GLEB KOLYADIN, THE VIRTUOSO IAMTHEMORNING PIANIST, DEBUT SELF TITLED SOLO ALBUM – OUT TODAY – NEW VIDEO FOR “STORYTELLER” FEAT. JORDAN RUDESS OF DREAM THEATER

With the debut self-titled album from Gleb Kolyadin (iamthemorning) released today on Kscope, the Russian virtuoso pianist premieres a new video for the song “Storyteller” which features special guest Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater

Gleb comments on the song and the Kolyadin/Rudess collaboration “Storyteller is the final point of this musical journey.  After passing through intricate corridors and stairs, the character finds a secret room where he comes to understand himself and everything that is happening with him. The room is a real mystical location in which time and space are intertwined. 

I think no one could play the solo part better than Jordan. His rocking piece is the true magic. I’m happy that everything turned out the way it did: his part was the most important detail that breathe new life into the track.”

Gleb Kolyadin is an emotive exploration of self-identity; a story of two parts with interweaving leitmotifs. The album’s central concept weaves through an elaborate tonal and thematic structure, built around the extraordinary rhythm section of Gavin Harrison and Nick Beggs, which is accented at its focal points by guest appearances from Steve Hogarth, Jordan Rudess, Mick Moss and Theo Travis.

The album is a collaborative piece with each musician recording their own parts separately, starting with Gleb recording himself on grand piano in Moscow Winter-Spring 2017 at the famed Mosfilm studio. The album was mixed and engineered by Vlad Avy, who also previously worked on the two Iamthemorning records.

Gleb Kolyadin is available on CD / LP and digitally and is available HERE

Follow Gleb Kolyadin: https://www.facebook.com/iamthemorningpage/

Review – Gleb Kolyadin – s/t – by Progradar

I suppose, like me, the music you listen to depends on the mood you are in? Uptempo, fast-paced music for workouts or when you are in a really energetic mood or perhaps the chilled out, more relaxing music for a quiet night in and then there is that album that sits a bit on the fence, it has the higher cadence but also the easygoing, even emotive tracks that make it a great listen.

I was lucky enough to receive the promo for Gleb Kolyadin’s (pianist and co-songwriter of Iamthemorning) self-titled solo release and was intrigued to find out whether it would be more of his day job or a change from the norm that would head in other directions. Along that journey I have had the pleasure to become engrossed in what is a wonderful musical adventure…

The record features a staggering who’s-who of performers, including: Gavin Harrison (King Crimson Porcupine Tree) on drums; Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson) on bass; Theo Travis (Robert Fripp / Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson) on flute and saxophone; the unmistakable voice and lyrics of Steve Hogarth (Marillion) alongside Mick Moss (Antimatter); and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on additional keys.

The album is a collaborative piece with each musician recording their own parts separately, starting with Gleb recording himself on grand piano in Moscow Winter-Spring 2017 at the famed Mosfilm studio. The album was mixed and engineered by Vlad Avy, who also previously worked on the two Iamthemorning records.

There’s a wonderful freshness and freedom to the music that Gleb delivers, whether it is the instrumental tracks where his piano playing is key or the vocal tracks where intimate stories are weaved by the collaborative voices of Mick Moss and Steve Hogarth. The near-frantic tempo of opener Insight is a case in point with Gleb’s dextrous digits flying over the ivories to give a breathtaking demonstration of his skill. The accompanying musicians add a veneer of sheer class, Theo’s sax really stands out and you could imagine yourself standing to applaud as it comes to a close. There’s a humble feel to the opening of Astral Architecture, the gentle piano is hushed in comparison giving an ethereal grace to the song. Mick Moss adds a subtle authority as his vocals begin, full of feeling yet with an undercurrent of melancholy, they draw you into there intimate embrace and you willingly follow. A fantastical aura settles over the song as the vocals take on a more passionate note and the classical strings add gravitas, a powerfully emotive track. The elegant notes of White Dawn wouldn’t be out of place in a piano recital, oozing class and panache, it’s a short interlude that could be termed a musical amuse-bouche and it leaves a lovely feeling on the aural palate.

