KALUTALIKSUAK are an obscure psyche-avant-rock music formation that bear the name of a malicious ice-deity in Esquimaux mythology. The band was launched in 1992 in Moscow by keyboardist Vladimir Konovkin and guitarist Alexander Chuvakov with other musicians varying from gig to gig. They dissolved in 1997 leaving no recordings except of poor quality bootlegs from spot-rehearsals… Konovkin spent the next decade studying the classic tube-organ at the Moscow Conservatory of Music and working as a session keyboardist (in 2001 he performed with Rick Wakeman at the concert in Saint-Petersburg); Chuvakov graduated the Russian Academy Of Fine Arts and was earning a living as a professional painter and book illustrator… KALUTALIKSUAK's joint musical researches were resumed only in 2006. The band's current line-up features: Vladimir Konovkin (assorted keyboards), Alexander Chuvakov (guitars, flutes, voice), Alexei Ohontsev (bass) and Sergei Titovetz (drums, percussions).
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"Once upon a time there was a man who had the power to climb high mountains. He has achieved success who has lived well and loved much. He was the Alpinist who has never regretted he had done or said; gained the respect of honorable men, the love of beautiful women, and the admiration of little children… But there always are mountains higher than those already conquered; and this knowing would make the Alpinist cry off and rush to the peaks yet unknown. One day it happened that the Alpinist was climbing his highest mount. And when he reached the top finally – the man suddenly saw Shambhala before him, shining around and everywhere. And then it happened – he fancied himself sloping down a flight of vain yearnings which he descended step by step at each bound of his heart; and at the very end of his descent he dissolved into eternity… That is how the Alpinist died; and the Man felt utterly alone laughing not a King anymore." (The Aged Tales: Death of the Alpinist, 2014)
CD: $13.00 / Digital Download: $8.00
"Death Of The Alpinist" by KALUTALIKSUAK is a new conceptual music album based on a story from "The Aged Tales". The band - Alexander Chuvakov (guitars, flutes, voices, percussions), Vladimir Konovkin (keyboards, synthesizers), Alexei Ohontsev (bass), and Sergei Titovetz (drums, percussions) - combine the elements of both composed and improvised music blending influences from prog-rock, psychedelia, jazz and avant-garde. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Dmitry Sakharov at the DSMS Studio (dsms.pro), Moscow. Artwork concept and graphics by ZonderZond. (4 tracks - 58 min.). Free streaming or immediate digital download of the album (MP3, FLAC or other formats) is available through Official R.A.I.G. Bandcamp.
"The set opens with the 21 minute Hard Climbing, which traverses through various interesting realms. The music is instrumental except for periodic theatrical spoken narratives in what could either be Russian or a made up ranting language. It starts off like a psychedelic blend of 70s Jazz-Fusion a la Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and early 80s New York Downtown Avant-Funk like Material. I love the combination of ripping guitar licks, deep grooving Bill Laswell styled bass, flowing flute melody, and soundscapes. As the music grooves and jams along I’m also reminded of the contemporary Psych-Jazz-Prog of San Francisco band Mushroom. About halfway through we transition to a darkly grooving Acid-Stoner-Funk-Prog-Jazz vibe that I really dig. The overall feel of the piece is loose and jamming, but in a controlled way that is always clear of its direction. Shambhala follows and is a shorter 7 minute nicely flowing melodic rocker that’s just as heavy on the atmospherics as the funky grooves. At 20 minutes, Buried Horizons is another Kalutaliksuak epic. The first few minutes are loosely trippy and grooving and then go into the cosmos when the spacey keys join in. Around the 5 minute mark the band take off into a steadily rocking Space-Prog theme, with razor sharp guitar licks and spacey effects. But things quickly quiet down with a quiet ambient flute led segment, which slowly but surely starts to speed up again, and as it does I’m reminded of Porcupine Tree’s The Sky Moves Sideways. It’s got that same bass pattern and deep space aura, though there’s also a Psychedelic-Jazz feel, and an intense but heavenly ambience. And our freaky narrator is back! Finally, we have the nearly 10 minute Not a King, which is spacey, tribal, atmospheric, and darkly Psych-Jazz-Fusion rocking with a bit of an ethnic flavor. I love the ambient but rocking guitar solos played against the screaming soundscape keys and bubbling freaky effects. In summary, I’m really impressed with the way Kalutaliksuak bring together so many styles and influences, because ultimately they are a band that defies description and just have to be heard to get a sense of what they’re about. Highly recommended." – by Jerry Kranitz at Aural Innovations (USA) (March 2014).
