Theodor Bastard: Oikoumene / Vetvi

Vetvi

Theodor Bastard is a Russian Ethnic folk/psych/ambient/Gothic/Electronic/World music group from St. Petersburg. They have been releasing CD’s from the beginning of the millennia, and just recently sent me a couple of their latest releases. I had never heard of them before, but got to confess that I like their hypnotic, mystical sounding music that combines ancient acoustic instruments and folk music vibes with modern sounds. There’s everything from traditional folk music, trip hop and rock fusion in their music. I’m often reminded of Dead Can Dance or Theodor Bastard’s fellow countrymen Ole Lukkøye, also from St. Petersburg.

THEODOR BASTARD Interview (2016 03 18)

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THEODOR BASTARD: “We have developed a new method. We found a very different tonal and melodic combinations of instruments.”

Interview (2016 03 18) with one of the most interesting bands (originally from St. Petersburg, Russia) which since 1996 plays experimental/trip hop/neofolk/dark wave/ambient music with their own unique sound and even a new method. Let’s talk to Fyodor about the band’s method. THEODOR BASTARD will play in Lithuania in August, 2016.

Mindaugas Peleckis

Interview with THEODOR BASTARD

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Folk music is a peculiar time capsule which was able to transmit the essential cultural code across the centuries.

THEODOR BASTARD is one of the most unusual contemporary Russian musical bands, from St Petersburg. Its music combines elements of world music, dark wave, trip hop, neofolk and ambient music. THEODOR BASTARD creates mystical, archaic, atmospheric sounds.

“Farias”. Live at Aurora (Saint Petersburg). 2016


THEODOR BASTARD – “Farias”. Live at Aurora (Saint Petersburg). 2016

Theodor Bastard – “Budem Zhit” live at CHA, Mosсow


This live recording was made on November 20, 2015 at CHA venue. It’s one of Theodor Bastard’s unplugged shows named “Unusual Concerts Tour”.

Theodor Bastard – “Uhozhu” live at CHA, Mosсow


This live recording was made on November 20, 2015 at CHA venue. It’s one of Theodor Bastard’s unplugged shows named “Unusual Concerts Tour”.

[LT] Lietuvoje koncertuosiantys „Theodor Bastard“: folkloras yra tarsi laiko kapsulė

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„Theodor Bastard“ – viena įdomiausių ir geriausių šiuolaikinės Europos muzikos grupių, jungianti „world“, triphopą, „darkwave“, rytietiškas ir Balkanų tradicijas bei šiaurietišką mistiką. Iš Sankt Peterburgo kilęs kolektyvas ne kartą koncertavo Lietuvoje ir kerėjo „Mėnesio Juodaragio“ scenose, švytėdamas nepaprastu ritmų ir melodijų srautu, ypatinga archainių instrumentų ir šiuolaikinio skambesio derme.

Theodor Bastard: Oikoumene / Vetvi

Sometimes an album comes along that transfixes you through sheer brilliance of sound-world, vision, composition and instrumentation. “Vetvi” by Theodor Bastard – a Russian group of many multi-instrumentalist members – is one such album, which will certainly be in my top five best albums of this year. The music evokes wide open Asian plains, massed groups of chanting peoples, tribal drums, deep lakes and high mountains, and more, both sonically and visually in the imagination of the listener. Opening with the wonderfully doomy ‘Umbraya Erze,’ the tone is set: a kind of deep, musically diverse, multi-cultured psychedelic rock music founded on some traditional instruments, with rolling, passionate vocals laid over the top. The title track brings in more unusual instruments plus modern drum programming. That the vocals are in Russian doesn’t seem to matter with music this good. ‘Salameika’ opens with the stunning voice of Yana Veva, who handles most of the singing, while drums and much percussion add to the drama, as does the santur, and, later, subtle synths behind the full band. ‘Kukushka’ again evokes vast Asian plains and high flying birds as its quirky rhythm progresses, while ‘Aion’ opens with a reeded instrument, or possibly a flute, as the santur and then the full band come in for another high-drama track. ‘Niti’ mixes high tech with more beautiful vocals – an album highlight – while ‘Veter’ features the traditional singing of Namgar Lhasaranova in a particularly gorgeous mix of ethnic and modern. This track reminded me of some of the work of Trail Records’ bands Ole Lukkoye and Sky Cries Mary. ‘Yaard’ has a lovely flute part and more of the “war drums” (the band’s description) that are such a central part of the sound. The album closes with a cut of doom-laden vibe and rattling percussion. Housed in a CD package laden with beautiful artwork by Elia Mervi and the band’s prime singer, Yana Veva, this is an outstanding work. Any fan of diverse, superbly played and recorded modern music is going to love this. I certainly did.

