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Рецензия от Music Street Journal на альбом 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' (in English)
Break out the Borsht and pour the vodka, Russian prog has come to the music scene. Romislokus is a project based in Moscow and their album was recently released. Since I have always had a fascination with the Russian people and culture, I looked forward to hearing Romislokus with definite anticipation.
The CD was not quite what I expected, but this surprise was not a bad thing. The music is a bit on the low-key side. Don?t expect massive flourishes of keys or guitar solos. Instead, look forward to atmospheric tones and a style that is somewhat of a techno take on prog. This music shares a lot with that of Kraftwerk, but it also has moments that call to mind Marillion, Hawkwind, Lands End and Genesis. Still, it is all combined into a very original motif. The Russian lyrics make it a bit hard for an English speaker like myself to fully grasp the material, but still, the music does grab you.
The Snow of the Rails: An ambient, almost techno texture takes this cut up to the verse, a balladic and dramatic one. Waves of keys wash over, and I don?t know why but it feels a little like Kraftwerk meets Marillion (Hogarth era). The intensity increases after a time, just building on the same structures.
The Face of A City: Beginning with more organic prog ballad tones, a pretty melody line quickly ensues. This one changes to a more straightforward, fairly hard rocking jam after a time. It gets rather powerful in its alternating modes. The arrangement also gets quite lush with strong neo-classical tones for a time.
78: An acoustic guitar bouncing about starts this, and dramatic washes of keys overlay it. The track begins a building process in a very dramatic and somewhat off-kilter mode before dropping back to atmospheric tones with vocals overlaid. This one also moves into melody lines that feel like traditional Russian music. It is quite an interesting composition with a lot of changes. It turns to a playful style that seems a bit like classic Genesis for a time. Potent keys take over temporarily. A dynamic one, this covers a lot of ground.
Absolute Control: Hawkwindesque tones start this one off. Then a slightly mysterious and vaguely dark melody takes over, building on what came before. The ghost of Kraftwerk again makes an appearance on this piece. This is another does a good amount of building and expanding. It shifts gear late to a rather neo-classical and melancholy type of texture. A new keyboard based melody ensues from there to end the piece.
It Is Winter: A great melodic segment opens this number. Then the track shifts to a more contemplative and fairly classically oriented melody line. It integrates those two modes, building upon them in fine fashion.
Miss The Target: Weird keyboard textures are the first sounds we hear on this cut, for about the first minute or so. Then the first semblance of melody emerges and begins building very slowly into a pretty, somewhat moody number that feels a bit like Hogarth era Marillion.
A Tree By The Wall: More atmospheric tones start this one, and a balladic style that falls somewhere between contemplative and playful carries it on. It finally seems to choose the contemplative end as it drops to the verse. As the instrumental break ensues, the cut switches to a surprisingly entertaining piece of chaos. The jam that comes out of that chaos and takes the composition to its conclusion is especially effective.
Tuner: This is a fun techno based foray that calls to mind Kraftwerk more than anything else presented here. It also feels a bit like Herbie Hancock?s journeys into electronic music. The somewhat R & B oriented female vocals add another interesting element to an already intriguing song.
Substance: A bit weird, this one has a great classical overtone to the powerful melodic strains that start the piece. It sounds like a poetry reading over a sedate melody before shifting to a segment of female vocals and dramatic string section that serves as the outro.
Smoke: Percussion starts this. The keys and bass join in, and a balladic prog melody eventually emerges. The cut begins building on that format after a time. It then shifts to a jazzy sort of jam that feels a bit like Lands End for a time. The arrangement takes on a triumphant texture occasionally and gets a bit more lush than most of the material presented here.
Рецензия от Progfreaks.com на альбом 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' (in English)
Romislokus - Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn
1. The Snow of the Rails (4:51) 2. The Face of a City (5:58) 3. 78 (6:49) 4. Absolute Control (5:06) 5. It Is Winter (3:57) 6. Miss the Target (6:30) 7. A Tree by the Wall (6:49) 8. Tuner (3:10) 9. Substance (4:24) 10. Smoke (4:11)
Total Running Time: 51:45
Russia is a fascinating country, a land of contrasts that historically has had its people divided into the masses and the oligarchy, its culture related to Europe and yet worlds apart from it in its Asiatic taints, its temperament divided between fearsomely brutal rage and sweetly naive innocence. It is a land that with its picturesque architecture draws respect from its guests, and that with its legendary artists has shaken the world more than once, but above all, it is a land with an incredible people. There is a fairy-like kindness ingrained in a large segment of the population that sees itself reflected not only in the works of Tolstoi and Dostoyevsky or the surreal imagery of Andrei Tarkovski's The Mirror, and not even in the innocent beauty of the language itself, but in the very temperament of the Russians that I have been fortunate to know personally.