"The tale, Aged or not, is told in four parts. In Hard Climbing, our hero, always needing new challenges to maintain his ego, and to retain his place a the peak of the climbing fraternity sets off to scale his highest peak yet, and the band soundtrack his efforts with a free-flowing space-jazz workout, initially based around Vladimir Konovkin's electric piano, occasionally accompanied by grunts and throat singing as the climber stretches to the limit on his ascent. Some fine guitar playing from Alexander Chavakov joins the mix, howling like the wind blasting across the mountain face. Alexander also contributes flute in a calmer passage, as the mountaineer takes a breather. We commence the struggle against gravity and the elements with more visceral but fluid fret-mangling from Alexander, who also intermittently shouts declamations against Mother Nature for good measure. Russian is a fierce-sounding language to a linguistic ignoramus like me, and lends itself well to the setting. I can almost see the climber shaking his fist at the heavens in defiance. Hard Climbing is basically a showcase for Alexander's talents as a purveyor of extended improvised guitar solos, and a fine job he does too, colourising the stark windswept scenery in our imaginations. After 20 minutes our plucky hero has made it to the summit, where he experiences a vision of Shambala "shining around and everywhere". This grand image is conveyed by atmospheric swathes of subtle keyboards and flanged guitar, backed by some luxurious bass playing from Alexei Ohontsev. At just over seven minutes this is the shortest track on the album, and it unfolds before us like a waking flower at dawn. Shambhala has a distinct Steve Hillage feel to it, with the glissando guitar leading the way. The story continues; the protagonist has an epiphany and realises he can descend the mountain in both physical and metaphysical form. He “fancied himself sloping down a flight of vain yearnings which he descended step by step at each bound of his heart". This is Buried Horizons, a long strung out voyage into inner space, with an early lyric-prayer sung in the fragile manner of a Russian Damo Suzuki. The song floats off into the ether accompanied by cosmic star guitar and eerie ambience. Something of a spacerock suite of the kind Oresund Space Collective do so well, this is a marked change of style from Hard Climbing and shows that this band knows a thing or two about dynamics. You will not get bored during this hour-long trip, for sure. Our hero has finally "...dissolved into eternity... that is how the Alpinist died; and the Man felt utterly alone laughing not a King anymore". And so we end, an inconsequential speck of nothingness. Not a King commences with a sitar-like sound backed by tablas, before becoming rather unsettling as the Orcs start arguing. This is another colour on this varied sonic palette, a meditation mass from the other side. A step sideways from Snow Melts Black, Death of the Alpinist is a thoroughly enjoyable hour in the company of a strange band with a story to tell; intriguing, to say the least. (Conclusion: 7 out of 10)" – by Roger Trenwith at DPRP (UK) (June 2014).
Not a companion-release but another conceptual album by avant-psyche-rockers KALUTALIKSUAK, "Totem Making" was performed in front of a live audience on February 13th, 2011 and recorded with Dmitry Sakharov’s Mobile Studio. It features the line-up of Alexander Chuvakov (guitars, flutes, voices), Vladimir Konovkin (synths, keyboards), Alexei Ohontsev (bass), and Sergei Titovetz (drums, percussions), who perform a monumental 7-step “Totem Making” suite, plus a cheerful adaptation of Blackmore-Gillan-Glover-Lord-Paice’s imperishable “Smoke on the Water”. This one is arguably the grooviest and jazziest album by the band… Another step of “Totem Making” was done at the ZonderZond design-studio… Do you know how to make a Totem? Press the image to see a short footage… Very limited and collectable edition: 50 professionally duplicated CDR’s (8 tracks – 68 min.), and each goes inside a very special black hand-stamped wallet of thick felt with hand-crafted'n'assembled ritual beads of painted clay and copper.
Free streaming or immediate digital download of the album (MP3, FLAC or other formats) is available through Official R.A.I.G. Bandcamp.
Pro-duplicated CD-R: $49.00 / Digital Download: $8.00
KALUTALIKSUAK returns after three years of silence with their third studio album. "Snow Melts Black" is a 4-part conceptual saga clocking over 70 minutes of brutal avant-prog and heavy psyche music. Here they come again to set up the 21st century academic music with ancient shamanic visions and dark northern mysteries. Fans of this legendary Russian outfit will be delighted. The line-up: Alexander Chuvakov (guitars, flutes, voices, percussions), Vladimir Konovkin (keyboards, synths), Alexei Ohontsev (bass), and Sergei Titovetz (drums, percussions). Engineered, mixed and mastered by Dmitry Sakharov. Original graphics by Alexander Chuvakov. (4 tracks – 73 min.). Free streaming or immediate digital download of the album (MP3, FLAC or other formats) is available through Official R.A.I.G. Bandcamp.
