ProgressiveRockBr: Petroglyphs

Ole Lukkøye – Petroglyphs

Ole Lukkøye is a musical project based in St. Petersburg, Russia. It developed around Boris Bardash (music, lyrics, programming, keyboards, voice, guitars, percussion), in close collaboration with Frol (bassoon, percussion, jaleika, samples, dramatic voice), Vladimir Konovalov (electro contra-bass, double bass, backing vocals), Yuri Lukiyanchik (percussion, drums, jembe, darrabuk, tom-toms, vocal), and Andrey Lavrinenko (bass, djembe, percussion); also having participation of many guest musicians (see below). Ole Lukkøye was born officially with the release of their debut album “Zapara” (1993). Since 1994, the band has been touring around Europe, gathering many fans on their way. Their extensive discography includes both studio and live albums. The highlights go for the album “The Crystal Crow-Bar” (2000, Klangbad), recorded and produced by Johen Irmler (of German group “Faust”); and for the DVD “Fairy Tales” (2010, Trail Records) – a collection of live performances from 1990 to 2001, with cooperation of visual artist Sergey Kuznetsov. The most recent release of Ole Lukkøye is “Petroglyphs” (2010, Trail Records), an album that celebrates the band's 20-year anniversary, containing their best hits plus some exclusive tracks. To improve sound quality, the record was mastered and edited by George Dugan at I-Height Studio, New York (2009), and then released in a collectible digipack edition, produced and designed by Alexander Tsalikhin and Vlad Milyavsky. Boris Bardash is an experienced musician whose interests involve Philosophy, Ethnography, and Archaeology. His main influences come from Psychedelic Music, Trip-Hop, Electronica, Ambient, Ethnical music (Turkish, Middle-Eastern, Far-Eastern, Polynesian, Afro-American), Jazz, Progressive and Krautrock. Difficult to categorize, the music of Ole Lukkøye has been tagged “folklore from nowhere”. The sonority is like a diversified blend of “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Japan”, “Massive Attack”, “Portishead”, “Cocteau Twins”, “Radiohead”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Popol Vuh”, “Faust”, “Björk”, and “Irfan”. The music is based on a double-layered rhythmic session that combines electronic beats and loops with traditional ethnic instruments collected from all over the world. Both layers are held in place by an amazing pulsing bass. Over this electro-acoustic rhythmic section, a multitude of musicians play contemporary and traditional instruments, producing dreamy and introspective melodies that alternate with somber male vocals of ritualistic accent, or with female vocals reminiscent of distant exotic cultures. The music is both pan-geographical and trans-temporal, evoking images of ample landscapes, dried deserts, and far horizons reaching distant Nepalese mountains under a starlet sky. At the same time frantic and relaxing, the music of Ole Lukkøye has the transcendental quality of transporting one from the modern cities of the 21st century back to the primeval roots of human civilization, lost in pre-historical ages and in forgotten immaculate lands. “Petroglyphs” features 10 tracks that make a good résumé of Ole Lukkøye's powerful and mesmerizing music. My favorites are those songs that show their most tribal-folkloric side: the opening “Zapara” (a mysterious Turkish-Arabian song with pulsing bass and dark vocals that have the age of the Earth, reminiscent of “Dead Can Dance” and “Irfan”); “Ankara Karachi” (with a rhythm evocative of a caravan crossing the desert); and also those influenced by Krautrock – like “Melting” (with an astounding effect caused by hypnotic keys, psychedelic bass, and windy vocals) and “White Stone” (an Indian ritualistic ceremony) – which will make happy the fans of “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Popol Vuh”, and “Faust”. I also liked “Children” (with lively Afro-Brazilian drums and innocent vocals) and “Sleepy Herbs” (with bamboo-sounds reminiscent of some monsoon-bathed undiscovered land). For those more apt for a dance, the songs with a predominance of samplers, Electronic, and Trip-hop are “Became a Sky” and the long “Zagoralos” (12:24), an experimental blend of “Eno” with savage electro-acoustic dancing beats and oriental female chanting. The last two tracks represent the apex of the Electronic trend of Ole Lukkøye: “Horse-Tiger” (unreleased 2002 version) is a Funk-psychedelic track with Nepalese trumpets and Shamanic vocals; while “Free-Warriors” is a hectic track with abusive use of samplers and strange vocals. The unique blend of modern-ancient music presented by Ole Lukkøye will certainly impact a large audience. Some will regard it as excellent rhythmic music for dancing; others, as a way of ascend toward a higher spiritual level.

Ole Lukkøye is highly recommended for lovers of Electronic and Ethnical Music, Trip-hop, and Electronic-oriented Progressive Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Ole Lukkøye are:

Boris Bardash – Keyboards, Voice, Guitars, Percussion, Music, Lyrics, Buben, Programming, Samples;
Frol – Bassoon, Snake Flute, Cow Horn, Trumpet, Ocarina, Jaleika, Percussion, Samples, Dramatic Voice;
Andrey Lavrinenko – Bass Guitar, Djembe, Percussion;
Vladimir Konovalov – Electric Double Bass, Backing Vocal (tr. 8, 10);
Yuri Lukyanchik – Percussion, Drums, Jembe, Darrabuk, Tom-toms (tr. 10).

Guests Musicians:
Tatyana SWA Kalmykova – Vocal;
Georgy Starikov – Electric & Acoustic Guitars (tr. 1, 2);
Peter Akimov – Cello (tr. 1, 2);
Oleg Shar – Big Djembe, Darabouka, Congas, Vibraslap, Percussion (tr. 3);
Igor Kaim – Banjo (tr. 3);
Ekaterina Sidorova “Cat” – Percussion (tr. 1)

Comments by Marcelo Trotta
ProgressiveRockBr (Brasil), 03/16/2011