POVAROVO - Tchernovik

Povarovo - Tchernovik

15 songs
71:26 minutes
***** *


There is not much to say about Povarovo, as this Russian band prefers to stay hidden behind pseudonyms and also doesn’t reveal much else of their history. The musicians play a wide array of instruments (programming, double bass, cello, bass, keyboards, guitar, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet,…) and are – this much they don’t make a secret of – influenced by the doom jazz sounds of Bohren und der Club of Gore and The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. Where those bands often come up with really long compositions, Povarovo take fifteen tracks to fill their seventy-one minute long debut album.

Strangely enough, the first nine songs rarely make it over five minutes, while the latter six pieces all lie between five and nine minutes. Occasionally, especially when the clarinet has a prominent role, the Russians give a really good impression of what frosty doom jazz should sound like, but all too often, they switch instruments and moods, in a way that you are feeling less exposed to a homogenous album than to a series of sketches and miniatures. This has a very soundtrack-like quality, and would fit perfectly the moving pictures of an experimental art film, yet it is hard to really immerse yourself within their music the way you can do with the two aforementioned bands.

Towards the end, the songs are more expansive, which in my opinion works better for their music. All in all we are left with a promising and very varied debut record by an anonymous Russian band, but I am convinced that Tchernovik would have worked better if they had dropped some of the early pieces in order to come up with a sweeping, sprawling yet shorter album. Fans of doom jazz should still risk an ear, as this genre is, as far as I am informed, still rather underrepresented in the musical world today.

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