10 YEARS OF KSCOPE AT THE UNION CHAPEL ON 2nd October 2018

ANATHEMA TO HEADLINE CELEBRATORY RECORD LABEL EVENT IN LONDON WITH PAUL DRAPER, IAMTHEMORNING AND GLEB KOLYADIN

We are incredibly excited and proud to be celebrating our first decade as a record label. These past 10 years have allowed us to share and promote our favourite music, which has evolved over multiple genres whilst remaining fiercely adventurous. We kick-off the year’s revelries with an intimate acoustic show in our hometown, London, at the unique and iconic Union Chapel.

Our story began in May 2008 with the partnership between Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness as No-Man and their beautiful, haunting and cinematic album Schoolyard Ghosts. The label’s sound has since been constantly evolving through some truly brilliant and emotively powerful early projects from the likes of Anathema, Porcupine Tree, Engineers, Richard Barbieri, Gazpacho, Nordic Giants, Nosound and The Pineapple Thief, as well as Steven Wilson’s solo material and collaboration with Aviv Geffen as Blackfield.

In recent years the roster has grown to include a broader selection of talent, from the soaring dynamics of TesseracT, to the revenge-pop from The Anchoress, from the heart-breaking catharsis from Lunatic Soul to the electronica legacy of the great Tangerine Dream.

Shaping up to be a year full of celebrations, our first offering is the 10 Years of Kscope event, for which we’ve lined up a treat for guests with special acoustic performances from Anathema, Paul Draper, Iamthemorning and Gleb Kolyadin. This will undoubtedly be a night to remember for music lovers, and may even feature a few surprises…

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FROM – DICE & UNION CHAPEL

LINE-UP

Anathema, following the release of 2017’s The Optimist, continually evolved by placing hope in the future – from leaving the underground scene they were fundamental in establishing to continually mesmerising the world with stargazing post-progressive alternative rock that knows no borders.

“Welcome to a new Anathema experience: Ambient Acoustic.

In exploring what we might do to expand the music still further, out of thin air came the idea to arrange music in a ‘third way’, in the space between the acoustic band and the live rock band..

With ‘ambient acoustic’ we feel more free to explore many textures, mixing live loops, piano, strings, percussion, electronics, guitars and voices, all within the essence of the songs and the emotions they carry.

We hope you enjoy this next chapter of the story, the journey of discovery, of searching for something that can never really be found.

Much love, Daniel Cavanagh”

Anathema will be performing additional dates as part of their Ambient Acoustic tour in France, the Netherlands and the UK. For full details, see their website.

Learn more about Anathema via their artist page.

Paul Draper, one of British rock’s most singular and distinctive voices of the iconic 90s band Mansun, has returned with a top-20 debut solo album Spooky Action (“A properly fantastic album, ★★★★★ Record Collector).

Talking about the show, Paul told us he is “delighted and proud to be playing for my label Kscope at their upcoming 10th Anniversary show. It’s been such an exciting and productive time working with the Kscope team since I signed with them, so genuinely looking forward to playing a few tunes and celebrate with the Kscope family at the Union Chapel”

Learn more via Paul’s artist page.

Iamthemorning, the progressive chamber duo, Gleb Kolyadin and Marjana Semkina, formed in St. Petersburg and have released two albums of rich and eclectic music on Kscope, Belighted and Lighthouse, that showcase their brilliance as pianist and vocalist. Their latest studio film and soundtrack, Ocean Sounds, is due for release mid-October.

Gleb recently released his self-titled debut solo album, featuring an array of impressive guest performers, to high praise including a 4 ½ star review from All About Jazz, who said it finds the magical chemistry to weave everything into a dazzling ride with the smarts of Robert Fripp and the badassery of Beethoven. The spirit of Keith Emerson is probably pumping his fist in delight at seeing such inspired wizardry to carry on the tradition, and who knows, Franz Lizst may be cheering just as loud.

The pair told us how they felt when asked to perform at the event

Gleb: “For me, London was always a place where all important things happen. And this fall I will be very happy to be on this very special event in a wonderful place with great people and present a few piano passages from my solo album. Very exciting and looking forward to October.”

Marjana: “The first time we met Kscope team was on “5 years of Kscope” festival. It was our first time in London and back then no one knew who we were. It’s amazing how things can change if you work hard enough, and it’s our greatest pleasure to be performing an exclusive chamber set in a wonderful Union Chapel (which was always my dream venue) as a part of the label. We both are very pleased to be invited and are very much looking forward to this wonderful evening.”

Iamthemorning artist page.

Gleb Kolyadin artist page.

