Russian virtuoso pianist, composer and arranger Gleb Kolyadin is perhaps more well know for being part of iamthemorning with Marjana Semkina but he has also released some impressive solo works and ‘the Outland’ is his latest.
Gleb describes the creation and themes of the album thus, “Its main outlines were formed during the covid isolation in 2020, but they are still relevant now. In all the madness that is happening on the planet, it is sometimes critically important to create your own world, to find the spirit of a hermit in yourself in order to look at what is happening from the outside with a different understanding. This is Outland – a world within a world, assembled from disparate fragments.”
The album is described as, “a six-movement symphonic suite (of course, in a prog/jazz-rock vein).” and Gavin Harrison (drums) and Vlad Avy (acoustic guitars, electric guitars) complete the ensemble, although there are some other very fine musicians who contribute, such as Tony Levin, Tim Lefebvre and Zoltan Renaldi.
This release is a fine collection of intricate musical pieces that all combine together to create a beautiful whole. There is a feeling of calm and sophistication that runs throughout the brief forty-one minute running time. Gleb’s elegant piano is key to everything here, although the stylish and refined drumming of Gavin Harrison is a huge contributor to the overall welcoming vibe of this album.
The ten minute wonder of opening track Voyager sets the scene perfectly, this is classical music for the those who appreciate something with more modern and experimental feel, which is exacerbated by the rather wonderful Ascension with its wistful and ethereal rise and fall created by the amazing clarinet. Cascades is a very moving solo piano piece that leaves a trail on your heartstrings and Mercurial is a more strident and direct track that builds and builds into something rather special that dances across the ether in a rather magical fashion. Apparatus has a proper 1980’s instrumental vibe to it, well to my ears anyway, it’s urgent, yet melodic, tone is captivating and draws you along as a willing participant. This all too short inspiring musical journey is brought to a close by the elegant notes of Hermitage, a charmingly bewitching way to bring things to a satisfying conclusion.
In a world where dark seems to be inexorably striving to push out the light, musical gems like ‘the Outland’ are a beacon of light in the darkness and show that music can heal that which is broken and, above all, music is life affirming.
Released 4th, November, 2022.
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