City Paper, 2006 February

 

CD REVIEW: EESTI HÄÄLED

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Celebrate Toomas Rull and Friends

 

In this age where we seem to eagerly celebrate mediocrity in music aficionados must rally to support the truly talented.

Eesti hääled (Estonian Voices), ten original Toomas Rull compositions, is worth your support. And I’m not just saying that because it’s a dark winter’s night when I’ve consumed a healthy dose of Jack Daniel’s Singel Barrel.

 

Rull is former member of the regionally-famous Estonian progressive rock band, Ruja, and the current drummer in the ensemble, Ultima Thule. As Estonian rock goes, one couldn’t have two better bands on his resume, and there’s no confusing Rull with some sort of just-add-water charlaton pumping out boy- and girl bands to turn the quick profit-which seems to be the thing to do in modern Estonia, if not the rest of the world. Rull has proven himself before as an arranger and vocalist in Swing Sing Sextet (Kiigelaulukuuik) and other projects, where his role has not been limited to mere drumming. Musicians often finger the drummer as the most vacant member of any ensemble, but even musicians will agree Rull is far more than a gay with two sticks in his hands.

 

Eesti Hääled’s soul may be found in modern club music. The album contains elements of funk, latin, cool jazz, etno jazz. The performance is polished with keen attention to detail (one exception perhaps being the believability of Maarja’s Spanish). Solos are soulful and fit well in each piece of music. The soundscape will be a bit damp for some, but then Rull is known for conservative sound and minimal usage of delays and other effects.

 

Rull’s music is combined with voices such as Maian Kärmas, Maarja, Riho Sibul, Jaan Tätte, and newcomers to the Estonian scene such as Evert Sundja, a young man who favore jeans worn so low they can’t be comfortable, but whose voice dos justice to the Nat King Cole tunes he chooses when performing solo.

 

Highly recommended. Available at all halfway decent record stores in Estonia.

 

-Vello Vikerkaar

 

Vello Vikerkaar played bass (not drums!) in the popular Vancouver rock band,        Reckless Dentistry