Follow Kscope online @kscopemusic and at kscopemusic.com

IAMTHEMORNING & KSCOPE RELEASE OCEAN SOUNDS ON 19TH OCTOBER

The new intimate studio film from the highly praised Russian duo recorded on a remote Norwegian island.

Following the success of two highly-praised albums on Kscope, Belighted and Lighthouse, Russian duo Gleb Kolyadin and Marjana Semkina are releasing a new studio film shot at and named after a remote recording studio on Giske, a Norwegian island. The footage offers a behind-the-scenes insight into the recording techniques of two of modern progressive music’s most talented composers. The content captures iamthemorning’s live set-up from the last three years, with the setlist consisting of songs from their first three studio albums and an unplugged recording of “Blue Sea”, the first track to be written for their upcoming fourth album and exclusive to this Blu-ray disc.

The studio was designed with panoramic windows that allow the stunning back-drop of Giske Island and the Norwegian Sea to be baked into the performances, a location that is featured in glorious high-definition on the Blu-ray. Marjana commented “It was the most inspiring place for us to work in, surrounded by the sea, mountains, wild flowers and gorgeous Norwegian sunsets. All of the natural splendour we don’t see that often.”

Ocean Sounds builds on the recent success of Kolyadin’s self-titled debut solo album on Kscope, which has been nominated as Album of the Year at the Progressive Music Awards ’18: an honour that Iamthemorning have already achieved with Lighthouse, and which is also backed by Semkina winning Female Vocalist of the Year in the 2016 Prog Magazine Reader’s poll. The pair’s live performances have included the likes of London’s Bush Hall, Ramblin’ Man Fair and the Netherland’s Midsummer Prog Festival.

The audio recording, mixing and mastering were handled by regular collaborator Vlad Avy, the film was produced and edited by Miles Skarin at Crystal Spotlight, and the watercolour artwork was designed by Constantine Nagishkin.

Ocean Sounds will be released as a 2 disc CD + Blu Ray set which includes the film and hi-res audio on Blu-ray; the audio on 180g LP; digitally and is available to pre-order HERE

2 disc CD (audio) + Blu Ray (video) / LP (audio)

1. Inside  [03:30]
2. Scotland 03:37]
3. To Human Misery  [04:05]
4. Romance [02:57]
5. 5/4  [03:12]
6. Touching II [03:53]
7. Os Lunatum  [03:49]
8. Matches  [03:53]
9. Sleeping Pills  [03:17]
10. Libretto Horror [02:04]
11. Chalk & Coal [04:06]
12. K. O. S.[05:51]
Bonus Track on Blu Ray disc only
13. Blue Sea [02:42]

Review – Echoes and Signals – Monodrama – by Progradar

As some of you well know I do like  a bit of instrumental progressive rock. I find that without the words, the music takes on more meaning and you can lose yourself in a myriad soundscapes where it is you, the listener, that creates the story in your own mind.

One of the excellent instrumental bands I have the pleasure to know is the Russian trio Echoes and Signals. The band, consisting of Fedor Kivokurtsev (guitar), Alexey Zaytsev (bass) and Yaroslav Egorov (drums), were formed  in 2012 in Tula, The Russian Federation, as an instrumental trio. They play music influenced mainly by post-rock and progressive rock elements.

Originally Echoes and Signals was formed just as an improvisation playground for the founding members, but then it turned into a real project. Their first 4-song EP album called ‘Comma’ was released in July, 2012 and was followed by ‘Ouroboros’ in October 2013 and then the band’s first full-length release ‘V’ in November of 2014.

(All live photos by Pavel Chesalin)

2017 sees the band return with their second long player called ‘Monodrama’. The concept of the album goes like this:

“The songs of ‘Monodrama‘ are dedicated to insights, memories, unresolved situations, inner dramas, fantasies, and dreams expressed through music. It’s a collection of soliloquies ‘spoken’ aloud in order to build self-knowledge and awareness; the different dots of our inner mind-map connected together are creating a brand new system and a brand new motion.
We all travel through time guided by the inner light — and realizing that the motion itself is much more important than the destination is the key.”

The new album also features a guest vocal appearance from Marjana Semkina of fellow Russian progsters iamthemorning on the only vocal track Lead Astray.

