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Shalash Band

Symphonic Prog

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Shalash Band Shalash album cover
3.17 | 10 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 54321 (3:51)
2. 12/8 (7:59)
3. V.S. (3:52)
4. S.Z. (6:59)
5. V (4:00)
6. R.N. (5:17)
7. R.T. (5:23)
8. P (3:25)
9. W (4:44)
10. S (6:00)

Total time 51:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Dmitry Karavaev / keyboards
- Maxim Smirnov / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Maxim Smirnov

CD Shalash Band Records ‎- S.B.R. 001 (2018, Russia)

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SHALASH BAND Shalash ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SHALASH BAND Shalash reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
3 stars Thank you, Dmitry Karavaev, for asking me to review this album. Moscow-based Shalash features just Karavaev on keyboards and Maxim Smirnov on drums. I don't know how the bass sound is produced, but it sounds like a real bass guitar to me, even though that instrument is not mentioned. So, for the sound this duo is on a high level of a so called power trio, in my honest opinion. The eponymous debut album contains ten tracks of instrumental prog rock, naturally very centred on organ and other keyboards; since the music is mostly in a happy mood and in a lively tempo, Keith Emerson easily comes to my mind, why not also Rick Wakeman as a solo artist (e.g. Journey to the Centre of the World), for the overall impression.

One thing I have to criticize as a non-Russian-speaking listener is the fact that all texts in the CD are in Russian only, also track titles. Seemingly the capital abbreviations presented here were the artist's own idea, but I would have appreciated some kind of English translations. I asked my workmate who has studied Russian to translate the titles, and I do feel that I "understand" many tracks better after having a faint idea of the composer's own ideas behind the pieces. There may be some misinterpretations, and the word for track No. 5 we couldn't figure at all. The word Shalash itself probably means a humble dwelling place such as wigwam, and the sticks leaning each other on the cover would confirm that.

The opener is titled '54321' and features voices of astronauts throughout the joyous piece starring Emersonian organ. Also the the second track's a numeral, '12/8'. The 8-minute piece -- the longest in the set -- features a nice, and to my ears rather Wakemanesque, multi-level synth work. During No. 3, meaning something like "Reputation", one may start feeling worried for the whole album being more or less the same joyful stuff. Unfortunately for the most part things tend to be that way, which is the main reason my rating is no more than three stars for this very well produced and played album.

No. 4, with a title meaning something like "Wall of Sound (for the Truth)", starts with a hollow Moog sound reminiscent of Wendy Carlos' soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, and also the rest of this highlight track brings a little of the wished variety, thanks for the relatively versatile soundscape and at places almost a jazzy groove. Of No. 5 I haven't much to say, the usual up-tempo organ-centred stuff. No. 6 features some narration in Russian and also an accordeon sound in the beginning; the title may mean "Russian Folktale". Quite many not-so-interesting and rather samey compositions this far, but the album improves a bit towards the end.

The 7th track is probably inspired by duelling knights and is another highlight, featuring more details in a progressive sense than this album averagely. 8th: "Dance" or "Ball". Again, a fairly good piece in its own right, but a sense of tiredness starts to set in. Too much of that Emersonian merriness for my taste. Track No. 9 sounds like rather straight-forward vintage jazz-rock. Some sound collages add a feeling of a rock festival, and yes, the title clearly refers to Woodstock! This track brings nice variety variety. The final title track is among the highlights with its determinate voyage-like atmosphere and the lack of the usual merriness.

'Good, but non-essential' is pretty precisely what I feel for this well made album. Sincerely recommended to friends of instrumental keyboard-centred prog rock in mostly Major key.

Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars Also, like Kempokid and others, after receiving (with a private message) the request to review "ROZMAINSKY & MIKHAYLOV PROJECT - Adventures at the Babooinumfest 2017", published in last month, I received the request to review this album (Shalash, 2018) by the group keyboard player Dmitry Karavaev. And so, flattered, now I'm willingly willing to this burden. Notwithstanding, I am not an expert in Russian music, nor am I a lover of instrumental symphonic prog.

