[Incompetence; 2020]

Inturist (Интурист) are a Russian band lead by Evgeniy Gorbunov, an established musician in the country’s underground music scene. His other band ГШ (Glintshake) is a collaborative project between him, the relatively known artist Kate NV, and a squad of other talented musicians. Just like Glintshake, Inturist play a mix of experimental guitar-driven music with jazzy rhythms, percussion, and saxophones. Fans of Nick Cave’s band The Birthday Party and other such music would most likely find things to enjoy on Comfort (Комфорт).

Evgeniy Gorbunov has already established himself as one of the most proficient guitar players in Russia today, and this album continues to showcases that. His skill is developed to an extent where it becomes an accessory of expression — meaning that any idea he has in his head will be readily expressed through his guitar techniques. As the musician claims, he created to this project to fulfill his own “sick fantasies, which usually arise rapidly.” Gorbunov says that previously he would pay too much attention to arrangements, the dramaturgy of the lyrics, the development of songs, but at some point, decided to let his imagination and creative expression roam free and untamed — which truly shows on Comfort.

In the traditional pop sense, it’s quite difficult to find structure within tracks, let alone in the album as a whole. However, that is precisely the point. The obsessive intention to rationalize how a track/album is coming along is an approach that Gorbunov abandoned, and this latest album is a mature portrayal of him trying to taint his music with conscious intentionality as little as possible.

A great deal of Comfort feels like a fever dream, with its relentless and at times paranoia-evoking instrumentation. However, the key to perceiving this album as a whole seems to lie in attempting to adopt the same approach as the artist; trying to rationalize either lyrics through semantics or the arrangements through music theory will only lead to more confusion and overall a less pleasant listening experience. The listener has to let go of rationality and give in to the music, as is often the case with music of other artists whose approach is similar to Inturist’s; for instance, trying to breakdown To Be Kind by Swans in terms of semantics and musical terms is futile, because even the attempt to do that degrades the intended listening experience. That is the main point of it — experiencing, not analyzing.

Intrurist’s latest album will most surely be a pleasant listen to those who appreciate jazzy, experimental rock sounding music. The lyrics – in Russian – are hyperrealist, and are not shy of delving into complete absurdity. They reflect the reality of the Russian condition quite well with eloquent usage of literary expressions. A complementary advantage also lies in the fact that the instrumentation and arrangements convey emotionally similar messages to the ones in the words, so not being proficient in the Russian language is not a barrier to enjoying and understanding Comfort.