The theme continues but at a much faster tempo as we segue into Kaleidoscope, a track that lives up to its name as you are taken through a huge spectrum of musical wonder by Gleb’s incredible skill and artistry. Tatiana Dubovaya’s haunting vocals give an air of mystery and intrigue but it is a piece of music that fairly skips along without a care in the world and you gladly join the ride as Theo Travis’ flute takes up the reins to take us to a breathtaking close. The momentum slows a little for the captivating charm of Eidolon to beguile and enchant before the slightly discordant notes of Into the Void carry on the recurring musical theme, quite insistent and incessant in their delivery. Again, this is classical music given over to a mass audience with the added skill and expertise of modern day, real world musicians added into the mix to create something quite unique. The unrelenting timbre is carried over to The Room but you always feel the performers are totally in control of proceedings. A note of seriousness has entered the music in places, the happy-go-lucky quality taking a step into the shadows without leaving altogether, Theo’s sax playing adding a gritty feeling of ‘out there’ jazz playing to the furious piano that closes out the track.

There’s a wistful, darker aura that descends around Confluence, a dreamlike and wistful opening seems to be meandering to nowhere in particular with is deliberately slow tempo and Steve Hogarth’s hushed spoken word vocal barely heard in the background. It’s a wistful, contemplative tapestry on which a beautifully mournful soundscape is created. The music has a thoughtful and reflective ambience as it dances gently across your aural synapses and belies its ten minute plus length. This song is a testament to Gleb’s creativity as it twists and turns to gather pace before applying the brakes, always demanding your attention, an introspective piece of music that leaves a lasting impression on your mind. Constellation The Bell is a moving song that has a barely hidden fragility behind the impressive piano playing, an eloquent and expressive three minutes that leaves a hollow feeling behind. There’s a grandiose and ebullient impression to the short lived Echo Sigh Strand, a track where Gleb’s piano playing seems to emanate from his very being to come alive and it crackles with electricity, powerful and exciting.

Penrose Stairs carries on the pomp and circumstance with added theatrics, a vibrant and imposing track aided and abetted by Gleb’s stellar accompanying cast of musicians. However, it is the intricacies of his skillful piano playing that is always at the core of these songs. The involving complexities of the elaborate Storyteller take on a slightly menacing tone as Jordan Rudess’ instantly recognisable keyboard skills take over, it’s quite a thrilling joyride from beginning to end. All good things must come to an end and the dulcet tones of Steve Hogarth herald the closing track on the album The Best of Days. A fantastically nostalgic song where Gleb and Steve work together perfectly to deliver a sentimental track that tugs at the heartstrings. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it but there’s just something about this song that really works and, to my ears, it is near musical perfection.

I met Gleb at this year’s Summer’s End festival and he is a quiet, polite and very unassuming man, perhaps it is through his creative side and his music that he can really express himself. This self-titled solo debut is pretty much a work of art where the undoubted piano playing skills of this virtuoso musician are complemented by some of the most prominent musicians around to give us something quite wonderful and ultimately rewarding and something which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Released 23rd February 2018

Order ‘Gleb Kolyadin’ from Burning Shed here

 

iamthemorning Pianist Gleb Kolyadin Announces Self-titled Debut Album

Following the success of two highly-praised albums with Iamthemorning, Russian virtuoso pianist Gleb Kolyadin affirms his musical authority with his debut, self-titled album on Kscope, on 23rd February 2018.

The record features a staggering who’s-who of performers, including: Gavin Harrison (King Crimson Porcupine Tree) on drums; Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson) on bass; Theo Travis (Robert Fripp / Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson) on flute and saxophone; the unmistakable voice and lyrics of Steve Hogarth (Marillion) alongside Mick Moss (Antimatter); and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on additional keys.

‘The Best of Days’ features the instantly recognisable vocals from Marillion’s Steve Hogarth, on the collaboration Steve comments “Gleb is a beautiful pianist and a great musician. I was invited to collaborate on his new solo album and my mind was made up as soon as I heard the music.”

Gleb Kolyadin is an emotive exploration of self-identity; a story of two parts with interweaving leitmotifs. The album’s central concept weaves through an elaborate tonal and thematic structure, built around the extraordinary rhythm section of Gavin Harrison and Nick Beggs, which is accented at its focal points by guest appearances from Steve Hogarth, Jordan Rudess, Mick Moss and Theo Travis.

Gleb is an extremely rare talent as a pianist and as a composer. His compositions are very inspiring as he breaks new ground on the instrument.” Gavin Harrison (King Crimson / Porcupine Tree)

he album is a collaborative piece with each musician recording their own parts separately, starting with Gleb recording himself on grand piano in Moscow Winter-Spring 2017 at the famed Mosfilm studio. The album was mixed and engineered by Vlad Avy, who also previously worked on the two Iamthemorning records. 

