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Eclectic Prog • Russia

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The Gourishankar biography
THE GOURISHANKAR (meaning "the mountain as high as Everest") is a unique blend of old and new, music that blurs the line between Modern Prog and Retro Prog - imagine DREAM THEATER mixed with TAAL and PORCUPINE TREE.
They refuse to label themselves as a Prog band but it is obvious they are. Marked with outstanding professionalism, these musicians:
- Nomy Agranson (real name Alexander Agranovich) - guitars, basses, backing vocals;
- Doran Usher (Pavel Ertsev) - keyboards and programming;
- Vlad MJ Whiner (Vlad Iutin) - lead vocals;
- Cat Heady (Maxim Sivkov) - drums, loops
got together in Russian provincial town Syktyvkar. They already knew each other from activity in related projects they participate (from alternative rock to electronics).

After releasing some demo-works (one of them included GENTLE GIANT's "For Nobody"), they've managed to sign to the UNICORN label and in 2007 released their first official CD "2nd Hands". It is utterly spectacular - we have influences from almost every musical genre and a strong melodic basis supplied with mindblowing complexity.

"2nd Hands" can be recommended to all Prog fans due to its universal beauty. One of the most promising bands from the Russian scene.

After some line-up changes THE GOURISHANKAR, now a trio, released in 2016 their 3rd album "The World Unreal".

Prog-Jester (Igor)
2016 updates by E&O Team

Why this artist must be listed in
A creative and eclectic unit, THE GOURISHANKAR bolsters the contributions being made by Russian prog bands.

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Close GripClose Grip
Unicorn Digital 2008
Audio CD$13.99
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Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

THE GOURISHANKAR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 77 ratings
Close Grip
3.96 | 161 ratings
2nd Hands
3.47 | 19 ratings
The World Unreal

THE GOURISHANKAR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE GOURISHANKAR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE GOURISHANKAR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
1st Decade (The Gourishankar Anthology)

THE GOURISHANKAR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.55 | 11 ratings
Integral Symphony


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The World Unreal by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.47 | 19 ratings

The World Unreal
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

3 stars At this point in the evolution of The Gourishankar the project is almost a solo endeavor of multi-instrumentalist and chief songwriter Nomy Agranson. Drummer Svetoslav Bogdanov and lead vocalist Jason Offen are the members who complete Nomy's vision. Also, with The World Unreal The Gourishankar has moved even more towards its 80s- rooted Neo Prog heart?which is not a real plus for me.

1. "Intro-Fate" (2:03) a flowing collection of spacey techno sounds that provide an introduction to the album. (8/10)

2. "Order and Chaos" (5:30) puts on display the eclecticism of this band as it melds funk bass, techno keyboards sounds, both metal and techno-pop guitar, and Middle Eastern female vocal incidentals with a kind of Mariuz Duda- Mark King lead vocal. Pretty good song. If you twist my arm I would probably admit to this being my third favorite song on the album. (8/10) 3. "First Rush" (5:01) is such a 80s-style pop song (using more modern computer and sound technologies)! We could be listening to Johnny Hates Jazz or Thomas Dolby or Level 42. Only, this song would not get very far on the pop charts. (7/10)

4. "Let It Go" (4:11) opens with programmed drums and percussion and vocoder and auto tuned vocals with mushy keyboard banks chords. OWL CITY meets The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart. Pretty well done, though. (8/10)

5. "Place for Everything" (4:45) is really one of the only songs on the album that has a truly progressive rock feel to it ?though its music often falls into ruts of 80s techno pop sound cliches. (8/10)

6. "Heartland" (5:53) is a very radio friendly Crossover/Neo Prog song in a kind of Nice Beaver-Level 42-Simple Minds-The Cure vein. Unfortunately, it has no real bite or vim?especially coming from the vocalist. (7/10) 7. Truth Stays Silent" (12:00) is stronger for its many changes, its many sections, and for the presence of the violin. It is weakened by the pitchy vocals and dated computer keyboard sounds used (especially the choral banks) and the two or three sections that are kind of cheezy (especially toward the end). (8/10)

