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Fair Wind Pleases biography
A Russian chamber unit FAIR WIND PLEASES were founded in the beginning of 2020 in St. Petersburg by Ivan ROZMAINSKY and Leonid PEREVALOV. already renowned as founders / collaborators of ROZ VITALIS, COMPASSIONIZER, YOJO, ROZMAINSKY & MIKHAYLOV PROJECT, or TOTAL STATION, and so on. Their first creation "Beyond The Seasons" recorded live at Sound Museum (St. Petersburg) on February 29 2020, was released in April 2020, followed by the debut studio-based album "The Wind Of The Season" out on January 18 2021.

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3.89 | 25 ratings
The Wind of the Season

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4.00 | 3 ratings
Beyond the Seasons

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Wind of the Season by FAIR WIND PLEASES album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.89 | 25 ratings

The Wind of the Season
Fair Wind Pleases RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

I've been a great fan of Russian band Roz Vitalis for some years, but in 2020 I became acquainted with two other projects from Roz Vitalis main main, Ivan Rozmainsky ? Compassionizer and RMP. Both of those featured Leonid Perevalov, of Yojo, on bass clarinet ? an instrument which has always been a favourite of mine. And only months later, in 2021, we have a new album from Fair Wind Pleases, featuring both Rozmainsky and Perevalov once more. It goes without saying that my interest was piqued immediately. Like much Russian music, Fair Wind Pleases seems to draw as much from the East as the West, which makes for a quite interesting and intriguing sound, and this is evident right from the start, with The Unpredictable Autumn (Part I). It makes a wonderful opening statement, lulling the listener in gently, before almost assaulting them. But it's a gentle barrage that I welcome with open arms.

One thing I especially love about this album is how much clarinets dominate proceedings. Within the Compassionizer and RMP albums, Perevalov added some quite wonderful textures and colours to the music with his bass clarinet, and here its combination with AndRey Stefinof's clarinet does not so much provide addition as foundation ? and it's absolutely beautiful to listen to. Clarinet and bass clarinet are almost constant in the mix, and conspicuous in their absence ? so that when either returns it never fails to make me smile. The Bandcamp page states that unlike debut release Beyond the Season, this new release "features both drumming and guitar playing!" Now, no disrespect intended to Anatoly Nikulin, but the guitar is almost surplus to requirements. Nothing wrong with it, but for me, the guitar doesn't really add anything, and the album would be just as wonderful without it. I do, however, like the drumming and percussion from Yury Khomonenko. It's never too much, and often barely present, if at all. It's this restraint that really makes the drumming so important when it does take a greater role.

But I need to return to the clarinets, just as the music of Fair Wind Pleases always does. In a way, this is why I don't really understand the need for Nikulin. Rozmainsky's piano playing often takes on the role a rhythm guitar might, and the clarinets solo the way a lead guitar might. When Nikulin plays, I don't dislike what he does ? and, don't get me wrong, it does work, and it does sound good. In fact, his guitar playing often provides an edge to the music that might not be created so strongly otherwise. It's not at all that I don't like his guitar playing, or don't recognise what it brings to the music, so much as I can't help but be aware that everything he plays might be played effectively without him. I'm aware of how harsh this sounds, so I apologise if any offence is caused, as it's honestly not intended. And, to be fair to Nikulin, regardless of how I feel about the role of his guitar in the mix, the mix itself is impeccable. So full credit to Nikulin for the mixing and mastering of the album, as it is perfect. Everything in its right place, as Radiohead would say.

The album reminds me a lot of the sort of improvisations King Crimson would perform live during the Larks and Starless period. I honestly am not sure how much of this album is improvisation and how much is composed, and that's one of the most interesting and enjoyable aspects of the album. It often sounds quite spontaneous, and at other times much less so ? but it always sounds fresh and exciting. I have no idea how I would describe the music. The band say it's a mix of the "neoclassical, avant-garde, ambient, progressive, post-jazz, chamber music, modern creative and other genres", which tells you everything and nothing at the same time. I don't think it really matters, as you really do have to listen to this album to appreciate just how great it is. It's alternately sparse and minimal, and dramatic and dense. It's expansive and expressive. The music paints a picture that is at turns subtle and vibrant, and which (for me) is impossible not to be swept away by.

