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Only very recently I discovered the works of a jazz big band called Travis Sullivan's Björkestra, which exclusively plays long jazz renditions of - surprise! - Björk classics. It's quite brilliant. And it has nothing to do with the record I'm reviewing here.

Well, at least almost. Obviously this is also very jazzy. But then also when I heard it for the first time, with the Björkestra still fresh in my ears, I couldn't help but think that the chorus melody of the opener and title track "Days As Echoes" very much reminds me of "Venus as a Boy".

And now that I got this observation from my chest, let's see what else the Misha Panfilov Sound Combo has in store!

MISHA PANFILOV SOUND COMBO - Days As Echoes (LP) (2020/2021)

Led by Misha Panfilov, who makes the Estonian music scene look like a one man job, as he is also part of the krautrock group Centre El Muusa and the once funky, now rather space doom-jazzy Estrada Orchestra, the Sound Combo touches on some of the directions of his other projects, yet also adds some more.

While each of the six mostly instrumental tracks explores a different nuance, I think it's pretty save to overall categorize the album as a mixture of psychedelic rock with spiritual jazz, ambient sounds and library music. My teenage self would probably rather have rolled his eyes based on this description than be intrigued by it - and thus have prevented himself from listening to a brilliant piece of music. Sounds like Fickfilmmusik. Yet today especially the jazz in combination with library music part stirs my interest. Rightfully so.

Panfilow himself handles all synths, pianos, guitar, bass and more duties like percussion and "cassette effects". He is accompanied by two alternating drummers, a female vocalist , flute, saxophone and on one track also trumpet. Half of his bandmates here also performed on Estrada Orchestra's "Playground", which should already count as a guaranteed seal of quality. 

And "Days As Echoes" fully delivers on this promise. Actually quite similar to playground in that regard, we hear a flawlessly performed combination of musical styles, without the technicalities of instrumental skills and categorization standing in the way of enjoying the main attraction, which is the mood.

A mood which is rooted in longing melancholy, yet ultimately feels light and breezy like a feather. So the main takeaway of this album is mainly an overwhelming: CHILL!!!

And chill I must. It's just wonderful.

Something that mood-wise easily sits between Futuropaco's self-titled debut and the sheer beauty of Miles Davis' "Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud".

"Days As Echoes" was released 2020 and I have no complaints about the recent (simply black) second vinyl pressing from this year. The cover looks awsome too, so all in all Misha Panfilov's Sound Combo has earned my full recommendation.

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