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Rainy Season - 1992 Return




ARTIST: Rainy Season
ALBUM: Return
LABEL: Lituanus
SERIAL: RGM706
YEAR: 1992
CD REISSUE: 2000, Boheme Music, CDBMR 010179

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Maxim Pshenichny - soundtrack, guitar, bass, keyboards * Alexey Petrov - drums, wood box, glockenspiel, triangle

Additional Musicians: Alexey Zubarev - flute, slide guitar, pizzicato guitar, rhythm guitar * Maxim Kuznetsov - guitar * Rinalda - voice

TRACK LISTING: 01 Scents Of A Forest * 02 Towards A Clear Water * 03 Red Night: Part 1, Part 2


Background
One of the most exciting and still under-explored progressive rock scenes was that of the former Soviet Union during the very late 70's and 1980's. At the height of the 'cold war' most of us in the west via our own propaganda machine were led to believe Russian's were cold, gray, nuke happy atheists crammed in shoebox-sized apartments eating potato and cabbage soup while living an incredibly boring and uncultured lifestyle. Of course Communist rule was far from ideal and as history has showed us, could be brutal beyond human imagination and yet amid this oppressive society and prior to 'Glasnost'; the Russians created a thriving art, film and music scene albeit under the watchful eye of the Marxist government. The state run label 'Melodia' no doubt paid attention to the Pink Floyd albums smuggled into the country and the growing number of progressive rock bands whose copies of 'The Wall' weren't confiscated, coming out of Russia's damp and secret rehearsal halls. Bands like Aquarium, Horizont, Autograf and Arsenal as well as solo experimentalist's such as Eduard Artemiev and Sven Grunberg benefited from record contracts with Melodia and with the break-up of the former USSR and opening markets, smaller labels and indie efforts began to trickle out including this, the first of three albums from the St. Petersburg based Rainy Season.


The Songs
Like so much Russian music, 'Return' seems to come from another world entirely, with almost no connection to western progressive styles other than perhaps Pink Floyd, early '80s Johannes Schmoelling period Tangerine Dream and certain ECM label releases. Rainy Season's music is mesmerizing and a sensual blending of ambient, classical and ethnic styles and creating beautifully dark and exotic soundscapes. Slow tribal percussion and electric guitar reverberate on the mysterious 'Scent of a Forest' while soft wordless voice and spacey psychedelics balance the haunting and impressionistic 'Towards Clear Water' which to my ears could have been plucked for the 'Avatar' movie and soundtrack. The side-long and sweeping two part 'Red Night' is Rainy Season at their most experimental with Robert Fripp styled feedback and guitar soloing as well as dense electronic textures backed by unusual avant-garde percussion and effortlessly changing rhythms.


In Summary
Reissued on CD a decade ago, 'Return' is a must have for prog fans looking for something out of the ordinary and as an introduction to fascinating world of Russian progressive rock, you can't go wrong.


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