Three leading Russian composers (Gubaidulina, Artyomov and Suslin) formed the Astraea ensemble in 1975 to research and perform music for eastern and Transcaucasian folk and traditional instruments (wind, string and percussion).
After performing works by each of the members, the group decided to abandon notation and perform freely improvised and spontaneous pieces. This, their sole album, was originally issued in Russia only and now receives its global premiere.
The three members of Astraea play on the first two tracks: Instruments include the duduk, salamuri, tar, kiamancha, chonguri, kanon, mandolin, and various types of drums and bells. The third piece, which is quasi-electronic, is also an improvisation, with a very small amount of set arrangement. It was made with the participation of leading American trombonist Miles Anderson, and is based on the text of a German love poem found in the diary of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.