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(56:00, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Acknowledgement Day 4:31 2. Lavoro D'Amore 4:32 3. Unanticipated 5:42 4. Il Vento Ritorna 4:03 5. There Are The Workers of Iniquity Fallen 5:21 6. Need for Someone Else 6:44 7. Invisible Animals 5:11 8. Every Branch That Beareth Fruit 4:37 9. Ascension Dream (Peak Version) 3:45 10. What Are You Thinking About? 8:25 11. Ending 3:09 LINEUP: Ivan Rozmainsky - harpsichord, piano, organ, synths; metallophone Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky guitars, bass Vladislav Korotkikh flute, whistle Ruslan Kirillov bass, ukulele Alexey Gorshkov trumpet Vladimir Efimov guitars Philip Semenov drums With: Yury Khomonenko drums, percussion
Prolusion. The Russian band ROZ VITALIS started out as the creative outlet of composer and musician Ivan Rozmainsky in 2001, and then developed into a proper band recording a fair amount of studio albums, as well as being an active live band at home as well as abroad. Nine studio albums in total have been released by Roz Vitalis so far. "Lavoro D'Amore", the most recent of those, was released through the Italian label Lizard Records in 2015.
Analysis. Roz Vitalis is an eclectic band where main composer Rozmainsky and his band members appear to find it interesting to play around with ideas and conventions, often in a spirit of innovation and creativity. Thats why they are regarded by many as an avant-garde prog band, I guess, as they do tend to shy away from some of the more common grounds. "Lavoro D'Amore" is no exception to that. The different sequences and passages in most given compositions don't break too many conventions in themselves, however, but the combinations of them used in many songs are, if not anything else, often somewhat unusual. Hence we get folk-tinged pastoral sequences veering off into a dark, gritty guitar and organ lead arrangement with more of an ominous haunting sound, booming bass in support of tranquil lead instruments, as well as fragile, solemn harpsichord, metallophon and trumpet combinations. Folk rock, chamber rock and jazz rock are all styles visited in one way or another throughout the album, albeit not always in a purebred or overt manner. Combining psychedelic instrumental details with funky jazz-rock vibes and cosmic keyboard textures is perhaps not the most usual combination around, the combination of twisted dark guitar riffs, organ and trumpet solos another detail I seem to have noted existing somewhere on this production as well. Classical piano music going to folky landscapes and then entering a more symphonic realm or a more expressive progressive rock oriented one is a development cycle used from time to time, but there's also an example of a slightly more direct space rock oriented instrumental at hand here variety and creativity, although not always of the kind that manages to make an emotional or intellectual impact, at least for me. Some instruments come across as slightly unbalanced, which, for my ears, more often than not is a detrimental feature, but more often the case is that the music is interesting mainly due to the manner in how it was created and developed rather than in the way the end result came across. Some glimpses of truly enthralling material can be found as well, of course, and personally the two- part song What Are You Thinking About came across as the most striking and elegant affair, in a kind of Tangerine Dream-meets-Pink Floyd kind of way.
Conclusion. Roz Vitalis continues to be a striking, creative and innovative band. On this occasion perhaps not always as successful as on previous productions, this obviously being a case of personal taste more than anything else, but while not always managing to hit the sweet spots for my personal taste in music, what they do is never uninteresting or without worth. All in all, this is an album to seek out for those who prefer their progressive rock to be eclectic, adventurous, unusual and purely instrumental.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 15, 2016
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