"This is quite fascinating, especially for their very first release. Fair Wind Pleases "The Wind of the Season" is more mature than one would think, but I believe we're hearing some very talented, imaginative, players, performing their thoughts and passions through the RIO / Avante Music idiom.
My overall impression is that this is somewhat similar to groups like "The Archestra" and "Five Story Ensemble" - both connected to the very creative "Rational Diet." The instrumentation is very organic, with not too much "rock" in the RIO, but a lovely "open feel" and yet, dark. This combination is what makes this form of music so appealing when done with the taste that "The Wind of the Season" offers.
Even the more "free form" sounding elements connect nicely, giving that "give and take" that makes the music a pleasant struggle, with final release and beauty. The primary things you hear are clarinet and piano, but the other instrumentation is present and very supportive. The drums are used both rhythmically and melodically, in a nice, easy mannered presentation. The bass clarinet too, acts as two instrumental thoughts, holding down the "bottom end" like a bass guitar would, but also interacting with the piano and clarinet in complementary fashion. The compositions seem both improvised and composed - one of my favorite elements in RIO.
This all gives a wonderful magical feel, and I like this very much. Hopefully we will be hearing more from this wonderful group out of Russia.
Bravo "Fair Wind Pleases" - BRAVO!!!"
"I've been a great fan of Russian band Roz Vitalis for some years, but in 2020 I became acquainted with two other projects from Roz Vitalis main main, Ivan Rozmainsky ? Compassionizer and RMP. Both of those featured Leonid Perevalov, of Yojo, on bass clarinet ? an instrument which has always been a favourite of mine. And only months later, in 2021, we have a new album from Fair Wind Pleases, featuring both Rozmainsky and Perevalov once more. It goes without saying that my interest was piqued immediately. Like much Russian music, Fair Wind Pleases seems to draw as much from the East as the West, which makes for a quite interesting and intriguing sound, and this is evident right from the start, with The Unpredictable Autumn (Part I). It makes a wonderful opening statement, lulling the listener in gently, before almost assaulting them. But it's a gentle barrage that I welcome with open arms.
One thing I especially love about this album is how much clarinets dominate proceedings. Within the Compassionizer and RMP albums, Perevalov added some quite wonderful textures and colours to the music with his bass clarinet, and here its combination with AndRey Stefinof's clarinet does not so much provide addition as foundation ? and it's absolutely beautiful to listen to. Clarinet and bass clarinet are almost constant in the mix, and conspicuous in their absence ? so that when either returns it never fails to make me smile. The Bandcamp page states that unlike debut release Beyond the Season, this new release "features both drumming and guitar playing!" Now, no disrespect intended to Anatoly Nikulin, but the guitar is almost surplus to requirements. Nothing wrong with it, but for me, the guitar doesn't really add anything, and the album would be just as wonderful without it. I do, however, like the drumming and percussion from Yury Khomonenko. It's never too much, and often barely present, if at all. It's this restraint that really makes the drumming so important when it does take a greater role.
But I need to return to the clarinets, just as the music of Fair Wind Pleases always does. In a way, this is why I don't really understand the need for Nikulin. Rozmainsky's piano playing often takes on the role a rhythm guitar might, and the clarinets solo the way a lead guitar might. When Nikulin plays, I don't dislike what he does ? and, don't get me wrong, it does work, and it does sound good. In fact, his guitar playing often provides an edge to the music that might not be created so strongly otherwise. It's not at all that I don't like his guitar playing, or don't recognise what it brings to the music, so much as I can't help but be aware that everything he plays might be played effectively without him. I'm aware of how harsh this sounds, so I apologise if any offence is caused, as it's honestly not intended. And, to be fair to Nikulin, regardless of how I feel about the role of his guitar in the mix, the mix itself is impeccable. So full credit to Nikulin for the mixing and mastering of the album, as it is perfect. Everything in its right place, as Radiohead would say.
The album reminds me a lot of the sort of improvisations King Crimson would perform live during the Larks and Starless period. I honestly am not sure how much of this album is improvisation and how much is composed, and that's one of the most interesting and enjoyable aspects of the album. It often sounds quite spontaneous, and at other times much less so ? but it always sounds fresh and exciting. I have no idea how I would describe the music. The band say it's a mix of the "neoclassical, avant-garde, ambient, progressive, post-jazz, chamber music, modern creative and other genres", which tells you everything and nothing at the same time. I don't think it really matters, as you really do have to listen to this album to appreciate just how great it is. It's alternately sparse and minimal, and dramatic and dense. It's expansive and expressive. The music paints a picture that is at turns subtle and vibrant, and which (for me) is impossible not to be swept away by.