“Vetvi” however is not the band’s debut release. In 2012 they released “Oikoumene,” which is similar in pan-cultural sound but which relies less on the drum kit, and so has a lighter feel. The quality of music, recording and production however is just as high as the new release. Opening with ‘Takaya Mija,’ a small army of wonderful percussion instruments is used, and then a haunting esraj, played by Ranadhir Ghosh: a hint of Natasha Atlas here, albeit only by association. ‘Farias’ reminded me of some of Transglobal Underground’s work, especially in the vocals, this time performed alongside Fedor Svolotch, who is the band’s prime member and founder. ‘Gerda’ and ‘Benga’ continue the sonic exploration before the track ‘Sagrabat (Diumgo),’ which features the vocals of band collaborator Julien Jacob. This is a spooky cut in a slightly different style, but it works superbly well on its own, and as a break in the whole work. Another Indian solo instrument, the sarod, here played by Rampur Rani, adds to the global vibe. The title track uses found sounds plus another huge collection of ethnic percussion to heighten the atmosphere, including the resonant daf. ‘Tapachula’ and ‘Intifadah’ are strong on traditional sounds and solos, especially the bawu, a kind of Chinese flute, while ‘Clean Kron’ is a high-tech, glitchy cut of synths, guitars and sundry other instruments. ‘Anubis’ closes the album proper with a full-band epic based around traditional instruments and another striking Yana Veva vocal. A Fun-Da-Mental remix by Aki Nawaz closes the disk, recalling those heady days in the 1990s when this genre of music was briefly commercially popular in Britain and elsewhere. Another superb album from a fantastic band, this time housed in luscious paintings by Boris Indrikov – highly recommended.

(Steve Palmer)

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[LT] Theodor Bastard – Vetvi

Vetvi

Dopo una lavorazione durata ben tre anni, il collettivo di San Pietroburgo guidato dalle figure carismatiche della singer Yana Veva e del polistrumentista/compositore Fedor Svolotch è infine tornato con l’atteso nuovo album, ennesima release di una carriera discografica iniziata nell’ormai lontano 2000. “Vetvi”, magnificamente confezionato in uno slipcase contenente il digipack con ampio booklet, usciva ormai un anno fa, segnando una nuova vetta nella pregiata discografia di un ensemble sempre più dedito a sonorità etniche, tanto intrise della cultura e della tradizione della madre Russia quanto libere di andare oltre un background così importante. Riunita attorno ai membri principali un’ampia schiera di musicisti per completare il sound con le preziose sfumature apportate da un’intera pletora di strumenti, come gusli, santur, ghironda, scacciapensieri etc., unitamente ad una base importante fornita da tastiere, strumenti a corde (chitarre, violino, violoncello, arpa etc.) e percussioni di svariate tradizioni, i Theodor Bastard confezionano il loro lavoro più riuscito, inanellando dieci brani carichi di sentimento magistralmente guidati dalla magnifica voce di Yana, la cui abilità nell’arrangiare una lingua non facile come il russo è ai massimi livelli. Ogni canzone è un gioiello che splende di luce propria, dalle movenze placide dell’iniziale “Umbraya Erze” – capace di crescere con toni epici intrisi di passione – all’immane estro applicato alla tradizione della conclusiva “Colodec”, passando per momenti memorabili come l’elegante ed intensa “Salameika” ed una “Aion” in grado di combinare classe e possanza elettrica col quel consueto eclettismo che testimonia delle grandissime capacità del combo. In un lavoro privo di qualsivoglia sbavatura, rifinito alla perfezione sia a livello di resa sonora che di performance individuali senza mai rischiare la freddezza delle iperproduzioni, ogni singola traccia vale il prezzo dell’acquisto, e godere dell’indiscutibile bellezza di frangenti quali la title-track (song scelta per l’ottimo videoclip che porta in sé piacevoli residui di quell’elettronica sfruttata dai Nostri soprattutto nel primo periodo), una “Kukushka” suadente che ben si presta alle mille sfumature vocali di cui è capace Yana, la sottile e fiabesca “Niti” o “Veter”, così ammaliante nel suo taglio trip-hop e nei vocalizzi dell’ospite Namgar Lhasaranova, sarà motivo di autentico piacere per chi si presterà all’ascolto. La caratura del songwriting ed il livello tecnico/esecutivo espressi dai Nostri sono fattori che non possono passare in secondo piano, ed anche se nel filone legato alle sonorità folk e tradizionali vi sono act molto più considerati dalla scena gothic/dark, oltre che nomi ben più ligi ad un purismo comunque importantissimo, non è davvero più il caso di sottovalutare un nome come Theodor Bastard, che assieme ad altri illustri collettivi della medesima area geografica come Flëur e Caprice ha proposto e continua a proporre musica di una qualità, di un’onestà intellettuale e di un livello semplicemente superiori. Da avere, senza esitazioni.

Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi

[DE] Theodor Bastard – Vetvi

Vetvi

Die aus St.Petersburg kommenden Theodor Bastard gehören sicherlich zu den Bands aus dem Randbereich für eine Berücksichtigung auf BetreutesProggen.de. Doch der düstere Darkwave, die elektronisch geprägte World Music hat dann doch so viel mystische Atmosphäre und emotionale Tiefe, dass man gerne mal über den eigenen Tellerrand hinausschaut, sofern man wie der Schreiber dieser Zeilen zum Beispiel ein Faible für Bands wie Dead Can Dance oder für die Norwegerin Mari Boine pflegt.

Es ist vor allem der dunkle, mal zerbrechlich, mal fast schon gutturale Gesang von Frontfrau Vana Veva, der eine gewisse, einzigartige, überaus fesselnde Faszination ausübt. Da verzeiht man auch manch elektronische Spielerei, denn die Sounds von Mastermind und Klangtüftler Fedor Svolotch gehen mit der stimmlichen Wandlungsfähigkeit seiner Partnerin meist eine fast kongeniale Symbiose ein.

Neben exotischen Instrumenten und Einflüssen aus Orientalik, nordischer Folk-Mystik und spiritueller Intensität gehört von Gitarren dominierte rhythmische Rockwucht zu den Spielarten der russischen Band. Dabei versteht man es, Dramatik und Melodien mit perkussiver Untermalung perfekt zu vereinen, sodass sie eine rituelle, fast schon meditative Verbindung miteinander eingehen. Faszinierend anders.

Bewertung: 11/15 Punkten (KR 11, KS 11)

 

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THEODOR BASTARD – Kukushka (Official video)


Directed by Karina Chirkina and Fedor Svolotch

[DE] Rezensionen Vetvi

Vetvi

Vetvi (Ветви; russ. für „Zweige“) ist meine erste Begegnung mit der Musik von Theodor Bastard, und ich muss sagen, bei so einem Bandnamen hätte ich komplett andere Klänge erwartet, irgendwas völlig ausgeflipptes. Möglicherweise haben sie das in ihrer Anfangszeit sogar gemacht, laut Bandinfo begannen sie Ende der 90er zunächst mit experimenteller elektronischer Musik.

Für Vetvi dagegen gilt im Wesentlichen das, was aus Kollegenfeder bereits zum 11 (!) Jahre zuvor erschienenen Pustota zu lesen ist. Auch Vetvi bietet stark Ethno-beeinflusste Musik, die vor allem durch den betörenden, schamanistisch klingenden Gesang von Yana Veva und die tranceartigen Rhythmen eine geradezu hypnotisch-beschwörende Kraft ausstrahlt. Allerdings ist im Vergleich zu Pustota der Elektronik-Anteil deutlich zurückgefahren, einerseits zugunsten kammermusikalischer Instrumente wie Horn und Cello, andererseits – und das vor allem – zugunsten exotischen Instrumentariums mit so eigenartigen Namen wie Morin Kuuhr (eine mongolische Violine), Dunchen (ein tibetisches Blasinstrument von der Größe eines Alphorns) oder Hummel. Letzteres ist tatsächlich nicht nur ein Insekt, sondern auch eine Art schwedischer Zither (die aber tatsächlich nach dem Insekt benannt ist). Dazu kommen dezente, aber wirkungsvolle Einsätze von Orgel oder anderen Tasteninstrumenten, die der Musik streckenweise einen psychedelischen Einschlag verleihen.

Im Ergebnis klingt das den ebenfalls in St. Petersburg beheimateten Ole Lukkøye durchaus ähnlich, wobei deren Kompositionen wesentlich ausladender sind, während sich Theodor Bastard auf Vetvi durchweg an ein kompaktes Format halten. Dabei agieren sie mir bisweilen auch etwas zu ätherisch, etwas mehr Pep würde manchen Stücken gut tun; dass die Band durchaus auch rocken kann, zeigt Aion. Solche Stücke dürfte es häufiger geben!

