Lost in Kino
Kapustnik Records CD
Probably most of us have sat through a film where the music seems to clash with the onscreen visuals; one that seems disconnected from the plot and just generally uninspired. Then there are film scores that, even without the movie playing, allow us to ‘see’ the scene; we’re transported. This is the kind of music one finds on Lost in Kino, the third CD release from the versatile Ljova. Violinist, violist, composer, and arranger Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin shares twenty-four musical sequences from film scores he composed in the years 2005-’11. Arranged programmatically to have a light music “A side” and a more serious “B side” (with the “obligatory” happy ending for a final “closing credits” cut), Lost in Kino draws upon many musical styles: all of them adroitly arranged and energetically performed by Ljova and a host of collaborators.
Ljova’s experience performing Eastern European folk music looms large. Romashka, a band devoted to the performance of Gypsy music, appears on a dozen of the CD’s selections and master cymbalomist Kalman Balogh provides a memorable guest turn on the track “Satul Dintre Noi.” Other styles represented include a country-inflected piece titled “Old Men,” with flourishes from banjo player Mike Savino, as well as a downright bluegrass hootenanny on “Pickle Porker Polka,” courtesy of Ljova fiddling alongside the alt-country band Tall Tall Trees. Asian music adorns the track “Doctor Wrong,” with guest appearances by my favorite pipa player, Wu Man, and shakuhachi player Kojir Umezaki. “The End (Baby you Got to Get Up)” is a rousing way to close the proceedings, featuring boisterous singing from Sarah Natochenny and a chamber orchestra sized cohort of musicians.
Forget those film scores supplied by racks of sythesizers. Ljova has got the right idea: capture the scene using live musicians as actors in sound. As the principal performer and as a composer/arranger, he shines on Lost in Kino. Recommended.