I've gathered these out-takes into a companion release entitled "Outages", which I hope will offer a new perspective on the original material, or perhaps even serve as a mini album in it's own right.
The experiences I had while making the album and the (sadly) few subsequent performances we managed together were all extremely memorable. Happily the connection has carried on with Inna Kovtun and I eventually going on to make the Edwin/Durant/Kovtun album with guitarist Jon Durant as a full third collaborator, I certainly hope there will be more to come.
Here's a few notes about the tracks included on "Outages":
1. Still - Anyone familiar with my solo album "Infinite Regress" will recognise the bones of this track, as the bass and drum parts are lifted completely from "Almost Still". Originally, I thought it might be interesting to offer "Almost Still" to Inna, in the hope it might interest her to do a Ukrainian language version. Instead, and surprisingly, she used the backing to sing a completely different song. Eduard Prystupa joins on backing vocals, and although both he and Inna guested on "Infinite Regress", this track didn't make either album. Jon Durant plays some fine guitar, as always.
2. Kalina (Unpainted Canvas Mix) - "Kalina" was the first track we ever worked on together and set the modus operandi of our collaboration from the start, building musical arrangements around the bare twin vocals of Inna Kovtun and Yulia Malyarenko from the ground up. This interpretation removes, almost completely, the original vocal parts, so it's a form of reverse engineering to focus on the elements that were added around the main centre of attention, the twin voices and their beguiling Eastern harmonies. Pat Mastelotto and Jon Durant play drums and guitar respectively.
3. Ves Dub - Not understanding any of the words or lyrics I was working with, I reached out for a few translations and I was fascinated by Inna's explanation of the song "Vesyanochka", which is really an ancient invocation sung in a high pitch to summon the Spring to come and nurture the crops and rejuvenate the natural world after a harsh winter. In a rural society, the importance of the cycle of seasonal rebirth and can't be understated. I wanted to underscore the almost pagan, earthy atmosphere of the original song with an even more Arcadian impression.
4. Cascade (Post Soviet Radio Mix) - A new remix, and a completely different take on the instrumental parts of the original, with a small amount of the vocals treated in a textural manner. There were so many good performances from Jon, Steve and Eduard that remodelling was both an easy process and a real pleasure.
5. Chornomoretc - For running order and space reasons, another track left off the Astarta/Edwin album. Inna Kovtun on lead vocals with Yulia Malyarenko and Jon Durant on multiple guitar overdubs and topping it al off with a splendid solo. For me it's a mysterious tune, the vocal lines have an intriguing rhythmic phrasing and the atmosphere is celebratory, but with an edge of nostalgic yearning, but I could be totally wrong about that of course.
6. Skripka (Twisted Jig Mix) - "Skripka" translates as violin, and the original folk song is apparently a traditional wedding favourite, the Astarta/Edwin version became an ideal showcase for the talents of Steve Bingham (No Man) who contributed a fantastic set of performances. This remix is basically an extended version of an instrumental coda that never made the album cut.
7. Kolisanka (Dreamless Sleep Mix) - The version of Kolisanka (Lullaby) that made the Astarta/Edwin album is more or less a straightforward acoustic ballad with some intense vocal harmonies, upright bass, piano and acoustic guitar. Given that I am unable to understand the lyrics and words, re-presenting the song as an almost wordless mood piece with a more electronic edge seemed a good avenue to explore. Hopefully the subtle and delicate nature of the original remains.
8. Cascade (Allusion Mix) "Cascade" was the exception to the all the other pieces on the album, as instead of building around existing vocal arrangements, and out of a desire to give Inna and Yulia a new context to "do their thing", I created an instrumental piece for them to improvise over and to build an original vocal arrangement over. This was then complemented by the contributions of the others involved; Eduard Prystupa, Jon Durant and Steve Bingham. Consequently, this remix is another reverse engineering exercise which strips away the rhythmic elements and most of the original instrumental parts to bring the vocals completely to the fore.