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Lunar Cape - Just Lunatics CD (album) cover

JUST LUNATICS

Lunar Cape

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars

Formed in Moscow in 2011, this is the debut (and so far, only) album from progressive rock/jazz fusion instrumental outfit Lunar Cape. The line-up is Petrovsky Nikolay (Electro-Nick) on guitar, harmonica, alto recorder, Olga Scotland on flute, mandolin, alto recorder, sopranino recorder, Paul Bulak (SadFat) keyboards, guitar, sound effects, Andrey Shashkov ' bass guitar, basso recorder, Mikhail Zolotarev, drums, and Ilya Myasin ' soprano recorder. Yes, there is a lot of woodwind on here, most unlike many other bands around. Although there are times when they do come across as similar to Jethro Tull, due to the way the lead flute is being played more than anything else, they have also been clearly influenced by Gentle Giant in particular, and western Seventies prog in general. For some reason, I also kept thinking of Camel, just because of the way they approach the music, but in reality they sound nothing like them at all.

From the first time I put this on I found that I had a smile on my face, as this album truly is a delight from beginning to end. I find it hard to believe that they have yet to be picked up by a label that can do them justice, as this is timeless music that certainly deserves to be heard by a far wider audience. It can be in your face, or reflective and gentle, and although it may never turn into rapids, this is a babbling stream of musical water that has a great deal to offer. The song 'Motorbike' commences with influences from South America, before gradually turning into something both more Cuban and Celtic, as if Clannad or Enya have been on holiday to warmer climes.

The more I play this the more I like it, and have discovered that this is music that really does benefit both from headphones and having the eyes closed, so that it can be fully concentrated on with no distractions whatsoever. A beautiful album, I can only hope that there is enough support for another one soon.

Report this review (#1820487)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Just Lunatics" is a record that is for a particular type of listener, The quality and musical value here are recognizable even if you don't fully embrace its idiosyncrasies. A stylistic mashup that can border on being a little too meandering at times, but ultimately contains enough melody and highly musical passages to stick out to the fan of instrumental world music and psychedelic rock. Many elements are brought into album, and the eclectic melding of psychedelic rock, light jazz, chilled out atmospherics and Celtic, Asian, and Eastern European folk elements create a musical landscape that varies tonally from track to track. Some songs even take on a soundtrack-like vibe and experimental or even Avant bent that can be pretty convincing and trans-formative when the disparate parts align properly. I just wish there were more opportunities in the dynamic that focused the world music elements in some different and more exciting ways.
Report this review (#1824477)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars There is a legend that the musicians came to us on Earth to restore a piece of star-striped textile, which earthlings have forgotten his last visit to the moon and establish cultural contacts.'In reality 'Lunar Cape' is a rock group from Russia (Moscow). 'Just Lunatics' leaves a really positive impression on first listen. Lunar Cape certainly have their own style and distinctive sound. I must say that the production of the album sounds professional. Just Lunatics is a mixture of prog with jazz influences and folk tunes. They have been clearly influenced by Gentle Giant and perhaps Frank Zappa. One thing that must be acknowledged though, is outstanding Flute work Olga Scotland. In some places music witty and funny.

I recommend it highly to everyone, 4/5.

Report this review (#1916660)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2018 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The debut release by the eclectic Russian sextet Lunar Cape is an album of music even more colorful than its eye-catching folk-art 'cover' illustration (by one Arseny Lapin, who deserves a credit equal to the band itself for his distinctive visual branding of their musical style). The group, one of many notable acts to emerge in recent years from Russia, is Moscow-based (by way of the moon, according to their own fanciful creation myth), and play "music that could be the soundtrack to a film, cartoon, video game, or a certain performance"...quoting the awkwardly-translated official Lunar Cape biography.

Each of the album's eleven tracks presents a beguiling mix of influences, weaving eastern European folk-music traditions into a decidedly modern framework: part throwback '70s rock; part smooth jazz; and flirting at times with a local strain of oddball instrumental pop...textbook Prog, in other words, and immediately appealing from the opening notes of the kickoff song "Pink Slippers": a beautifully-crafted ray of musical sunshine almost guaranteed to cure your late-autumn existential angst.

The rest of the album follows the same optimistic trend, easy on the ears in the best possible way. Consider it the musical equivalent of a cloudless sky in mid-summer: warm, relaxing, and all the more surprising from a nation of artists notorious for their moody self-absorption.

It helps that these six musicians really know their stuff, and obviously enjoy playing together. Two-thirds of the group include recorders among their arsenal of instruments, best heard in a 100-second Gentle Giant-like 'Excerpts from Octopus' interlude called "Dudki". Showboat solos are discouraged, although guitarist Nikolay Petrovsky (Electro-Nick, to his friends) is allowed a brief, spotlight moment of mock-heavy blues jamming in "Cat Bite" (preceding the songs "Mouse Dirigible" and "Cats the Captain"). But if the album has a standout player I would nominate Olga Scotland, whose colorful flute and mandolin accents give the music its bright ethnic disposition.

You'll note an element of Space Rock fusion elbowing into the mix, in "Southern Harbor" and "The Realm of Sleep", adding further contours to an already irregular musical landscape. But for the most part it's an album of simple tunes and catchy melodies, more than a little moonstruck yet always grounded in the fertile soil of the band's native culture.

Report this review (#2082303)
Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | Review Permalink

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