Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3: Journeys End and Begin

Posted in Reviews on January 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

electric funeral cafe vol 3

Look. The thing is immense. One can barely hope to give a decent accounting of a compilation in a review in the easiest of scenarios, but to attempt to sum up the scope of Robustfellow ProductionsElectric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3, which spans three CDs in its physical incarnation and tops out at an astonishing 48 tracks and four-plus hours of listening material when the digital bonus tracks are included from the Bandcamp version, the idea itself becomes silly. All one can really do is the same thing the listener likely does: make your way through it at your own pace, try to absorb as much as you can, and step back to admire the incredible amount of coordinating effort that must have gone into its making.

The latter is particularly impressive as what’s been touted as the final installment of the Kiev-based Robustfellow‘s Electric Funeral Cafe trilogy — nothing like going out with a bang — is bigger even than its predecessors, which came out in 2016 and 2015 and were “only” two discs apiece. The first two were broken down into component Electric and Funeral halves, arranged along this theme by discs. This edition works much the same way, with the Electric discs more focused on heavy rock and the Funeral disc dug into dirge-style doom and sludge, but adds the Cafe disc, on which one might be hear the Beatles-gone-electro-pop psych of Black Maloka, the Creedence Clearwater Revival-style boogie of Freeky Clean or the pure Doorsian meandering of The Jossers, along with more familiar names like Krobak (a Stoned Jesus side-project) or The Legendary Flower Punk (a The Grand Astoria side-project).

As with the earlier volumes, the bulk of the inclusions here highlight the underground boom in the Ukraine itself. 38 of the total 48 groups involved hail from the Ukraine. Two more are from Russia (The Legendary Flower Punk and A Foggy Realm, also on the Cafe disc), and one each from Japan (Eternal Elysium, on the Electric disc), Finland (Loinen, Funeral disc), the US (Contra, Electric), Sweden (Suffer Yourself, Funeral), Belarus (Nebulae Come Sweet, Funeral), the UK (Sons of Alpha Centauri, Cafe), and Italy (Le Scimmie, Funeral). It’s easy to get lost in the sprawl of a release like this, certainly, but worth noting all the same that this is the first of the Electric Funeral Cafe offerings to branch outside the Ukraine itself, so even as Robustfellow ends the series, it does so by reaching into new territories, making the project all the more impressive. One imagines that if the label kept it going, it would only continue to grow.

ELECTRIC FUNERAL CAFE POSTER

Not that it’s lacking in its current form, of course. Pick your poison and it’s likely here somewhere, from the progressive heavy vibes of Stonefromthesky and Ethereal Riffian on the Electric disc to the deathly chug of Chainsaw Jack‘s “Crashing Waves” and post-hardcore-sludge of Nebulae Come Sweet on the Funeral disc to the ’90s-style psych of Vermilion Nocturne and beat-backed drone of Submatukana‘s “Genesis” — which boasts a sampled Bible reading amid creepy whispered vocals — on the Cafe disc. There are, of course, a host of bands here who aren’t so easily fit into one category or another, as Dreadnought foreshadow on the Electric disc some of the screaming that will be a running theme throughout most of the Funeral disc, and the huge Ufomammut-style roll, push and echoes of Soom on Funeral do likewise for Cafe, but each piece of Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 offers something distinct from the others, and so the themes are not only ably established, but solidified while jumping from band to band, city to city, country to county, atmosphere to atmosphere.

And as ever for a worthy various-artists release, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 presents a number of curios warranting further investigation. In particular, Lviv’s 1914, who lead off the Funeral disc with “8×50 mm Repetiergewehr M95” would seem to have a fixation with WWI — remind me to tell you sometime about how it was the fall of Western Civilization; unless you’re European, in which case you already know — and Lucifer Rising on the Electric disc blend modern buzz tone with classic blues rock thrust, but there are a swath of such interest-piquers as the comp plays out, and the real challenge lies in not being overwhelmed by all of it.

