Welcome to the 21st! is a brand new collaborative musical project making its debut in 2022. The group is the brainchild of El Paso songwriter Bob Blumenfeld. The veteran Texas artist set out to tell the tragic and mysterious tale of what happened at Dyatlov Pass. In 1959 nine young Russian hikers died on a trek through the Ural Mountains. The details of their demise remain a mystery.
Dyatlov Pass is the debut release from Welcome to the 21st! The record is a concept album about the incident, told from the perspective of those involved. We follow the adventurers’ ill-fated journey over the course of eight songs as the hikers find and lose their way.
To bring his vision to life, Bob recruited the skills of well-known Dallas recording artist John Dufilho. John performed, produced and recorded all of the instruments on the album. On the mic is talented UK lyricist and vocalist, Touanda.
From the opening tremolo guitar chords of “Hang on to Yourself” to the dark meditation “Lost But Found”, Blumenfeld puts us in the minds of the hikers as they gradually realize and meet their fates. It is a powerfully emotional journey. We feel the excitement of a new adventure, as well as the threat of impending tragedy as Touanda sings “I’ll dance to the sound of the dying stars.”
The last two tracks, “Boots in the Rain” and “Misleading Clues” close the story from the perspective of the desperate and frustrated search team. We listen as they try to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and understand what went wrong at Dyatlov Pass. More than 60 years later, they have yet to do so.
Musically the record rides on a mellow, alternative groove. With an ensemble of drums, bass, guitar and keys Dufilho lays down a mellow 90s-inspired dark pop/rock vibe. The music has the emotional depth of Mazzy Star and radio-ready hooks of Juliana Hatfield. Touanda matches that sound with ethereal vocals and a poetic narrative style.
Check out “Dyatlov Pass” in its entirety below, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the song “Sound of the Dying Stars” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. Follow the links below to connect with the artists.