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Two Siberians: Out of Nowhere

John Kelman By

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Out of Nowhere and from the unlikeliest of origins, violinist Artyom Yakushenko and guitarist Yuri Matveyev, the musicians who comprise Two Siberians, prove that music is universal and transcends artificial borders. Not only that, but stylistic limitations only exist in the mind and can be overcome. Yakushenko and Matveyev were trained at the Irkutsk Academy but broke free of the strict regimen of academia. A chance meeting with American producer Darryl Pitt in '97 in Moscow was the serendipitous circumstance that began a long and circuitous chain of events leading to this release. While it is rare that significant things develop in a vacuum, they can happen in a near void.

The surprise of this recording is not that Yakushenko and Matveyev have developed prodigious abilities, but the dramatic way they cross-pollinate musical styles. The rock and roll energy of "Outpost Radio,"? all the more remarkable for it being a mere duet with no rhythm section, stands right before the Americana of "Allergic to Gravity,"? a tune that could comfortably sit in the repertoire of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Two Siberians have roots, nowhere more evident than on the Eastern European inflections of "Come with Me Anyway"? and the pulsing "Vodka Diaries,"? where Matveyev and guest clarinetist Don Byron trade furious fours. Matveyev's muted-string rapid-fire lines bring to mind Al Di Meola, but with more heart. The dervish-like "And then, Nika...[reprise]"? may be but a mere 51 seconds short, but Yakushenko and Byron build an incredible momentum over Matveyev's strumming and guest bassist Richard Bona's supportive bass.

Elsewhere the references continue to miraculously find their way in from sources near and far. "Cagey Bee,"? a brief solo piece by Matveyev, combines a Django Reinhardt-like flavour with a dexterity that Reinhardt could never have equalled. "Natasha, Havana,"? as the title suggests, finds the odd juncture between Eastern Europe and Cuba; while "Amoroso,"? with Bona's vocals, looks for the meeting ground between Russia and the African continent. The Celtic tinge of "Lake Baikal"? continues to beg the question of how two clearly talented players from such a remote part of the world could develop such a stylistically broad aesthetic, while the near-ambient New Age tinge of "On the Tundra"? is all the more curious.

While Two Siberians' relatively brief time in the States, spent performing everywhere from clubs to the streets, must have given them some of the exposure necessary to cultivate such diverse influences, it is clear that they must be like musical sponges, soaking up everything and anything to which they are exposed, yet filtering it through their own tradition and personal conception. Out of Nowhere may come from a multitude of musical spaces, but mostly it comes from the minds of two artists, their early musical lives spent in relative isolation, but now opened up to an almost infinite number of possibilities. One wonders where they'll go next.

Visit Two Siberians on the web.

Track Listing: 1. Outpost Radio 2. Allergic to Gravity 3. Cagey Bee 4. Come with Me Anyway 5. Natasha, Havana 6. Amoroso 7. New Russian 8. Lake Baikal 9. On the Tundra 10. Vodka Diaries 11. And then, Nika... 12. Indigo Breeze 13. Out of Nowhere 14. Evidence of Things Not Seen 15. Searching for Power

Personnel: Yuri Matveyev: Electric Guitar Artyom Yakushenko: Electric Violin Guests Michael Brecker Richard Bona Don Byron Mino Cinelu Steve Barrios Matt Garrison Nina Hennessey George Whitty

Title: Out of Nowhere | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Heads Up International


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