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Happy 55 - A Magic Word (ВОЛШЕБНОЕ СЛОВО) CD (album) cover

A MAGIC WORD (ВОЛШЕБНОЕ СЛОВО)

Happy 55

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.77 | 8 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This is the debut album from this Russian group. Originally a trio but now a quartet. Basically you could describe Happy55 as a jazz group, but there is enough 'rock' rhythms and electronics to make them more than *just* Jazz. Based in the city of Vorenezh, the music here is a mix of jazz, classical, avant-rock and electronics. The lineup consists of a drummer, pianist and clarinet player (with additional synth playing). Pianist Yaroslav Borisov started playing accordion first and then switched to piano later. Drummer Alexander Bityutskikh is self taught and his playing is very interesting throughout the album. Sometimes there is bass but overall the drums, piano and clarinet drive the music.

"Kotefey" opens the album. For the most part it is rather upbeat and playful interspersed with some mellower and somber moments. Near the end you hear what sounds like bass guitar with wah-wah (but it could just be synth). "En Garde!" is one of the most intense tracks. Building tension through repetition (think Magma). A bit of wordless vocals at one point. "Sharp To The Left" is one of the most diverse tracks, going through different moods and sounds. "Eight" is a highlight of the album for sure. The piano melodies at the beginning and end are superb. The music gets interesting and diverse in the middle; goes through a number of musical ideas in a short span of time.

You notice more synth as the album goes along. The synth being very noticeable starting on the third last track "Whatever Happened." "Generous Fernando" is the longest track and like the second longest "Sharp To The Left" contains a lot of repetition building tension. Very intense and dramatic ending. The title track features the wah-wah bass sound from earlier but it really seems to be a synth here. The album gets better with each listen and is great sounding and very consistent. Highly recommended to those who are not allergic to acoustic oriented jazz with some twists and turns. This album is available on the their Bandcamp. I will give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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