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Two Siberians: Out of Nowhere (2005)

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Two Siberians: Out of Nowhere How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Never let it be said that jazz is only a Western form of expression. Also never let it be said that Russians don't have a sense of humor. Out of Nowhere is the aptly titled debut album by the innovative electric string duo known as Two Siberians. Yuri Matveyev (guitar) and Artyom Yakushenko (violin, mandolin) present an eclectic array of pop-jazz, neo-classical and all-out fun in this outing.

Joined by some of contemporary jazz's finest sidemen—including Michael Brecker, Mino Cinelu, Richard Bona, and Don Byron—and a few other musicians and vocalists, Two Siberians musically express their culture with rock, folk, and jazz, held together by a Russian ethnic pulse.

The Two Siberians hail from Irkutsk, Siberia, about 150 miles north of the Mongolian border. They first came to the United States in 2000—with no money and no place to live. They made a name for themselves playing on the streets. Eleven-time Grammy winner Michael Brecker heard them and became one of their most vigorous champions. Visa complications sent the pair back to the land of frozen tundra, but that was only a temporary setback. They've made their way back and, with the help of Brecker and others, are officially on the map.

The album clocks in at just under an hour and has fifteen tracks, most of them about three minutes long. They range from the topical "Outpost Radio"? to the beautiful lullaby "Amoroso,"? sung by Bona, who also plays bass on the track. The longest two are saved for the end: the spiritual "Evidence of Things Not Seen,"? which gives the pair their first opportunity to stretch out; and "Searching for Power,"? a nine-minute opus that includes vocal chants by Rampaging Preteen Girls, a bevy of eleven angelic voices directed by Arden Delacey. Along the way, we're treated to titles that remind us of where this duo is from—"Lake Baikal"? and "On the Tundra"?—and showing us that the Siberians know a bit about having a good time—"Cagey Bee"? (say it aloud) and the slick "Vodka Diaries."?

Out of Nowhere is exactly what it says—both figuratively and literally. It's different, yet at times familiar. And with its diverse offerings, the album makes it clear that the Two Siberians have arrived.

Track Listing: Outpost Radio; Allergic to Gravity; Cagey Bee; Come with Me Anyway; Natasha, Havana; Amoroso; New Russian; Lake Baikal; On the Tundra; Vodka Diaries; And then, Nika ; Indigo Breeze; Out of Nowhere; Evidence of Things Not Seen; Searching for Power

Personnel: Yuri Matveyev, electric guitar; Artyom Yakushenko, electric violin and electric mandolin; Michael Brecker, tenor saxophone and EWI; George Whitty, synth and drum programming; Matt Garrison, bass; Mino Cinelu, percussion; Nina Hennessey, vocals; Steve Berrios, percussion; Richard Bona, bass, percussion and vocals; You Pay We Sing Mens Choir, vocals on New Russian

Record Label: Heads Up International

Style: Fringes of Jazz


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