Kalutaliksuak- Last Day of Sun

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, September 28, 2009

RAIG (Russian Association of Independent Genres) is quickly becoming one of my favorite labels for when I want music that is avant-garde and completely out of this world. One of the latest acts to come across my desk is Moscow based Kalutaliksuak that formed in 1993 and used a variety of different musicians, but it wasn’t until 2006 that things really came together and the group began to release recorded material. On their newest album Last Day of Sun, the band has created a spacey prog rock/free jazz release based around the stories and myths that originated in parts of Russia where the sun goes down in November and doesn’t fully reappear until January. And although it may be a little too jam based for some people’s tastes, this is still a disc that will reward those that choose to dive in and see what it has to offer.

Listeners will immediately notice that the material on Last Day of Sun is very freeform in nature and has elements of prog rock and free/acid jazz but doesn’t necessarily fit in with any of the rigid definitions of these genres. The best way to describe Kalutaliksuak is as a very spacey group that has a heavy emphasis on guitar and keyboards and combines them in ways that feel fresh and unique. Although there are some slower, atmospheric sections throughout the course of the album there are also quite a few crazy, freak-out moments where the instrumentalists speed things up quite a bit and are constantly changing time signatures. As one might expect from an album that has to do with the disappearance of the sun, this is an album that is somewhat dark and ominous at times and when combined with some of the genuinely alien sounding keyboard arrangements the overall feeling of this disc is fairly bizarre yet entrancing. But despite the fact that many of these songs are pretty freeform it always sounds as though the instrumentalists are very in control of these compositions and have some idea of where they are going. The majority of Last Day of Sun is instrumental only, but occasionally vocals pop up which are just as spacey and distorted as the rest of the album and this definitely reinforces the bizarreness of the release as a whole.

Last Day of Sun is definitely not an album for everyone considering that it has a ton of layers and no definite structure. However, if you can give your full attention to Kalutaliksuak’s latest release you will find that it is a psychedelic mind trip that will require multiple listens to discover every detail. It will be interesting to see if the band will be able to maintain this level of experimentation on future releases and still maintain a sense of cohesion as that is what makes their current material so intriguing.


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