For those who do not know, iamthemorning is a Russian rock duo /chamber pop duo formed in 2010. It consisted of singer Marjana Semkina and pianist Gleb Kolyadin. Their name was taken from a song by Manchester band, Oceansize.
Pianist Gleb Kolyadin has now taken his Chamber Prog away from the pop world of iamthemorning [perhaps just temporarily] and into the prog-rock market. He’s set out his stall with a debut solo album [self-titled.] The album is out February 23rd via Kscope.
The album is a collaborative piece with guest musicians recording parts separately, starting with Gleb himself, on grand piano, who laid down tracks at the Mosfilm studio. Others who collaborated on the album include: Gavin Harrison (drums, Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) Nick Beggs (bass, Steven Wilson), Theo Travis (flue/sax, Steven Wilson), Vlad Avy (guitars, iamthemorning), Evan Carson [percussion], Steve Hogarth (Marillion), Mick Moss (Antimatter) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater.) Other contributors included: Grigorii Osipov (vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel), Iliia Diakov (violin), Alexander Peresypkin (cello), Grigory Voskoboynik (double bass), Tatiana Dubovaya (vocals) and Svetlana Shumkova (hang drum + spoken vocals).
The central construct of the album is articulated through tonal and thematic ideas, built around an extraordinary rhythm section provided by Gavin Harrison and Nick Beggs. Guest musicians Steve Hogarth, Jordan Rudess, Mick Moss and Theo Travis emphasize ideas at focal points on the recording. The album was mixed and engineered by Vlad Avy.
The album begins with ‘Insight’ and, to be frank, this first track is quite an insight in itself. Not entirely dissimilar to Elton John’s version of ‘Pinball Wizard’ in style and execution, it’s chipper and breezy. Brave and poppy. With wonky pipe-sounds and whipping drums. In fact, the thick-thumbed keys create a rough assembly of casual chunks of sound, and these are neatly pushed together into one joyful framework. It’s more Townshend than Stravinsky and comes as a surprise.
‘Astral Architecture’ is tender and fluid. With cold keys and trilling virtuosity. Here, pious and subtle voices also lurk. They are dark, shaky and shady and reminiscent of Lou Reed. The soundscape is cold and bright, like twisted snowflakes and spiral winds.
An ‘Eidolon’ is a spiritual image of a dead person, so this track has an ephemeral and distant quality. The piano sounds like fragile footsteps on a precarious glaze. Experiencing it is like treading onto thin ice and feeling your weight break the surface. Only prayer will save your soul when the time comes to plunge.
‘Constellation The Bell’ is closer to our expectations of Gleb Kolyadin: extended melodic ideas and great eloquence. Only toward the end are we attracted by the wavering, lambent voices from the Sirens’ cape.
‘The Best of Days’ is melancholic and sensual. With the buzz of bass guitar and cracks left in the armor-plate so the corrosiveness of salted sounds can bubble through gaps to produce harmonious contractions with lovely colours and rhythms. Oddly, this reminded us of ‘Five Years’ — the album-opening for Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.
This album is full of surprises: some exuberant and magnificent, others playful in their scherzo style. So, for fans of progressive rock, obviously, but also for fans of Transformer era Lou Reed, Hunky Dory era Wakeman and Ronson era Bowie.