Much to the credit of Robustfellow and to the benefit of the acts contributing, everyone is given a genuine chance to ply their sonic wares, whether that’s a sub-three-minute death-doom rumbler like Monmuth‘s “Vail Seven” or the nine-minute heavy post-rock rollout of Stonefromthesky‘s “67,” which makes sense in a if-you’re-going-to-do-it-and-it’s-already-huge-then-don’t-skimp kind of way, and if the tradeoff for that is there’s a lot of music to dig into, it’s the kind of issue a listener should probably be thankful to take on, even if it requires multiple rounds to get through the front-to-back experience — a four-hour listening session is a rare gift in these busy times. Bottom line is Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 will be there, whether one wants to take it as a whole or in pieces — as a document of Ukrainian heavy, yes, but also the scene’s will to reach outside itself and include others in a creative conversation — and as that movement continues to flourish and progress, such an impulse can only help broaden a scope already shown here to be considerable. And by considerable, I mean staggering.

Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 (2017)

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

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Robustfellow Productions website

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Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 Compilation Due Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

If you’ve had the chance to check out the prior two installments of Robustfellow Productions‘ compilation series Electric Funeral Cafe, you already know they’re massive things. Huge in terms of the sheer amount of music they feature, and with a strong focus solely directed on the Ukrainian heavy scene, they bring to light some acts who those of us outside the region might not necessarily run into on a daily basis. Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 is no different, but it’s worth noting that in addition to the good dose of acts from Kiev and Lviv it provides, it for the first time pushes international and boasts bands from the US, the UK, Belarus, Finland, Japan and Sweden included, so this final installment in the series — which comes with seven more tracks if you get the digital version — is by no means limited. Fitting for the mission of the series that it would expand even unto its conclusion.

I feel like the first line below under specifications really says it all: 41 bands, 9 countries, three discs, over three and a half hours of music. Sold.

Release date is Jan. 21. Here’s info from the PR wire:

electric funeral cafe vol 3

V/A – ‘Electric Funeral Café vol.3’

Formats: 3xCD in Deluxe digipack & Download
Catalogue # RBF 016 | IHR005
Label: Robustfellow Prods. & Iron Hamster Recs.
Release Date: 21 January 2017

Specifications:
– 41 bands from 9 countries on 3 CDs lasts for more than 3,5 hours
– Including 23 special tracks that you hardly hear anywhere else
– Plus 7 bonus tracks on digital version on bandcamp
– The final chapter of EFC trilogy
– Deluxe ltd.ed. that will consist of EFC vol.1,2,3
– Launch Party 21.I.2017 @ Winter Mass [“Monte Ray Live Stage”, Kyiv, UA]

Artwork design by Zinkovskaya Oksana
Design and DTP by Marsym Gavronsky
Made in Ukraine | 21.I.2017

List of robust bands involved in EFC vol.3 from A to Z:
1914 [Lviv, UA]
5R6 [Kharkiv, UA]
A Foggy Realm [Moscow, RU]
Atomic Simao [Kyiv, UA]
Bichkraft [Kyiv, UA]
Black Maloka [Kyiv, UA]
Borum [Kyiv, UA]
Chainsaw Jack [Kharkiv, UA]
Contra [Cleveland, OH, USA]
Dreadnought [Ternopil`, UA]
Drunk Diver [Lviv, UA]
Eternal Elysium [Nagoya, JP]
Ethereal Riffian [Kyiv, UA]
Filthy Rich Preacher [Cherkassy, UA]
Freeky Cleen [Kyiv, UA]
Krobak [Kyiv/Kharkiv, UA]
Katakomba [Kyiv, UA]
Le Scimmie [Vasto, IT]
Les Gendarmes [Kyiv, UA]
Loinen [Karjaa, FIN]
Love’n’Joy [Kyiv, UA]
Lucifer Rising [Kyiv, UA]
MAUT [Ivano-Frankivsk, UA]
Monmuuth [Dnipro, UA]
Nebulae Come Sweet [Minsk, BY]
Night on Fire [Zhytomyr, UA]
Ningen-girai [Cherkassy, UA]
Nödutgång:Självmord [Poltava, UA]
Obriy [Uzhgorod,UA]
Octopus Kraft [Drohobych/Lviv, UA]
Onsager [Khmelnitsky, UA]
OwlCraft [Cherkassy, UA]
Risin Sabotage [Kyiv, UA]
Small Depo [Kyiv, UA]
Sons Of Alpha Centauri [Kent, UK]
Soom [Kharkiv, UA]
Space-man [Lviv, UA]
stonefromthesky [Kyiv, UA]
Straytones [Kyiv, UA]
Submatukana [Dnipro, UA]
Suffer Yourself [Kyiv, UA/Linköping, SWE]
The Curse Of Wendigo [Kharcyzk/Kyiv, UA]
The Jossers [Kalush, UA]
The Legendary Flower Punk [St.Petersburg, RU]
Trip Inside Me [Kyiv, UA]
Tungu [Chernihiv,UA]
Vermilion Nocturne [Kyiv, UA]
Warningfog [Kyiv, UA]

