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Music review from Alternative Rock Review for album 'Trans Aviation Pilots' (in English)
The album 'Trans Aviation Pilots' is the second time I've reviewed Romislokus, after 'All Day Home' back in 2003. Since then, the band has been hard at work writing more adult-orientated rock sang mostly in Polish and Russian vocals. There are so many different styles, it would be inaccurate to class 'Trans Aviation Pilots' as a pure rock album, lots of Pink Floyd atmosphere dominates the songs, with smatterings of acoustic guitar, synthesiser and strings throughout. Second track 'Take My Heart' boasts a mean guitar lick and almost soundtrack quality in the tone and 'Just Dream' contains English lyrics making a change from the surrounding tracks (to my untrained ear). Nothing here feels rushed or hurried, each song unwinds at its leisurely pace, unafraid to mix in folk, progressive and drum machine touches. Talking of Pink Floyd, there's even a song called 'Money' that turns out not to be a cover of the 'Dark Side Of The Moon' classic, instead a calming original with space effects and what sounds like a church bell approximately half way through! Thinking of the clean guitar tone employed, it does remind me of 1980s era Dire Straits, the way it doesn't dominate the mix, letting in other less obvious instruments. If you enjoy your music void of adolescent posturing and bluster in favour of sleek, atmospheric AOR, Romislokus is a match made in heaven.
Music review from Aural Innovations for album 'Trans Aviation Pilots' (in English)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: March 2004
On their previous album, Russiaís Romislokus moved in a more pop oriented direction, but with a sensual, slightly surreal tone to it, like the music of Brian Ferry or Ultravox. Trans Aviation Pilots finds them heading back into a bit more of a prog rock direction, though these songs are still definitely pop-oriented. This, however, is pop with muscle, with complex arrangements, diverse influences, and the characteristic Romislokus spaciness to it as well. The chops are tight, especially from the guitarist, and the production is first rate. And I was very happy to hear the haunting tones of Irina Yunakovskayaís cello taking a more prominent role in the sound once again. Yuri Smolnikov continues singing mostly in English, but a few songs are sung in Russian as well. Song-wise, the title track is a definite knock-out, and one of the best things the band has ever done, with its funky, heavy guitar and thick atmospherics. Take My Heart displays Irina Yunakovskayaís cello playing to maximum effect, giving the track a classic and romantic feel. The dark Being in a Plastic Box (one of the songs sung in Russian) was also a favorite. Computer Moon is a cool track as well, being a kind of bluesy space tune (also with lyrics in Russian). And Rocking Time, despite its title, ends up being one of the spaciest tracks on the album, with lots of quirky electronics. All in all, another strong release from Romislokus, though I would still like to hear them delve back into a bit more of the deeper prog rock leanings of their first album. But I would say this is their second best album so far, next to their original classic.
Music review from The Dutch Progressive Rock Page for album 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' (in English)
Country of Origin: Russia
Record Label: Sverchok Records
Year of Release: 2002
Tracklist: The Snow Of The Rails (4:51), The Face Of A City (5:58), 78 (6:49), Absolute Control (5:06), It Is Winter (3:57), Miss The Target (6:30), A Tree By The Wall (6:49), Tuner (3:10), Substance (4:24), Smoke (4:11)
Russian band Romislokus are back with their second album, Vinyl Spring Digital Autumn and they have followed up their debut Between Two Mirrors in a most impressive fashion. Once again they have managed to fuse the calculated cold atmosphere of electronic music with the warmth of string instruments, notably the cello and the violin. Once again the vocals are sung in Russian, but somehow the band manage to curb this problem and unlike with many 'foreign' bands, this does not serve to detract from the beauty of their music.
The difference between the styles of music Romislokus play is evident from the first two tracks. The Snow Of The Rails has a dark sinister electronic touch to it while The Face Of A City has a much more warmer, and commercial, feel to it with the introduction of airy keyboards as well as the now customary and expected string interludes. In fact it seems that the band have moved toward a more mainstream approach with this new album allowing themselves to become rather more accessible by broadening their fan base to those who could easily listen to other bands such as Hothouse Flowers.
