The Absent City — Pain Free?
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-10-17
The Absent City is the solo effort by Ukranian bassist Alex Pustovit. Alex performs in jazz bands and has always been fond of old school progressive and psychedelic rock. Three years ago he decided to form his own prog rock band, but had difficulty finding like-minded musicians in his city of Donetsk. So he went the solo route and recorded everything himself in late 2013 using Mellotron, Moog, dirty recorded drums, and vintage guitar amps. Then war came to the Ukraine in 2014, causing Alex to flee, leaving everything behind. A few months ago Alex returned to Donetsk and resurrected his life and music, which he uploaded to iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, etc. Alex is now testing the waters to see if there is any interest in his music. His choice of band name is particularly poignant given what has happened in the Ukraine over the past few years and the album title Pain Free? embodies the impact of political aggression on the civilian population. There are five instrumentals on Pain Free?: “Despair Song,” “Life Motion (parts 1 & 2),” “Pain Free?,” “Just Rain,” and “Remission.” Alex has done a letter perfect job of recreating old school progressive rock. The music has a strong influence of latter day Pink Floyd, especially Alex’s Dave Gilmour-like guitar licks. Not content with sticking with a single theme or melody on each instrumental, Alex strives for more complex compositions. On “Despair Song” the introspective guitar solos alternate with raucous rock, all supporting the song title, and Alex pours his heart and soul into the solos. Some of the tracks tend to distort a bit because of not being professionally recorded and mixed. “Pain Free?” has fast scorching guitar runs, exorcising the pain he felt in his city. “Just Rain” opens and closes with the sound of rain and thunder washing away his troubles. And the album closes with the experimental and mournful sounding “Remission.” The fuzzed guitar and dissonant synths imply the current peace is only temporary. Overall, Pain Free? is quite good for a debut solo release. Alex has a lot of good ideas and potential that could be fully realized with a band and recording studio.
Related artist(s): The Absent City
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more