosso,where organs,violins and flutes blend in a Classical mix to offer a sweet rock symphony,which at times is paused by Kostarev's fusion-esque edgy guitar work in full collaboration with the other instrumentation.I could tell the man trully teaches how a long instrumental epic can catch the listener from the very first to the last minute.

The least I can do for this overlooked musician is spreading his music by reviewing this album.Kostarev's works deserve so much more for being totally inventive,complicated and andventuruous but at the same time focused and inspired,and anyone calling himself a serious music fan should simply check this album out...4 solid stars.

Report this review (#457718)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2011 | Review Permalink

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