However, even though there is more of a commercial feel to the band's music, they still manage to instill an aura of progressive rock such as on 78 which has some intriguing shifts in both time signature and overall style flitting between the acoustic strings to a harsh electronic sound. It Is Winter blends acoustic and commercial rock with progressive arrangements featuring tubular bells and strings which blend in magnificently with Yuri Smolnikov's husky vocals.
As mentioned time and time again the band feature a heavy does of electronic music which feature in a variety of ways. Absolute Control has the band adopting a heavy synthesised sound that also affects the overall sound of the guitars, Miss The Target has a cold atmospheric ambience almost Tangerine Dream-like in nature, as does Tuner.
The music by Romislokus seems to have been derived from a myriad of influences but one cannot deny that one of the major bands that does crop up every now and again would be Pink Floyd. Tracks such as A Tree By the Wall, feature that melancholic nature that evolves at a dramatically slow but effective pace. However, the one feature that this Russian band possesses that allow it to stand out when compared to many other similarly styled bands is the incorporation of the string instruments which create such as strong contrast to the various other electronic sounds, a feat that is accentuated on Substance
Admittedly, Romislokus are one of the brightest discoveries to have come my way in the last few years. Their music breathes fresh air into what at times has become a seemingly stagnant musical style. Though there are various references from classical bands, Romsilokus have adopted with great success their own individual style which deserves to be unleashed to the masses!
Conclusion: 8 out of 10.
Music review from The Dutch Progressive Rock Page for album 'Between Two Mirrors' (in English)
Tracklist: Cold (4:20), The Wood Cutter (3:14), Give A Glance (2:41), Through The Love (2:48), The Thunderstorm Is Coming (4:53), The Mist (4:11), Termites (6:00), Minute (3:55), Jackdaws (4:21), Three Colors (6:55)
Admittedly, Russia is one country where my knowledge of progressive rock is near to nil, bar a few bands. Thus the album Between Two Mirror's was received with eager anticipation and I must admit to have been pleasantly surprised. The band has been around for about three years or so and is composed of Evgeniy Goerlov (keyboards, vocals), Irina Yunakovskaya (cello), Mihail Voronov (lead guitar), Mihail Brovarnik (bass) and Yuriy Smolnikov (rhythm guitar, vocals). Stylistically the band describe themselves as a progressive rock/ambient band, a description that could be attributed to them though one could also add that there is an element of alternative rock that forms an integral part of their style.
Being Russian, the vocals are also sung in Russian and though this could be a drawback to those who like to focus on the lyrical content of an album, the language does not form any barrier to the enjoyment of the album. In fact Gorelov's vocals are carried out in an almost narrative style that blends in with the mysterious and dark nature of the music. Furthermore, my impression of former Eastern block bands is their attempt to re-create the sound of the seventies by rehashing material that sound so much like various other classical bands. However, Romislokus have managed to create an alternative and new style, that could still be attributed to various influences, though they manage to sound so very fresh and different.
From the opening track, Cold, one realises that the band place a lot of importance on the ambient sound created by the keyboards. Sometimes the music does tend to hark back to the kraut-rock days of bands such as Can and Kraftwerk, and possibly the reason for the song being called Cold was the very fact that much of the works by these greats was described as being too cold and calculated. Furthermore the use of the keyboard effects, and the occasional drum machine, does at times remind me of a latter day Depeche Mode and even Talk Talk, especially on the The Wood Cutter.
With Give A Glance the band start to come out of their shell of what seems to be calculated and somewhat over-cautious music. Not that there is a radical change in the programming, yet the addition of the cello to the whole musical aura gives the track a much wider listening range. Whereas with various other prog-bands such a diversion occurs via a guitar and sometimes a violin solo, Romislokus introduce a rich cello sound which further adds to the overall melancholy as well depth of the band's sound.
