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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Modern-Rock Ensemble - Touch the Mystery - 2016
albumcover

    
“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.

Vladimir Gorashchenko - synthesizers, vocals, 12 string guitar, electric sitar, electric guitar; Anton Kalugin (3) - synth guitar solo, rhythm guitar, effects, recording, friendly help; Max Velichko (1,3,6) - lead guitar; Igor Zakus (1,2,3,6) - fretless bass, fretted bass; Alex Fantaev (1,3,6) - drums; Bogdan Gumenyuk (3) - soprano sax; Kostlya Ionenko (1,6) - fretted bass; Sergey Puchkov (1,6) - tabla; Georgly Cherkasov - cello ("Putnik" Mk1); Victor Golubets (1,6) - lead guitar from 10:24 ("Putnik" Mk1), high-pitched voice; Gleb Czapkalov (5) - piano, synths ("Putnik" Mk2); Oleg "Chelya" Yaroshchuk (5) - guitar, electric & acoustic violin ("Putnik" Mk2); Victor "Jaco" (5) - fretless bass ("Putnik" Mk2); Robik Finkel (5) - sound engineering and mixing ("Putnik" Mk 1&2); Anatolly Soroka - recording, sound engineering, re-mastering (5) and mastering; String ensemble (3): Igor Andrievsky - violin; Andrey Pavlov - violin, Aleksandr Pavlov - viola, Vladimir Babutin - cello

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.

Douwe Fledderus - September 2016
rating - Modern Rock Music

 

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