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ZLYE KUKLY

Prog Folk • Israel


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Zlye Kukly biography
ZLYE KUKLY is a rather rare progressive folk band for a few reasons. One, they hail from Russia, not a real hotbed of prog folk of late. Two, they are currently based in Israel, where along with SUSSITA they form a big part of that country's neofolk scene. And finally, the band blends obvious folk sounds and sensibilities with modern prog and rock to yield a sound with few modern parallels, much in the same way folk rock was revived in the mid to late sixties.

The group has produced a number of self-released albums since their debut in 2000, culminating with an ambitious compilation CD released by Austrian label Ahnstern Records in 2007.

The band's sound is rooted in eastern European folk, and has been described as having both gothic and Baroque tendencies in the arrangements and overall mood. There are subtle hints of Jewish traditional music (primarily klezmer) as well, and occasional heavy guitar riffs to result in a rather unique offering on the prog landscape today.

Band leader Fred Adra is also known for authoring children's literature in Israel, and describes ZLYE KUKLY's recordings as soundtracks to children's horror movies with pirate romantics. The band's flair for drama calls to mind group's of similar tasteful neofolk flamboyance such as SAD MINSTRAL and SOPHE LUX, though ZLYE KUKLY's music has a timeless quality that sets them apart from even these acts.

The band has had little activity on their web page or mySpace account in recent months but continue to garner critical acclaim for their 'Strange Tomorrow' release and will hopefully resurface to record further in the near future.

>>Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth)<<

Zlye Kukly official website

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Chujoy Nebesny Gorod - The Strange Heavenly CityChujoy Nebesny Gorod - The Strange Heavenly City
Mals Limited
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$24.99 (used)
At The End Of DaysAt The End Of Days
Mals Limited
Audio CD$24.83
$24.99 (used)

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ZLYE KUKLY discography


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ZLYE KUKLY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Late September
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Strange Heavenly City
2002
2.00 | 1 ratings
Three Inside /Три Внутри
2003
3.35 | 5 ratings
At The End of Days
2006

ZLYE KUKLY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Искусство Лгать live (The Art To Lie live)
2001

ZLYE KUKLY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.03 | 3 ratings
Strange Tomorrow
2007

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

ZLYE KUKLY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Strange Tomorrow by ZLYE KUKLY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
4.03 | 3 ratings

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Strange Tomorrow
Zlye Kukly Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars uncover some great gems at times. Here we have an album by a Russian group, who reside in Israel, signed to an Austrian label, which was sent to me in NZ by a Polish friend to review! This was the band's first record label release, although all of these tracks (apart from two) were available on two earlier albums, taken from the albums "Чужой небесный город" ("The Strange Heavenly City"), 2004 and "На закате времен" ("At The End Of Days"), 2006. Although this is described as a band album, the impression is that of Fred Adra being joined by guest musicians as the need requires, whether that be violin, mandolin, additional acoustic guitar etc as he provides guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, percussion etc

I guess one of the questions is how to describe what I am listening to. I know that I like it, am often captivated by its' honest beauty, but what genre is it? It isn't exactly folk, and certainly isn't heavy, but there are elements of the more ambient Black Metal bands, combined with the more whimsical moments of bands such as Negură Bunget. It is music that defies definition, music that is immediate and enjoyable but has huge depths. Some of that is due to the music, but also Fred sings in Russian which to me adds greatly to proceedings. Over the years I have been lucky enough to hear plenty of Eastern Europe music, particularly Hungarian, and is it very reminiscent of some of the releases from the Stereo Pereferic label.

It is the combination of so many elements ? both cultural and musical - that makes album this such a joy to listen to. I was looking at the label site to see how much this CD costs, and today it is less than 5 Euroes! A bargain www.steinklang.at

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 At The End of Days by ZLYE KUKLY album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.35 | 5 ratings

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At The End of Days
Zlye Kukly Prog Folk

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars На Закате Времен (Or At The End Of Days) is an album released in 2006 and re-released in 2008 by Russian label MALS.

This is basic a Folk Prog album with many different styles within it, not so Prog, but good anyway.

This third record of Israeli/Russian band Zlye Kukly. The album in its majority is slow, sparse and pretty simple, far away from any Prog Rock complications. The songs are simpler in the traditional verse/chorus/verse scheme of things. But that doesn't mean a bad thing anyway, at least not here.

At The End Of Days (2006) is an interesting album, above average medium albums and it's full of good moments. I can bet that if they had a better production it would be an stunning album all along.

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 Three Inside /Три Внутри by ZLYE KUKLY album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Three Inside /Три Внутри
Zlye Kukly Prog Folk

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
2 stars This work is split album recorded by three Israel-based Russian bands Zlye Kukly, Comanda No and South Front. All album is almost fully acoustic. Zlye Kukly are represented by four songs, recorded specially for this album.

Musically, their songs are usual folk-rock, but in acoustic version. Unusually dark and heavy in moments. Almost depressive. The first song is beautiful strings filled acoustic ballade with female back-up vocals. Two songs in the middle are both just very average tracks. The last one , The Deer and Wolves, is hard energetic one, almost acoustic hard rock.

Overall, could be interesting for band fans only.

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 At The End of Days by ZLYE KUKLY album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.35 | 5 ratings

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At The End of Days
Zlye Kukly Prog Folk

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Russian neo-folk prog band, based in Israel. Nice acoustic sound, very characteristic for Russian alternative rock of the time atmosphere, no Middle East or klezmer influented at all.

