Bulat: “Still So Far Away” makes brave arranging choices

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Bulat is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor who was born in Russia, raised in England, and is now based in California. His music mixes folk, rock, reggae, and Latin influences with his own unique way of writing both vocal and instrumental songs. He started put learning to play songs by Green Day, Blink 182, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, before going on to study music technology and commercial music production. His most recent release is the 3 track Ep “Still So Far Away”. Whether you’ve been on board with Bulat since his earliest releases and cottoned on to him during the period in which he released the “Just Before The Beat” album, or you’re just discovering him now – there can be no denying that he’s a true artist. The kind of artist that comes along infrequently.

With “Still So Far Away”, Bulat serves only to cement and further develop this status. As the emotive “Hold On (It’s Gone)” rolls into view with its big beating drum and crunchy over-driven guitar tones, Bulat’s distinctive, world-weary vocal timbre welcomes us into his world.

It’s a resonant, and powerful keening. In the song’s over four-minute span, we travel right through the wringer with Bulat, into what feels like hope.  When the song takes off with full orchestration, and a lush yet punchy augmentation of searing guitars, we’re touching heaven.

On the title track, “Still So Far Away”, is the picture of an artist who has reached for the stars and crested them. There’s a confidence, a willingness simply to be himself in these songs and performances which makes everything feel so appropriately comfortable.

Even the dramatic switches from acoustic-guitar, to piano driven sections, on to harsh and loud guitar riffing, sounds smooth and cohesive. Not many singer-songwriters make such brave arranging choices, but Bulat does, and he succeeds. It is also clearly the scope of the songwriting talent at his disposal for which Bulat will be cherished by many fans.

He writes beautiful homages to life, and equally ornate eulogies to it, hence “We Are Still Here” is filled introspection, encouragement and healing. So much of the narrative is brimming with empathy and understanding, highlighted by Bulat’s powerful wail. Immediately easy on the ears, there’s something quietly intense and absorbing about the melody and soaring chorus.

The song showcases Bulat and his guitar with an almost instantaneous soothing effect. While the melodic curl of his voice has the uncanny ability to wrap you in a blanket of warmth. The hushed and exposed vocals that kick off the tune, soon swells to textbook passion at its peak.

By the end of the recording we can be sure that Bulat’s status as a songwriter and performer is unchallengeable and there really isn’t anything other than his heart poured into every second of “Still So Far Away”. The results are a perfect blend of songwriting integrity and powerful instrumentation and vocals. This is a collection of songs that perfectly defines the artist.

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