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(49:20, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Patience of Hope 6:43 2. The Unfading Sun I 2:50 3. To Stir Up Your Pure Minds 3:10 4. Seeds Fell Among Thorns 6:17 5. The Forgiven Monday 3:36 6. Gorgeous Cliff 1:35 7. Mother of All Rain 4:28 8. Confidence 5:53 9. Dove il Sole E Meraviglia 1:57 10. Touching Upon the Mystery 8:55 11. The Unfading Sun II 3:56 LINEUP: Ivan Rozmainsky harpsichord, keyboards; metallophone Vladimir Efimov guitars; keyboards Yuru Khomonenko drums; accordion Ruslan Kirillov bass Philip Semenov drums Vladislav Korotkikh flutes, harp Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky guitars, bass With: Natalia Fedorova gusli (Russian harp) Fyodor Mazhzhevelov bassoon Ilya Rysin trumpet, flugelhorn Roman Shilepin saxophone Grigory Maliev clarinets Dasha Kosatina cello Ilya Ten cello
Prolusion. The Russian ensemble ROZ VITALIS started out as the creative vehicle of Ivan Rozmainsky back in 2001, and have since then established themselves as a productive live and studio project actively exploring music of the kind that exists outside of common genre conventions and expectations. "Patience of Hope" is their seventh full length studio production, and was released by MALS Records in the late fall of 2012.
Analysis. Roz Vitalis is among the more fascinating artists I get to cover as a reviewer. Their music is demanding and challenging to describe, but even whilst fairly complex and rather sophisticated the music itself is easy to listen to. The themes are generally engaging, they have a strong emphasis on distinct melodies, but it is in the manner the themes are arranged and the various details and instruments utilized that the challenges rise up in plentiful arrays when you attempt to describe the listener experience with mere words. Frail, metallic plucked notes from a string instrument, presumably the gusli, gives many of the compositions on this disc a unique atmosphere. As does the equally frail sound of the harpsichord. Especially when either of them are supplemented by gentle cosmic, electronic sounds. The contrast between the more earthy presence of the former two with the futuristic of the latter is just one of a number of intriguing landscapes Roz Vitalis conjures on this occasion. Those who have a taste for classical chamber music should be enthralled by a piece like To Stir Up Your Pure Minds, if chamber rock is more to your liking the following Seeds Fell Among Thorns should fulfill that particular desire. If you enjoy the sound of the cello in various constellations you're in luck too, as the melancholic and occasionally brooding presence of that instrument is another distinct presence in a select few compositions. Theme variations repeated with minor or major alterations in sound, intensity or arrangements are another treat explored on a good few items here, all along with a blend of classical instrumentation and sounds of a more contemporary nature, ample room for flugelhorn, bassoon and clarinet as well as electric guitars, keyboards and bass. Those with a soft spot for more folk-oriented endeavors get their fill too on The Unfading Sun, an elongated and more down to earth variation of the piece at the start of this disc named The Unfading Sun. Music hard to describe, as previously mentioned. Still, the compositions come across as thoroughly developed. If you enjoy music that shies away from common norms this one should be a sheer pleasure to experience from the start until the very end, with plenty of experiences that merit a brilliant description. Personally I became most intrigued by Touching Upon the Mystery, opening with three successive runs through a set theme with instrument and arrangement alterations that suddenly shift to what I'd describe as a toned down hypnotic piece of space rock, albeit rather toned down in the cosmic effects department.
Conclusion. Roz Vitalis appears to be a vital and creative unit these days. "Patience of Hope" is one of those albums that will leave genre nerds scratching their heads in frustration while aficionados of artists that opt to follow the philosophy of "the only rule is that there is no rule" will find plenty to enjoy. Especially those among them fond of rock music that uses, utilizes and incorporates elements from classical and folk music in arrangements and movements unexpected and unpredictable. A highly recommended album.
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