Moon Far Away – Belovodie

The Russian band Moon Far Away plays a very nice mixture of (neo) folk and (ethereal) wave. Their music is partly electronic and partly acoustic. Next to synthesizers they use guitars, a carillon and percussion instruments.

At times the music is dark and has a sacral feeling (‘Na Zore’) but the band also knows its ways with more brighter music (‘Sobriraetse Liubeznoy’). The Russian singing sounds ritualistic due to the chanting of the words. It has the same shamanistic effect as the music of the Warsaw Village Band. In fact ‘ Iz-Za Gor’ comes very close to the sounds of the Polish Warsaw Village Band.

Moon Far Away succeeds very well in creating a beautiful dreamlike atmosphere. This cd is one of those records you don’t dare to stop listening to while playing. In short, an interesting and enchanting album.

Moon Far Away is one of the many talented folk/medieval groups from Russia. They may not be the most productive bands: their two previous albums, which I both own, date from 1997 and 2000. But if this duo needs a few years to come up with something good as “Belovedie”, they may take their time for a next release. On their latest album Moon Far Away is again inspired by folklore from northern Russia, only playing traditional songs. They use many original acoustic instruments, but are not afraid to combine them with modern electronics.

I cannot say anything different than that “Belovedie” is a wonderful album, somewhere between folk, ethereal and sacral/neoclassical.. The music is quite tranquil, with a warm, romantic atmosphere. Possible references are Love is Colder than Death, Stoa, Ataraxia or Rajna. Count Ash knows how to play his various instruments. Anastasia has a lovely heavenly voice, at times supported by the grave voice of Count Ash.

The arrangements are quite original, but this may be due to my inexperience with traditional Russian music. Some of the highlights are ‘Iz-za gor’ (From behind the mountains), ‘Volna Shumit’ (The wave makes a sound) and ‘Ekoy vania’ (What Vania). Most uptempo is the last song, ‘Ne velli vetry’ (Winds did not blow), with lively percussion and wonderful harmonic vocals, which I would certainly sing along if I understood Russian. A recommended piece of work!

artist: Moon Far Away
label: Prikosnovénie
details: 10 tracks, 2005 [PRIK091]