8. "World Unreal" (4:40) is a nearly flawless pop prog song with great clarity definition given to all instruments in which violin, lead vocal and percussion shine particularly. One of my top three for this album. (9/10)

9. "Time Follows" (5:48) is a delicate, subtly constructed song that works. It is one of the top three songs on the album. (9/10)

10. "Pleasure and Suffering, Pt. 1" (5:43) is a totally NeoProg song full of bombast and cliche. Nice but nothing new or exciting to write home about. (8/10)

11. "Pleasure and Suffering, Pt. 2" (5:22) is an instrumental which sounds very much as if it were constructed on a computer program. It has a rather nice New Age-y sound and feel to it?and a kind of Hibernal approach with a sci- fi metaphysics blurb read over the top of the song's fourth minute. Not bad. (8/10)

While Nomy Agranson is a very talented musician and competent songwriter, his music is often lacking cohesion, lacking spark, and lacking anything really new, fresh, or innovative. His drummer is equally competent and the singer has a very pleasant tone to his voice, he just lacks conviction and excitement. (He is much better with softer, almost whispery sections?like on "Time Follows".) More violin, Nomy!

3.5 stars.

 Close Grip by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.74 | 77 ratings

Close Grip
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a new group that I hadn't heard of before. I don't have much experience with Russian prog bands and can't really make any comments on how this group compares with other Russian prog bands. One thing I can say is that I see much potential for this band. Reviews of their second album seem to confirm that they have improved, but here on their debut you can tell there is some room for growth and development in their compositions.

This band is in the eclectic prog genre and that seems like a genuine fit after listening to this album, though their sound is decidedly leaning towards neo prog to my ears, with occasional heavier moments and some electronica aspects in places. They remind me of a combination of bands, including Enchant, A.C.T., Marillion, Dream Theater, Rush, and even hints of Gentle Giant.

The compositions seem to jump around quite a bit, as if they are trying to fit every idea into every song. At times it becomes a bit confusing and disjointed, sometimes becoming a serious distraction. The vocals for me are the low point. They are often buried in the mix and what can be heard isn't done very well and is sometimes clouded by the singer's accent. This area needs some work in my opinion. Disjointed songs work for some groups, but not this one and I would recommend developing an idea instead of throwing many together in a patchwork. The group definitely has talent and all members are skilled on their instruments, particularly the guitar and keyboard work.

Three stars for a fairly decent first effort. I will keep their second album on my list as reviews of that one seem to suggest its better than this one and shows much improvement.

 2nd Hands by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 161 ratings

2nd Hands
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by Katsuhisa

5 stars Unbelievable !! It's a masterpiece !

This band is really unbelievable. The music is very technical, but very melodic, and full of surprising ideas in rhythm development. You hear beautiful violin tunes and suddenly you hear rumba and in no time you hear wall of prog keyboards. You can never predict whether you hear classical sound or running rock or reggae next to what you hear now. It changes by seconds. Waoh.

Another remark we can make is they are talented in melody making. The second track "Endless Drama" is for instance like a song of Pet Shop Boys, yes, it is pop but entirely progressive rock that walks in the center of this genre. Can you imagine ? I say no you can't until you hear the music. Five-star album with no hesitation. For all prog fans.

 2nd Hands by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 161 ratings

2nd Hands
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars THE GOURISHANKAR are a band out of Russia who are obviously a talented group but whose music really failed to grip me.This almost comes across as a Prog by numbers release but hey considering this is a Prog site it will be up most people's alley. Over 71 minutes of constant tempo and mood shifts will attract most fans of this genre.