An interesting aspect to the sound is that Rozmainsky has chosen to play a digital piano, which provides an almost odd counterpoint to the dominating sound of acoustic instruments. But it works so well, and sounds so good. While I suggested that the music is dominated by the clarinets, there is no avoiding that Rózmainsky is almost always there in a role that is absolutely integral. When I first listened to the album, I felt as if Rozmainsky was playing a supporting role, but although he perhaps is less prominent in the mix than the clarinets, there is no denying how much his piano playing brings to the music. In fact, if this were mixed differently, you could easily make Rozmainsky the star of the proceedings. The fact that he has allowed himself to be almost relegated to the background shows just how much importance is given to the woodwinds. And as much as I'm a fan of Rozmainsky, I think this was the right decision. Not because I don't think his playing here is lesser, so much as giving prominence to the clarinets provides a really neat point of difference for this album, that raises it above what it might be otherwise. There are moments where Rozmainsky takes the lead, such as in 7 and Waltz of Meek Lady, but for the most part, he plays the role of sideman, and does so admirably.
Ultimately, what Fair Wind Pleases really shows is an impressive knowledge of when to step forward, and when to fall back. Given how improvisational the album sounds at times, this shows how well the musicians must know each other, and be willing to let each instrument take precedence as it fits the music. It's a magical mix of melody, harmony, atonality and dissonance, with everything in balance, no matter how chaotic it might sometimes sound on first listen. And this is definitely an album which rewards repeated listens. As I've already noted, Niculin's mixing and mastering of the album is superb. Basically everything about this album is as good as it could be. I love it!"
" I have long been a fan of St. Petersburg-based outfit Roz Vitalis, and bandleader Ivan Rozmainsky has become a firm friend. One thing I have always enjoyed about his music is that he never feels the need to constrict or constrain himself to just one musical style, and in recent years has been involved with musicians in other groups, and here we have the second release from Fair Wind Pleases (I must confess to having not heard the debut). He has again aligned himself with bass clarinet player Leonid Perevalov who he works with in other bands such as RMP and Compassionizer, while the line- up is completed by Yury Khomonenko (drums and percussion), Andrey Stefinoff (clarinet) and Anatoly Nikulin (guitar).
One thing which is readily apparent is that while Yury provides the foundation (which also means there are sections where he does not play at all), the two clarinets and piano interweave spells, yet the guitar seems almost superfluous at times, almost as if it is a later addition. It was only when I was reading the information on the Bandcamp page that I realised that drums, piano and clarinet were recorded at Babooinumfest on 20th November 2020, which means they are live recordings. I am not aware if Leonid and Anatoly were not there that night, or if there were issues with the recordings/performances and they had to be re-recorded, but whereas Leonid fits in seamlessly, providing the bottom end which can be melodic in its own right, Anatoly appears to have difficulties at times in finding his own space. This is always a potential issue when an album is not recorded in an organic manner, especially when there is such a tight quartet, as what we have here is a band who are creating some wonderful sounds, moving in whatever direction they feel, but always progressing and experimenting.
Ivan is renowned as a pianist, and here he again displays his wonderful touch and musicality, intertwining especially with Andrey, with Leonid taking control of the lower register yet also allowing the others to play without him to create a hole for them to fall into. There is a feeling of restraint within the album, a control so that when the music swells it does so with passion and emotion, yet they never allow themselves to be fully carried away and instead keep everything on point at all times. They talk about the music being organic, and one can certainly feel how it grows and moves without ever being broken or interrupted. At times it is more like modern classical than progressive, different genres coming together in a manner which for me I can only imagine taking place in the Russian progressive scene which has been taking on far more prominence in recent years. Well worth discovering."
