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Ciolkowska - Психоделия (Psychedelia) CD (album) cover

Психоделия (PSYCHEDELIA)

Ciolkowska

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars A comfortable space rock from Russia.

A Russian act Ciolkowska have been active since 2014 for launching their own space rock products. This album "Психоделия (Psychedelia)" released in 2020 represents decent space rock leaning towards an authority Hawkwind, and guitar-oriented dissonant but pleasant sound compote, just as the title says. Colourful mind-friendly sound architecture, with Russian folksy texture here and there (at least upon my ear), is quite accomplished and technically organized. Beautiful, acceptable melody lines are merged with serious, discordantly harmonized construction. Well of course, I'd like you to listen to this stuff enough with relaxing yourself at first.

To illustrate the musical point above mentioned, please let me recommend the first shot "Клей (Glue)" filled with uptempo comfortable psychic, psychedelic agency plus somewhat eccentricity and discrepancy. Via this melodic mixture you will be driven into another higher dimension. The quartet-oriented dreamy artistic delivery is  full of expectation. On the other hand, "Махавишну (Mohavishnu)" brings about gentle, mellow melody figure like a quiet green lake. Their spacey appearance should be consistent but atmospheric kaleidoscopes via every content of theirs are enchanting from the beginning to the very end.

Worth listening to this fantasy not only for psych / space fans but also for all of progressive rock followers.

Report this review (#2408325)
Posted Saturday, May 30, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
2 stars St. Petersburg-based quartet Ciolkowska are back with their eighth release, just two years after 'Avtomat Proshlogo'. Unlike the last album there are no guests on this release, and they have also on board a new bassist, so the line-up now is Egor Svysokihgor (vocals, guitars), Alesya Izlesa (ukulele), Alexandr Monah (bass) and David Aaronson (drums). They describe themselves as "Music in the style of space rock. We make a sound, as if a star curtain falls on the Russian expanses." I am not too sure of that to be honest, as while this does have some space rock influences at times, it is far more psychedelic, although also mixed at times with the likes of Foo Fighters. It is not only the vocals, which are often off key, which makes one realise this is not a Western album as the ukulele is an important part of the overall sound, not something one often hears in rock groups.

It is an eccentric release, with lots of picking from both ukulele and guitar, with the music often far more melodic than the vocals, which drags the material back. The band sound happier when they are working in a purely instrumental aspect, and in that respect some of the songs are actually quite poppy with hooks, such as second track "Коврижки (Gingerbreads)" which contains some elements of Talking Heads. Monah has certainly settled in with the band, providing some very strong basslines, but there overall there are too many times when the rhythm section seem quite separate from the rest of what is going on, as they are controlled and dynamic while the ukulele and guitars are quite strident and staccato, and just don't work with the vocals. It is an album which is going to polarise listeners, and while I think I understand what they are trying to achieve this just does not work for me.

Report this review (#2442684)
Posted Saturday, August 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
nick_h_nz
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Even as I drift further into 2021, somehow I'm still stuck in 2020. Well, that's not entirely true, as I have been listening to a lot of music from 2021, but I continue to find gems I missed from the year before, and this short album from Russians Ciolkowska, Психоделия, is certainly one of those gems. A brightly shining psychedelic gem in the sky for Lucy to gaze upon, with many facets sparkling with different colours. A little space rock here, some avant there, and maybe even a little hint of post rock at times. It must be post something, though, because it definitely delivers! And despite Germany and Russia not having had a particularly cordial history, the eastern tinged Russian psychedelia at times appears to take influence from the West German bands of the original Krautrock scene. The music sounds at the same time both ancient and modern, retro and contemporary.

One of the first things you'll hear is that the ukulele is a prominent highlight in Ciolkowska's sound, and it's an absolute delight. The use of staccato picking on ukulele and guitar gives both a folky and post-rock feeling to much of the music. It's often - somehow - both delicate and dissonant, the way a lot of folk music from Russia and surrounding countries is. A lot of folk music from this part of the world makes use of microtones, which can sometimes sound off-key to Western ears. One of my favourite albums from last year was Giorgi Mikadze's Georgian Microjamz which put a modern spin on traditional Georgian folk, highlighting the microtonality in all its glory. Психоделия is nowhere near as challenging as Mikadze's album, and it's almost poppy in its own off-kilter manner. As poppy as it might be, though, the sense of the strange and foreign is ever-present.

Ciolkowska's sound is quite unique, not just by its instrumentation and composition, but its structure. The rhythm section often seems to be working independently from the ukulele and guitar, coming together through synchronicity rather than design. The vocals float in and out as if they are yet another coincidental occurrence. This description may give the impression that I'm not a fan, but I actually mean the opposite. I love the way the band makes music in this disparate manner. It makes the music feel very fresh and spontaneous, even if has been meticulously composed, rather than improvised. And actually, when it comes down to it, I'm not sure how much the music is composed, and how much is improvised. The band's origins are in improvisational jams, so it's easy to believe they still do this ? but Психоделия seems too concise and succinct to contain much improvisation.

Психоделия is the first album I'd heard from Ciolkowska, so I made sure to explore their back catalogue. And in comparison to what precedes it, Психоделия is remarkably restrained and delicate ? yet somehow still manages to take all they have done in the past and make it into a perfectly packaged, and potentially more palatable product. It has all the eccentricity, innovation, dynamics and experimentation, but in a more listener-friendly format. Unfortunately, for me, that just leaves me wanting more. I usually say there is no right or wrong length for an album, and that a good album is as long as it needs to be - whether that be half an hour, or two hours. But this is a good album that would be better if it were longer, and almost leaves me frustrated when I realise I've reached the end and there is no more. I can't remember the last time I said that, and in a way I guess it's more of a compliment than a criticism.

As a taster for Ciolkowska's sound, Психоделия provides a convenient entry point. It packs a lot of variety into its short time span, and has a quite immediate and accessible sound. In a way, its short length works to its advantage, as it is incredibly hard not to put it straight back on again once it's finished. The repeated listens definitely pay off, because for all the immediacy, there is a lot more to the music than one might notice after just one play through. The music of Ciolkowska is subtle, and packs a lot of depth and heaviness into what might initially seem fairly sparse and simple. There is so much expression in all the instrumentation - perhaps more so than in the vocals. I find myself carried away by it, without realising it. Психоделия is a multi-layered psychedelic delight, and if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play it again.

Report this review (#2524767)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2021 | Review Permalink

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