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Samuel Andreyev — The Tubular West
(TVR-CD006, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-01-17

The Tubular West Cover art

To start out with, I’ll just say that The Tubular West is an extraordinary album which constantly inspires in me the kind of musical confusion that I thrive on. Coming at it from the standpoint of being completely unfamiliar with Samuel Andreyev, I can’t say I had any expectations, so I took it in track by track, gradually assembling a picture of what the artist is about. Or not. That’s the thing with this album — it’s such an original combination of sounds that it’s challenging to get a handle on. It starts with “Showbox Shuffle A,” which features multiple versions of Andreyev’s voice in a complex arrangement that reminded me of Gentle Giant if Kerry Minnear had handled all the singing. That short track gives way to “Pluto’s Matches,” which starts with what sounds like a medieval organ and bassoon, then morphs into a kind a pop tune with piano and electric bass backing a really acrobatic vocal melody, almost like a really artsy Broadway tune (Sondheim in a mood to challenge singers). Later the vocal line is doubled by a recorder, further complicating matters. Towards the end of the song, the piano goes kind of nuts with offbeat clusters and kitten-on-the-keys craziness. The next track features an eerie mood with a flute melody and dissonant backing chords that could be from the soundtrack of an old spy movie. And then there’s a bouncy circus-like backing for a rather tortured sounding violin or viola. The album continues with similar variety from the challenging arrangements, changing tempos and moods between the tracks and sometimes within them. A number of the intriguing sounds were created by instruments designed by collaborators Olivier and Léo Maurel, and the frequent use of recorders lends a hint of Gryphon, though the context is rather different. At times I’m reminded of Cédric Vuille’s music with L'Ensemble Rayé, though this is a bit more serious. Still, this is an impressive album, with interesting twists that reward repeated listening, and it has a distinctive personality. This is electro-acoustic chamber music for adventurous listeners who don’t feel the need to respect barriers.


Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Samuel Andreyev

More info
http://samuelandreyev.bandcamp.com

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