(c) Kev Rowland
"Fair Wind Pleases is a quintet from Saint Petersburg who play what they describe as "non-trivial instrumental music at the junction of neoclassical, avant-garde, ambient, progressive, post-jazz, chamber music, modern creative and other genres". The instruments are bass, drums, guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet and a digital piano. The latter provokes the purist in me, but fortunately one doesn't think so much about that when the instruments are playing together. It becomes more striking with the solo piano intros like those to the second and fourth tracks. In any case, I can forgive it, and after all the musical ideas have more weight. The primary solo instrument is however the clarinet which is often counterpointed by the bass clarinet.
Jazz strikes me as the most crucial ingredient in this music, due for instance to the clarinet solos or the more wild parts of "organized chaos", with moments of atonality. But there is also a clear impressionist element to the music. Listen for instance to the beginning of the first track "The Unpredictable Autumn (Part 1)" where the music is mostly pentatone. Or what about the functionless unorthodox chord changes during the main theme in track four.
Track 3 deserves special praise because of its build-up, from a harmonic calm beginning to a more stormy and dissonant second half. An interesting element here is the guitar ostinate that sort of "goes against" the other instruments. This for me is the peak of the album
But generally this is a very pleasant listening experience. It's not a type of music I would consider myself an expert in, so it is not so easy for me to go in details with it (it is easier with more song oriented music), but I am still intrigued by what I hear. A more general characteristic of the music would be dualty - between calm and storm, or harmonic and disharmonic. If there is a minus, it is perhaps the fact that the tracks sound rather alike; for instance with the clarinet being the main solo instrument in all of them. A contrasting track, for instance with fewer instruments, or just with more emphasis on other instruments, might add some balance. And then again there is the digital piano. Apart from that I really enjoy what I hear. Good album that I wish I could give 3,5 stars."
(c) The Anders
ЭAnother project by Russian multi-instrumentalist Ivan Rozmainsky is Fair Wind Pleases. Rozmainsky (digital piano) and Compassionizer band mate Leonid Perevalov (bass clarinet) plus Yury Khomonenko (drums and percussion), Anatoly Nikulin (guitar), and AndRey Stefnoff (clarinet) formed Fair Wind Pleases at the start of 2020 in St. Petersburg. This new band creates a junction of neo-classical, avant-garde, ambient, progressive rock, post jazz, chamber music, and modern creative improv. The five atmospheric instrumentals (“The Unpredictable Autumn” Parts 1, 2, and 3, “7,” and “Waltz of Meek Lady”) help bring a spiritual dimension to everyday life. The album opens with “The Unpredictable Autumn Part 1,” which has a bit of an East Asian vibe that makes me think of Jade Warrior. It slowly evolves over its six minutes to a prog rock jazz fusion climax. “7” takes us in a different direction with each musician pursuing a different interweaving musical line to create some interesting chamber music. “The Unpredictable Autumn Part 2” continues with the interweaving lines, but tends be more explorative. “Waltz of Meek Lady” starts out as a piano and clarinet duet that swells to an energetic jam and then recedes. “The Unpredictable Autumn Part 3” is different from the other two parts and is basically free form jazz noodling. If you enjoy listening to talented, imaginative musicians performing somewhat challenging music, then The Wind of the Season is for you."
(с) Henry Schneider
released January 18, 2021
Yury Khomonenko - drums and percussion
Anatoly Nikulin - guitar, recording of guitar, mixing, mastering
Leonid Perevalov - bass clarinet, recording of bass clarinet
Ivan Rozmainsky - digital piano
AndRey Stefinoff - clarinet
with thanks to:
Andrey Burtsev - recording
Sergey Gorchaninov - organizational help
Vladimir Kabanov - front-cover lettering
Valery Suevalov - front-cover painting
Fair Wind Pleases is a band formed at the beginning of 2020 in St. Petersburg and performing non-trivial instrumental music at the junction of neoclassical, avant-garde, ambient, progressive, post-jazz, chamber music, modern creative and other genres. In the sound of the group, the winds play the most important role, and its main goals are to generate positive energy and bring the spiritual dimension to everyday life. All these aspects are, to one degree or another, reflected in the name of the ensemble.
"The Wind of the Season" is both the 2nd release by Fair Wind Pleases and the 1st studio album of the band! Unlike debut release "Beyond the Season", stylistically this newest album is closer to avant prog rock: it features both drumming and guitar playing!
Pian0, clarinet, drums and percussion recorded at the Babooinumfest 2020-11-20 by Andrey Burtsev. Special Thanks to Sergey Gorchaninov!