Gleb Kolyadin will be released on CD / LP and digitally and is now available to pre-order HERE

“Gleb Kolyadin is a rare talent. A virtuoso classical pianist with tremendous compositional skills… believe you will find the listening experience quite breath taking.” Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson)

Photography credit: Alexander Kuznetcov

 

 

Live Review – The Pineapple Thief (featuring Gavin Harrison) and Godsticks at Bristol Bierkeller – by James R Turner

I once stole some coconut shampoo, I don’t know why, I didn’t have a coconut, however Bruce Soord has been getting away with Pineapple Thievery for over 18 years, and despite the gig being on a Sunday night, I was glad to finally see them on their latest musical jaunt, a worldwide tour de force promoting the latest long player ‘Your Wilderness’. In fact these dates were added later, as it seemed very odd when the tour was first announced that they bypassed the West Country entirely, and we can’t all afford to ship off over to that London for a gig

In fact this was the last gig of the tour, and practically a local one, as Bruce doesn’t live a million miles away, so it was almost a homecoming for him.

It’s always strange to go to a venue that is so intimate to see bands that you think should be playing such bigger venues, particularly when the venue is the Bierkeller, which is an odd little place. A cross between a traditional rock club and a German drinking haus, managing to not quite be one thing or t’other, and it’s also funny to go to the merch stand and see the latest release by the band being an audio/visual document of the show that you’re about to watch. (Where we Stood).

(Godsticks)

Support was by Welsh boys and K-Scope label mates Godsticks, whose set was made up of a majority of new material from their forthcoming album ‘Filled with Rage’, I had never heard of them before, and as I have probably said elsewhere one of my criteria for what makes a great gig is how good the support band are.

Godsticks are good, very good indeed, they have a wonderfully chunky sound, big riffs and big beats, and have that knack of turning up the amps but not losing the melody, whilst the set was bias towards the new record, ‘Faced with Rage’, which is out on October 13th, the older material from ‘Emergence’ fitted in superbly.

As a rock band go Godsticks are entertaining, musically adept and according to someone who was with me in the audience who had seem them before, they have come on leaps and bounds. All I know is they were a superb start to the show, and got the audience warmed up before the main event.

Last time I saw Bruce and the boys was on the ‘Magnolia‘ tour, back in The Fleece in Bristol in 2014, and then I thought they should be playing somewhere far bigger.

Now, with the addition of the busiest man of the night Godsticks guitarist and vocalist Darran Charles, who joined The Pineapple Thief live line-up, the amazing Gavin Harrison on drums, the Thief’s live sound is suddenly enhanced, and those simple tweaks helps take the burden of Bruce, so he can be the frontman he was always destined to be, and with Gavin on board this group of excellent musicians suddenly have raised their game even more.

There is a reason why the tickets say The Pineapple Thief with Gavin Harrison, and that is because Gavin is the contemporary musical equivalent to Bill Bruford, and is mesmerising to watch and hear as a drummer, astonishingly despite being a massive fan of his work, both solo and with bands like Porcupine Tree or King Crimson, this was the first time I have ever seen him live, and whilst I love The Pineapple Thief, and their latest album, seeing Gavin Harrison in action was something I couldn’t miss.

Being biased towards some of the later albums, and of course ‘Your Wilderness’, the entire album hits the stage at one point or another tonight, and songs like In Exile, Where We Stood and Tear you Up come across with power and intensity, the sound that a band confident in their ability can deliver with panache.

With Darran doing some of the heavy lifting, Bruce is like a man freed, playing to the audience and turning in some fine banter (‘forgetting’ to remember the album title of Godsticks new release being one of many exchanges), whilst material from ‘Magnolia’, including The One you left Behind (the strongest track from that album), absolutely rips the place apart with the power and skills of the band. With long term collaborators Steve Kitch on keys and Jon Sykes on bass, a lot of the focus is of course on the man in the corner of the stage. Every note is timed to perfection, every fill, every beat is on point, and nothing is superfluous, I feel a lot of prog drummers can get a lesson in how to do it from Gavin Harrison. Everything he does added so much to the songs that every so often I would get a great big grin on my face, as the whole sonic template meshed together to create an almighty sound.

I said before when I saw them at The Fleece a few years ago how I couldn’t understand why they aren’t playing bigger venues, and ironically the Bierkeller is slightly smaller than the Fleece, and I wish I could fathom why a band this powerful, with songs this melodic, this intelligent and this epic aren’t selling out and playing to the sort of crowds that bland wallpaper peddlers like Coldplay are doing. There is more musical intelligence in one of Bruce’s riffs or one of Gavin’s fills than there is in Coldplay’s recorded output for the last 5 years, and music this big and this powerful and emotional deserves a bigger platform. I guess that the benefit for us is that we get stadium-sized performances in smaller venues and to hear this music, this close is something we should all be thankful. If, and I say if, Gavin Harrison is still playing with The Pineapple Thief next time they tour then you owe it to yourself to go see them. If not, then we’ll always have ‘Where We Stood’, and the Bristol Bierkeller.

