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Sultanov - Keep On Running (Single Review)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 Written by V O'Hagan
Sultanov - Keep On Running (Single Review)

ďThe Russian soul is a dark place,Ē said Dostoyevsky, and I suppose thatís easy to believe. To anyone thatís taken GCSE history, Russia is synonymous with snow, vodka, ushankas, snow, oppression, Lenin and snow. Russian literature grapples with the heaviest of issues; war, peace, death, morality. Vladimir Putin can kill you with his thumb.
To me, Russia has always been deeply fascinating. It is a country of such diverse beauty, vivid history and musical splendour, from the lyricism of Rachmaninoff to the punk-rock feminism of Pussy Riot. Russian indie-pop stars donít come along that often, so it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Sultanov.

ImageMoscow-based but born in Azerbaijani, Dan Sultlanov is bonafide Russian art nobility, his grandfather Tahir Salakhov is an internationally celebrated painter and draughtsman, and his mother, grandmother and aunt are all artists, so itís not surprising that Sultanov has a slight artistic flair. ĎSlightí is a bit of an understatement actually, seeing as Sultanov describes himself as a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, visual artist and scriptwriter. Like the one-man-bands of yesteryear, this guyís got a finger in every pie. Influenced by artists such as Michael Jackson and Tchaikovsky you can expect his album to be diverse, and Sultanov describes his sound as Ď a combination of energy and romance, rhythm and melody.í

Sultanovís debut single 'Keep On Running' is produced and co-written with Andy Wright, whoís produced everyone from Annie Lennox and Simply Red, Jeff Beck and Imelda May. Sultanov describes 'Keep On Running' as a Ďnostalgic summer songí and without sounding too flippant thatís precisely what it is. This isnít a song that should be heard on headphones as you cuddle a hot-water bottle on a long winterís night, itís a tune for lazy days and late-afternoon summer get-togethers. Itís cool, itís upbeat, itís smooth. The accompanying video is a sleek and modern animation based on Sultanovís own ink drawings. The simplicity of style and the use of bright, block colours is like Andy Warhol meets Soviet propaganda, and the video showcases Sultanovís feel-good lyrics and artistic capability.

ďIíve always been surrounded by art in many different forms,Ē Dan says, ďAll these sounds, rhythms, colours, canvases, paints, charcoalsÖ everything helped develop my vision of the world and made me the person and artist that I am today. I canít wait to finally share my music.Ē
Having heard 'Keep On Running' and snippets of the new album, it seems to me that heís more than ready to share his music with us.

The average Russian soul may be dark and mysterious, but Sultanovís soul is light and bright. Snow and vodka? More sunshine and lemonade.

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