Coffee Killer collects a dozen songs by Nicholay Syrov, experimental musician and poet based in Moscow. Leaning toward the world-folky side of psychfolk and the majestic side of bedroom avant, Syrov goes one way then another. Blending sometimes cute, sometimes somber percussion, plucked guitar melodies, vocals, bells, fuzz and seemingly whatever is on hand into an assortment of tracks that seem very different but jigsaw together completely, gelled by Syrov’s obvious patience, talent, and understanding of space.
The Cats’ Orchestra brings something fresh to the indie table. Coffee Killer is reminiscent of the lo-fi, strange-but-sincere, all over the place-ness of early Neutral Milk Hotel, while also baring an enticing element of exotic Russian folk roots. It’s music that comes across as truly refreshing from the first listen to the thirtieth, while bringing to mind a couple of completely out there (arguably unlistenable) 2010 releases by Syrov’s compatriots, Noise Immunity.
Packaged in ornate, transparent slip cases designed by Joshua Tabbia of Already Dead Tapes, a label who made a name for themselves in 2011 as loving purveyors of experimental, well crafted, very limited cassettes, Coffee Killer is meant for those who want something different that’s actually different – something weird but not too weird; gloomy without the goth; fun, but not too fun. Only 7 copies of the original 40 were left the last time I checked, so get on this one fast. (Already Dead Tapes, alreadydeadtapes.wordpress.com) Kristel Jax