"Moon7" has some heaviness with lots of synths early on.The tempo and mood change often.Violin before 8 minutes then it settles right down after 9 minutes. "Endless Drama" opens with synths and a beat as the sound builds. It settles back again a minute in and vocals arrive around 1 1/2 minutes.The sound builds again but continues to shift. I actually don't mind the vocals after hearing fellow Russian band LITTLE TRAGEDIES almost ruin their album with those heavy Russian vocals. "Queer Forest" is constantly shifting and vocals come in after a minute. A Reggae vibe comes in out of the blue 4 minutes in followed by organ. "Taste A Cake" is a short piano and violin led tune. "The Inexpressible Chagrin" has an electronic beat a minute in.Vocals follow and sax comes in later before 5 1/2 minutes.

"Syx" has a classical vibe early with piano, violin and more.This changes before a minute as it turns heavier. It settles with flute 2 minutes in and synths follow.The song keeps changing though as different instruments lead. "...End" has these intricate sounds that build.This is kind of cool.Vocals 2 minutes in as the sound gets smoother. Electronics after 5 1/2 minutes.Catchy stuff. Good song. "Marvelous Choice" is the over 18 minute closer. Electronics to open then the piano becomes prominant. Heaviness around 2 minutes then it settles back. Vocals after 3 minutes. Mellow stuff. Some vocal melodies come and go. It turns heavier before 9 1/2 minutes followed by a calm as the song continues to shift and change.

A good album but not a 4 star record in my book.

 2nd Hands by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 161 ratings

2nd Hands
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On first listen to the opening track, Moon 7, it is possible to think that the band is going too far out of their way to be overtly prog. The song is defined by sharp contrasts, constantly moving from one idea to the next with little to no warning. A single minute of this song has as many sections as some ten minute songs, and the song runs for ten minutes on its own. Trying to understand this song off the bat is like trying to catch a river.

Yet multiple listens reveal that The Gourishankar are not just showing off. Sure, they have crunchy guitars, melodic violins, bass sections, and much much more in this track - but it's not just to prove that they can. As you listen to the track multiple times, you realise that the band has a remarkable ear for melody and flow - that, once the many different movements don't all catch you off guard, they actually flow in exactly the right order, and sound incredibly pleasing to the ear.

Endless Drama is a bit less free-form than Moon 7. It starts with some techno-y synths, before guitars join in and we get our first dose of The Gourishankar's vocals. This style of song is actually much more common on the album - a combination of basically techno-y music, some heavy guitars, and heavily accented yet quite charming vocals. The sharp contrasts in mood still exist, (the thirty seconds from 4:15 - 4:45 are an excellent example, where it transitions from a key part, to vocals overtop of that, to vocals with heavy guitar, to playful vocals that remind of System of a Down to some degree, to female vocals, with each section having a different melody). So the constant changes still exist, but in this song, it settles more, and it repeats itself more.

Endless Drama is not the only song to be structured in such a way. Queer Forest, The Inexperessible Chagrin, and Marvelous Choice are all similar in style, although after Endless Drama, none of the songs change quite as frequently.

Taste a Cake is aptly named - it gives us a nice little dose of sweetness, with a great piano line, some low violins, and distant airy vocals at parts.

Syx is another sweet sounding instrumental song, opening with more piano and violin. It develops more gradually than some of the earlier tracks on the albums, which means that by two minutes, it's only had about four different sections. This one is a lively, upbeat track featuring the synths and the violins prominently.

End is a very synthesized track, even featuring drum loops instead of drums and effects on the vocals. This is another track where The Gourishankar display their ability to develop themes slower than they did on the first track.

In conclusion, the sound is very melodic with the occasional crunchy guitar. Synths play a huge part in the music, and the drums are occasionally done via drum loops. Guitars are rarely in the forefront. The music can be incredibly eclectic, switching from idea to idea so fast you get whiplash, but at the same time the also know how to build up a nice theme. Violins guest on several tracks and sound wonderful.

Highlights: The Inexperessible Chagrin, Moon 7, Endless Drama,

 2nd Hands by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 161 ratings

2nd Hands
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by Eapo_q42

4 stars Progressive in the literal sense, highly unique.