Live DVD Review – The Pineapple Thief – Where We Stood – by Emma Roebuck

Darran Charles, Steve Kitch, Jon Sykes, Gavin Harrison and, of course, Bruce Soord are the current touring version of The Pineapple Thief. On the 11th February 2017 they played the Islington Assembly Rooms, touring in support of their ‘Your Wilderness’ album. It was a packed audience and was a much anticipated tour and album.

The set list for the night was:

  • Tear You Up
  • The one you left to Die
  • No Man’s Land
  • Alone At Sea
  • That Shore
  • Reaching Out
  • In Exile
  • Take Your Shot
  • Show a little love
  • Fend For Yourself
  • Part Zero
  • Simple as that
  • Final Thing on my mind
  • Encores Snow drops / Nothing at best.

The show was recorded and will be released in various packages on the 6th October as ‘Where We Stood’.

First the limitations. I had no access to the package in itself with the multitude of mixes and vinyl stuff which Kscope have produced as a rather excellent showcase of a live band in full flow in front of a passionate audience. I will review what I have seen which is the concert DVD footage and the documentary footage. After all, this is the actual product they are selling in its many forms.

I am a music fan and believe the arena of the stage and live presentation is often the best judge of what a band is capable of in the purest form. A band can live or die on what it does on stage and putting out a DVD of a stage set is a brave thing to do for any band but it seems to be a common thing to do these days.

The set is mainly drawn from the recent album and shows the music in a new light with an additional dimension to the material. The band is completely together in this and are a very slick and tight outfit putting on a show worthy of a much larger stage and audience.

Visually it is a delight and it is also of a very high quality sound (which is available as a standalone live album). It comes as close to letting you be there during the actual performance as any DVD can. The band as individuals get fair shares of shots and it lingers on key musical moments like solos, licks or breaks.  High points for me are, obviously, Snow Drops and Take Your Shot but Exiles and the opening tracks Tear You Up and The One You left To Die also deserve special mention. The set flows like water and is a fine surrogate for those who missed the tour and also as a souvenir for those who have seen this line up recently.

Bravely the new album fills the set list but has a different tone and quality to the studio version. Gavin brings a new feel to the older songs and adds to the live versions. Bruce is a great front man and connects to the audience well. This brings me to a couple of frustrations which I hope can be resolved with the DVD menu manipulations. The show is interspersed with interviews with the guys which ruins the flow of the concert. They could as easily been dropped into the additional 15 minute documentary of the back stage, pre and post show scenes.   Instead I would have let the whole gig play and get the interactions of the band with the audience. I want to feel like I am at the gig and that gets broken up.  Having said that it is relatively minor gripe for what is a great visual presentation of a great band in full flow.

For fans it is an essential purchase but also if you have even a slight interest in good intelligent music then buy it and see what ‘good’ looks like as well as sounds like.

Released 6th October 2016.

Order all formats from the Kscope store at Burning Shed

(Featured image credit: DIANA SEIFERT)

 

 

NEW TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED FOR THE PINEAPPLE THIEF, FEATURING GAVIN HARRISON

The Pineapple Thief have announced the second leg of their European tour in support of the critically-acclaimed album Your Wilderness. The new dates will see the band venture into Poland and Switzerland along with shows in Germany, Czech Republic, The Netherlands and UK. See a full list below.

The band will again be joined by virtuoso Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) on drums and Darran Charles (Godsticks) on guitar. As anyone who witnessed the shows earlier this year will attest, the new five-piece line-up has allowed Bruce, Steve and Jon to expand upon their signature sound, enabling the band to truly shine on stage.

For a glimpse of what to expect, fans can watch clips of the band’s sparkling performance at London’s Islington Assembly Hall here:

Tour dates

Wednesday, 6 September 2017 – Dresden, Alter Schlachtof

Thursday, 7 September 2017 – Warsaw, Progesja Music Zone

Friday, 8 September 2017 – Krakow, Kwadrat Music Club

Saturday, 9 September 2017 – Czech Republic Brno – Melodka

Sunday, 10 September 2017 – Munich, Backstage Halle

Monday, 11 September 2017 – Zurich, Dynamo

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 – Stuttgart, Universum

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 – Cologne, Luxor

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – Zoetermeer, De Boerderij

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – London, ULU

Sunday, 17 September 2017 – Bristol, Bierkeller

For more information and ticket details – http://pineapplethief.com/tour

Following a triumphant first leg, with several sold out shows, The Pineapple Thief has emerged as one of the most exciting live progressive rock acts on the circuit and a force to be reckoned with. Prog Magazine described the show as “a dynamic, dramatic experience” while Manchester Rocks commented that it’s “The Pineapple Thief, like you’ve never heard them before”.

