Here's a little tip for new musicians hoping to make a name for themselves in the music industry. Start by actually 'including' your name on the album, or at least provide a link to a band website containing that pertinent information somewhere on the CD packaging. And if you're going to spend the money for a 12 page CD insert dedicate at least one page to personnel and what instruments you play. Obscurity is a terrible marketing ploy.
Hate to sound so harsh, but the lack of such rudimentary information makes it difficult to write a well informed review, let alone build up a fan-base - unless you happen to be the band Klatuu hiding behind a mysterious cloak of anonymity, feeding into the rumor that they might possibly be The Beatles recording under a pseudonym.
Usually with a bit of leg work (or should I say finger work) surfing the web can produce a tidbit of information adding some color to a review, but in the case of the Russian group Oshean this proved to be a bit more difficult than usual - although I did find a nice looking performance video on YouTube, a mention of the band's name on the MALS website, a Russian site dedicated to the band written in the Cyrillic alphabet, and eventually discovered if you spell their name incorrectly (adding an 'h' before the 'n' ... Osheahn) you can find their Myspace band page. And adding to the confusion the album is entitled "Live" ... leading one to believe this is a live performance ... which it isn't. This is soft I (live) - not hard I (live) ... like the phrase "I want to live" - and not - "LIVE from New York - it's Saturday Night!".
With that tirade out of the way lets get down to what we actually do know about the band and the music on the disc ... which happens to be quite good.
The line-up for Oshean is still somewhat mysterious with names like Moonhead and Alex, but the information gleamed from MySpace lists the band personnel as: Fedya Shi (guitar), Ddi d san (guitar), Vlad Mj Wihner (vocals, bass guitar), Moonhead (violin), and Alex (drums).
The 2012 debut album is mostly instrumental space rock with more than a passing nod to U2 and The Cure, as well as the dark ambient pioneers Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
The lead vocals bear an uncanny similarity to that Irish crooner Bono, although the lactonic vocals performed by Wihner (which are discernible and may well be sung in Russian or English) are used primarily as sonic texture rather than traditional lyrical storytelling. More like the impassioned 'oohhs' and 'aahhs' harmony provided by back-up singers.
The atmospheric music is very reminiscent of early Delirium years Porcupine Tree ("The Sky Moves Sideways", "Coma Divine", "Metanola") and the cosmic psychedelia of Pink Floyd. The inspired performance of female violinist Moonhead brings to mind those great space rock bands featuring violinist Simon House, such as Hawkwnd, Spiral Realms, Anubian Lights, Astralasia, and Spirits Burning.
Oshean's "Live" is recommended to fans of Krautrock-influenced alternative post-rock, shoe-gaze, and dark ambient space-rock.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on May 30th, 2012
(MALs Records is a Russian label formed in 2003 which originally released independent Russian artists but eventually expanded to include a variety of new and re-issued CDs of independent and progressive artists from around the world including: Minimum Vital, Edhels, Halloween (France), Teru's Symphonia, Kenso and Ars Nova (Japan), Dragon (Belgium), Cast (Mexico), Visible Wind (Canada), Rael (Argentina), and Isildurs Bane (Sweden) to name but a few.)