The influence, however, goes beyond that to seemingly have some bearing on a considerable part of everything the Russians do, rock music included. And so it is that Romislokus' Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn, regardless of the fact that its music can be related to bands that have little to do if anything with Russia, is a further extension of that country's character. Not only the pastoral dreaminess or the kind innocence, however, but also the terrible cruelty and near-barbarism that the country has been witness to during its dynasties, so-called communism, and recent debacle. In fact, and although its appearances in a stark industrial tone that recall early Killing Joke are rather sparse throughout the album, such is the very imagery behind the chillingly masterful 'Absolute Control.' With the exception of the rather more electronic 'Tuner' and the mostly placid '78' the emotional centerpiece of the album, it recalls dramatic authoritarian marches with a frightening accuracy, and it is a personal shame that such a direction was not further explored across the record.
However, the fact that the members of Romislokus choose to focus most of their creative energy on childlike dreaminess and sweet contemplation of the surrounding nature is no detraction either. The approach ends up reminding the listener of a very vague and abstract The Cure imbued with a subtle progressive bend, and the result is quite touching in its beautiful simplicity. And the result is such partly because of the Russian lyrics, which bring a peacefully contemplative air to each track and contribute to creating a series of tender lullabies for the listener. In fact, had it not been for a production that unfortunately sounds too empty to provide footing for the lush whims of Romislokus, Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn would be nothing other than the perfect portal through which to access the very childlike naivete of Russia itself.
Рецензия от RockNet на альбом 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' (in English)
Not too long ago Romislokus wrote us and asked us to do a review of their - at that time - current album. Of course we agreed, and that review should be available in our 'archives' section.
Apparently that record had been around for a while by then, because soon after this 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' followed. Another cool release by our Russian friends.
The music is pretty much what we've come to expect from Evgeniy Gorelov (keyboards), Mikhail Voronov (guitars), Yuri Smolnikov (guitars, vocals), Dmitriy Shelemetev (drums) Maksim Karavaev (computers), Mikhail Brovarnik (bass) Irina Unukavskaya (cello) and Anna Goya (violyn / vocals).
Still, there are some differences. This record sounds a little more modern, and somewhat 'fresher' than their last offering. Unfortunately the Russian language still doesn't make too much sense to me, so I can't tell you anything about the lyrics. I do think, however, that Yuri Smolnikov definitely has his limitations as far as his vocals are concerned. On some tunes he gets away with it, because the vocals simply fit the material well, but on 'The Face Of A City', his vocals sound quite a bit 'off'.
The music is somewhat more organic than their last offering. More guitars, and an overall more rock-driven sound. The synthesizers forming the foundation of the Romislokus sound are still around, but a little more in the background. There are still prominent parts for the violins and cellos as lead instruments. General string arrangements sound synthesized to me.
The material was written with extensive arrangements in mind, and are often similar in structure: Verse - chorus - verse - chorus - go nuts.... :)
The fact that the lyrics are in Russion add - to me - a sort of 'exotic' feel to the material, lending it a somewhat 'dark' atmosphere. I assume that this is, however, a personal 'vibe' I get. Romislokus is still an odd band. They have a very distinct, own and original sound, balancing in-between rock, pop and new age-ish music.
Give 'em a shot if you can find the record. I have no idea in which parts of the worlds it should be available. Check romislokus.com for details.
Рецензия от New Horizons на альбом 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' (in English)
VINYL SPRING, DIGITAL AUTUMN Track list: The Snow Of The Rails (4.51); The Face Of A City (5.58); 78 (6.48); 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 (4.10);
Moscow based Romislokus stated out in Kirov, Russia in 1998 as a group of musicians who were keen to experiment with progressive rock music. Their first album, 'Between Two Mirrors', was released in 2001 and was generally well received by those who heard it.
The band utilise the usual array of drums, guitars, bass - and by adding string instruments (cello and violin) they are able to create a warm, organic ambience within the music. In sharp contrast to this is the starker use of computers which define many of the rhythms used and which, in turn, bring their own mechanical edge. The resulting sound embraces folk, modern, progressive and electronic elements and brings them into a state of equilibrium.
Throughout 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn', the band's second release to date, Romislokus have stuck to their native tongue, rather than falling into the usual trap of trying to sing in English. While it is true to say that the Russian language can have a tendency to sound quite harsh, this actually stands them in very good stead in the long run…
Getting things underway is 'The Snow Of The Rails' which, for the most part, has a smooth electro pop sound. Guitar and keyboards create a light airy feel, while the computerised rhythms that interject from time to time add a touch of discord and unease.
