I have very little experience with contemporary Russian music, but over the last few months I have been thoroughly enjoying some albums by experimental types of bands. Most recently was Loud to Sleep, the second full length album by Jet Plane from Bryansk, Russia. This instrumental alternative/post-rock album was artistic and engaging. It’s as if they’re telling a story through their music. You can hear this narrative leading from one track to the next, beginning with the first two tracks, “Laurel tress/21guns” and “Loud to sleep.”
“Laurel tress/21guns” gives a lengthy introduction, with music that both escalates and becomes tranquil. The title track “Loud to sleep,” possibly my favorite on the album, picks up the pace with skilled guitar and drums. The amazing use of the bagpipes and violin in this song sounds like they’re weeping. The third track “Snow Rock” picks up exactly where the previous song ends. It levels off and reconciles the pace and tone that were established in “Loud to sleep.” The next track “Fog” is well named because it sounds like a score for a film noir scene where someone is lost in the fog. Breaking through that fog, “Sundog” gives the story more of an upbeat tone, especially towards the end where the sum of the instruments became a violent whirlwind. The last two tracks, “Whisper” and “Whale,” are both a pleasant conclusion to the narrative and an amiable farewell. You can really hear the exceptional use of the violin and glockenspiel in these last songs, which left me with a feeling of cautious contentment.
It was interesting to read the vivid descriptions of Jet Plane’s music on their various social media pages. Their Bandcamp page described them as “A Russian instrumental rock band who are able to clear the wasteland of post-rock music with a cold and bleak sound like a Russian killer winter.” Living in Montreal, a city where most people wish they could hibernate, I can relate to their sentiment. As it says on their Facebook page, “Jet Plane… excel at exposing strings-based drama behind Post Rock crescendos and emotions.” After listening to the album I found this description very apt and well said.
The band includes members Sergey Sapunov and Maxim Berezko on guitars, Konstantin Kiselev on bass, Dmitriy Bulavintsev on drums, and Igor Zyuzko on the violin, Schaferpfeife (Shepherd Bagpipes) and Glockenspiel. Recorded by Yury Pletnev and mixed and mastered by the drummer Bulavintsev, Loud to Sleep was released in late 2014 on the Tokyo-based record label Ricco Label.
Written by Joey Beaudin