Year of Release: 2006
Label: Auris Media
Catalog Number: n/a
Total Time: 41:24:00
Vialka ? gypsy turbofolkpunk / Kruzenshtern I Parohod ? John Zorn gone klezmer, sort of. Interesting idea for a split CD from Auris Media under the all-hearing ear of sound mastermind Udi Koomran. Vialka's half ? interesting as a novelty, but really does wear off after a while / Kruzenshtern I Parohod's half ? interesting, both as a novelty and as the real thing, and doesn?t wear off! Interestingly enough, the end product is a unified entity, although the Israelis (the latter of the two) do blow their French counterparts off the edge of the universe as soon as the infectious energy of "Tort (With Accordeon)" takes off. Vialka ? needs some work to get out of the novelty act stigma / Kruzenshtern I Parohod ? talk about hitting gold after their already enjoyable Songs. Udi Koomran ? somehow manages to find the perfect sound for each band's style. The whole thing without this maddening splitting on behalf of yours truly? Pretty damn good, although mostly thanks to the second half.
Let's stop the dissecting for a second and dive into the French dynamic duo of Vialka. With a definite Eastern European folk influence, Eric Boros leads the way with driving rhythmic riffs straight out of Bulgarian lore while backed by the hyperkinetic drumming of Marylise Frecheville, who seems to be more concerned with hitting as much stuff as possible than with being right on the tick of time. Gypsy turbofolkpunk music is what these two call themselves and I?ll be damned if there?s a better description possible. The melodic material is total gypsy obsession; the aesthetic is well, definitely punk-oriented; and Frecheville's vocals kind of sound like a half-demented and completely drunk out of her mind cabaret singer in a belligerent mood. It's pretty appealing sometimes ? "Bamako" and "Nanaimo" are cute and catchy tracks in a way, and "Usaisa Monster" reverberates with the crazy urgency of Frecheville's vocals ? but the vocals' over-dramatization gets tiring after a while, and the guys' song and dance in general just gets kind of old. While seeing these two live must be quite the spectacle, and Koomran somehow manages to perfectly harness the sonic energy of Vialka while keeping the bare-bones production values of punk going, the band's participation in this split endeavor is more of a curious novelty than anything else.
Set off against this, however, is a superlative effort by klezmer psychos Kruzenshtern I Parohod, fresh (well, not really) off their Songs album. Guy Schechter still pounds away on the skins like a deranged savage and Igor Krutogolov's bass is simply a smashing monster, but Ruslan Gross' ethnic clarinet stylings have acquired a subtlety and variety that now give him unlimited mileage, and newcomer Olya Yelensky's accordion playing is, well, simply a gem. "Tort (With Accordeon)" makes the booty shake, the head bang, and the synapses fry. A revamped "Young Ones (With Accordeon)" has a Faith No More-like groove from the very depths of the most infectious headbanging hell and some palatably elegant call-and-response action on behalf of Gross and Yelensky. "Karate" seems like the soundtrack to a manic Felix the Cat episode involving long chase sequences, the mafia, an unhealthy amount of acid, and a dash of the epically poignant. Talk about totally sweet. Krutogolov?s Patton-esque vocal screams might still be a bit tiresome, but they are pretty much absent this time throughout; the instrumentals are more varied and interesting than in the past; and Koomran has found a better mix for the Israeli boys and girls. We?re all happy. Kruzenshtern i parohod rules. Without Vialka, this baby would have been as awesome as ninja. With Vialka, however, it?s still very good.
Vialka: Bamako (5:45) / Nanaimo (6:24) / Singes Merdiques (1:28) / Gothenburg (4:12) / Usaisa Monster (2:38) // Kruzenshtern I Parohod: Tort (With Accordeon) (5:24) / Young Ones (With Accordeon) (7:39) / Piratskaja (3:32) / Karate (4:21)
Eric Boros ? baritone guitar, voice
Marylise Frecheville ? drums, voice
Kruzenshtern I Parohod:
Igor Krutogolov ? bass, voice, noise
Ruslan Gross ? clarinet
Olya Yelensky ? accordion
Guy Schechter - drums
Tonight I Show You Fuck
The Republic Of The Bored & Boring (mini-CD)
Everywhere And Nowhere (DVD) (film by Frecheville)
Curiosities Of Popular Customs
Kruzenshtern I Parohod:
The Craft Of The Primitive Klezmer
Live In Karaganda (2004)