Soyuz, II  
Label: Mr. Bongo
Release Year: 2024
Style: Latin & Brasil & Afro
  SOYUZ (СОЮЗ) stole our hearts back in 2022 when we released their album Force Of The Wind to critical acclaim. Here we proudly present the predecessor to that LP, the band’s sophomore long player from 2019 that was previously only available digitally. It captures a pivotal evolving period in the band's career, the recordings giving a snapshot of what would become their sound on Force Of The Wind, yet with echoes of avant-psychedelic-pop footprints from yester years.

Produced at a time when band leader Alex Chumak had moved from Minsk to Kyiv, torn between the need to try something new and the homesickness it brought about. Travelling back to Minsk almost weekly, Alex joined fellow band members Mikita Arlou and Stanislav Murashko to lay down II at Studio 42. The album captures these transient feelings, contextualised through the broad scope of influences the band were nourished by. From MPB to Ethio-Jazz and the Italian library soundtracks of Piero Piccioni and Piero Umiliani, the album shines with touches of joy from across the globe.

The opening track 'Verocai' is a tribute to the Brazilian maestro and 'Mirouze', whilst being named after a French favourite of the band, Jean-Pierre Mirouze, pays clear homage to Milton Nascimento and Lô Borges. A ghostly sample and invisible connection to music made miles away in a different era that has influenced and become part of the band’s lives. This is further reinforced in the album's enchanting closer, the aptly titled 'Nascimento', another nod to the great Brazilian musician and singer.

The beginnings of the cinematic, soul-laden jazz SOYUZ are now known for, are on display across the likes of ‘Lyric’ and 'Motive I'. The latter an orchestrated jazz instrumental with sensuous string sections, all of which were recorded on the warmth of a Studer reel-to-reel and waltzing Rhodes keys.

SOYUZ’s wide-ranging palate is further demonstrated in tracks like ‘Business Partners’ with its Krauty, kosmische, new wave production featuring Inturist, and the oh-too-short Anatolian-influenced interlude 'Corrida'. Elsewhere, 'Tezeta' and ‘ES-2 Jazz’ hint at the psychedelic haze of soul-funk, with the former featuring verses from Serbian rapper Petar Martic.

For this new physical and digital release, the whole album was mixed from scratch by Ryan Power before Joker worked his magic on the remaster. More excellence is to come from SOYUZ, but in the meantime, we are thrilled to present this essential recording from the band’s foundational years, mixed to a level that does it the justice it deserves.
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