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ARTSRUNI

Prog Folk • Armenia


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Artsruni biography
Composer, guitarist and vocalist Vahan Artsruni is leader of this impressive Armenian folk prog outfit that came to life with the new millennium. They are a group of six highly accomplished musicians whose sound could be described as smooth, easy-jazz fusion with middle-eastern accents. Far from simply imitating their American and English counterparts, they draw on their own cultural background to give their music a genuine local flavour. The 'nervous' flute play will inevitably remind some of JETHRO TULL, but the pervading acoustic guitar also gives their material an early-CAMEL feel. Lacking a keyboard player, their music comes across as somewhat jazzy, being devoid of that 'filler' effect usually brought on by keyboards.

Their only studio album to date, "Cruzaid", features some energetic interaction between the flutist and the guitarist, who alternately play together or off each other. The incredible bass playing is nothing short of spellbinding, infusing each piece with cutting-edge rhythmic sections. Indeed, each track allows all instruments plenty of room to shine individually. Apart from "Cruzaid", the band have also released two live albums: "The Lost and Found, Live Album" in 2001 and "The Live Cuts 2002/2001". As their sound quality is rather weak, they come off as slightly unpolished but they are still a treat - especially in the case of the latter, where the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra gives the music a magnificent, rich, full-bodied sound.

Folk prog aficionados will undoubtedly enjoy this music, but JETHRO TULL and early CAMEL fans will also feel at home with ARTSRUNI.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Artsruni official website

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Buy ARTSRUNI Music


CruzaidCruzaid
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$312.84
$18.95 (used)
The Live Cuts 2000-2001The Live Cuts 2000-2001
2002
Audio CD$15.91
$40.05 (used)
The Live Cuts 2000-2001The Live Cuts 2000-2001
Import
Musea 2001
Audio CD$16.69
$9.99 (used)

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ARTSRUNI discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.67 | 30 ratings
Cruzaid
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Komitas. Ten Revelations
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ethnophonica
2002

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

3.50 | 2 ratings
The Lost and Found, Live Album
2001
3.98 | 5 ratings
The Live Cuts 2000/2001
2002

ARTSRUNI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

ARTSRUNI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I am pretty sure this is the second band from Armenia I have encountered in PA. That other band was excellent. What was the name again ?........... Oaksenham !! Their debut album was excellent. Artsruni is not far behind that standard.

Artsruni is listed under the Folk Prog label. Which type of folk rock ? I find very little Armenian folk rock here, if any. The only folk rock here is some Celtic and a lot of English folk rock. That in addition to a lot of fusion/jazz. Add some Camel to the mix and you get this album.

The main instruments here are flute, keyboards and various type of guitars. The use of various percussions spices up this music. The musicians does a good job here.

The quality is pretty good throughout. I am missing the strong Eastern/Armenian identity in the music. Instead, the folk rock element makes me feel that I am somewhere in England. That is one gripe I have with this album. The other gripe is the lack of any superb songs which would had made it stand out from the rest of the crowded scene. But it is still a very good album.

I get the feeling I may grow to be very fond of this album in twenty years time. PA have now included an option to update and change the reviews. I therefore reserve my right to update this review in twenty years time.

3 stars from me at the moment.

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 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Vahan Artsruni’s official debut got a fair amount of notice from progressive, fusion and world music sources when it released in 2002. And rightfully so, given that the accomplished musician hailed from that mysterious and exotic place known as Armenia, and showed promise of being an emerging new source of ethnically-inflected modern progressive folk music. In fact though Artsruni have released very little since this initial studio release and for the most part what is available is in the form of live recordings or studio snippets that can be downloaded from the artist’s web site.

As for this album, the musicianship is crisp, detailed and top-notch in quality, but if you’re expecting something that reflects a strong sense of Armenian culture or some sort of reinterpretation of local folk classics, you’ll be somewhat disappointed with what is presented on the record.

To be sure there are some cultural signatures in the music, particularly in Arman Manukyan’s flute and the various light percussive inflections. But the meat in this music comes in the form of Artsruni’s acoustic (and Vahagn Amirkhanyan’s electric) guitar playing, and these both come off as much more jazz/fusion works than any kind of culturally-infused folk arrangements. In particular the chords on “Barev” sound very familiar to me but I can’t quite place them; and the two-part title track is a bit too fast-tempo and guitar-heavy for what I expected of the album. The second half of the title track does show eastern influences in the electric guitar inflections, but overall this could just as easily have been a few guys in Atlanta, London or Paris recording and I’m not sure I would have noticed much difference.

