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Baba Yaga - Collage CD (album) cover


Baba Yaga



3.78 | 25 ratings

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5 stars How did Baba Yaga pass me by? Plain and simple, just like a lot of other truly obscure Krautrock. Mainly because the lack of reissue, the original LP on Cycle being very rare and expensive (as is the case for these kinds of albums). Collage (apparently their second release) consisted of Ingo Werner and Iranian-born Nemat Darman. "Mokscha" starts off with Netmat Darman exploring his Persian roots with the santoor (dulcimer common to Iran, it sounds similar to the Hungarian dulcimer called the cimbalom, or the Arab zither called the qanun, except of course, the qanun is plucked). Then droning synths from Ingo Werner, at first I thought I was hearing a didgeridoo (no didgeridoo was credited). The music is now in early Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh (that is, the early electronic era) mode, the kind of tripped out Krautrock we all come to love. Sitar and santoor kick in again with that Indo/Persian crossover style, then going back to synths, created in a nice spacy manner with EMS Synthi A sound effects to go with. The only thing is I wished the santoor and sitar was more integrated with the synths, but I was so blown away by the santoor playing that I didn't care if it was unaccompanied. So many times if Krautrock groups wanted to explore Eastern styles, Indian seems to be the de facto style, many groups like Amon Duul II, Brainticket, Mythos and the likes had incorporated sitar into their music, so it's nice to see Persian influences for a change (although the Indian influence shows up when Nemat Darman plays sitar). When I hear this, I imagine those colorful stained glass patterns projecting on the floor of the Nasir al-Mulk mosque in Shiraz, Iran when the sun shines through. "Wadia" is a totally sticks strictly to Western styles here, even Nemat Darman sticks to a standard rock drum set here. Here the duo has much greater interaction. The piano intro makes me think of the piano part heard on Brainticket's Celestial Ocean, and I assumed that's where they were heading, but instead the go the space fusion route, a bit like a more relaxed, spacy version of Mahavishnu Orchestra. No surprise that electric pianos and clavinets dominate, with spacy synths and string synths, but tons of spacy passages that would be out of the question with John McLaughlin & Co. (besides Baba Yaga never touched a guitar here). This album just left my mind completely blown! I can't believe what I was hearing! It totally rivals the best stuff from the better known acts I have heard, and that's no joke. Sure the santoor and sitar passages may not be to everyone's liking, but I really enjoy them as much here as the Western side of things, so it's a complete win/win for me, because a lot of these East/West experiments don't always work, but in the hands of Nemet Darman and Ingo Werner, they succeed with flying colors. Incredible stuff that deserves a five star for me.
Progfan97402 | 5/5 |


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