Wednesday, January 16, 2013

East Drive Folksongs 2 Neuklang 2012

Folksongs 2 - East Drive - Album German based Bauer Studios in general and Neuklang Records in particular are putting out some of the finest music in Eastern Europe...FolksSongs 2 from East Drive is one of several releases that has mad cross over appeal here in the States if what is left of over the air and Internet radio would attempt to push the envelope. Not all artists will make due to language barriers and a variety of cultural issues but I can assure you East Drive is a band that will make you not only think twice about your current choices but will hopefully challenge you to dig a little deeper when panning for musical gold. This record excites me. In terms of genre, alternative indie pop with folk roots and tremendous jazz sensibilities or in short, alternative that works!

In terms of song selection we are looking at original material with subtle nuances, a disc that reveals something new with each subsequent spin. The individual musicianship is stellar and the vocals of Tamara Lukasheva on three of the eight tracks add a nice organic touch along with guest pianist Olivia Trummer who also tackles the often maligned melodica for another layer of flavor. East Drive is a formidable trio with Vitaliy Zolotov on guitars, Bodek Janke on drums and percussion and Philipp Bardenberg on bass and they have found that musical sweet spot where genres are transcended and the musical path taken is left largely to the listener. Instrumental tracks such as "Doma" and "Feines Suppchen" all have a more contemporary sound than most groups coming out of Eastern Europe while maintaining the form and functionality of what is normally force fed the listener here in the States. Their Eastern European heritage is celebrated while attempting to redefine the power trio in modern jazz and they are far more successful in the attempt than several bands that have come before them. There is an open ended approach that is harmonically captivating while never hitting that pretentious trip wire so many acts seem to find with ease.

FolkSongs 2 is fresh, invigorating and will hopefully raise the bar for other contemporary acts to follow. An absolute rock solid performance where all the stars are in perfect alignment and the band is on point every step of the way. 

Easily going in my "Best of...2014" list. For more information check out:

Tracks: Bulgar; Doma; Kolybel'naya; Feines Suppchen; Tangolivia; Seelenverwandtschaft; Ratka Mitrovica; Sam.

Personnel: Vitaliy Zolotov: guitars; Bodek Janke: drums & percussion; Philipp Bardenberg: bass.
Special Guests: Olivia Trummer: piano (1,3,5,7), melodica (5); Tamara Lukasheva: vocals (1,3,6).