Originally formed in Moscow in the early 90's, instrumental avant-garde outfit Kalutaliksuak was / is the brainchild of Alexander Chuvakov (guitars, flute, voice, percussion) and Vladmir Konovkin (keyboards). Gigging with various different musicians over the years proved unsuccessful and the when the band eventually folded in 1997, they unfortunately had little to show for their efforts. Fast forwarding approximately ten years, the duo resurrected the name and promptly set about resuming their highly experimental musical explorations. Armed with Alexi Ohontsev (bass) and Sergei Titovetz (drums, percussion), Kalutaliksuak returned to action with their highly acclaimed 2008 conceptual album Last Day Of Sun , which was released by the Russian label RAIG. Now, after a three year wait the mighty wielders of the avant-rock torch have finally unleashed their equally as ambitious sophomore disc, entitled Snow Melts Black.
Spread out across four compositions, that clock in at around seventy minutes, Snow Melts Black on the surface feels pretty much like a natural extension of Last Day Of Sun and yet at the same time it also finds the group expanding the overall scope of their sound by adding a few new sounds and textures into their arrangements as well. One again the band does a fantastic job of drawing the listener into their multifaceted, ominous and ever shifting landscape by seamlessly fusing a plethora of dissimilar styles of music together and molding that into something that comes across as carefully crafted originality.
The listener is treated to a complex mix of prog, jazz and modern classical elements, via the muscular tribal rhythms, icy cold, trance inducing, keyboard atmospherics and the howling, spiraling guitar work that rises to the fore on " Here The Snows Are Melting, Breath The Floods Are Growing..." and "...Sing Your Bliss Of Love To The Mighty". Not to mention when the Tuvan style throat vocals enter into the mix, you quickly realize that this is by no means meant to be your average kind of listening experience. Perhaps the albums centerpiece though is the third track " You Shall Gain What You Have Prayed For..." where the band ventures out into what definitely feels like a King Crimson influenced improv, and yet for all of its imposing, improvisational 'heaviness' the band tosses some lighter shades and textures on to the canvas as well with some light and airy flute passages.
Granted, Snow Melts Black is not going to be for everyone, but if you're one of those people who can appreciate superbly crafted, instrumental avant-garde art rock, then by all means seek this one out, because Kalutaliksuak aren't looking to merely create albums, they're aiming for lasting musical statements. Headphones required for maximum effect!
1) Here The Snows Are Melting, Breath The Floods Are Growing...
2) ...Sing Your Bliss Of Love To The Mighty
3) You Shall Gain What You Have Prayed For...
4) ...On The Morrow And The Next Day