This is a really, really crazy album. The downright eclecticism and insane variety that makes up these 8 tracks is incredibly confusing when you first spin this. I kept trying to predict what my star rating for the album would be, but it was impossible! From one track to the next, it would jump from 5 stars, all the way down to about 2.5. I appreciated the manic creativity, but there were some sounds and moods that just did not sit right with me. Shades of 90s Eastern European techno throughout...bizarre and unexpected.

Several more spins revealed that this misunderstanding was my own inadequacy and most certainly not the music's fault. These guys definitely mean business, and putting out an album this good at such an early stage of their career bodes very well for the future.

I won't describe Moon7, as its available for streaming here on progarchives and listening to it will probably convince you to order this album, as it did for me. Great opening, enough said.

In fact, most of the tracks here are up to that same standard. Huge, maniacal levels of energy, superlative keyboard and guitar/bass work and unique interesting compositions. If there is anything to complain about, it is limited to two tracks.

Endless Drama has a couple of questionable moments. It builds around what can only be described as a mid 90s techno/dance loop. But the song moves on from there, incorporating the melody (but not the sound) into newer, more compelling sections. Their range of influences is so huge, and their willingness to experiment so obvious, it becomes so easy to forgive the unexpected techno stylings. I do really like this track now, but not quite as much as some of the others.

The track where this album really loses its 5 star rating, however, is The Inexpressible Chagrin. To be 100% honest, it's kind of a godawful song. It is obviously lacking in the imagination and skill so evident on the other 7 tracks. Very uninspired, and a real shame.

So, forgetting that track entirely, we are still left with about 65 minutes of admirable, pallatable prog rock goodness. More than worthy of 4 stars. Maybe even 4.5.

 2nd Hands by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 161 ratings

2nd Hands
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Truly eclectic, there are not only changes between songs (every one of them is different, you won't be feeling treated badly by this artist), but you should also expect wide variety of paces, styles and genres within tracks. Two things are important for this way of doing music, you have to possess big capacity of brain, to imagine these things, to make them real. And second, you have to put it together. Goods songs full of ideas are good, but it's useless, when it does not hold together.

Here, it sounds almost like collection of many short songs which were put together by glue of unnoticed transitions. Well, almost, at times. You have to literally expect the unexpected, almost prog metal like style pouring into strings / guitar solo. It's music that won't keep your brain rest, not even for short time. So it's for adventurous listeners only, those who want to think about music. With just listening, it would lose much of its magic I think. Also it's hard to decide, whether it is melodic, or not. Probably it is, but not in traditional way. Location, where they come from surely helped them to have different point of view, influences and style. Vocals are average and quite pleasant, nothing unfriendly, or just for someone. But these funky electronic sounds don't fit me here. But that's part of this eclecticity.

4(+) for this dish full of fruits of different origins.

 Close Grip by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.74 | 77 ratings

Close Grip
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm a bit surprised not more reviewers checked out this second (actually first) issue of The Gourishankar. 2nd Hands has 59 ratings right now and this second release only 14. I would say: if the "debut" is so well received by the public go for the other one as well. It was at least what I thought after I had digested 2nd Hands completely.

Because it turned out to be another doubt case for 3 or 4 stars I will do the song by song review once again.

Gripped by Fear is a short opening instrumental with some weird key sounds hardly producing anything melodic but at least it's original. 2,5*.

Insomnia is the first real song and first impression compared to 2nd Hands is that this sounds rockier than previous album. Second thing I notice is the similarity between Vlad's voice and the one of the latter-day Geddy Lee. A thing I didn't notice with the earlier album. What has remained the same is the original sound of the band. Even though they display several music styles within their songs they still have their recognizable sound. Most obvious influence in this track is Rush (besides the already mentioned vocals). 4* for this.

Sweet Earth starts much more quiet in the opening minutes but gets varied along the way. A song of moodswings you might say, another original and unpredictable composition even though this was even more the case on 2nd Hands where you ran from one strange experience into the other. It proves why the band is in the eclectic category. 3,75*.