An interesting aspect to the sound is that Rozmainsky has chosen to play a digital piano, which provides an almost odd counterpoint to the dominating sound of acoustic instruments. But it works so well, and sounds so good. While I suggested that the music is dominated by the clarinets, there is no avoiding that Rózmainsky is almost always there in a role that is absolutely integral. When I first listened to the album, I felt as if Rozmainsky was playing a supporting role, but although he perhaps is less prominent in the mix than the clarinets, there is no denying how much his piano playing brings to the music. In fact, if this were mixed differently, you could easily make Rozmainsky the star of the proceedings. The fact that he has allowed himself to be almost relegated to the background shows just how much importance is given to the woodwinds. And as much as I'm a fan of Rozmainsky, I think this was the right decision. Not because I don't think his playing here is lesser, so much as giving prominence to the clarinets provides a really neat point of difference for this album, that raises it above what it might be otherwise. There are moments where Rozmainsky takes the lead, such as in 7 and Waltz of Meek Lady, but for the most part, he plays the role of sideman, and does so admirably.

Ultimately, what Fair Wind Pleases really shows is an impressive knowledge of when to step forward, and when to fall back. Given how improvisational the album sounds at times, this shows how well the musicians must know each other, and be willing to let each instrument take precedence as it fits the music. It's a magical mix of melody, harmony, atonality and dissonance, with everything in balance, no matter how chaotic it might sometimes sound on first listen. And this is definitely an album which rewards repeated listens. As I've already noted, Niculin's mixing and mastering of the album is superb. Basically everything about this album is as good as it could be. I love it!

 The Wind of the Season by FAIR WIND PLEASES album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.89 | 25 ratings

The Wind of the Season
Fair Wind Pleases RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by tmay102436

4 stars This is quite fascinating, especially for their very first release. Fair Wind Pleases "The Wind of the Season" is more mature than one would think, but I believe we're hearing some very talented, imaginative, players, performing their thoughts and passions through the RIO / Avante Music idiom.

My overall impression is that this is somewhat similar to groups like "The Archestra" and "Five Story Ensemble" - both connected to the very creative "Rational Diet." The instrumentation is very organic, with not too much "rock" in the RIO, but a lovely "open feel" and yet, dark. This combination is what makes this form of music so appealing when done with the taste that "The Wind of the Season" offers.

Even the more "free form" sounding elements connect nicely, giving that "give and take" that makes the music a pleasant struggle, with final release and beauty. The primary things you hear are clarinet and piano, but the other instrumentation is present and very supportive. The drums are used both rhythmically and melodically, in a nice, easy mannered presentation. The bass clarinet too, acts as two instrumental thoughts, holding down the "bottom end" like a bass guitar would, but also interacting with the piano and clarinet in complementary fashion. The compositions seem both improvised and composed - one of my favorite elements in RIO.

This all gives a wonderful magical feel, and I like this very much. Hopefully we will be hearing more from this wonderful group out of Russia.

Bravo "Fair Wind Pleases" - BRAVO!!!

 The Wind of the Season by FAIR WIND PLEASES album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.89 | 25 ratings

The Wind of the Season
Fair Wind Pleases RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by The Anders

3 stars Fair Wind Pleases is a quintet from Saint Petersburg who play what they describe as "non-trivial instrumental music at the junction of neoclassical, avant-garde, ambient, progressive, post-jazz, chamber music, modern creative and other genres". The instruments are bass, drums, guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet and a digital piano. The latter provokes the purist in me, but fortunately one doesn't think so much about that when the instruments are playing together. It becomes more striking with the solo piano intros like those to the second and fourth tracks. In any case, I can forgive it, and after all the musical ideas have more weight. The primary solo instrument is however the clarinet which is often counterpointed by the bass clarinet.

Jazz strikes me as the most crucial ingredient in this music, due for instance to the clarinet solos or the more wild parts of "organized chaos", with moments of atonality. But there is also a clear impressionist element to the music. Listen for instance to the beginning of the first track "The Unpredictable Autumn (Part 1)" where the music is mostly pentatone. Or what about the functionless unorthodox chord changes during the main theme in track four.

Track 3 deserves special praise because of its build-up, from a harmonic calm beginning to a more stormy and dissonant second half. An interesting element here is the guitar ostinate that sort of "goes against" the other instruments. This for me is the peak of the album

But generally this is a very pleasant listening experience. It's not a type of music I would consider myself an expert in, so it is not so easy for me to go in details with it (it is easier with more song oriented music), but I am still intrigued by what I hear. A more general characteristic of the music would be dualty - between calm and storm, or harmonic and disharmonic. If there is a minus, it is perhaps the fact that the tracks sound rather alike; for instance with the clarinet being the main solo instrument in all of them. A contrasting track, for instance with fewer instruments, or just with more emphasis on other instruments, might add some balance. And then again there is the digital piano. Apart from that I really enjoy what I hear. Good album that I wish I could give 3,5 stars.

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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