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
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more