In the Hope is the second short song on this album and again it's just instrumental with same out of the ordinary keyboardplay. 2,75*.

Wind of Night is a track with piano-like sounding keys, later on accompanied by nice guitar turning jazzy all over sudden then back to mainstream prog. Yes, indeed The Gourishankar is about shifts and swings and I really like this feature of the band. Very complex song this. 4,25*.

Autumn Frost is the longest track of the album. Starts with choir sounds for the first 50 secs, then immediately turning in the same rock style as Insomnia with great guitar after two minutes going on for a while then going back to the choir for half a minute until we are halfway down the song. Here a strange voice takes over. This is The Gourishankar people ! Weird sounds and piano play take over sounding extremely beautiful for over a minute. In the last section of this interesting track keyboards are prominent, followed by the vocals again. A grand finale closes this marvellous mini epic. Along with previous track the highlight of the album. 4,5*.

Close to Death is the third short track, this time with vocals though they are just scat singing. Again a pretty special one without obvious melody. 3*.

For Nobody is another rock song with vocals reminding me of Gentle Giant (cover obviously). And musically there's some resemblance as well. To me a blend of GG and ... The Gourishankar. 3,5*.

That's right, The Gourishankar is maybe the band with the most influences of the various music styles you will ever meet. And yet, to me they are recognizable as they are. After some time you start to get familiar with the shifts and you can clearly detect it as The Gourishankar. For me they have already established themselves as one of the more significant modern progbands. And they have a fan added to their already long list, being yours truly. I don't know what I was thinking when I said it was a doubt between 3 and 4 stars. Ok, maybe it's rounded up but it's four stars 100% deserved. Though slightly less than the "debut"'. Oh, a word about that (though several others already metioned it): chronologically this album Close Grip is actually the debut for these songs were written earlier than those of 2nd Hands. So to keep things badly arranged they switched the releases so to speak.

 2nd Hands by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 161 ratings

2nd Hands
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by The T
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A fantastic, if flawed, Russian release.

The music, as said previously in countless reviews, lays somewhere in between progressive-metal, symphonic-rock, with touches here and there of space rock or even national rock. There are moments where the band are riffing it hard, sections that sound influenced by DREAM THEATER. Those elements are intertwined with structures that remind us of symphonic rock, a la THE TANGENT (another band that falls in the "eclectic prog" category as it defies categorization, though it sounds more symphonic than anything else). The use of pianos is mixed with the use of hammonds and spacey synthezisers, with the casual appearance of wind instruments here and there. At times we think PINK FLOYD, at times PORCUPINE TREE, even RUSH. That the band manages to mix all of these influences and still sound coherent is a testament to their abilities.

The playing itself is never restrained. The band never seems to rest (with the exception of the vocalist who actually -and thankfully- rests throughout most of the album), and the music is like a cascade of constant notes and details. The harmonic work is excellent, and it even starts with a misleading statement: the first few moments of the album are almost a cacophony, with pianos playing in a different key than the rest of the instruments which at the same time are also doing what they want. But this chaos gradually dissapears in favor of very harmonic music. What follows is more than an hour of precious arrangements and virtuosic displays.

The musicians are excellent all the way through. Only the vocalist seems like the odd ball here. His voice, quite, sweet if we can say that, is completely overpowered by the music and, even though it fits it, it can't quite add to it. It's like the vocals are there and don't bother, but they could be removed and the results wouldn't be different. Maybe that's why the emphasis in the album seems to be on instrumental sections.

Besides the vocals, my only other complaint about THE GOURISHANKAR is that, by trying to be too much, they somehow can't come up with an identity of their own. They sound like everything else but at times I fail to hear music that makes me say "that's THE GOURISHANKAR!".

The album is, nevertheless, a success. I give it 4 stars, and for a few minutes I was ready to give it the fifth one. Maybe their next work could be perfect. This is a debut album after all. and quite a debut.