“We can’t wait to get back on the road again!” explains band leader Bruce Soord. “Personally, I am really excited that people will have another opportunity to see and hear this fantastic line-up. Darran and Gavin have brought a whole new dimension to this band.”

The band will be performing Your Wilderness plus a string of re-imagined favourites from their back catalogue. These will be the last tour dates this year, and the final opportunity for fans to witness this line-up performing Your Wilderness in its entirety. Special guest support is from Kscope label mates Godsticks, who will be performing brand new material from their upcoming fourth album.

Your Wilderness is the 11th studio album from The Pineapple Thief. For the first time, the band brought in several special guest performers: Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) contributed drums throughout the album, John Helliwell (Supertramp) some beautiful clarinet parts, and Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan) provided a string quartet. They were also joined by a 4-piece choir and to cap it all off, Darran Charles (Godsticks) added some jaw dropping guitar playing.

One of the most exciting bands to come out of the UK progressive rock scene in recent times, The Pineapple Thief was formed in 1999 by founder and chief songwriter Bruce Soord. The band has steadily evolved and refined its sound with the bass playing of Jon Sykes and the production and keyboards of Steve Kitch vital ingredients of the unmistakable TPT sound.

The Pineapple Thief online:

Website: www.thepineapplethief.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thepineapplethief

Twitter: www.twitter.com/pineapplethief

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thepineapplethief

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/artist/4lrBMUSk8PiNnCEZfsmPAk

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE6401DB011BD837E

Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/the-pineapple-thief/id278648772

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF – ANNOUNCE HEADLINE YOUR WILDERNESS TOUR FEATURING GAVIN HARRISON

Your_Wilderness_cover

The Pineapple Thief have announced a string of European dates for early 2017 in support of their highly acclaimed new album, ‘Your Wilderness’. The band will be joined by virtuoso Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) on drums.  

 “We always said that we couldn’t imagine touring the material live without Gavin on stage’, explains band leader Bruce Soord, ”We’re so excited that we have made it happen. It’s a real once in a lifetime event.” 

20.01 Patronaat, Haarlem NL
21.01 Uden, De Pul NL
22.01 Zwolle, Hedon NL
24.01 Aschaffenburg, Colos Saal DE
25.01 Oberhausen, Eisenlager DE
26.01 Berlin, Frannz club DE
27.01 Prague, Futurum Music Bar CZ
28.01 Dresden, Tante Ju DE
29.01 Hamburg, Knust DE
31.01 Maastricht, Muziekgieterij NL
01.02 Paris, Le Divan Du Monde FR
09.02 Glasgow, ABC2 UK
10.02 Manchester, Sound Control UK
11.02 London, Islington Assembly Hall UK

For more information and ticket details – http://pineapplethief.com/tour

The band will be performing Your Wilderness plus a string of re-imagined favourites from their back catalogue, and with an expanded 5-piece line-up including Darran Charles on additional guitar duties, this will be a live show not to be missed.  Special guest support is from Kscope label mates Godsticks.

Your Wilderness, their 11th studio album, showcases the band performing without any inhibitions providing a springboard for the ongoing creative growth of The Pineapple Thief. 

For the first time, The Pineapple Thief brought in several special guest performers: Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) contributed drums throughout the album, John Helliwell (Supertramp) some beautiful clarinet parts, and Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan) provided a string quartet. They were also joined by a 4-piece choir and to cap it all off, Darran Charles (Godsticks) added some jaw dropping guitar playing. 

Seen as one of the most vital rock bands the UK has produced over the last two decades, The Pineapple Thief was formed in 1999 by founder and chief songwriter Bruce Soord. The band has steadily evolved and refined its sound with the bass playing of Jon Sykes and the production and keyboards of Steve Kitch vital ingredients to the unmistakable TPT sound.

