Collage 54'05"

Although this disc has a "strange but true" seeming back-story, it makes sense the more one thinks about it. This was an attempt to marry Estonian Folk to pre-Electric Miles fusion, somewhat left-of-centre of official Soviet culture, but traditional enough that it didn't seem threatening. A medium-sized choir of men and women spin circular phrases around spare musical accompaniment, often composed of just a rhythm section and an electric guitar. What results is somewhere between Marcos Valle, Charlie Haden and Lambert Hendricks and Ross, with a penchant for odd time signatures. There are funky moments, such as "Mets Neidude Vahel," which takes Turkish psych bass lines and wah guitars to create crazy Northern (and Eastern) soul. Other bits are reminiscent of (gulp) ABBA ballads with pristine, unaffected vocals and inescapable hooks. But the album drags a bit in sections with too-placid arrangements. Nevertheless, it's still one of the more interesting and unique reissues of the year. (Wool)