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Go to the Agnivolok website  Agnivolok - Cherries [The Eastern Front - 2006]

Agnivolok mix together traditional Russian Music, folk, drone, dark ambient and noise elements in spine tingling and unequal manner. sounding quite unlike anyone else with their mix and depth of sounds. This was original meant to have been released in 2001 under the title of Cherries For the Golden Skull and now finally sees the light of day under the shorted title of Cherries. It's packaged in a stunning a yellow fold out card sleeve, Emblazed with Russian text and Cherries.

Agnivolok are a duo made up of Vera Shapiro, who sings, plays guitar, piano and Accordion. Vadim Gusis who’s listed as dealing with samples, two handed saw(!) and unusually instruments (!!). As well as other players adding things bizarre items like Stone Cello and Ice Flute to the audio mix. All making a vivid and very different album- every instruments is clearly thought out for its position in each song and in the larger ritual like Structure of the album. Satisfyingly strange rhythmic noises and clunking are added to give the strummed acoustics odd edges . Other worldly layers are added to the more off kilter and sinister ambient textures. Vera 's vocals go from stern, emotional keeping out the cold, to angelic hovering over rich sound worlds. Bizarrely enough the project is based in Israel, which really is the last place one expects to have such music to come from- it really reveals none of the country warmth. Instead hovering in the cold and heathen light of the old Soviet Union. It’s all very nicely balanced too in the type of tracks- it usual runs one ambient sound scape track then one more up beat acoustic folky track. It goes from haunting, creepy, bleakly joyful and tuneful strummed.

A very original and different project ,that I can see appealing to all manner of people- from those who enjoy world music, to folk to ambient fans and anyone who enjoys something just a little different (that means really, if your reading this review). Really something very special and magically, that offers up new secrets each time you replay it. You can hear samples and buy direct from the label here but act fast, as there's only a 1000 pressed!

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Roger Batty
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