(All Album Reviews by avestin)
Gdeva, a trio of musicians from St. Petersburg in Russia formed in 2005, plays improvised rock with a hefty dose of “psychedelics” elements thrown in. Bubbles, Bubbles… was recorded in two days, live in the studio according to their page in RAIG’s website (their label). In essence they jam and use elements of space/psychedelic-rock and post-rock in the process acquiring their music a grand scope and sound.
To better illustrate my point, here’s a quote from the band’s Myspace page written by Igor Gorley of RAIG: “On its debut release, the band tries to explore prog-rock territories while routing the map of late-60s and early-70s psychedelia by using decrepit vintage musical equipment.” That is a good description of what goes on this album. Regarding the last part, there’s definitely that overall feeling of a ragged recording (in a good way) that adds to the listening experience.
As said above, the band consists of a trio of guitar, bass and drums. Those latter two (played by Valery Berestov on bass and Alexandr Kravtsov on drums) give the solid basis (while still flexible) that the guitar straddles upon. The guitar (played by Andrey Petrov) is the instrument with the highest degree of freedom. It roams around, but is not unleashed or uncontrolled; on the contrary, all the players seem to mostly restrict themselves from letting themselves go. There’s no climax, and no climax building for that matter. This is not what the band is about, apparently. They are about creating moods, sounds, atmosphere; playing with an idea, mulling it over without giving it too rigid a form, only giving a few light brushed of its edges.
And here lies the problem to my ears. At times the music sounds monotone because of this and a little more energy would do wonders to it - energy and more imagination. Jamming is all well and fun to listen to, but something is lacking here. The basis they set and its entourage are good but they seem to not allow enough exploration of what they can achieve with the ideas they come up with and in the end those jams, while entertaining, are not memorable and not a good reason enough to come back to the album. Currently those are mostly tracks with one musical idea being played around, without being given more body to it, more essence or direction which can be done without leaving the jamming and improvising path. A good example of that is Amagrama’s album of improvisations, which has tracks with multiple good ideas that are each being explored to a little extent. I’m not saying they should do that; I’m only trying to show that it can be done in other ways that can gather more appeal and interest.
The way I see it, if you’re going to improvise why limit yourself in the way you express yourself? As I’ve said above, that is how this album sounds to me. As if they are restraining themselves from reaching a different level, fulfilling the potential lying in the ideas they present, the potential to play around with these ideas more, make them more energetic, more “fun”, more lively or more experimental, depending on the way they wish to go. Hopefully, they’ll do so on their next release.