 2nd Hands by GOURISHANKAR, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 161 ratings

2nd Hands
The Gourishankar Eclectic Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

5 stars These Ain't No Rurals from the Urals

Why the insufferably wet and empty Dream Theater (sic) are mentioned so often in previous reviews escapes me. The latter are but a war crime against blank manuscript paper and if progressive metal is malleable enough for a football analogy, represent a gritty defensive Chelsea, while the Gourishankar must surely embody the free flowing and silky high tempo attacking soccer of Arsenal. (How ironic that the former are wholly owned by a Russian billionaire but considerably less so that their nickname is the Pensioners).

Such is the wide diversity of stylistic sources assimilated by these Soviets, that even in a fudged east-west translation, this heady pot pourri need not be subject to cross-border controls. We meet here on 2nd Hands nothing less than the invigorating fresh smell of disinfectant to rid the prog world of its stale odour of perpetual decay.

It's the welding of electronic dance techniques to challenging rock music that make The Gourishankar so unique and innovative. Although Porcupine Tree dallied with such a hybrid on some of their earlier output eg The Sky Moves Sideways, the results were often a diluted cocktail which I find less than intoxicating.

Moon7 - Even a quartet as illustrious as Al Di Meola, Danny Carey, William Orbit and Keith Emerson would be at a loss to come up with anything approaching this: Karn Evil 10 anyone? Jaw-droppingly good and almost borderline bi-polar in construction. I really wasn't prepared in the least for this and it's astonishing that writing this episodic and tangential can achieve structural rigour on such a scale. There are traces of Porcupine Tree in the guttural riffing and nonchalant transitions to poppier lyrical territory, Depeche Mode in the electronic viscera that pulses beneath the ribcage, Gentle Giant at their most wantonly abstruse and ELP at their most inspired. Around the world in 80 bars including a cruise to Latin America together with even more hooks than an amputee pirates convention. The haunting celtic tinged violin on Moon7 always brings a tear to this grudging Scottish lemming's eye. If instrumental rock music is ever gonna go anywhere, then it could do a lot worse that hail this particular taxi.

Endless Drama - Never was a track so aptly named. A sleek and shiny pop exterior, but under the hood lurks a sly and sneaky groove in seven that avoids the inevitable listener fatigue of so much dance vocabulary from being trapped in a prosody of its own cyclic limitations. They even throw in a sprinkling of Porcupine Tree and (cough) Dream Theater here and there as if the message weren't clear enough: This is ROCK music that utilises dance ingredients appropriate to the sensibilities of its creators.

Queer Forest - A nod in the direction of Rush and their crunchy six string before we are regaled with a superb melody that will nag you incessantly forever hence. Features a glimpse of a shimmering and modulated guitar sound that even Robert Smith of the Cure would drool over. Has more meter changes tempo hikes, key modulations and sadistic unison passages than could be considered healthy for any god-fearing mammal.

Taste a Cake - Short and delightful piano waltz interlude featuring some subtly wry viola gravitas in the rear courtesy of Vladimir Rastorguev.

The Inexpressible Chagrin - (although the Gourishankar attempt to) Word to the wise lads, don't leave yourselves vulnerable to self fulfilling prophecies next time eh? A boiling and crackling interior not dissimilar to Depeche Mode with the improbably named Cat Heady lending an adroit paw at infusing sequenced synth parts with a suitably feline playfulness. Comrade Heady appears to be the author of the many slinky drum loops and bleepy percussion that percolates throughout this album and has electronic batterie ever sounded this organic?. I particularly like the singer's voice on Chagrin and Vlad MJ Whiner (you gotta love that handle) betrays no trace of an eastern European accent at any point. (Is he really a Ruskie then?) The main hook here is a delicious and irresistible synth motif which is deserving of industrial strength cuddles. Wonderful stuff. Nomy Agranson contributes a lovely weeping and throaty guitar solo redolent of some of Camel's better moments and the exquisite sax timbre from Dmitry Ulyashev is just tear welling joy. If that were not sufficient for you greedy critters then check out the capricious bubbling sequencer broth buried underneath and just luxuriate in the whole spiffy thang. Towards the close Ulyashev appears on breathy flute and the effect is such that the historical and contemporary do not collide, they EMBRACE. This might serve as an epithet for the whole undertaking.