The latter part of the album is actually much more interesting and unique than the first few tracks though, and these are the songs that are really the saving grace of the disk. “Im Ser” features some of the same guitar-god soaring electric guitar passages as some of the earlier tracks, but it also has a number of tempo transitions that sneak up on the listener and serve to keep this from being simply background music. “Anush Garun” sounds a bit like a more earthy working of “The Lost Symbol” in some respects, and the very intricate flute arrangements and highly eastern-leaning electric guitar on this one are a treat. This is much closer to what I had expected when I bought the disk.

The closing “Call of the Wind” is a bit of an aberration as it includes vocals from Vahan Artsruni which were a bit unexpected. But he has a decent voice and this is still largely an instrumental affair except for the opening and closing minutes. But I wouldn’t rank this as one of the stronger works on the album.

I’ve had this CD for a couple years now and have to admit it doesn’t get played much. The initial rush of interest in a modern act coming out of Armenia faded pretty quickly after I picked this up and spun it a few times, and especially after not seeing much released to follow up the debut. But this is a very decent recording and a solid three star effort. Just don’t expect something that overwhelms you with exotic, ethnic charms – this is a well-executed studio session from several very professional musicians, nothing more, nothing less.

peace

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 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Putting Armenia on the prog map

It is pleasing to discover prog from different parts of the world, and this is certainly the first time I have encountered a band emanating from Armenia. Named after band leader Vahan Artsruni, a gifted (occasional) singer and guitarist, this 2002 release is the sole Artsruni studio album available at present, although two live recording have also been released. The line up consists of no less than six musicians, split evenly between the rhythm section and the lead instruments of guitar and flute. The combination of lead and acoustic guitar and jaunty flute (played by Arman Manukyan) inevitably leads to comparisons with Jethro Tull, but overall the sound here is more diverse. The album is largely instrumental, with flute and guitar rotating the lead position.

Here we have eight tracks, all running to around five or six minutes. The opening Aditon seeks to cross all the styles adopted by the band as quickly as possible, the folk elements of flute and acoustic guitar being counterpointed by some incisive lead guitar. The following Barav sees flute taking the dominant role, the playing reminding me of the great Joel Schwarcz (of Continuum).

While the opening tracks are appealing for their clean sound and originality, the novelty begins to wear by the time we reach The lost symbol, which is very much more of the same. The tittle track too, which is two distinct 6 minute sections, simply ploughs the same trough of flute and guitars, devoid of vocals or variance of sound. The second part, which appears in musical terms, to be unrelated to the first, emphasises the folk and traditional aspects of the band's sound a bit more.

It is track six, Im Ser before we get to hear Vahan sing for the first time, his soft European tones being introduced by some further fine flute. The song is more in the ballad style with weeping lead guitar eventually picking up the pace into a more orthodox rock number.

Inevitably, we have to compare a track to Jethro Tull at some stage, and Anush garun is as good a time to do this as any. The Anderson like playing of the flute combined with the various guitar styles and prominent bass here delivers a Songs from the wood feel. The album closes with Call of the wind, the only other track to feature vocals. This time they are louder with strong accompaniment, creating a track which stands apart from its peers. For me, it is the least impressive of the songs, but it does at least offer a welcome diversity from the predictability of the bulk of the album.

In all, an album which has a number of fine tracks, but this is one of those instances where the whole is less than the sum of the parts. The single style and sound of the album are ultimately its downfall. We should not be over critical though, the musicianship here is very good, and the individual tracks rewarding.

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 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars After listening to Cruzaid about 5 times in a row I decided that Artsruni really suffers from the lack of a keyboard player, or at least this omission exposes some weaknesses in the group's sound. It contains WAY too much muscular demented lead guitars that the band seems to view as de rigueur, and that appear when they needn't, when perhaps a keyboard fill might work better. I'm not saying they couldn't have succeeded using this ensemble, only that their formula and arrangements accentuates what they are missing. If you are familiar with Kollar Atila's album "Musical Witchcraft", you have a sonic picture of what is going on here, and can perhaps make a judgement based on your own specific tastes.

The very opening track, "Adition", is Artsruni in a nutshell, a sprightly melody beginning on acoustic guitar with luscious flute and heavy bass and drum work, and a generally jazzy vibe, but once that is explored, the raunchy lead guitar steps in. Well played yes, and good for maybe a surprise or two on a 50 minute CD, but this motif just keeps reappearing and loses all novelty halfway through the disk. Nonetheless, some of the material is so strong that I am forced to hold my nose during a few of the solos and just appreciate everything else that is going on before, during and after. And on "The Lost Symbol", the standard approach actually works, thanks to stellar rhythm and judicious progression of the piece, such that when the insanity intrudes it is completely in context. While the title tracks exhibits all that is worst about Artsruni, even then admittedly not without merit, "Barev" escapes the rut and the two vocal tracks, "Im Sir" and "Call of the Wind" both benefit greatly from the additional instrument of voice, presumably in a very musical sounding Armenian.

