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Alex Musatov – Passages Vol.4 Review

Violins that travel from Russia to Argentina to find home and solace

What does Alex Musatov sound like?

Taking violin looping into the majestic gothic folk realm.

The review of Alex Musatov – Passages Vol.4

Violinist, singer and composer Alex Musatov is the latest artist to be featured in Shika Shika’s Passages collection. This collection features artists who have taken a physical passage and journey from their country of birth to another area. Alex was born in Russia but moved to Argentina and fell in love with the country. This EP sees Musatov take his violin and put it through its paces in a superb collection of songs that reminds me a little of Completions and the darker side of European folk.

photo of Alex Musatov
Alex Musatov

Each track has Alex layering his violin in different ways. On opener ‘Home’, a song about not knowing where you belong, we have layered string pulls and pizzicato rhythmic plucks to create an army of one. The whole production has an echoed smudge effect to it that makes it muddy and a little ethereal and grungy which suits Alex’s voice perfectly. His voice is expressive and pained not just here, but in the fast-paced gallops of ‘Eye of the Storm’. In this song, the violin is played like a frantic uke as we explore toxic relationships. ‘Frontier’ is a long droning violin-turned-organ-turned-synth sound that evokes an endless horizon. Musatov says the song is about crossing a border and it certainly has scale to it. The closing track is a caravan pluck of curiosity as a quirky off-timed violin riff trapeses lethargically in ‘Kingdom of Dust’. As if a dust storm is brewing, a violin solo whips up the final third of the track into a dramatic conclusion.

Whilst the songs themselves are excellent, Alex Musatov borrows all kinds of influences and elements to ensure his songs sound like they are from everywhere and nowhere. I can hear Middle-Eastern undertones, a little South American tango glimmer and some rigid Northern European folk influences too. It is a clever and subtle twist that signifies what this Passages series is all about. This is a great jumping-off point to discover Alex Musatov and his music. I’ll be doing just that based on this excellent EP.

Recommended track: Eye of the Storm

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Alex Musatov - Passages Vol.4



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