'The Face Of A City' continues with a gentle relaxed style utilising soft guitar play, accentuated by the contrasting textures created by the inclusion of the string section. The unforced vocals sit superbly in the mix, supported by some very well placed backing vocals, which create a real sense of warmth.
There is a nice mix of styles to be found in the more progressive sounding '78'. Along with alternating electric and acoustic sections, the track also features confident keyboard and bass work creating a strongly melodic composition. The one aspect I was not so enamoured of here was the vocals; which at times seemed to work against the mood created by the music.
There is a slightly sinister feel to the dramatic opening of 'Absolute Control', which sets the tone of the rest of the track. The use of violin, combined with mechanical rhythms, gives a very industrial feel and initially the mood of the track is very reminiscent of Steve Hackett's 'Darktown'.
'It is Winter' is another fairly soft, easy going number. The keyboard and guitar parts are again very pleasant to listen to, and the use of tubular bells adds a nice touch, but ultimately the track never seemed to break out and realize the full potential of what, at first, appears to be on offer.
The mood changes with 'Miss The Target', which is a very down tempo track that uses keyboards to create an ambient canvas on which to paint broody cello and electric guitar parts. The vocals here, I found, worked far better with the music and seemed to better reflect the tone of the piece.
'A Tree By The Wall' is another track that shows the band's ability to good effect. Once again the track is fairly low key, but the lack of pace seems to serve well to let the instrumental sections evolve naturally without seeming forced.
'Tuner' continues where the previous track left off, using electronic keyboard sounds punctuated by bass rhythms to create a free flowing format that bubbles effortlessly along. This is another strongly ambient piece that seems to infuse aspects of trance and jazz to good effect - and the inclusion of female vocals works well for the most part.
The last two tracks really give the album a strong finish; we are treated first to the delights of 'Substance', with its powerful instrumental arrangements and string work creating a sound not dissimilar to Van der Graaf; before coming finally to 'Smoke' where light, jangling guitar work is interlaced with violin and cello. The mellow vocals and reappearance of the tubular bells contrasts well with the more upbeat flow creating a very positive finish.
This is a very enjoyable album, although in all honesty it is not really ground breaking in terms of its approach. Nevertheless, Romislokus seem to have developed a style of their own and have managed to create a very well balanced release that delivers the goods in fine fashion. Certainly worth a look in!
8th May 2002
Рецензия от prog Visions на альбом 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' (in English)
The Russian Prog Band Romislokus plays an original hybrid of electronic and acoustic fusion. While on the surface, the swirling apparent dominance of electronic keys washes with the coldness of electronica, there is a foundation of acoustic instruments that are woven into the mix with extreme subtlety. The final overall sound is very relaxed and laid back - a perfect easy listen while you are working. But at the same time, if one wanted to dive into the sound, the complexities are truly there. The acoustic side of Romislokus' sound is represented by violin, cello, drums, and vocals, while the electronic side is represented by keyboards, computers. The band states their use of Electric Guitar, which is subtle but again, effectual, serves as a bridge to bind both extremes of music.The band consists of Evgeniy Gorelov on keyboards; Mikhail Voronov on guitars; Yuri Smolnikov on guitars, vocal; Dmitriy Shelemetev hitting and programming the drums, Maksim Karavaev working the computers; Mikhail Brovarnik playing bass; and Irina Unakovskaya on Cello; with Anna Goya on violin and vocal. 'The Snow of the Rails' is an ambient intro that takes off where the first Romislokus album began but 'Face of a City', the next track, takes us to where the album ended. So the first two songs were more or less a review of the band's overall sound.'78' gives us a bit of funk, the cellos and then some electric guitar. I'm reminded quite a bit of the excellent art rock band, Tindersticks on 'It is Winter'. 'Miss the Target' is also a stand out track with a slowly building tempo. The foundation of music is built on computer samples that is very reminiscent of the creative early days of Brian Eno, especially his days with Roxy Music.'A tree by the wall' is also excellent for it's languid guitar. 'Tuner' is filled with swirling electronica and the closer 'Smoke' is back to the laid back melodic crooner that makes the band a Slavic, very modern spin of the experimental elements of Roxy Music with the ensemble feel of bands like After Crying.There is not a bad track on the CD. Each of the ten songs is very different and well developed. Song lengths vary from about 3 ? minutes up to 7 minutes, the average falling around 5-6 minutes.
The band is skilled enough to pull of the opposing sounds of electronic and acoustic without allowing the forces to oppose one another. If you would like a comfortable, unassertive listen from time to time, Romisklokus is doing something new and fresh. But something about it also seems familiar, dating back to the days when electronic music was still a part of the analog world.
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