Exposé Online banner

The Absent City — Pain Free?
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-10-17

Pain Free? Cover art

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.

Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): The Absent City

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Electrum - Frames of Mind – Here are three guys who love Rush and decided to record an album together of songs influenced by the Canadian trio. It's a scenario I've seen played out over and over (see Afterlife in these...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues