Modern Rock Ensemble

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Musical style of the band is a fusion of art-rock, jazz-rock, cosmic, symphonic and ethnic rock. Many talented Ukrainian rock and jazz musicians were involved in this project as well as a string quartet. “Touch The Mystery” consists mainly of instrumental pieces, some of them recorded at the end of the Eighties. The title-track presents a “musical biography” of Vladimir Gorashchenko, rather than just a 20-minute epic.

Douwe Fledderus

“To find the Mystery of your life
You have to seek, you have to strive …”

Modern-Rock Ensemble is a musical project of Vladimir Gorashchenko (Ukraine) – composer, poet, keyboard / guitar player and producer. What about the name of the project Modern-Rock Ensemble, Vladimir comments that his musical style was influenced by a great heritage of art-rock, jazz-rock, cosmic rock, sympho rock and ethnic rock which he considers as essential parts of modern rock music. Ensemble means that Vladimir wants to get more complex ensemble or orchestral type of sound. Vladimir invited many talented Ukrainian rock and jazz musicians to this project as well as a string quartet.

The album opens and ends with a track called “Meditations”. The first track is the English version and the last track is the Russian version. “Meditations” was recorded by Modern Rock Ensemble Putnik Mk 1 in Italy back in 1988. Part of this recording is used for this track. In 2013 the lead guitar parts were recorded. The original lyrics were translated into English and fretless & fretted basses and a few synth lines were added later. The track was also remixed. The original lyrics in Russian are from the Russian poet Valeny Bryusov. The piece has some oriental / world-music influences by the use of instruments like the electric sitar and tabla. I like the use of real string instruments in the music of Vladimir. The fretless bass gives a jazzy flavor to the music. The theme of the song is a little bit on the dark side. And you can hear this also in the music. But there are also some more uplifting parts in the music with some nice electric guitar parts.

The next piece “What will happen to my country” is played on keyboards and has been recorded in the year 2014. This short piece has beautiful and melodic piano parts. It has a somewhat filmic character. A very beautiful track.

“Touch the mystery” is the central piece and title track of this album. This 20 minute epic is presented as the musical biography of Vladimir. It is divided into the following parts; “Intro”, “You live your life, you win, you lose”, “Funeral ceremony – Death of the mystery”, “Alive and kicking”, “Before the battle”, “The battle”, “Dare to touch your mystery”, “Reprise”, “Hymn to those who dared” and “Outro”. This epic opens with the sound of a tuning orchestra and a read out of the first part of the poem “Touch the Mystery”. This epic slowly develops into a diverse progressive rock piece with jazz and classical influences. In “You live your life” you can hear the first fat synth solo’s and a jazzy soprano sax. The string ensemble give some classical touches. In “Funeral ceremony” the intensity decreases and the music becomes more atmospheric. In the part “Alive and kicking” the intensity of the music is slowly building up again. In “Before the battle” the cello is nicely integrated into the music. The delicious synth parts are returning in “The battle”. The music of this epic center piece of the album has a great diversity. It is absolutely the highlight of the album.

“My angels” is also a short keyboard (piano & synths) track that was recorded in 2014 by Vladimir. This delicate song is dedicated to his wife and daughters. It has a lovely melody. The next track “Swamp” was recorded live on a stereo deck during a jazz-rock festival back in 1989 by Modern Rock Ensemble Putnik Mk 2 and remastered in 2014. This jazzy and atmospheric piece is dedicated to the Russian film director Andrey Tarkovsky and his creative work that opposed Sovjet ideology. Vladimir comments that ideology was like a swamp that drowned anyone who tried to overpass it. The piece is divided into the following parts; “Intro, “Bible Void and Birth of the genius”, “Childhood and Youth”, “The joy of creation”, “Critics (How come can he criticize our Sovjet reality?)”, “The carousel of tortures (The grinding of Tarkovsky”), “Why? Death” and “Final”. This piece has some delicious jazz fusion parts but the overall atmosphere is mellow and jazzy. I like the electric violin in the mysterious parts of this wonderful track. As said before the album closes with the Russian version of “Meditations”.

This album proofs that there are many talented Ukrainian rock and jazz musicians. Most of you will only know Antony Kalugin, the man behind bands like Karfagen and Sunchild. You can also hear him play on this album. On the epic title track he is responsible for the synth guitar solo. This album has a very strong middle section with the epic “Touch the Mystery” that is enclosed by the beautiful keyboard pieces “What will happen to my country?” and “My angels”. If you are open minded and like your Prog with classical and jazz fusion elements, this album is for you.

Stephen Conrad

This project spans thousands of miles and several decades.

It involves some of the cream of the  national progressive rock musical community- Antony Kalugin of KARFAGEN, Max Velychko, and others.

It arises from Ukraine- a land of deep history, culture, and sometimes upheaval.

It displays poetry, almost in a “Beat” style, spoken word passages, and topnotch musicianship throughout, interspersed with very occasionally insipid cinematic keyboard sounds.

There are portions of intense passion, vocals sung in a “countercultural” bass/baritone voice (when the prevailing progressive “culture” is powerful tenor vocals), and orchestral majesty.

All of this is brought together by a musician, Vladimir Gorashchenko- who according to his liner notes in the beautifully appointed CD digi-pak, said he was influenced by ’70’s art-rock and jazz, AND who also happens to be a business tycoon in Ukraine.

To say that this CD challenges, perhaps DEFIES, easy critique, is an understatement.

I think all these factors and more must be considered when listening to this experience, this music, in this context.

For example, liner notes explain that the title track is “musical biography”of Vladimir, divided into sections (not easily discernible without the heads up given), each section titled and probably laden with personal meaning.

We can learn based on these notes that he weathered Soviet political oppression, whether directly or indirectly, during which dark days, artistic expression was to follow rigidly prescribed paths.

We can sense a husband’s and father’s love for his family, and as a citizen, for his country and its people.

In the context of a music project, we can definitely hear that since the late 1980’s if not longer, Vladimir has been making high-caliber music, and is an exacting, perhaps obsessive perfectionistic leader.

Because portions of the music actually date back to the 1980’s (and were used as kernels to build upon, then to improve by remastering and re-recording parts), there can hardly be said to be a clear theme or concept.

What comes through most is the respect the rest of the artists and musicians and producers hold for Vladimir, and their urging him to put together some of his musical legacy in easily accessible form.

The lyrics provided reveal the almost mystical bent of poetry, and the poetry used in the extended “Meditations” urge deep reflection with soaring images, and some melancholy.

In another case, “The Swamp” is dedicated to a film-maker who apparently stood up against the Soviet oppression, which gives the sense that Vladimir had such sympathies as well.

Finally, the artwork of Sergey Shulima must be noted- vivid, graceful, gorgeous.  It’s a fitting setting for this retrospective and biographical music laden with many layers and meanings.

Set aside preconceptions, and give yourself to the experience provided by Modern-Rock Ensemble and Vladimir Gorashchenko.

Yoshiyuki Ooseki

К нам стучится новый, прекрасный, затмевающий дух альбом 2016 года под названием «Modern Rock Esemble»… .

2016年の美しくも驚愕なる衝撃の新鋭がまたここに降臨した…。

Не смотря на то, что это дебютный альбом, он беспрестанно продолжает излучать божественно ослепительный свет.

その名はモダン・ロック・アンサンブル、デヴュー作と言うにはあまりにも神々しく眩い輝きを放ち続けている。

Осмелюсь предположить, что хоть альбом в Японию прибыл всего месяц назад, уже есть многие, кто успел его прослушать

正直なところ日本に到着してからほぼ一ヶ月近く経過しており、もう既にお聴きになられている方々も結構おられる事と思われる(苦笑)。

По определенным обстоятельствам так случилось, что статья об этом альбоме вышла с небольшим опозданием, однако ни в коем случае фанатам прогрока нельзя пропустить этот замечательный дебют.

若干のタイムラグ等の影響やら様々な諸事情で掲載こそ遅くなってしまったものの、やはり本デヴュー作品の素晴らしさだけは絶対見過ごす訳にはいかないだろう。

Во главе стоит практически неизвестный на украинской сцене multiplayer Владимир Горащенко. Необходимо отметить, что это высшего пилотажа symphonic project band.

ウクライナのシーンに於いてほぼ無名に近かったマルチプレイヤーVladimir Gorashchenko率いる、これは最早神憑りにも近い至高のシンフォニック・プロジェクトバンドであると言わざるを得ない

В этом дружном составе, присутствуют также Antony Kalugin, солист KARFAGEN и SUNCHILD, а также гитара, скрипка, виолончель, альт, сопрано-саксафон и тд – около 20 представителей этого ансамбля создают глубокие музыкальные свитки, которые похожи на свитки Ветхого Завета.

率いるAntony Kaluginという盟友を始め、ギター、リズム隊、ヴァイオリン、ヴィオラ、チェロ、ソプラノサックス、タブラ…etc、etcの20人前後の大所帯による、旧約聖書を思わせる意匠というイメージ通りの壮大にして深遠なる音楽絵巻を創造している。

Этот альбом имеет высокое качество, что позволяет ему выделяться среди большого количества альбомов этого года. Также нельзя оставить без внимания и уровень композиции, высокое профессиональное исполнение. Альбом преодолевает границы, не останавливаясь только на Украине, а становится world wide – это очень высокий уровень. Это и не Tales From Topographic Oceans группы Yes, он чем-то напоминает A Trick of the Tail группы Genesis, есть здесь и мелодическая, симфоническая отважность (бесстрашие), есть что-то от Pat Metheny Group и от ЕСМ, что придает альбому немного джазовости, присутствуют восточные тайны и оттенки восточной экзотической страсти скомбинированы в этом произведении – музыка Космоса, и когда Вы ее слушаете, она помогает многочисленным слушателям объединить сердце и душу и постичь Вселенную.

今年の数あるニューカマーの中で頭ひとつ抜きん出たトップクオリティーを有し、コンポーズ能力及びスキルの高さは言うに及ばず、ウクライナ産のシンフォニックという範疇すら超越しワールドワイドな視野をも見据えたハイレベルにして、イエスの『海洋地形学の物語』ないしジェネシスの『トリック・オブ・ザ・テイル』に近い雰囲気のエッセンスをも内包し、今日のメロディック・シンフォニックの豪胆さ、果てはパット・メセニーグループや数多くのECM系をも彷彿とさせるジャズィーなムーディーさも醸し出しており、オリエンタルな神秘さと東欧的なエキゾティックなパッションとがコンバインした唯一無比な音宇宙を耳にする度に、万人のリスナーの心と魂はきっと天上界へと駆け巡っていく事だろう。

«Если вы еще не слышали этот альбом, то и говорить о симфороке в 2016 году Вы не в праве!», – вот, в принципе, как вкратце можно охарактеризовать этот альбом. Итак, вашему вниманию предлагается высокого качества произведение, обязательное к прослушиванию.

これを聴かずして2016年のシンフォニックを語る事なかれ!と敢えて断言しておきたいくらい、必聴必至の最高傑作の登場である。

Оригинал: http://14526789.at.webry.info/201610/article_2.html

siLLy puPPy

The Ukrainian outfit MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE may only be getting around to releasing their first album in 2016 but despite it all, Vladimir Gorashchenko finally releases his musical labor of love and at long last unleashes his poetic prowess, instrumental skills and proud self-taught maestro of production. This band actually has roots all the way back in the 80s. The first project began as Modern Rock Ensemble Putnik from 1985 to 1989 with two distinct versions having emerged but by 1990, Gorashchenko was compelled to care for his ill mother and other family matters thus putting his musical endeavors on hold for extended periods of time. Like any musician who is passionate with that enduring flame of creativity, the pilot light may have been put down to simmer but never truly extinguished and as a result the ideas and techniques simply accrued over the years until finally after over a decade and half into the 21st century the very first album TOUCH THE MYSTERY has finally seen the light of day.

The modern rebooting of MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE was resurrected in 2008 when Gorashchenko (who handles guitar, keyboards, sitar and vocals) met Anton Kalugin (who handles synth, guitars and special FX). Their shared passion for progressive rock, particularly the symphonic side of the spectrum inspired them to search for other talented like-minded musicians in their native Kyiv to fulfill their musical visions. The biggest hurdle in recording this album was in finding a producer which is apparently quite difficult in Ukraine so in the process Gorashchenko took on the role of learning from scratch how to produce the album himself and as a result added many more years than it should have for completing the project.

Given that TOUCH THE MYSTERY is really a patchwork of several decades’ worth of material, it therefore has a true epic feel that has aspects of a long extended timespan and a sense of perfection where every little detail has been scrutinized and tweaked to obsequiously adhere to its intended role in a truly staggering project that includes a whopping 18 musicians contributing different parts of the album. TOUCH THE MYSTERY only has six tracks with the majority being close to or well over the ten minute mark. It also contains two shorter tracks but as a whole manages to barely clock in at under an hour long listening experience. According to the liner notes Gorashchenko has written over 50 songs in his creative musical life time and has whittled this album down to a mere six tracks. While this is a studio album, it does contain the live track “Swamp” recorded all the way back in 1989 at a jazz festival which does include some jazzy workouts and is virtually unperceived as a live track.

The album begins in an exotic way with sitars, ethereal ambient eddies of sound and and immediate vocals that sound like a progressive version of the baritone bard of the north Leonard Cohen. The music immediately establishes a vibe and overall sound for the entire playing time. It resides on the mellow and subtly sophisticated mode with occasional outbursts of amplified guitars and rock regalia for contrast’s sake. Tablas perform percussive dottings of an insinuated Indo-raga rock type of album run but as the music morphs in and out of a dream sequencing chain of events that perpetually change the mode and mood as if reality itself has been influenced by invisible gravitational pulls outside of the human perceptive senses. It all flows across as if a meditative trance has been magnetically manipulated and tweaked to the left and to the right as if some unforeseen forces have masterminded a musical coup in the regularly scheduled program.

MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE has been described and placed in the neo-prog category but also exhibits healthy doses of space rock, symphonic prog, Indian raga music as well as scant examples of pure heavy rock. There are many example of Rick Wakeman influenced keyboard note bends as well that often provide the very symphonic backbone of certain parts of certain tracks. While the two shorter tracks “What Will Happen To My Country?” and “My Angels” can certain give an impression of the oft-hated genre of AOR vibe (aka the “neo-prog cheese syndrome” coming into play and admittedly my least favorite tracks of the lot, the longer more multifaceted have much more to offer but because of the inherent nonchalant methodology of marching into procession, the music could possibly inhibit the listener’s expectations of something more raucous brewing in the mist. This was my initial expectations but have found a new lease on the sophisticated subtleties upon subsequent listenings.

First and foremost this album reminds me of the 60s Moody Blues with Gorashchenko’s narrations interpolating themselves into the overarching musical developments. You know, the kind that was heard on the extended version of “Nights In White Satin” as well as some of the symphonic elements on board. Beyond those obvious influences lies the early neo-prog leanings of Genesis, the 80s extended neo-prog offerings as heard by Arena and IQ as well as other space rock pioneers such as Pink Floyd, however despite all the influences this is a shimmering rotisserie of ideas coming into play and taking turns in the spotlight much like the performances evidenced during a Cirque Du Soleil show where certain aspects are in the spotlight for a while and then fade to subordinate roles so that others can shine for a while. This is particularly true for the third and most lengthy title track which clocks in at a staggering 19 minutes and 53 seconds. While the brilliance of TOUCH THE MYSTERY may not lie in the sonic inventions that are on display but rather the performance artistry that allows it to ebb and flow in a unique set of circumstances. The music is impeccably produced and every little tiny note slide and percussive beat shines brilliantly and the juxtaposition of sounds is almost perfect.

Personally i find this one growing on me after every listen. While upon first listen i felt a bit underwhelmed because of my own expectations, after several spins i have accepted the album on its own terms and have been seduced by the subtle sophistication that resides in ever twist and turn of the album’s majestic magnitude. While melodically very accessible from the very first spin, this one is much like a Porcupine Tree album that has elements that will hook you immediately but yet draw you back for more and only then unleash new ways of interpreting the album. True that the baritone vocals of Gorashchenko can be unexpected because this type of music often insinuates a much more versatile vocal style but i have to admit that the limited vocals that only sporadically enter the musical arena are rather perfect for the rare moments that a musical direction requires some sort of verbal directional force. TOUCH THE MYSTERY is certainly a sophisticated album that is the product of several decades of creation. So don’t expect to understand this on a few short listens that are not without full-on attention span aroused. While i wouldn’t consider TOUCH THE MYSTERY an all-time classic, i do find this an extremely beautiful album that keeps me entertained throughout its entirely.

Reference to the original: http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1671299

VianaProghead

Today I celebrate my hundredth review on Progarchives. As you can imagine, today is a very special day for me. Since a long time I planned to celebrate this date with a very special album from my country, the album generally considered the pinnacle of progressive rock of my country, “10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte” of José Cid. However, I changed my decision and I decided to celebrate this date with this new album of this new musical project. Why? Because this new musical project has won a very special place into my heart since the first moment I listened to it. All begun in the end of 2015 when I was contacted asking my opinion about the album. As many of us know, we are often contacted by many groups to review their albums. And as we know too, we can’t review all those albums. However, in this case, I was very impressed with this project. Despite not only the music is great but also Vladimir is a man with great skills, as a composer and performer. So, soon I became interested in this project and decided to review it.

Modern-Rock Ensemble is a musical project of Vladimir Gorashchenko, a composer, poet, keyboardist, guitar player and producer from Ukraine. About the project’s name, Vladimir comments that his musical style was influenced by a great heritage of art-rock, jazz-rock, cosmic rock, symphonic rock and ethnic rock which he considers as essential parts of modern rock music. It also means that Vladimir wants to get more complex ensemble or orchestral type of sound. To this project Vladimir invited many talented Ukrainian rock and jazz musicians as well as a string quartet.

“Touch The Mystery” has six tracks. “Meditations” is the English version and the last track is the Russian version. It’s one of the lengthiest tracks on it. It begins with some eastern musical influences that develop progressively all over the track. It’s one of the two tracks on the album with some vocal work. This is a very good track, very well developed and with some original musical moments. It oscillates between slow and more aggressive parts. “What Will Happen To My Country” is a soft, melodious and emotional track that shows the feelings and the concerns of the composer with the future of his country. It’s a very beautiful and nostalgic piece of music composed only for keyboards. It represents for me the most beautiful moment on the album. “Touch The Mystery” is the title track and the lengthiest track on the album, and is also the great highlight of the album. This is truly a majestic track. It has all the ingredients to be a masterpiece. Despite being another epic as the first one, musically it’s very different. It’s magnificently constructed and orchestrated, and has a great strings work. The music flows and develops naturally all over the track. It has also a very beautiful tune. This is really a great piece of progressive music. It’s not a surprise that this track gives its name to the album. “My Angels” is another very soft, melodious and emotional track of the album. It’s another piece of music composed only for keyboards. This time it shows the deep feelings of the composer’s love for his wife and daughters. It represents the second most beautiful moment on the album. About the short pieces in the album I must say that they are absolutely beautiful and lovely. Both show Vladimir’s own feelings about two very important things for him, his country and his family. “The Swamp” despite be the third lengthiest track on the album, is very different from the other two. First this is a live version and second it’s strongly influenced by jazz. This is also an excellent track, more experimental than the previous tracks and where the strings work is also very beautiful. The track is also magnificently constructed. This is really another great piece of music. In my opinion this is the second highlight of the album.

One more thing. My compliments to Sergey Shulima, he made a great job with the paintings used on the album cover.

