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Two Siberians (Белый Острог / White Fort) - Out of Nowhere CD (album) cover


Two Siberians (Белый Острог / White Fort)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Artyom Yakushenko (electric violin) and Yuri Matveyez (electric guitar) are literally the TWO SIBERIANS. The talented gents hail from the vast and ruggedly beautiful land of Siberia, essentially "Out of Nowhere". Indeed their name and the title of the CD tell some of the story. The pair that used to entertain all walks of life at photographers exhibitions and the like for shots of vodka now have their own album to boast of on the award winning Heads Up International label.

When I saw the name of the artists, I had to wonder a bit, it seemed out of the ordinary for Telarc/Heads Up to send me a CD with a name like TWO SIBERIANS, and then to find out that the performers are actually from Siberia, well that was the icing on the cake. Right from the beginning of the opening track "Outpost Radio", I was enamored with their sound. For two instruments, for the most part, the sound is incredible. The duo exchanges parts with Michael Brecker (sax), George Whitty (synth), Matt Garrison (bass) and Mino Cinelu (percussion), all guests that add some nice filler to their already full-bodied rich sound.

What you will hear is a gorgeous combination of jazz-rock-fusion and ethnic compositions from this dynamic duo (excuse the reference to Batman for those of you that remember). This kind of music requires close attention to the details of each track and many listens before you will honestly appreciate it. The focus and depth of the artists and their music is exceptional. I can say without hesitation that this music is unique and completely refreshing. My only wish is that you give yourself and opportunity to hear it.

Report this review (#34262)
Posted Tuesday, February 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I must say this is one title that didn't do much for me. At first spin there is the novelty of their folksy charm and the interest factor of their story and the great efforts they made to get this music recorded and released. They did work hard to get this done and I commend them for that.

However continual listening for me turned into sort of a background experience whereas the tracks sounded a little similar and unstimulating. Perhaps it just wasn't my cup of tea but I'd be hard pressed to recommend this title with so many other great things to get to.

Apparently others feel this way too as there are currently dozens of available used copies at the behemoth seller website starting at a penny. I'm not saying this album deserves that fate but it didn't excite me either. I agree with Keith that it is "unique" but did not find it as refreshing as he did. 2.5 stars.

Luckily there is a PA sample to check out so give it a spin and perhaps it will interest you!

Report this review (#120911)
Posted Sunday, May 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I was surprised to find this album on PA, because never heard this name. OK, first reason is that Two Siberians is used for abroad recordings only, and they are known in Russia from early nineties as White Fort ("Bely Ostrog" in Russian). They even released all collection of records under White fort name there in Russia. Two Siberians name was used when they got the contract with US label, just two albums were recorded under that name.

About music. This duo is two classically trained musicians from Irkutsk, Siberia ( el. violin and el. guitar). As you can imagine, playing as duo, it's a hard job to make a different music having just two these instruments ( no studio overdubbing, etc). So I can see that happily "Out Of Nowhere" is recorded with big team of guests. It strongly helps to make music more different and attractive.

Very first album song is Russian traditional folk song, slightly modified. You can hear Russian folklore elements more or less almost in all songs. For me, big part of album sounds as modernised Russian folklore , played by unusual instruments. I believe that for some it could sound a bit exotic, but generally it has not a big relation with jazz at all.

Few songs are a bit stronger - that ones, on which you can hear more jazzy sound played by guest musicians. All others are just light jazzy versions of modernised Russian folklore tunes, prepared for foreign market.

You can find few interesting sounds of electric violin and even fewer interesting sounds of guitar. Possibly, not bad album for world/folk lovers, can't imagine who in jazz fusion community could be interested by this album.

Report this review (#254167)
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Being a huge fan of White Fort, I have a love-hate relationship with this album. On the one hand, it has the virtuoso performances and intense melodies that I expect (and love) from their music. On the other, I personally find the addition of other musicians distracting. White Fort has an incredible sound on its own--hearing other instruments almost dilutes the experience.

However, if your album MUST have a detrimental aspect, that's not a bad one to have: Too Much Amazing Talent. Cry me a river, huh?

The album opens with "Outpost Radio," performed by "classic" White Fort: Yuriy Matveyev jamming on electric guitar and Artyom Yakushenko shredding the electric violin. The next track adds the late Michael Brecker on saxophone and Mino Cinelu on percussion. I suppose Brecker's fans will probably see that as an improvement--beautiful music is, after all, in the ear of the beholder.

The tracks continue to alternate between White Fort playing alone, or with additional musicians or vocals. The genres vary considerably--Russian folk, lively jazz, Latin salsa, Jewish dance, hard rock. White Fort is not distinguished by genre--they cross all clique lines in the music world. Their signature is their performance itself: no matter what kind of music, they don't just play it, they PWN it.

A few bits of trivia: Track 14, "Evidence of Things Not Seen," is a remix (with addition of percussion and vocals) of the song "Sad Heart," which was introduced to Western audiences on their demo CD, "Out of the Woods." Track 15, "Searching for Power," comes from an unreleased concept album, "Enigma of Basalt Figurines." The album was inspired by a science fiction novel, "The Mind Parasites," by Colin Wilson.

Report this review (#475167)
Posted Sunday, July 3, 2011 | Review Permalink

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