This is a very interesting CD with great backing by King Crimson member Trey Gunn on Warr guitar, Gennadiy Lavrentyev (tabla and violin), Pavel Lapygin (throat singing and jews harp), Oleg Mariakhin (saxophone), and Margarita Tagunova ( casting a spell). Inna’s voice is mystical and the music here is both sacred and beautiful. It also has little touches of risk and intrigue to really make it simply great. I own many CD’s by Inna and also many with her and Sergey, plus some by Farlanders so I had welcome arms for this new one. I was just bowled over by it.
Inna Zhelannaya started the Russian band The Farlanders which included Sergey Starostin ( awarded BBC’s “World Musician of the Year” award in 2003). She has been releasing solo work since the year 2000. “Cocoon” is her debut release to the USA. It is based on old Russian folk songs. Trey Gunn also co- produces the CD. The music is never boring, nor is it an any way a dance folk recording. It does have some cool rhythms, very well arranged, and at times, you hear Gunn’s nice Crimson like rhythm’s subtly working for the music ( track 3 “Naya Naya”).
While this does have the haunting ancient music all over it and could be compared at times to Lisa Gerrard’s slower mystic magic, it has it’s own stamp for overall uniqueness. I could never guess what was about to happen next, and for me, that is a great factor in the thrill of listening to progressive music. If one just read the instruments used on this release, they’d be so mislead as to how many various ways and sounds they are used. It has a perfect blend of modern and traditional angles. It even sounds like Peter Gabriel at his most heartfelt ( Track 7 “Pavushka”) which is simply stunning. There is some breathtakingly beautiful music all over the shiny little disc. Much of it sent chills down my spine, and made me feel certain calm.
I understand the title so much better now. A “Cocoon” is what you feel like you are in while listening to this exceptional music. And you should wipe out any notions of this being some accordion dance Russian folk, as it is celestial years before and after that. Think more like a heightened mix of Peter Gabriel’s “Last Temptation...” music, with Lisa Gerrard’s dreamy music, mystic eastern atmosphere and a sink full of surprises tossed here and there. Song (track 9 “Mower”) has a killer Trey Gunn lead guitar solo in it that gets close as can be to something Robert Fripp would have done. Just super! The end track takes you off again into the heavens . I just can’t recommend this CD highly enough. I stayed glued to the magic the entire 68:41 minutes. Extraordinary and not to be missed!!!!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on February 14th, 2011