CD: $11.00 / Digital Download: $7.00
"This has been one helluva trip, and one that is worth returning to time and time again, each visit revealing something new. A left-field music fan’s delight, this band sound like they have been thawed out after hundreds of years buried in the tundra, listened to some cutting edge prog and Krautock, jazz, avant-garde, and Russian modern classical and thought 'Yeah, we can do that.' They then proceed to beat the ingredients to smithereens with a Mammoth tusk before reassembling the parts by sense of touch alone in the all-engulfing darkness of Arctic winter, and all in a fashion that probably only made sense to the band at the time but now rewards us with an album like no other released this year. (Conclusion: 8.5 out of 10)" – by Roger Trenwith at DPRP (UK) (December 2011).
"Once again the band does a fantastic job of drawing the listener into their multifaceted, ominous and ever shifting landscape by seamlessly fusing a plethora of dissimilar styles of music together and molding that into something that comes across as carefully crafted originality. The listener is treated to a complex mix of prog, jazz and modern classical elements, via the muscular tribal rhythms, icy cold, trance inducing, keyboard atmospherics and the howling, spiraling guitar work. (Score: 4/5)" – by Ryan Sparks at Sea Of Tranquility (USA) (January 2012).
About 20% of Russian territories are located northward of the 60th parallel. There are areas where the sun goes down in the mid of November, and doesn’t rise remaining below the horizon for more than 2 months until it re-appears in the last decade of January. Long winter months of waiting for a new daybreak gave birth in the past to mysterious stories of sudden appearance of ghosts and fantastic creatures that could protect or damage people. Some Arctic natives still practice shamanism based on the belief that all things, including animals, have souls like those of humans. Any activity that failed to show appropriate respect and customary supplication would only give the liberated spirits cause to avenge themselves. To offend a spirit is to risk its interference with a daily life that can destroy an entire community. This faith is closely tied to a system of rituals that held to be necessary.
The ritualism and evocation of spirits are the form and substance of the KALUTALIKSUAK second studio album entitled "Last Day of Sun". Reinforced by Sergei Titovetz (drums) and Alexei Ohontzev (bass), the founding duo by Alexander Chuvakov (guitars, flutes, vox) and Vladimir Konovkin (keyboards, synthesizers) made a huge leap out from their self-titled debut. The quartet offers dark and heavy orchestrated, mostly instrumental progressive epos-rock equally inspired by indigenous shamanism and academic avantgarde. Not the easiest listening, even being measured by the criterions of modern avant-prog, but the adventurous and open-minded listener will be rewarded. (8 tracks - 78 min.). Free streaming or immediate digital download of the album (MP3, FLAC or other formats) is available through Official R.A.I.G. Bandcamp.
CD: $11.00 / Digital Download: $7.00
"A Russian avantgarde prog-rock band that has recorded the best fusion-jazz album with a religious background ever since John McLaughlin decided to dabble with the Inner Mountain Flame... A dark, sombre, potentially fatal and always dangerous surrounding atmosphere is being presented, a nightly world filled with unnameable dangers - and it is a grim listening indeed... They play against each other and with each other at the same time. Complicated structures come from the contradiction or modelling of layers of smaller parts, yet at all times there is a sense of control that is constantly being shaken and attacked by its own inherent logical distruction. It is hard to pin down in purely musical terms, but what you will hear is both free and constrained at the same time." – by Georg Gartlgruber at Monochrom-Cracked (Austria) (February 2009).
"Eight lengthy jams that are filled with massive squelchy wah-drenched basslines, frenetic improvised drum workouts, insane guitar noodling and skronky shredding that reminds me of Sonny Sharrock, thick sheets of Hawkwind style space FX and very 80's sounding synthesizer ambience, weird chortling flute noises, and the bizarre vocals that really give Kalutaliksuak their unique sound. The vocalists mumble and mutter and chant throughout these songs like a couple of drunk mystics sloshed out of their minds and bellowing all kinds of weird prophecies and visions while the band meanders through their chaotic heavy free-form prog workouts. Add weirdo blasts of crushing alien funk and modulated bass guitar, dark Magma-like riffs, some surprisingly crushing, almost metallic heaviness, and you get a killer set of adventurous, creepy, heavy improvised prog from the extreme fringe of the R.A.I.G. scene." – by Crucial Blast (USA) (February 2009).
"Over seventy five minutes of some of the most chillingly tense and complex sounding atmospherics you're ever likely to come across. Last Day of Sun is definitely not something you're going to want to put on as background music. You might need to make sure you're in the proper headspace before plugging in and embarking on this supernatural voyage. Remember though, once you're locked in be prepared to go the distance as Kalutaliksuak guides you through their ominous and tangled labyrinth of sound. (Score: 4/5)" – by Ryan Sparks at Sea Of Tranquility (USA) (May 2009).
More reviews: DisAgreement (Luxembourg), MerlinProg (Norway), Sonic Frontiers (USA), Rate Your Music (USA), ProgArchives (USA), MADZ-zine (Russia), Progwereld (The Netherlands), Progressive Area (France), Progressive Ears (USA), Psychotropic Zone (Finland), Cosmos Gaming (USA), Hanging Sounds (USA), Babyblauen Seiten (Germany).
