A total sonic onslaught makes this the Russian band's most uncompromising effort yet
Ben Willmott
09:30 8th October 2018

BROM, Moscow’s celebrated avant-garde, leftfield, jazz/punk fusion crew, release their latest album, Sunstroke, this week.

The album marks the heaviest and most uncompromisingly experimental step for the band, with a sound that fuses jazz via the virtuoso saxophone playing of Anton Ponomarev and Yaroslav Kurilo’s free-flowing drumming and the punky, hardcore basslines courtesy of Dmitry Lapshin.

The band formed in 2008 as a reaction against what they saw as the conformist nature of the music being produced by Moscow’s musicians, who at the time were nearly either all indie or post-rock bands. Declaring it monotonous and bland, the quartet looked to create something fundamentally different, inspired by the notion of re-inventing the improvised spirit of hard bebop jazz for an age shaped by punk and hardcore, electronica and industrial, and a wide variety of other experimental and avant-garde influences.

The foursome began to explore its freeform creativity – usually at extremely high volume – and became one of the best-known avant-garde acts in Moscow. Experiencing both personnel and instrument line-up changes over the years, core member bassist Dmitry Lapshin remains the sole constant. His lumbering, threatening bass sound, with its parallels to Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror and other original 80s hardcore acts, remains very much at the centre of Sunstroke, too.

Having played at Picnic Afisha, Bol', Storona, Fields and other leading Russian festivals, the band’s “conceptual hunt” for the Holy Grail of improvised magic is documented in a series of live and studio albums released by esteemed labels such as Trost – the Vienna-based record company that releases Sunstroke - Geometry and Sergey Kuryokhin’s Long Arms stable.

BROM recorded the latest album at DTH Studio Moscow in the summer of 2017 as a trio, but will be joined by a new member, electronics wizard Felix Mikensky, for the album launch at Cultural Centre DOM in Moscow on 14 October.

The liner notes for the vinyl edition of the album – which mysteriously includes writing credits for deceased jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Mingus among its smallprint - were written by Swedish veteran free-jazz saxophonist Mats Olaf Gustafsson, who declares: “One of the most amazing mixes of musical elements I have heard in a long freakin’ time. This music kicks serious ass.”


Photo: Mitya Lyalin