Your Wilderness has been released by Kscope on CD / LP / Digital and as a Deluxe hardback book 2 CD+DVD set: www.kscopemusic.com/store

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR “IN EXILE ” HERE

The Pineapple Thief – In Exile (from Your Wilderness) – YouTube

The Pineapple Thief – In Exile (from Your Wilderness) on Vimeo

WATCH AN  ACOUSTIC VERSION OF “TEAR YOU UP ” RECORDED AT SOORD STUDIOS HERE:

https://youtu.be/l-1awi26pBs

https://vimeo.com/181043820

The Pineapple Thief online:

Website: www.thepineapplethief.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thepineapplethief

Twitter: www.twitter.com/pineapplethief

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thepineapplethief

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/artist/4lrBMUSk8PiNnCEZfsmPAk

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE6401DB011BD837E

Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/the-pineapple-thief/id278648772

Review – Your Wilderness – The Pineapple Thief – By Kevin Thompson

Your_Wilderness_cover

About fifteen years ago I was rooting through a ‘bargain’ box of CD’s and came across one called ‘Jet Set Radio’, by Vulgar Unicorn, intrigued by the name and attracted by the price it found a place in my growing collection.

Then there was a time I collected my children for an all too rare visit from their Mum’s in Yeovil, a place full of history but devastated by modernity. As I wound up a hill toward their dingy council estate, I passed a theatre on the side of which a poster advertised a band, The Pineapple Thief (TPT). Again intrigued by the name I sought out what information I could and acquired ‘137’ and ‘Variations on a Dream’, and to this day they have remained my favourite two CDs of this band’s output; until this day…..

I still marvel how I came across this band and the fact I never realised the link between Vulgar Unicorn and TPT until a number of years later whilst browsing the sleeve notes to find the name Bruce Soord appeared on both. Now an established and sought after producer, dabbling in Wisdom of Crowds (with Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse) and with a solo album under his belt that appears to have rejuvenated his musical intent he returns with the 11th studio offering under the TPT monicker, ‘Your Wilderness’.

Fresh from watching their stunning performance at Be Prog My Friend festival in Spain, as headliners on the Friday evening, (report available here on Progradar), I had mixed emotions about reviewing this. I have always really liked this band and rate them alongside Porcupine Tree (PT), though I have never agreed with the comparisons in music style that some seem to find.

That said, whilst brilliantly produced and lovingly packaged, I had felt the last couple of albums, despite credible reviews, had an air of frustration and the feeling of treading water. I had feared that as have others, their ascendency and Bruce’s rising popularity in the industry may turn them into mediocrity and (the only comparison I will draw) that they may fade and disappear like PT. You stupid boy, Thompson!

Band 2

The cover picture could be interpreted as being in a wilderness and facing a difficult summit to climb, but I should have more faith……

A drum beat introduction leads in to Bruce’s distinct vocals as he berates being In Exile and the one line repeated chorus of “Don’t be afraid to miss me” ensures from the offset this album is not going to go amiss.  As the music swells and the guitar riffs in identifiable TPT style dig in to your mind the song ends with notes from stalwart Steve Kitch‘s keyboards ricocheting into a distant canyon at the beginning of this musical pilgrimage.

Beautiful acoustic strumming and the inimitable airy vocals from Bruce take up the journey into No Man’s Land,  and are joined by Steve’s piano for the ride. Slight pause for effect then the percussive rolls of guest drummer Gavin Harrison, (I know, Porcupine Tree, but still no comparisons) kick in redefining the sound, with Bruce’s cries floating over the top as further guest Darran Charles’ (Godsticks) guitars burst in with spine tingling energy and the bass playing of third man in the core trio, Jon Sykes, more than ably drives the engine of this vehicle through the canyon of music.

It has to be said that not having a permanent drummer at the moment does not detract. In fact, whilst bringing their own individual skills to the table, all the guest artists knit neatly into the TPT signature sound, adding a refreshing impetus.

Acoustic chords and a burst of electric guitar shoot out and Bruce advises he cannot Tear You Up, before the guitar flashes a short burst again and leaves way to the piano and vocals before crashing in with a heavy riff adding more energy to the drive and it definitely begins to feel like all these currents run to you, as it ends abruptly on those words.

The rhythms and riffs weave in and out returning at intervals on this album, linking tracks and  connecting to the whole pathway of the album.

Band 3 - Rob Monk

A gentler electronic sound with rhythm loops, like the breeze stirring desert sands along a dried up river, drifting across That Shore that once teemed with life. As the layered harmonizing echoes round a moonlit sky and you pull in for a rest, contemplating the aural massage of notes soothing your brow as you watch the sunrise.

As the orb rises in the sky, light guitar chords spread across the track and the bass heats up,  Bruce encourages it’s time to make your move. You had best get under-way and Take Your Shot at the listening journey ahead as you are carried on another racing track, kicking dust in the face of non believers as you hurtle down the gravel road in search of musical pastures ahead and your tail-lights disappear into the early morning haze.