Conclusion: “Touch The Mystery” is a very interesting album, magnificently composed and orchestrated and with a very professional work. It has some beautiful and emotional moments and also some great job from all the performers. The strings work is really impressive and beautiful. The album is very well balanced and the inclusion of two small and soft pieces in the middle is really an excellent idea providing some of the most beautiful moments on the album. They break the most emotional moments of the lengthiest epic pieces. The vocal work of Vladimir is very curious and interesting. His voice is very deep and strong. Some can consider it too much deep for their tastes. But I think the use of his vocals on the album was very well balanced. The musical performance on the album clearly shows to be an album made by a keyboardist. However, Vladimir gives a lot of room for the other musicians shine on their own performances. I must say that I’m very impressed with the keyboard skills of Vladimir. I must confess that I didn’t know anything about his musical education. His keyboard work is really great and I always presumed that he had a classical training. Now, I know that I was right. This is simply one of the best progressive albums I’ve heard to in the last years.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

P.S. : There is only one thing that worries me about this musical project, which is its classification. I’m not really sure if consider it a neo-prog project was the better option. I can see why, but I continue with many doubts. Despite I never was a great fan of the expression neo-prog (I like very much of bands which are caracterized as neo-prog bands), I think the music of Vladimir is much more profond. I always thought that the neo-prog style is nothing more than the symphonic prog style more simple, more melodic and more commercial. So, this is what bother me with this project. Despite Vladimir’s style be very melodic it has nothing to do with simple, and especially, it has nothing to do with commercial. In my humble opinion, Vladimir’s style has its roots very profond in the symphonic prog, as his classical training as a musician shows, we can clearly see it on “Touch The Mystery”. By the other hand, and as himself says, his musical style is very much influenced by many and varied music styles, as we can clearly see on the track “The Swamp”, which has clearly fusion musical influences. So, it would be more natural to me to put Modern-Rock Endemble in the sub-benre of Eclectic Prog or even Symphonic Prog. However, the decision was made and I accept it.

Reference to the original: http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1669968

Matti

It took a long while but it was worth the wait. It was in August that I received this album. Right on the first listen I felt there’s something special about this release from Ukraine. The music itself is of course very finely crafted; the bandleader, composer and keyboard player Vladimir Gorashchenko indeed seems to be a perfectionist as the liner notes reveal. But what’s most important, it goes beyond being just good music. I mean, one can sense the personal passion, dedication and the urge to express all the emotions and the view on the world via music. That’s what makes it special.

Vladimir has a decades-long musical background, and it’s suitably present in this release, in terms of both the texts and the music. His group “Modern Rock Ensemble Putnik” was active in the latter half of the 80’s. The opener ‘Meditations’ (featured also as a Russican-language version in the end of the album) was recorded in 1988 in Italy, and in 2013 the piece was finished with new recordings of vocals in English, lead guitar, basses and a few synth lines. It’s a fine epic of nearly 12 minutes. Sonically it reminds some solo efforts of FISH, especially his debut Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors. For example in the way the fretless bass effectively comes very audible here and there in the spatial soundscape (I’m thinking of Fish songs such as ‘State of Mind’), and in the emotionally loaded dynamic range of the composition, in which the vocals are in a larger role than generally on this instrumentally oriented album. Vladimir has a warm baritone voice.

The fifth track ‘Swamp’ was recorded live in a jazz festival in 1989, by Mk. 2 of Putnik. This 10-minute instrumental is dedicated to to the legendary art-film director Andrei Tarkovsky who struggled against the swamp-like Soviet ideology. Also this composition is mostly rather slow-paced and thoughtful, with both jazzy and New-Agey nuances. Excellent playing! Two short pieces between the long tracks are delicate keyboard solos; ‘What Will Happen to My Country?’ is touchingly melancholic, and ‘My Angels (decicated to my fiwe and daughters)’ expresses gentle love beautifully.

The central piece is the 20-minute title track, a multi-part epic that is said to be a “musical biography” of Vladimir. It’s full of emotions and wide dynamics. I’m not sure if the brief spoken parts are doing good for the music, but on the other hand they increase the sense of personal passion that I mentioned before. The composition has both some sections that many would consider a bit sleepy, and cathartic highlights. Impressive! Now the hard question of the rating: I’d give 4½ stars if possible. This album might be slightly over-pathetic (and a bit too sugary on the short pieces), and to have a same song in two languages is not so valuable for me, but for the perfection in the production and for the emotional depth I want to give the full rating. I hope there’ll be more releases from Vladimir’s music archives, as the text suggests.