What do you listen to on this record? A drum and keyboard music, then with only two instruments, and without singing (apart from some recitative voice present in a few songs). It's therefore minimalist music, somewhat homogeneous, and ambient: halfway between EL & P and Brian Eno. In fact, I have listened to it as film music, or background music, that isn't very demanding music.

To please, to be appreciate, such minimalist music, which can't count on the arrangements or the voice, must have some ingredients: 1) good composition 2) good creativity / originality 3) good performance

The music of the Russian duo has all three qualities, in particular the second and the third. Of course the keyboard player has talent and creativity. The compositions (and melodies) are not memorable, but they are quite good.

The first song "54321 (3:51)" is pleasant, cheerful, well-marked. In the melody you hear something Slavic. Vote 7. The second, "12/8 (7:59)" eight minutes, begins as a slow ballad, but then has a sudden speeding up, the keyboard player enters a tour de force and then returns the ballad, at a faster pace than the initial one. Vote 7.5. The third one "V.S. (3:52)" has a rhythm and a pop mood, it seems like a nursery rhyme. The rhythm continues to change, the musicians do their best in virtuosity. Acrobatic. Paradoxical. 6.5.

"S.Z. (6:59)", seven minutes is one of the best songs of entire Lp: Vote: 8. Start and end psychedelic, central core very well rhythmic and engaging, great work of the drummer Maxim Smirnov. The fifth: "V (4:00)" is less convincing, too syncopated, Vote 7+. The sisxth piece, "R.N. (5:17)", opened by spoken words in Russian, gives a folk flavor to the song, which has some rhythmic passage similar to the polka. The voice returns in some situations to give a very characteristic Slavic folk dance color. Psychedelic final. Vote 7,5/8. Also the next song ("R.T. (5:23)") has a Slavic folk dance rhythm, then the song takes another direction, going towards an almost epic space rock final. Vote 7+.

So far Shalash Band have managed not to get bored while adopting a keyboard / drums music. Their music is listened to with pleasure.

"P (3:25)", is shortest but engaging. Vote 7,5. "W (4:44)" opens at a samba rhythm, then comes a noise piece, then samba come back. Very strange. Vote 7. The last song, "S (6:00) is more solid. It's like a miz between Pink Floyd and New Order. Spoken words, space rock atmosphere, and a heavy pulse. Vote 8.

Good music. Good creativity. Good ability to keep the listener's attention high without asking too much effort but also without giving him food made of too banal rhythms or melodies. Good balance between demdanding music and light music. It is made to listen with pleasure. Recommended for lovers of rock instrumental with psychedelic and folk inflections.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,375. Vote album: 7,75/8. Rating: Three Stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The debut great album of the new Russian prog rock band! No singing, no strings. A lot of keyboards. The influence of Emerson, the Russian and other classical music. Two musicians - a keyboard player and a drummer - can substitute for the full-blown rock band. This music is very enjoyable and pleasa ... (read more)

Report this review (#2131861) | Posted by felonafan | Sunday, January 27, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Quick, name a two-man band consisting of keyboards and drums... Did you think of Zombi? Well, here's another: Shalash, from Russia, with Dmitry Karavaev on keys, and Maxim Smirnov on drums. Even though it's just the two of them, they supplement their music with other recorded audio (or MIDI) to p ... (read more)

Report this review (#2121519) | Posted by wiz_d_kidd | Saturday, January 26, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After my review of the album 'Adventures at the Babooinumfest 2017' by another Russian band 'Rozmainsky & Mikhaylov Project', I got a request from keyboardist Dmitry Karavaev to review this album. something I do feel quite honoured about. Anyway, after a few listens, my thoughts boil down to thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2121489) | Posted by Kempokid | Saturday, January 26, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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