A feeling of calm guides you on acoustic guitar, keys and dreamy soundscapes as you wind down the car window and a cool breeze of clarinet from John Helliwell (Supertramp) gently ruffles the balmy air. You are all alone no one around in this wide expanse and you must Fend For Yourself  if you wish to discover what lies ahead. Calmly you make your way fingers drumming on the wheel to the gentle rhythm of the engine and a feeling of contentment with Bruce’s vocals imparting the details of where you are heading, to the woodwind.

Looping guitar chords fuel the drums as you make your way and Bruce urges you not to forget The Final Thing on Your Mind as the heat of the the music swells carrying you on, with orchestral lines guiding you down the straight track. The keyboards plot the course on the penultimate longest track, regret in Bruce’s  restrained vocals at a broken relationship gone cold. Hurrying strings set the pace, the guitar solo points you toward your destination and the ticking of your engine sees this out.

As early evening approaches acoustic guitar shows you a coast coming into view, the familiar lights of a city flickering on as the sun drops away, almost there and Bruce reminds us of  Where We Stood at the start, a warm but fading memory. The echoing guitar and final piano refrain guides us smoothly home.

You can stand in the musical desert, you can blink at the sun and not want to go anywhere, or wish you were back where it all started. On this album, for me, the band seem to have regained focus and direction, overtaking their recent output and whilst I look back to the grand canyons they have journeyed before, I am more than happy to take a ride with them and see what lies ahead. Join us if you wish, there’s plenty of room and the ride is sweet.

All bands pics – credit Rob Monk.

Released 12th August 2016 (19th August in France).

Buy ‘Your Wilderness’ from Burning Shed

 

Review – iamthemorning – Lighthouse – by Progradar

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What is Music?

A literal definition could be:

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound and silence. The common elements of music are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm, dynamics (loudness and softness) and sonic qualities of timbre and texture (which are sometimes termed the ‘colour’ of a musical sound…

Or, if you want to get more personal about it, Victor Hugo once said:

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent…

In any way, music is an intangible thing, you cannot touch it, only your ears translate the tiny pressure waves of sound into what you think the notes are. Music, to me, is an inspiration and part and parcel of my everyday life. I can’t live without it and I have music that helps me appreciate the highs and music that helps me get through the lows.

Some music has a beauty and grace all of its own and that is what I am here to talk to you about now. Today’s review is the new album from the Russian duo iamthemorning…

Marjana Gleb

Formed in 2010 in St Petersburg Russia, iamthemorning features pianist Gleb Kolyadin and the charismatic vocals of Marjana Semkina. The band self released their debut album in 2012 before signing to Kscope and releasing ‘Belighted’, their first record for the label in September 2014. In 2015 they toured Europe with labels mates, the art-progressive outfit Gazpacho last year.

As with ‘Belighted’, the engineering and mixing on ‘Lighthouse’ is handled by Marcel van Limbeek (Tori Amos) and self produced by Gleb and Marjana. The album also features guest musicians Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) on drums, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) on bass and additional vocals on the album’s title track by Mariusz Duda (Lunatic Soul, Riverside).

‘Lighthouse’ is a rich and eclectic album, with echoes of classical music, the Canterbury scene, northern folk, jazz and electronic sounds. Featuring a story of the progression of mental illness, the album takes the listener through the stages with the story’s central character, her attempts to fight it, temporal remission leading to a final breakdown. Lyrically, the works and lives of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath inspire the album.

Recorded across London, Moscow & St Petersburg, the core instrument of the band, the grand piano, was recorded in Mosfilm Studios Moscow, the largest and oldest studios in Russia. Founded in 1920, Mosfilm is renowned for recording orchestras for soundtracks for the most famous Soviet-era films, including works by Tarkovsky and Eisenstein.

The album artwork for ‘Lighthouse’ was created by watercolour artist Constantine Nagishkin who the band have previously collaborated with before.

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I Came Before The Water, Pt.1 is a short track with a decidedly ethereal quality. Marjana’s spellbinding and beautiful vocal just grabs your heart and, backed by delicate strings, it just leaves you full of emotion. There is more of an urgency at the start of Too Many Years, Gleb’s driving piano driving the whole song on at a fair lick. Marjana’s earnest vocal joins the ivories to give you a melting pot of desire and heartfelt passion. The song opens up with the stylish rhythm section of Gavin Harrison and Colin Edwin to become an intelligent and incisive narrative that holds your attention. The swirling strings add an admirable backdrop to this impressive tune that insinuates itself into your psyche. The next track Clear Clearer begins with a wistful note, a winsome tone that Marjana takes up with her captivating vocal. The driving piano once again stops the track from becoming too delicate and lacking substance. The lovely little vocal interludes whee the lines are repeated just leave a charismatic smile on your face before Gleb’s piano and some rather tasty keyboards add another veneer of class and let the track run out with a knowing nod. The charming and absorbing intro to Sleeping Pills is provided by yearning vocals and an a delicately played piano to leave you with a feeling that something momentous could be about to happen. Here Gleb gets to be centre stage with his artistic fingers directing the music, the haunting strings and breathy vocals adding a light alien feel of otherworldy-ness. The track begins to rise to a powerful crescendo, leaving you transfixed and left in awe.