They sing in Russian, so not everyone can understand lyrics, but in fact it is not a big problem. Not because their lyrics are of the low level, not at all, but in fact all the songs have similar dreamy and psychedelic poetry, which doesn't change heavily your impression from the music.

Again, both sound and lyrics are very symptomatic for many Russian alternative bands from 90-s, mixing neo-folk, acoustic musicianship and songs with lyrics, bringing you out off real life problems (there were a lot of them in Russia of 90-s, believe me!).

So, even if songs musically sound often too much similar all album long, acoustic sound is nice and musicianship level is good. I don't believe they could be interesting for wide range of listeners, but some interested in quality Russian neo-folk rock could find many pleasant moments when listening this album.

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 At The End of Days by ZLYE KUKLY album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.35 | 5 ratings

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At The End of Days
Zlye Kukly Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Less is more is a phrase often used in various circumstances. And in the case of this third effort of Israeli/Russian outfit Zlye Kukly this certainly holds true.

The mostly slow, sparse and pretty simplistic compositions on this effort really doesn't contain any advanced elements whatsoever. The songs are mainly traditional in structure with verse and chorus parts and an instrumental passage somewhere after the midway point, there are few changes in style or sound within each individual effort and even when the soundscape gets some embellishments from extra instruments it is in a pretty simplistic fashion.

But boy those this album contain some stunning moments. With acoustic guitar and voice alone main man Fred Adra conjures up some truly captivating moods, and small touches from banjo, flute or violin have a stunning effect whenever used. Touches of folk music and symphonic rock adorn these efforts, and although most times very different in style the mood of this production made me think of US artist Phideaux's creation "Doomsday Afternoon" quite often - which is a good thing in my book.

A good album with many truly splendid moments.

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 Strange Tomorrow by ZLYE KUKLY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
4.03 | 3 ratings

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Strange Tomorrow
Zlye Kukly Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars The first time I heard Zlye Kukly they struck me as one of those bands that used to be metal and now spend their time crafting nervously ambient music that threatens to erupt in an orgy of power chords, killer riffs and maybe some growling – but then doesn’t. Green Carnation, Opeth, 3rd & the Mortal and the Gathering all come to mind.

But on further analysis that perception turns out to be all wrong. Clearly I’m not the only one who’s made this mistake though, because I’ve seen these guys listed on metal sites, and also seen their music described as ‘moody gothic’ (like there’s any other kind of gothic music). I think this is more because those other bands have moved away from metal than because these guys have moved toward it though. The other reason it took a while to start to appreciate the band’s prog folk leaning is that the music has a timeless quality to it that you won’t find often in western folk music. These guys are mostly Russian, and operate out of Israel so their folk lineage is both more diverse and less rigidly tied to traditional folk music norms then British, Latin or even American folk rock. Instead Zlye Kukly appear to be part of an emerging trend of bands that gracefully blend broadly diverse influences to yield sounds that defy conventional classification and result in the creation of some gorgeous music but some really awkward-sounding genre tags on album archives all over the Web.

The closest comparison I can think of to their sound is possibly the Greek band Will-O-The Wisp, another modern, somewhat esoteric group that nimbly leverages modern rock structures, traditional themes and the occasional cultural instrument to crank out music that can be perceived as moody and mysterious but is altogether as pleasant an experience as donning a freshly air-dried Egyptian-cotton shirt. My only complaint (for lack of a better word) is that the lyrics are all in Russian, and the band provides no translations except for one song.

This is really a compilation by the way, although band leader Fred Adra has released it as the band’s first studio album on a legitimate label (the group has several private label recordings released in Israel as well). The album credits list the various musicians who appeared on those original recordings, with Adra being the one constant across all fifteen tracks.

At times the Adra seems to get a little caught up in the process rather than the music and veers dangerously close to pop territory, such as on “Mad Theater” where the drum tracks appear to be programmed and sound very eighties new-wavish, although the lithe mandolin and pleasant flute keep the song from becoming an anachronism.

Some of the songs appear to have historical religious themes, such as the staid, piano and flute-dominated “He Walks Along the Seashore” as well as “Babylon is Doomed” and “The End of Days”, although again its difficult to say for sure unless you happen to known the Russian language; the English song titles seem to suggest old-school God territory, but I can’t be sure. Elsewhere the band picks up the tempo with trilling percussion, a driving tempo and more modern-sounding arrangements such as with “Lamplighter” and (once again with the piano and flute) “Star Path”. The album consists of fifteen tracks and well over an hour of varied music, so there should be something here for just about anyone.

Overall I found this to be a rather intriguing collection of music from a fairly interesting band. The album made it onto my Blackberry which is high-praise of a sort since the thing only holds about fifty albums or so and there are a number of bands whose entire discographies are permanently etched on the memory card already. Like I said before though, it is a bit difficult for me to either describe or classify the music; a student of music theory could no doubt dissect it into it discreet parts, but where would the fun be in that? And anyone who happens to know Russian will surely find more meaning in the lyrics that most listeners.

So anyway, if you enjoy the music from any of the Will-O-The Wisp albums, Green Carnation’s ‘The Acoustic Verses’, or maybe the Gathering’s ‘Home’ then you should find something to like here. And if you enjoy modern folk rock at all, which these days means embracing all manner of blending of multicultural sounds, then this should definitely appeal to you. For folks like that I will recommend this album enthusiastically. For everyone else I’ll recommend it anyway since this is very good music; it’ll just ask a bit more of you than what you’re probably used to. I’m wavering between three and four stars, but tie goes to the runner in my book so let’s go with four. Enjoy it if you can find it.

peace

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Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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