Reference to the original: http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1668446

FragileKings

I guess it was a year ago when I received a message asking for my opinion on some music composed by a Ukrainian artist, Vladimir Gorashchenko. It’s never easy for me to say when I will have time to listen to someone’s request and then comment or write a review, but a hole opened up in my music schedule and I gave it a listen. And I was duly impressed. I listened to the whole album and gave my thoughts to my contact. The main question was, “Would this album be welcomed in the PA community?” or something along those lines. What a question! Do cows eat grass?

Then this summer a package arrived for me from the Ukraine. It was the album I had heard now here at last released on CD. “Touch the Mystery” by the Modern-Rock Ensemble. It’s a simple name to be sure. Nothing like Destiny’s Draught or Three Quarter Triangle or anything like that. Simple but very apt. The music is a rock band with an orchestra-worth of other instruments for the main compositions “Meditations” and the title track, and the live recording “Swamp” is also more than just a simple rock band sound. I was immediately interested when I heard the opening “sitar” notes (actually a sound created on acoustic guitar after laborious experimentation) and the slow building of the music, which made me feel I was witnessing the sunrise from some ancient temple. Vladimir provides his deep vocals for “Meditations”, singing in bass baritone and sounding a bit like the late Leonard Cohen. The 11-minute track is a wondrous composition weaving acoustic ethnic sounds with guitar rock that features Max Velichko’s guitar work. It is one of those 10-12 minute mini-epics that have just the right length and attention to detail that make it a great pleasure to listen to. From this track I was sold on the music.

The title track flows from the same spring but at 19:50 it weaves across a broader plain. There are moments of waves in the music with a rich rock performance that changes to softer, soothing music, and then switches back to the rock, and back to the softer music again. I confess that after several listens I haven’t dissected the song perfectly, but there are “parts” with the music changing and a reprise near the end, and Vladimir offers his vocals once more. I think he originally worried that people might not like his low register but I feel the deep warm tones are a welcome change from the usual.

Two other tracks, “What will Happen to My Country?” and “My Angels” (a tribute to his wife and daughter) are keyboard compositions that are very pleasant, though I can’t help but think about the weight behind the interrogative title of the former. What will happen to the Ukraine indeed?

There are two other tracks on this disc. One is a live recording from 1989. It was recorded on a single tape recorder and so the sound quality is not as good as the rest of the album, and Vladimir confesses that the fretless bass is lost a little in the sound. But sound quality aside (it’s not bad really), the performance shows already the kind of skill that went into not only the writing but also the playing. The other track is a version of “Meditations” sung in Russian. There are some minor differences in the mix and instrumentation here and also Vladimir sings in baritone here as opposed to bass baritone.

Vladimir’s musical background includes early interests in “Sergeant Pepper’s”, Deep Purple “In Rock” and Genesis’ “Selling England by the Pound”. By 1983 he was composing music of his own and as we can here, he was performing his music as early as the 1980’s. Working closely with guitarist Max Velichko, Vladimir is involved in Max’s forthcoming album and will work with him further on a second album for Modern-Rock Ensemble.

There is a special quality to this album that makes is stand apart from most of the other stuff I have in my collection. It’s a wonderful debut though certainly one that took a long time coming. I will look forward to hearing what Vladimir has to release next.

Reference to the original: http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1668459

AlesN

My personal interest to prog rock started with Genesis and Procol Harum. The music they made was unique, at that time it was a breakthrough. Since then a lot has changed, but what I don’t like about the development of prog rock is that it is going mainly in circles. On very rare occasions a new group appears which generates something new, being a new level of music.

In this respect I was astonished by this album. Ukraine is not that musically famous for its traditions like UK, Italy or States. However this project is definitely not only a fusion of the best achivements in progrock, it adds to the heriitage significantly – the intricate melodies, deep emotions, constant possession…

I wouldn’t be afraid to give 5 to this album. It is a landmark. Since the first time I listened to this project I am their sincere fan. Give it a listen and the last remaining doubts will leave you. The guys in Ukraine can compose prof rock and play it. I personally am sure of it.

Reference to the original: http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1669925

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