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Pandora Snail

Eclectic Prog

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Pandora Snail Live at Babooinumfest album cover
4.03 | 13 ratings | 5 reviews | 23% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Way Up (09:09)
2. Epsilon (05:38)
3. The Breath Of Life (05:44)
4. Moment Of Eternity (05:39)
5. Watching The Earth (06:10)
6. James Pont (16:03)

Total Time 48:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Ulyana Gor / keyboards
- Oleg Gorgadze / electric guitar
- Kirill Klyushin / bass guitar
- Artem Gareev / violin
- Vsevolod Shuvalov / drums

- Vladimir Basten / trumpet (4,5)

Releases information

Recorded at the festival of progressive and fusion music Babooinumfest 6th November 2016.

Recorded by Grigory Kuzmin-Desnitsky
Mixed and mastered by Kirill Klyushin
Photo by Julia Klimova
Design by Artem Gareev

Self released (digital download)

Released January 4, 2017

Thanks to Nikols for the addition
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PANDORA SNAIL Live at Babooinumfest ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(77%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PANDORA SNAIL Live at Babooinumfest reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by zravkapt
4 stars This live release from this Russian band is somewhat of a preview of what the sophomore album will sound like. All but one track here is a new composition (although I don't know if every track will make the new album). The sound on this recording is very good; in particular, I love the tone of the bass. The music of Pandora Snail is instrumental and can be described as a mix of fusion and symphonic prog. The version of "James Pont" from the debut here is similar in sound but better performed than the album version. The newer tracks are generally in the same style as the debut album. Two songs specifically stand out to me: "Epsilon" and "Moment Of Eternity." The former opens with some tuned percussion (not sure if that is a glockenspiel or something similar) and a rhythm section which vaguely reminds me of the band Tortoise. Great classical styled piano playing here. In addition also some lovely emotional violin work. I like the riff/groove they get into towards the end.

"Moment Of Eternity" is one of two tracks that feature a guest trumpeter. Fast paced classical piano opens the piece, joined by some sympathetic trumpet. I love when the harder-edged synth comes in, turning the track temporarily into some kind of synth-rock. Great trumpet solo later on. Overall a nice release worthy of your attention. The album is available on Bandcamp. it will be interesting to hear how the new album will sound like. If you like modern instrumental 'eclectic prog' with an emphasis for the fusion-y as well as the symphonic, this music might be what you are looking for. I will ultimately give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The real test for any band, Progressive or otherwise, is how well their music plays in concert, and here's a clue: it has nothing to do with being able to reproduce studio tracks note for note. The Russian group Pandora Snail gets it exactly right on their first live album, already one of the highlights of the New Year.

The gig was recorded in late 2016 in front of what sounds like a sparse but sympathetic crowd, totally appropriate for the band's intimate blend of energetic, instrumental Classical Rock. Smaller venues typically foster a stronger rapport with an audience, and the quintet responded with a dynamic performance far surpassing the expectations raised by their warmly-received debut album "War and Peace".

On stage the group sounds completely liberated from whatever inhibitions might have hindered a pleasant but (in my opinion) too-polite studio recording. Their live sound is more eclectic, and takes bigger risks in pursuit of higher rewards, at times approaching the kinetic intensity achieved by ANGLAGARD, fellow travelers along the same line of musical latitude.

Almost all the music is new too, perhaps offering a road-tested preview of the band's new studio album, currently in the works. If so, we can expect to hear some complex, clever, and hard to categorize music, driven by the agile hand of keyboardist and composer Ulyana Gor but deftly integrated within the full ensemble, playing tricky material with remarkable cohesion and skill. The only familiar track in this set is also the longest ("James Pont", at 16-minutes), and it comes across far stronger in the larger context of a live performance than it did in the studio.

The Snail is suddenly picking up speed, having released three distinct and very different albums within a brief sixteen month time span. Progressive Rock - the real thing, not the comforting nostalgia of Neo Prog - is apparently alive and well in Saint Petersburg, and Pandora Snail is quickly and quietly emerging as a local standard-bearer.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars

No prizes for working out that this is a live album, which was recorded at a festival in St. Petersburg on 6th November 2016. This was my first introduction to this eclectic progressive band, although they released a studio album in 2015, which I haven't heard. There are some interesting bands coming out of Russia at present, bringing together multiple different styles, and these guys are yet another that is totally out of left and producing something that is a million miles away from the mainstream, yet is also accessible (at least to me) and enjoyable the very first time I played it. What we have here are five people who are all incredible musicians, and have the jazz confidence in their bandmates that comes from many hours of playing together, are combining that with modern classical influences and then bringing in elements of RIO and the more complex areas of progressive rock music to create something that is refreshing and new. No Genesis clones here!