http://robustfellow.blogspot.com/
https://robustfellow.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRobustfellow
https://www.facebook.com/RobustfellowProds/
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Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 2 (2016)

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On the Radar: Stonefromthesky, Orbital EP

Posted in On the Radar on July 22nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

If nothing else, Kiev one-man outfit Stonefromthesky has the most honest moniker I’ve ever encountered having anything to do with post-metal, the Ukrainian project taking its name from “Stones from the Sky,” the closer of Neurosis‘ 2001 A Sun that Never Sets album, which — to simplify it — is a founding moment for the genre as a whole. Fortunately, it’s also just a beginning point for what Alex Zinchenko, the self-recording, self-releasing human at the root of Stonefromthesky, has to offer on his debut EP, Orbital.

A five-track collection that’s in and out in a sneaky 22 minutes, Orbital blends post-metallic ideology — undulating, massive riffs, harsh vocals, a generally sludgy feel — with electronic music, dance beats underscoring huge guitars for a blend that’s immediately marching on largely uncharted territory. There are acts out there tapping into industrial retroism, but that’s not quite where Stonefromthesky is coming from on a song like the EP centerpiece “Weightless,” which steps into open air ambience and obscure sampling while permeating a synthesized drum beat behind. That’s a breather compared to opener “Interstellar” and viciously heavy highlight “Irreversible” before it, both of which plunder claustrophobic riffs, clever stutters, and somehow defiantly human growling to concoct a feel both familiar and foreign. It’s not until “Altered” that any of it resembles Godflesh in the slightest, and that in itself is an achievement.

Even then, Stonefromthesky holds to an identity of its own, a swinging beat and low rumble meeting with Zinchenko‘s rhythmic growling and a post-rock guitar as a dysfunctional feel results from mixing beats, the rhythm at the fore while the melody acts as the bed behind — a direct reversal of what one generally expects from heavy music. A guitar solo is a grounding force compared to what’s going on alongside it, and a quick breath teases a larger payoff that never comes as an experimental vibe persists through the end of “Altered,” leaving the three-minute closer, “Forlorn” the heady task of rounding out, which is does with progressive synth melody and a building wash of rhythmic noise, slow moving but ready to be played at unspeakable volumes, keeping the tension as much as releasing it, frenetic, kinetic, but obviously controlled as well.

Zinchenko, who handles guitar, programming, and vocals himself, has quickly established a mastermind sensibility, and it seems coming into his first outing as Stonefromthesky that he knows exactly where he wants the band to go. All the better for a self-contained project like this, since if Orbital is anything to go by, he’s more than capable of acting as the driving force of his own exploration. Here’s one for the “heard it all” crowd to prove them wrong once again.

Stonefromthesky, Orbital EP (2014)

Stonefromthesky on Thee Facebooks

Stonefromthesky on Bandcamp

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