Die CD kommt im Digipack, das wiederum in einem hübschen Pappschuber steckt. Dazu gibt es ein reich bebildertes Beiheft, u.a. mit akribischen Besetzungsangaben für jedes Stück (Russisch und Englisch). Liebhaber der genannten Ole Lukkøye oder auch von Dead Can Dance sollten mal reinhören, was auf der Bandcamp-Seite von Theodor Bastard möglich ist. Dort kann man das Album auch bestellen.

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[DE] Theodor Bastard – Vetvi

Vetvi

Da flattert mir die Tage Post aus dem russischen Sankt Peterburg von einer Band mit dem außergewöhnlichen Namen Theodor Bastard ins Haus. Schnell mal im Internet nachgeschaut und es zeigt sich, dass es sich dabei um eine Band handelt, die im Jahr 1996 von ihrem Kopf Fyodor Svoloch gründet und nach dem Einstieg weiterer Musiker im Jahr 1999 in Theodor Bastard umbenannt wurde.

THEODOR BASTARD – VETVI (Official video)

Russia, Saint-Petersburg, festival “Brodskiy drive”

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Monthly Akhmatova Museum Garden will be a concert venue for more than a dozen actual and interesting bands. Open-air concerts will take place every weekend.
Many styles and sea drive – in the decadent atmosphere of Sheremetev Park!
Address: Liteiny pr. 53, St. Petersburg, Russia

Theodor Bastard perform at the festival on June 13

“Vetvi” is available for download at ITunes & Bandcamp

theodorbastard vetvi

Friends, we have good news!
Our new album “Vetvi” is available for download at itunes and BandCamp.
Enjoy it!

Vetvi

theodorbastard vetvi

New album by Theodor Bastard, one of the most eclectic and mystical bands from Russia. It’s difficult to define the Theodor Bastard style. Musicians skillfully combine different styles, trip-hop and rock. They give amazingly brilliant shows, using all their numerous exotic instruments, from the tibetian horns to jambeys and gusli. Theodor Bastard release their albums not so often, working for months in various recording studios in several cities and countries, searching for the best sound and arrangements. Work on this album took three years with plenty of musicians taking part in it. Among them are the famous buryat singer Namgar Lhasaranova, multi instrumentalist Phillip Barsky. talented Olga Glazova, who plays the world’s largest gusli. Lead singer Yana Veva has reached new heights with her unique vocal technique. Continuing the theme of wanderings, which was the basic idea of the previous album “Oikoumene”, Theodor Bastard take their listeners from hot south to the fairy northern lights. “We travel Russian north every year,” – says the band leader Fedor Svolotch. – “Now it’s time for us to turn to our culture, our country and our roots. There are our places of power, the places where stones and winds are talking to us. New album is a song of the northern harsh nature”. A peculiar combination of the archaic percussions and folk instruments was used during the recording. Playing unusual ethnic instruments is still the important part of Theodor Bastard creative process. Russian horn, traditional Mongol violin morin khuur, tibetian ritual horn dunchen, ancient Russian gusli, cajon, vargan, dulcimer (string instrument like citra) – this is just a short list of musical miracles on the album. Tens of musicians were engaged in creating of sound kaleidoscope. That was a serious and laborious work. String instruments bring deep melodism and dramatism. There are morin khuur by Yana Veva, violin by Gulya Naumova and cello by Natalia Nazarova. They harmoniously strung on ritual rhythms of drums and percussions by Kirill Serov. Choir «Lauda» adds ancient masculinity to the album sound, as well as an outstanding vocalist Alexander Platonov (Ensemble of ancient peasant music).
Magic sound of gusli by Olga Glazova, harps and cymbals by multi-instrumentalist Philip Barsky decorate some songs, and great vocals by Buryat singer Namgar give a special atmosphere of northern dawn to one of the songs on the album.

Music video for the title track from the new album Theodor Bastard «Vetvi»

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Directed by Andrew Kezzin, known for his work with many musical collectives, shot a music video for the title track from the new album Theodor Bastard «Vetvi». Few months of planning, filming and editing behind! In the video, you will find an unexpected turn of events. This video is coming soon! In the meantime, we publish for you a few photos from backstage.

Documentary film about recording a new album Theodor Bastard.

Dear friends, we present to your attention a documentary film director Anatoly Zaionchkovskii about recording a new album Theodor Bastard. In the film, you will hear fragments of new songs, you will see one of the rare interviews Yana Veva and learn a lot about ours musical instruments.

Netherlands , Lisse. Festival “Castlefest”

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Theodor Bastard will give three shows during the festival “Castlefest” – July 31, August 1, August 2.
http://castlefest.nl