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Gunesh Ensemble - Вижу Землю / Looking At The Earth CD (album) cover


Gunesh Ensemble

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Leaded by one the finest prog drummer ever (Rishad Shafi) Gunesh Ensemble is maybe the greatest band from ex-URSS. They are exactly from Turkmenistan and in a nutshell they are a central asian sounding progressive horn rock/fusion group or maybe better a little orchestra. But Gunesh are better than that may imply. Looking at the Earth is their second album and surely the most progressive and best one. The album is a perfect mix of so many defferents ingrendients coming from western and oriental music: trippy Caucasus mountain music, Muslim prayer calls, psychedelia, hot fusion, Vietnamese traditional music, etc.. The unexpectedly beautiful arrangements appeared,and polirhythmic compositions with odd measure were further developed thematically. This is surely a must have for every prog lovers, maybe 5 stars is little bit too much, but if we contestualize it in the geographical area and in the history period we can justify the maximum vote
Report this review (#301478)
Posted Friday, October 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Going through the tons of albums I have from Turkmenistan (ha!), I think i've found a favorite! The GUNESH ENSEMBLE (sometimes found only as Гунеш (GUNESH) was a highly eclectic and energetic group led by drummer Rishard Shafi. They were masters of jazz-fusion mixed with all things Central Asian folk including haunting chants and exotic instruments. Of course they even had a Vietnamese singer! After their first album of mostly folk material they really stepped it up and created something truly unique and unbelievable.

Вижу Землю (Looking At Earth) in an unearthly amalgation of musical majesticness. The album begins with a whispering wind and some temple bells before Russian dialogue ushers in some seriously deranged funkiness and energetic percussion and horns with some strange electronic 'talking.' The jazz-fusion doesn't waste any time getting warmed up. You know you're in for a very wild ride with this one. The album continues to surprise with abrupt changes but quite capable of sustaining a beautiful melody in the form of song or chant. The interplay of 10 plus instruments may be going on at any given moment. Absent are any influences from Western bands. All sounds original and isolated like it was all created in a remote area that still hasn't made contact with the Western world. However parts do remind me of Italian avant-proggers Area and the last cut sounds like a traditional Vietnamese song meets the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

If you like eclectic world fusion then you will love this. Must hear to believe.This album had only one vinyl release in 1981 and is probably impossible to find but fear not. Rishad Shafi released the first two albums on CD titled "Rishad Shafi Presents Gunesh."

Report this review (#1081381)
Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Search hard and you will be rewarded! This album is actually on Spotify currently, but written in Cyrillic (Гунеш - Вижу Землю). Not ideal for those of us with a UK keyboard but it is there!

I've listened to this for the first time, and without a doubt it is the best thing I know of to be produced in Turkmenistan.

It really is a wild ride. The first track wouldn't sound out of place as the funky theme tune to a 70s cop show, before track two slides into an oriental style trance that leaves you feeling like you're floating in outer space, followed by something sounding like a Muslim call to prayer (you'll have to forgive me if that's totally wrong). All the while jazz fusion elements build up in the background. I could go on and describe the rest but I recommend just listening to it yourself.

Turkmenistan's location in the world means it's no surprise this album seems to incorporate cultures and styles that cover the majority of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It really is something.

Report this review (#2439853)
Posted Friday, August 21, 2020 | Review Permalink

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