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Точное время / PRECISE TIME

Happy 55


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Happy 55 Точное время / Precise Time album cover
4.01 | 6 ratings | 4 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Precise Time (6:39)
2. All Green (4:20)
3. Tolk (6:08)

Total time 17:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Yaroslav Borisov / piano, synths
- Alexander Bitiutskkh / drums
- Nikita Bondarenko / live electronics, synths
- Gennady Chukhlov / clarinet

Releases information

Recorded at RED WAVE studio, St.Petersburg
Sound engineer - Sergey Ryltsev

Digital album Self-released (2018)

Thanks to Aeroslavik for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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HAPPY 55 Точное время / Precise Time ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(83%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HAPPY 55 Точное время / Precise Time reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Happy 55 is a band out of Russia, but the lead keyboardist currently lives in the U.S. They have self released a few albums and E.P.s, which I have not heard yet. This is my first experience with the band, and let me tell you, it is an avant-prog party for the senses. "Precise Time" is the newest release to date, June 2018. It is listed under albums, but it only has 3 songs with a run time of only around 16 minutes, so it is really an E.P. But one thing for sure, it will leave you wanting more, especially if you are a fan of Rock in Opposition, or Avant Garde Progressive music.

I call these three tracks "compositions" because they are not songs in the traditional sense as much as they are compositions in the contemporary classical sense or the modern jazz sense. The sound is a combination of both styles with a lot of progressive aspects thrown in. They have quite a list of influences from Stravinsky to King Crimson, though it leans more towards the 21st Century classical music more than the rock influences, though they are definitely there. If anything, to me they sound more like "Henry Cow" than anything else, but even then, that's not completely right either. The best thing about all of this, and what makes me most excited about their sound, is that it is driven by acoustic piano. Drums are also in the mix, and they are used as both a standard rhythm generator and totally non-standard at other times becoming more than just a background sound.

The first track, which is the title track "Precise Time" is a very happy sounding track, but not because it's something you feel like whistling, because you can't. The piano drives this along with some great percussion, with support from electronics and synths. This added all together gives a very unique sound, never annoying, always interesting. They do consider themselves a combination of electronics and acoustics and it usually happens all at the same time. There are no standard sounding melodies here though, as there is a lot of dissonance, which makes it amazing that it is still a very happy sounding track even with all of these strange harmonies, scales, chords and sounds going on. The movement of the driving melodies (if you can call them that) are always moving. At about the 4 minute mark, there is a major change in the sound and things almost get frantic. This part gets me really excited as the speed increases and interesting repeating sounds come out of the synths.

The next track is "All Green" and this one immediately sounds different. There are 3 voices speaking in another language which I don't understand. They continue for a short time and then reverb is added slowly along with music until the voices are taken over altogether. This is more of a dark sound, again driven by the piano at first. About halfway through, the clarinet takes over the spotlight, and then eventually, both the piano and clarinet play notes that constantly move and weave around each other. It all seems to be done in a minor key, though I am not sure if there is a specific key here, and I certainly have no idea what mode they are using either, possibly even 12 tone. That would make sense since Prokofiev and Stravinsky are influences.

The last track is my favorite entitled "Tolk". This one uses the best example of standard pop rhythms at certain times and non- standard at other times. That is the only thing close to standard here because everything else playing here does not necessarily follow the rhythm. This is a very interesting combination. The standard rhythm drops out and comes back occasionally, but the non-standard percussion also continues. There is a lot going on here, lots of dynamics, rhythm changes, nice builds and releases throughout the track. Very enjoyable.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable EP that keeps you wanting more. It definitely has me interested in hearing their other releases. The production is excellent, the sound is mostly bright, but also dark in places. Dynamics are very, very well used here, and that is probably the strongest asset. These guys really know what they are doing, and I would say they sound like they are classically trained with an interest in Jazz and progressive rock. Nothing is predictable here, so don't expect that going in to this one. What it is though, is a lot of fun, which is something you can't always say about contemporary classical music since must of it (not all of it though) comes off sounding rather clinical, where this is anything but clinical. All lovers of RIO and Avant Garde Progressive need to listen to this, it is definitely an excellent addition to your collection. Besides, you are not out much as far as dollars go since it is only 3 songs, but you will probably want to invest more once you hear it. Excellent job by a very talented band.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I still don't know why Happy55 didn't put more tracks on their 2016 release, 'Warm Things', which just wasn't long enough in my mind. But, after three albums, the band decided to release an EP which contains three more numbers from the 2016 St. Petersburg session. This sounds a little more produced, especially on the second song, 'All Green', which commences with spoken voices layered over the top of each other (in Russian), before the piano kicks in. There is an incredible clarity of thought, with ideas bouncing around and being responded to by all four involved. Again, themes are repeated, expanded upon, twisted and changed as each of the quartet strive to take the song to the next level.

In some ways this has the feeling of free jazz in the way they are reacting, but the music is much tighter with complexity being taken as a given, yet everyone keep[ing up with each other. This really does feel to me like King Crimson being twisted and pulled and amended into a piano led force of nature. I only discovered the band because they contacted me through ProgArchives, and I am so very glad they did, as this is yet another stunning artist I am going to keep my eye on. For all fans of progressive music that is attempting to push boundaries, yet are exciting and incredibly enjoyable all at the same time.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The classical/jazz quartet Happy 55 describes their own music as "Electro Chamber Prog", with the more Progressive elements increasing steadily over their last few releases. The band's latest to date is a too-brief three song EP, recorded in 2015 and intended to fill out the "Warm Things" mini-album, before publishers expressed nervous concern over what they heard as "too many arpeggios" and yanked these tracks for later use.

Damn those meddling publishers! If the story is true, some of the best cuts were left off the earlier effort, and the unfortunate result was two excellent EPs that might have been an essential single album if left intact.

I've tried to define the Happy 55 style in other reviews, as a complex yet playful combination of piano, clarinet, and (more recently) occasional Eno-inspired non-musical noise. But once again the band itself says it best, calling it "acoustic sound transmitted through high voltage and digital meat grinders": a surefire endorsement to any self-respecting Proghead.

The future of the group is currently in doubt, after pianist/bandleader Yaroslav Borisov relocated from the city of Voronezh to - of all places - Fayetteville, North Carolina in the United States. But he leaves behind a small, vital body of challenging instrumental music, including this short but sweet EP, maybe the easiest point of entry for curious listeners.

A quick addendum...the last track of the EP, listed here as "Tolk", is actually named "Толк": a Cyrillic word translating to something like "Sense", as in "for inquisitive newcomers this mini-album makes perfect _____".

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Another excellent Russian band. Happy 55 is a chamber rock combo which shows both jazz and classical influences. This EP seems to have been made of material discarded from their album Warm Thing because of a decision of the producers. I have honestly read it on another review. If true, I can't understand how material of this kind can be "discarded".

It's sometimes noisy, it has a free form which is likely inherited by a free jazz influence, but in the same time passages like classical music can be distinguished inside the noise. Noise that is never chaotic, everything seems perfectly planned. The most melodic parts sound like they are inspired to Debussy and to Stravinskij. Listening, my mind goes to ART ZOYD, OCTOBER EQUUS and RIO bands in general, but in a more rocking vest.

It's just a short EP which consists of 3 tracks. The last one would be enough to give this EP a high rating. You can find it on Bandcamp, together with their full length album Warm Thing.

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