Sherpa The Tiger are a brand-new band hailing from Lviv, Ukraine. With an arsenal of decrepit Soviet synthesisers, the four-piece combine a love of minimalist ambient music and the kosmische grooves that came pumping out of Eastern Europe in the 60s/70s.
There are two sides to Sherpa The Tiger, there are the dancy groove-ridden cuts that channel the funkier repetitions of CAN’s Future Days LP, held together and propelled by a jagged drumbeat that Jaki Liebezeit would surely be proud of. And then there are the more stripped-back moments, which see cosmic, ambient deconstructions that could easily have found themselves on the score of some kind of 80s crime-thriller set against the neon-lit backdrop of Miami.
On May 18th Sherpa The Tiger will be releasing their debut album, Great Vowel Shift on Fuzz Club. The album is a five-track masterclass in sprawling krautrock, danceable funk-ridden rhythms and vast electronic experimentation. Sherpa The Tiger’s synth-driven soundscapes are a thing of wonder, the band credit this to just two pieces of hardware which in total cost no more than $120: “The backbone of this album’s sound, in addition to the ordinary live drums, bass & guitars is this vintage Soviet synthesizer called an ‘Elektronika EM-25’ from the 1980’s and electric organ 'Vermona Formation 2’, which was made in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s in GDR (East Germany). The sounds of these two instruments you can hear in every track of the album except ‘Golden Ratio’”, explains Andrii.
Talking of their influences on Great Vowel Shift, Andrii explains: “The whole project was inspired mostly by the Eastern European Krautrock stage of the late 1960s and 1970s but we also tried to refresh those old-school ideas with a more modern electronic/ambient approach - with a bit of a psychedelic pop vibe too. The main idea was to create a sound which can be hypnotic, endless and danceable all at the same time.”
Sherpa The Tiger was originally conceived by long-time friends Artem Bemba (bass/guitar/keys) and Andrii Davydenko (keys/programming). The pair lived together in an apartment in Lviv before deciding to start making music to give themselves something to do when stuck inside. Andrii explains: “The band was started as a home-studio project between me and Artem. After the actual song-writing and pre-production, we invited our friends from university Yurii Khomik [drums] and Mykhailo Kanafotskyi [guitar] to come and help us recreate the songs in the studio and play all the stuff live.”
“All the songs’ structures and arrangements were made through improvisation and live sampling. Mostly all the main themes and instrumental passages were recorded on the fly during jams and then we’d listen back and restructure it once we really knew where we wanted to go with the composition.” Andrii explains that once they’d built the basic structures they’d design the music using an approach inspired by cinematography: “The music designing process is definitely based on cinematography. We see songs as stories, or screenplays in the audio universe. We start by imagining certain visual images and then each try and translate that into sounds. The main idea is to create sounds which can be hypnotic, endless and danceable all at the same time.”
Sherpa The Tiger’s Great Vowel Shift is due for release May 18th on Fuzz Club. Purchase link.