While this CD won't send me on a crusade, it appeals enough to avoid sending me on a tirade, in spite of some weaknesses that can be corrected with a little more imagination and a little less machismo.

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 The Lost and Found, Live Album by ARTSRUNI album cover Live, 2001
3.50 | 2 ratings

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The Lost and Found, Live Album
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Artsruni is a six piece Armenian formation that was founded by Vahan Artsruni. Originally he was destined to become a doctor in medicines after his masters degree but music turned out to be his first love. From 1984 he was involved in lots of musical activities and he developped himself into a skilled and experienced musician.

The first five songs on this live album sound like studio- sessions or jams: the melodic music is build around flute/electric guitar interplay and soli, mainly by guitar (with echoes from Ritchie Blackmore but less heavy) or flute and at some moments the bass guitar. The use of (twanging) acoustic guitar gives the music a warm and folky atmosphere. My highlights are Aditon (obvious Jethro Tull climate), Anush Garun (dynamic with hints from the embryonic Solaris) and I m So (beautiful twanging acoustic guitar and flute but with the foucs on a long and sensitive electric guitar solo). The other two deliver a folky atmosphere (similar to Dutch folk band Flairck) with violin, acoustic guitar and pleasant Armenian vocals.

A fine album, not with keyboards but it sounds very warm, prog folk fans wil be pleased.



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 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well, I expected more AREMNIAN sound. I was ready to hear doudook and other magnificient instruments, maybe Ethnic tunes or choir samples, but no - take JETHRO TULL, supply it with a bit of Metal and ordinary Rock. After all, nice, but sadly not- Armenian...Enjoyable, but samey to loads of other albums of that kind. Luckily, ARTSRUNI is marked by excellent melody sense (the opening track made me put away my work and concentrate on music when I was listening to them the first time!). Very good and pretty overlooked.Not the example of Armenian Folk Music, just a fine and well-recorded/produced/composed/played Prog-Folk record.Recommended!

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 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by aramg

4 stars Very impressive, to say the least. Being Armenian myself, I may be biased but I think these guys can really put together some great melodic and folky prog.

The guitarist, Vahagn Amirkhanyan is a masterful and precise player, comparable to Steve Hackett or Andy Latimer. He just plays beautiful, long notes and really paints a great picture. The flute, like many others have pointed out, gives this band a sound similar to Tull, which I love. If only they had found a way to incorporate the Armenian-native "duduk," a slightly simpler but still terrific sounding woodwind instrument, this band may have more of an ethnic feel. The rythm section forms a great backbone for the band, especially Moltivin's bass.

Favorite tracks include: Barev (meaning, 'Hello'), The Lost Symbol and Im Ser (My Love)...Not too many Armenian lyrics: Great for all to enjoy.

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 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by Serb

5 stars It is the progressive collective first in my collection from Armenia. What can I tell? Superb. Based on an electroguitar, an acoustic guitar and a flute, musicians create epic, perfectly arranged prog-rock. Undoubtedly, it is possible to find analogies to creativity of musicians. Most likely - Jethro Tull. Perfected, precise and masterly solo Vahagn Amirkhanyan, lyrical flutes Arman Manukyan are superb combined with a soft acoustic guitar most Vahan Artsruni. One of the best albums, that I heard in it to year. Five stars!!!

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 Cruzaid by ARTSRUNI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Cruzaid
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by Hyppo

4 stars A great album mixing several influences.They're Armenian, so you'll find folkish melodies, but non only. Take a bit of Jethro Tull, some jazz-fusion, some heavy metal (yes metal, expecially for the electric guitars) and surely some folk music, and you'll obtain a very well played set of mostly instrumental pieces. A remark for the bass parts, which are in my opinion a distinctive element of this album. Just the guitar solos are a bit poor: very well played from a technical point of view, but a bit "cold", not so much expressive.

Finally an essential album.

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 The Live Cuts 2000/2001 by ARTSRUNI album cover Live, 2002
3.98 | 5 ratings

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The Live Cuts 2000/2001
Artsruni Prog Folk

Review by platform

4 stars I have enjoyed Artsruni's Cruzaid for many months and now have recently bought 'Live Cuts'. I am glad I did .It contains all of the positives of Cruzaid but has an extra looseness which in this case benefits the music. The bass playing is magnificient. All in all agreat addition to those who like theuir flute in rock,hghly recommended along with other bands such as the unknown but magnificient UK prog folk flute band Molly Bloom

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