In the early 90s, inspired by avant-garde music, kraut-rock, space-rock, and experimental electronica, KALUTALIKSUAK created long aural excursions mixing compositional and improvisational expertise with strange vocalization similar to northern shamanic mantra-chanting. Something futuristic, something psychedelic, definitely evoking specific images and emotions, their music had an amazingly hallucinatory quality. Textured keyboards interact with swirling and swishing phased guitar, all the while underpinned by groovy basslines and mechanistic electronic beats… After more than ten years of oblivion, KALUTALIKSUAK's rehearsal-tapes from 1992-1993 have been re-stored by Mikhail Dyakov and re-mastered by Alisa Coral (SPACE MIRRORS). (6 tracks - 53 min.). Free streaming or immediate digital download of the album (MP3, FLAC or other formats) is available through Official R.A.I.G. Bandcamp.
CD: $11.00 / Digital Download: $7.00
"The first track -They Shall Catch You Up for Sure- begins with synthesizer soundscapes and gurgle. This is very psychedelic and experimental stuff. A weird track! -While He Sits in Ice Cracking a Whip Around- is a rather funny jam and its atmosphere reminds me of Hawkwind’s Douglas in the Jungle a bit. The guitar has some funky feel. Another rather strange and dark number. The more well-defined, rather relaxed -What Are Your Feet Eating?- comes next including nice, light guitar work and also some vocals. This is a dreamy, excellent track with heavenly keyboards and a wah wah solo. -They Usually Eat Humans- has a really odd atmosphere. It is a psychedelic, slower and tangled track with some beat, clavinet, UFO sounds and vague guitar. The scary-sounding narration adds the feel of sci-fi/horror movies. -Crow-quill Clothing- has sequences and weird noises. This is the shortest track on the album and also possibly the weakest one, but still pretty nice, hallucinatory ambient. The 15:39 long -Put This Sucling inito Her Head- is a quit relaxed track with programmed drums. The airy keyboards bring in a bit of New Age-styled atmosphere, although this is much more psychedelic of course. The track has a guitar solo and sort of fusion stuff; after five minutes we hear some keyboard soloing. I’m sort of reminded of Kitaro... I must say that Kalutaliksuak really was a rather unique band, and it’s great that we now have the opportunity to hear their mostly instrumental, electronic freak-outs." – by Dj Astro at Psychotropic Zone (Finland) (July 2007).
"Kalutalkiksuak is (or was perhaps; the music was recorded back in 1992-93, remastered by Alisa Coral of Space Mirrors) a Russian improvisational trio that explores a deeply spacey but also very progressive style of music. Things kick off with keyboardist Vladamir Konovkin providing a weird retro 1950's sci-fi soundscape in the opening cut, They Shall Catch You Up For Sure, before it morphs quite organically into an angular King Crimson style jam with throbbing bass courtesy of Bath Gremlin and excellent guitar by Alexander Chuvakov while Konovkin's electronic soundscapes continue to shift and explode throughout. Awesome start to the album! While He Sits in Ice Cracking a Whip Around is built around the complex interplay of bass and guitar, with a cold electronic beat and off-kilter, alien funky keyboards brewing beneath, rising to the surface in spacey washes of sound. What Are Your Feet Eating takes a more low-key approach, with jazzy piano, but still retains the complexity and spaceiness of the previous pieces, but this time with uniquely rhythmic and moody vocals from Chuvakov. He also does some outstanding lead guitar work on this piece. They Usually Eat Humans is, as the title might suggest, quite dark, more experimental, with dissonant keyboards swirling around a plodding rhythm. Crow-Quill Clothing features a racing synth sequence and chunky bass while distorted guitar and synths wail and screech throughout it, like some kind of eerie and monstrous dialogue. The final 15-minute piece, Put This Sucking Into Her Hood, slows things down for an atmospheric (but still rhythmic) finale of churning synths, spacey textures, and noodling leads that follow their own eccentric directions, dipping and dancing around and with each other, meandering like rivers through space. While I wouldn't call this either space or rock in the traditional sense, it combines elements of both in a wholly fresh and original fashion that is sure to please both space rock fans and anyone into music that explores the outer spaces of creativity." – by Jeff Fitzgerald at Aural Innovations (USA) (#38 January 2008).
|CD (RAIG) | DD||$11.00 | $7.00|
|CD (RAIG) | DD||$11.00 | $7.00|
|CD (RAIG) | DD||$11.00 | $7.00|
|pro-duplicated CD-R (RAIG) | DD||$49.00 | $8.00|
|CD (RAIG) | DD||$13.00 | $8.00|