Well for starters, regardless of what the band's name may suggest - Polska Radio One is not one of the many new Polish progressive bands that have been coming my way from Progressive Promotions Records as of late. Nor is this a various artists compilation produced by a Polish radio station to promote rising stars in the Polish music scene.
What it actually is, is a talented quartet of young Russian musicians from Yekaterinburg, a Russian city sharing a border with Europe and Asia.
And the oddity doesn't end there.
What we have are four Russian musicians with a name seemingly inspired by a Polish radio station, playing 70s' psychedelic Krautrock.
Musicians Dmitry Kutniakov (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Alexander Naumov (electric tampura), Andrei Golubev (keyboards, bass), Feodor Sanatin (drums, keyboards) began recording a series of self-produced fan club promos beginning with the two track EP "Liquid Psych-Out Vol. I" (2012), followed by a more extensive self-titled 5 track EP "Polska Radio One" (2012), and another pair of 2 track EPs "New Space" (2013) and "Volga" (2014).
The first EPs were an uneven exercise in perseverance and the unbridled enthusiasm of youth. But by the time the band recorded their first full length album "Cosmos Inside", the four musicians were in perfect synchronicity, balancing solid compositions with imaginative improvisation.
On "Cosmos Inside" the band is joined by guest musician Stepan Jee (sitar) on tracks 3 and 9.
Were it not for the exceptional production one might imagine this to have been recorded in the late sixties, during the height of the psychedelic era.
The music is steeped in cosmic tribal psychedelia and inspired by Krautrock groups like Can, Amon Duul II, and Ash Ra Temple as well as the early Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, the Porcupine Tree albums "On The Sunday Of Life" and "Up The Downstair", Hawkwind, Astralasia, and elements of Ozric Tentacles.
Quirky tracks like "The Fractalized Sky", "Time Eternity" and "To The Delta Of Aquarius" would fit comfortably on the Pink Floyd compilation album "Relics" alongside early hit singles like "Arnold Layne", "See Emily Play" and "Bike".
The trippy music on "Cosmos Inside" is big on atmosphere and texture and not overly complex or awash with virtuoso performances. And at times it's simplistic and repetitive - but even at it's simplest moments the hypnotic music is never boring. It will lull you into a false sense of security then eerily creep up on you like fog in a graveyard. Or a bad trip on acid.
The undulating vocals are drenched in tremolo and cavernous reverb, adding to the over all hypnotic effect.
Highly recommended to aficionados of Krautrock, of early Floyd, acid rock, and ambient space rock.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on April 30th, 2014