MG1 Alexander Kuznetcov

Libretto Horror is a pared back little piece of chamber music inspired beauty. The vocals dance around your mind and Gleb’s piano holds court over everybody. It is transfixing with its simple and uncluttered delivery. There is a feel of wild abandon to Marjana’s voice and it adds a little bit of the unknown, I like it. Now onto the wonders and delights of the title track, Lighthouse. The song opens with a meandering piano and graceful, guileless vocals from Marjana that bewitch your very soul. It works its way around the inside of your mind, holding your attention, slowly brooding as the track builds to a zenith and the introduction of Mariusz Duda. The song takes on a smoother vibe with the delicious vocal interplay between Marjana and Dariusz, iamthemorning definitely seem to have matured with this new release, there is less of a gossamer feel to their sound. The music has a sophisticated and cultured feel to it, there are layers and layers of intricate depths that slowly reveal themselves and it is showcased perfectly on this brilliant track. Harmony invites you into its own little world. The delicate soundscape brings to mind a bright summer day with birds and butterflies aimlessly traversing the skies and leaving you feeling like you don’t have a care in the world. Music used to create a picture in your mind, a world set aside from the one you’re really in, subtle and very clever. The piano then begins, Gleb’s playing is brilliant and almost takes on a life of its own, it is mesmerising and enchanting and I find that I have stopped whatever it is that I was doing just to make sure I don’t miss a note. The song steps up another level with the quality bass and drums of Colin and Gavin added to a sleek guitar to give this classy instrumental even more kudos, a very creative and perceptive piece of music. The opening to Matches brings back that pared back, more simpler feel where Marjana’s delightfully unadorned vocal joins Gleb’s piano to deliver an aural delight. The rhythm section then joins in to give it a feel of classical mixed with jazz and it works exceedingly well, the music seeming to evolve, becoming more complex than it was before.

MG2 Alexander Kuznetzov

Heartfelt, emotional and purely delivered vocals open Belighted giving it a contemplative and melancholy feel. The tinkling of the piano keys and the mournful strings only add to the plaintive and sad feeling. However, beauty and grace can be found in all situations and it is thus with this tastefully refined track. It does feel sorrowful and it leaves your own heart open and bleeding but with a feel of something sublime that has been lost and you feel bereft by its loss. The first track released from the album was Chalk and Coal and it made me sit up and take notice. Perhaps a more radio friendly song but defiantly non-mainstream. A powerfully building opening with Gleb’s slightly discordant piano and the haunting vocals leaving a slightly ominous atmosphere, only added to by the eerie trumpet playing. I get a feeling I’m in the middle of a musical version of an Edgar Allan Poe novel as a slightly off key guitar and that forlorn trumpet leave you slightly on edge. It is subtle and clever stuff and really gets your mind working overtime. I Came Before The Water, Pt. 2 revisits the refrain of the opening track on the album but, this time, with a much more sparse feel, Marjana’s anguished vocal opening the song as a lone note. The feeling of grief presses down on you, almost overwhelming, as the strings seem to tear your heart apart before the song closes out all mysteriously. The final track on this majestic musical journey is Post Scriptum, a mellow track where Gleb’s piano directs proceedings. Colin Edwin’s bass is much more demonstrative and emotive, driving the track on. There is a feeling of a lament at the heart of the music, it closes out the album with a slight note of mourning but doesn’t detract from the wonder of what you have just had the pleasure of listening to.

‘Lighthouse’ is an amazing musical journey from the first note to the last. It is bewitching and beguiling and removes you from your everyday life to a place of wonder. Darkly captivating, it is not all sweetness and light but is a musical legacy that iamthemorning can build on and the ‘Lighthouse’ can light the way. These two exceptional artists have now moved into the major leagues and it is well deserved, album of the year? why not!

Released 1st April 2016

Buy ‘Lighthouse’ from bandcamp

(ALl artist photography by Alexander Kuznetcov)