In terms of instruments we have keyboards (which is often piano), bass, drums, electric guitar and violin (plus a guest trumpeter on two songs) with no vocals. If there are boundaries in music, then these guys aren't just stretching them but are trampling them underfoot as if they don't exist. If I was to liken to them to another band then possibly After Crying, but I can also see Frank Zappa getting a real kick out of what they are doing, and would it be too much to bring Art Zoyd into the equation? It doesn't sound as if they were playing in front of a mass crowd, but those who were there were certainly provided with a musical treat. I look forward with great interest to hearing more from Pandora Snail.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This band really knows how to play!

I was lucky enough to be introduced by Nikolaj to Pandora Snail's music almost a couple of years ago, when this amazing Russian band released their War & Peace album (a personal 5-star album, by the way), which surprised me positively due to its variety of sounds and genres, creating a solid sound that reflects the musicians' likes and talent. A great progressive-fusion journey I had with that album! Early this 2017 they released their first live-album, which let us know that they are not only awesome in studio, but also they have a lot to offer on stage, which is why I cross my fingers and hope to see them live someday soon. This released is entitled "Live at Babooinum Fest", features 6 songs and a total time of 48 minutes.

The first surprise when I saw the setlist is that out of the six songs, just one was taken from that acclaimed War and Peace album, the rest I assume will belong to their second studio album, which I understand, is on the making nowadays, and can't wait to see its release! Well, this album opens with 'Way Up' and since the very first seconds violin appears, just as in studio, its role is very important in Pandora Snail's sound. After a couple of introductory minutes now the song changes and a structure begins to be built up with extraordinary bass lines, great drums, amazing classical piano notes which later turn into proggy keyboards, cool guitar riffs and that already mentioned violin. The sound is kind of folkish, kind of jazzy but in the end, exquisite progressive rock.

'Epsilon' is a very nice 5-minute piece that has a slow beginning but while the minutes pass more and more ingredients are being added to the saucer, creating a delicious boiling point in which a kind of nervous sound appears. Then it vanishes little by little until only keyboards sound. 'The Breath of Life' has a vertiginous piano & violin start, then several changes on time and mood appear, giving us again a nice journey. 'Moment of Eternity' has the addition of a trumpet, which together with piano and violin create a beautiful yet disarming sound. Something happens with their music, in moments I think I've been listening to them for several minutes but then I realize only one or two minutes have passed, which is why I adore their richness of sounds, textures and nuances.

'Watching the Earth' has a somber piano-bass-drums start, later guitar joins with a distorted sound creating a tense atmosphere that seconds later vanishes because a new feeling begins. It is great to see how they manage to change their sound and what that sound shares to the listeners in a split second. After 3 minutes trumpet appears again in a moment of relaxation. This live release finishes with the extraordinary 'James Port', a 16-minute epic that belongs to their debut album. My god, just as I wrote in my review of that studio album, this song is simply amazing and their live performance let us know how capable they are as composers and performers. This song is a monster, a great example of what progressive rock is, and why prog rock is still live and kicking asses.

Congrats to the band for this release, now I am eagerly waiting for their upcoming album. Enjoy it!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I was blocked. I've been blocked for years and I've just restarted writing reviews. This is the reason why, despite having received a request for review from Pandora Snail in 2017, I'm writing it two years after. Aplogies to the band.

This release is so perfect that the fact that's a live is hard to believe. Usually with an instrument like the violin in the lineup, the guitar is sacrificed. Not here. There's enoguh room for guitar and piano, which can drive the melodies even in presence of the violin. Bass and drums on their side aren't just accompaining them. In particular I've noticed the harmoies that bass and guitar are able to produce together.

Not only, on a couple of tracks another "soloist instrument", the trumpet played by the guest Vladimir Basten adds complexity to the balance.

The music is instrumental, melodic and in some parts tendent to a newage mood, but even in those parts the prog element is predominant. A track as "Moment Of Eternity", to mention one, has odd signatures, changes of rhythm and in the structure, plus the trumpet which is excellent.

With a lineup of this kind, I see similarities with the last incarnation of ROZ VITALIS, at least on the mentioned track. (please consider that this album came out two years before the last Roz Vitalis). Pandora Snail is another example of what is happening in Russia. A lot of very good bands and artists between Moscow and St, Petersburg are showing that there's a huge musical movement going on, and considering that music is still very important in the Russian scholastic system, it's not a surprise if all the Russian artists show an amazing skill.

Back to this album, "Watching the Earth is a highlight. There's a lot of things going on here, from a relaxing melody to an exciting dark uptime. Last but not least, there's a 16 minutes closer which has also a bit of funky inside. This track only can justify the existence of the whole album. It moves from Crimsonian ambience to melodic parts with the violin in foreground, like a sort of instrumental CURVED AIR.

The only thing that I find strange is that the applauses at the end of the tracks are suddenly cut. In my opinion, they have their place in a live album and even if it's clear that the band is not playing at the Wembley stadium, it's clear that the public is enthusiastic. Let them show their enthusiasm in the next live, whenever it will be.

There haven't been other releases after 2017 but I sincerely hope to hear from them asap.

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