One listen to this musical outfit from Southern Russia known as Vespero was all it took to make me begin thinking about the great things that must be happening in Russia, and in particular on the R.A.I.G. (Russian Association of Independent Genres) label which has released the bands debut effort entitled Rito. The group which began a quartet in 2003, went through numerous personal changes before settling on their current lineup, and they've spent most of the time working on their own self financed releases up until this point.
Vespero must have been using the past 4 years to diligently hone their craft to arrive at this point musically, because it's certainly paid off big time and definitely been worth the wait, as Rito sounds like a very mature record from such a young band. The sound leans towards psychedelic / kraut rock, yet this somehow fails to aptly describe the depth of sonic layers found within the music. The compositions generally run in the 7 to 8 minute range, with 2 epic numbers, the spacey, multi tempo "Triptych: To The Falling Sun" and the absolutely stunning closing track "Ambience In Blue / Altarage To The Thunder" both weighing in at over 10 minutes each.
Throughout the course of this disc the Fedotov brothers Ivan (drums) and Arkady (bass, synthesizer, flutes) provide the constant rhythmic muscle for some truly adventurous and daring improvisations. They even venture off into brief flourishes of reggae and dub, as if to further prove they cannot be tied to any one musical genre. Violinist Valentin Rulev's fluid and graceful passages (see "Ambience in Blue" again) along with guitarist Alexander Kuzolev's sometimes jagged, effects laden assault, round out the quartet, and one cannot overlook their contributions which are equally as vital to the overall sound. While the majority of Rito concentrates primarily on these lengthy instrumental jams, a few tracks actually feature some brief, ethereal vocal flourishes, which are performed by a duo of female singers, Natalya Tjurina and Karnelia Mango. Rito flows effortlessly from track to track and comes across more as one large cohesive piece of work. In fact the whole disc has such a laid back, dream like quality to it, that it's very easy and might I say enjoyable as well, to just put this on, sit back, drift away and get lost in the music. Everything from the elegant cover design, to the sterling production work makes this a complete package in the truest sense.
There is so much great music to discover on Rito, and it's one of the few discs I've consistently enjoyed playing from beginning to end, each and every time. Rito's true allure is its power to lure the listener in with its splendid combination of bold and beautiful ambient atmospherics. To put it simply, this disc is nothing short of a masterpiece.
2) Triptych: To The Falling Sun
4) Inna's Burst In Tears
5) Crabs Ashore
7) Silence Breath Echo
8) Ambience In Blue / Altarage To The thunder