At times the band do try bands such as U2 in their adaptation of computer enhanced effects that are merged together with their rock sound as happens on The Thunderstorm Is Coming, though it is with The Mist that the album suddenly takes a turn towards a darker and moodier approach. The sound has a Goth-like touch to it reminding me at times of bands such as Paradise Lost as various effects are merged in with the increasingly harder edged guitar work.
As the rest of the album remains within the same ambient soundscape with Floydian surroundings amidst Eno-esque effects and at times Van Morrisonian vocalisations, we come to the closing number, Three Colours, which is in my opinion the highlight of the album. This track explores all the musical avenues that were portrayed on this album with the addition of some harrowing female vocals that further add to the dramaticity of the band's music.
Between Two Mirror's is not your normal run of the mill progressive rock album with lengthy solos and complex time signatures. However the modus operandi of this band with the delicate introduction of various instruments as the cello make this album a must for those who like the rather more subtle side of progressive rock such as bands like After Crying and possibly even Brian Eno. Don't let the fact that the lyrics are in Russian discourage you as the way they are executed allows them to blend in perfectly with the music of the album.
Conclusion: 8 out of 10.
Music review from Progressive World.net for album 'All Day Home' (in English)
If there is a group of enthusiastic, hard-working, musically inclined fellows out there that seem to actually enjoy what they are doing, as opposed to coming up with an excuse to sound like a bunch of arrogant and pedantic pseudo-intellectuals, it definitely is those endearing Russians known as Romislokus. One need not wait for a new album from these musicians in order to actually hear something new from them; chances are that by the time one is able to even think about it, a new track is already available on the bandís website. Yes, quite endearing indeed. However, expecting Romislokusí music to be candy-coated happy-go-lucky nonsense as a result would be as misleading as thinking of Mr.T as a whimpering weakling or of Kenny G as heavy metal. Well, at least with the exception of a couple of tracks on All Day HomeÖ more on that later, however.
With their new album, the members of Romislokus venture further into dark territories than on their previous Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn, although not in the direction of the chillingly authoritarian march of 'Absolute Control.' Instead, the band employs a pathway somewhere between the darker moods of The Cure and Depeche Mode and elaborates upon it with subtle computer detailing via large swoops of sound, quirky clangs, and other such effects. Thus the foreboding 'Dreg' is granted a slightly menacing chorus ? la Morphine, 'If' is touching in its simple melancholy, and their sonic cohorts benefit from a similar accessible moodiness. Sacrificed, however, is that characteristically Russian balance between sweet na?vet? and almost brutal coldness that pervaded Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn; which does not detract from the music on All Day Home, but does bring about a change in its essence.
Of course, that doesnít quite answer the number one question in every readerís mind while checking out a review: how well does the music actually work? Well, itís a mixed bag of results, certain elements working like a charm and others behaving, well, not too appropriately in their collaborating with Romislokusí aspirations. Mikhail Voronov and Yuri Smolnikovís guitars are a shining backbone in the whole affair, alternating between gliding arpeggios and energetic pop strumming as required, and the first six tracks on All Day Home are for the most part quite catchy compositions.
Simultaneously, however, Smolnikovís vocals are far too bland for their musical background, and both 'Name' and 'Persici' are too honey-coated for their own good, so that the end effect of the album is quite weaker than it could have been. Furthermore, the thin production that kept Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn from reaching its full potential reappears here and once again keeps the recorded music from corresponding with the musiciansí ideas fully.
But just like its predecessor, All Day Home cannot be categorized as a failure at all, and instead is another effort in Romislokusí bag that probably would have been much more effective had it had greater production values. The matter here is that the potential isnít fully realized, not that there isnít any potential at all. And while on that subject, there is some brilliant songwriting that will actually embed itself into oneís brainwaves for quite a while if precautions are not taken previously. However, as has become usual with independent progressive acts, even if they have only a very subtle shade of progressive in them like Romislokus does, only time and an improvement in production will tell if this Russian act is finally able to fulfil the promise that it represents.
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