Syx - Pizzicato strings on a jesting waltz plus a sturdy main theme stated on violin that shades itself in the awning provided by a looming Gentle Giant on the horizon. GG are a palpable influence here and the impression is reinforced with some jazzy medieval sax and clanging over-driven guitar chords. There are some beautiful analogue synth textures under the fingers of Doran Usher on Syx and the playing, interaction and articulation is stellar top drawer by all concerned. I always thought that Danny Carey was the best modern drummer I had ever heard (in probably the worst modern band) but this Heady Cat seems to possess an independence of four limbs that would put a spider's personal trainer to shame. There are some comedic 'slurping' synth patches that imitate Kraftwerk in places but rest easy, there ain't any of that Teutonic we make better robots than we do people malarkey here thank you very much. The sleeve neglects to advise me who plays the bass on 2nd Hands but whoever he/she/they may be, boy do they have a sumptuous and taut bottom end.

-(sigh)...Oh do grow up dear you're not a giggling schoolboy any more... -

- Sorry hun -

Special praise must go to the producer or engineer who preserved the natural timbres and dynamic colours of Cat's acoustic drum kit as this is notoriously hard to do when there is a welter of competing frequency band 'stealers' in the shape of guitars, keys, brass, vocals etc so the light and shade we get to enjoy in Heady's magnificent performance is to be marvelled at.

The detours and resulting scenery are uncanny. One minute a Bossa Nova groove with fusion sourced devilment then the next, a reggae skank as if attempted by a Mexican Happy the Man tribute band (I ain't kidding, much) Rippling piano and yearning violin again threatens to turn on the lemming waterworks during the closing reprise of the waltz rhythm, but this time revisited with a wistful remorse.

End - Squirted liquid synth fades in and the feel is Martian electronic wedding march music? Once again the crafty irregular meter avoids the wearying monotony of this habitually hypnotic style and the band segues miraculously into a rousing verse and gloriously unforgettable chorus. Gawd I adore this record. There is a smidgen of UK's excellent debut album herein, particularly when the violin duets or harmonises with the lead synth and more yummy high cholesterol modulated guitar arpeggios redolent of Durutti Column. If rock and dance make strange bedfellows, this is a porn flick starring William Orbit and the entire female cast of Hair

Marvelous Choice - Quotes from the 'drum and bass' dance genre on the intro but nothing could surprise me any longer and some of the instrumentation and mood mirrors that of Melancholia era Inquire. I am sure Happy the Man would sanction a nod of approval to the implied harmonic device of predominantly arpeggiated accompaniment. Another memorable vocal melody framed in piano and joined by haunting strings and searing but subtle guitar. Almost akin to Wes Montgomery/George Benson guitar octaves on the jazzy bridge (if there is such a conventional beastie on this creation, more likely an interlocking network of Escher overhead tunnels). Next up, what happened if Mavis Bacon had played the organ on Tarkus? and this lengthy finale is truly symphonic in the strictest use of that term. In places it consigns most Philharmonics to tinny and cissy skiffle bands by comparison. Fades hypnotically to the end with what sounds like Mongolian throat singers put through a vocoder?

Very difficult to describe this band without coming across all girly gushy swoony : A UK Gentle Giant astride a Camel feeding from a Porcupine Tree? (even flippancy just doesn't do them justice, as the foregoing are starting points not destinations and no, the Gourishankar ain't Soviet rhyming slang)

Given the dearth of genuinely innovative progressive music being created right now, the Gourishankar must at least represent what the future might hold and I for one am really excited by this and just hope more of you can get to hear what is a noughties masterpiece. No contest.

Thanks to Atavachron for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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