The album opens with the enigmatic Saltwater, a chilled, laid back number that lets you join the ride at an easy point with a great bass line and dynamic drumming. The guitar guides you around the imaginary land that your mind is already concocting and the tempo increases with some added urgency. Stylish and with a decided touch of class about them, Echoes and Signals have matured rather well since their last outing. Ocean has a real lightness of being to it’s composure from the very first note. There is a real deftness to the guitar note, a delicate step as each note progresses to the next. You can detect a fluidity to this song as it segues from each section to the next. Once again Alexey and Yaroslav provide a superb rhythm section over which Fedor can lay his excellent guitar lines and you just end up letting the music flow over and around you, serenity in musical form.

There’s more of that feel-good atmosphere throughout Station Horizon, a track with powerful dynamics but with a real upbeat tone running at the core. You feel as if you are on a fats paced journey with the band’s collective feet hard on the gas pedal. A joyous tumult of musical ideas that are never less than excellent but always have a smile on their faces (if they had faces obviously!). There are some great, tight & frenetic instrumental runs that add further to the enjoyable ride and I’m left with a big grin on my face. Bring the excellent voice of Marjana Semkina into the equation and things get more dramatic and emotional. Her soulful and touching vocal adds a really serious overtone to Lead Astray and the musical takes on a different feel, this time as a backing to Marjana rather than being the lead. It’s a subtle distinction but it’s definitely there and it produces a brilliant ying and yang of the elfin like qualities of the vocalist and the powerful dynamism of the band. It’s a mesmerising track that draws you in with some superb instrumental passages as well as the stirring vocals and gives pause to where the band see their future.

A short and thoughtful sci-fi tinged track, Farewell Centauri is quite melancholy  and nostalgic in feel and left me feeling somewhat wistful and reflective as it came to a close. Veins opens in a pressing and compelling manner, the edgy guitar, bass and drums having a skittish tone. It then opens up into a funky, acid jazz jam from outer space and I wouldn’t be suprised if this track was a load of fun to play live. The bass and guitar play off against each other and the drums drive everything along with an obsessive beat. Fedor throws in some fiery, emotive soloing to complete what is a very inventive piece of music.

Ethereal and haunting, like a musical daydream, Magnolia is just a beautiful track that feels like a modern classical piece. The guitar almost speaks to you with its plaintive and thoughtful timbre and the subdued drums and stylish bass just add real pathos and emotion. The song opens up into something more powerful but never loses that contemplation, almost questing for more and searching for answers. Skymap carries on with the thoughtful, challenging feel that pervades the whole album and has a composed and laid back opening where the music just dances along, as you move further along this musical journey it begins to ask more questions with a pressing and very catchy guitar motif that I particularly liked. The inquiring mind carries on in intricate fashion with some convoluted sections, studious and introspective. It is, on the whole, a really intelligent and inventive piece of music.

The final track on the album is the nine-minute plus To The Lighthouse and is a superb ending to this excellent, mostly instrumental, musical tapestry. A sombre opening leaves you engrossed and contemplative, a more serious overtone then follows. It’s almost like an elemental force strides across the soundscape, not evil, just curious and not understanding of our world. The music has different shades of light running through it, from the light though to the resolute and you are a willing passenger on the quest, feeling each transition transfixing your soul. This song is an utterly mesmeric musical voyage into the unknown, who knows where you will arrive.

Once again I am entranced by a great instrumental album release. Echoes and Signals produced something impressive with ‘V’ and, to my ears, they have just raised the bar again. With a new found confidence and maturity to their music, there are no boundaries to where they can go and I for one will watch their journey with interest. ‘Monodrama’ is another great musical export from Russia and it is one that everyone should be listening to.

Released 30th March 2017

Buy ‘Monodrama’ from bandcamp

 

 

 

BE PROG MY FRIEND! Festival 2016 – by Kevin Thompson

KF_Amorphis_PosterA1.eps

We’re English and we should be used to it, but let’s face it, there has been too much rain lately. An excuse, that’s what we needed. And then a poster appeared online for Be Prog, My Friend!, in Spain and the band list was just too tempting. Sun and great music has to be good and so Mrs T and I took the plunge, raided our piggy banks and booked gig tickets, flights and a hotel. Neither of us speaks Spanish, so armed with our little phrasebook we took off for warmer climes. This is not the story of our excellent weekend , but just the periods of the two days covering the festival, so I won’t be mentioning the delicious food, the wonderful Museum of Modern Art, or the exquisitely beautiful Sagrada Familia and the impressive Camp Nou. Nor will I mention the impressive buildings, statues, waterfalls or fountains at all.

We decided to recce the whereabouts of the the festival venue the day before, which turned out to be a very pleasant 30-40 minute walk from our hotel. This is not the first BPMF, though new to us and was to be held in the Poble Espanyol, an architectural museum in Barcelona, just a few meters away from the Fountains of Montjuïc.

The Poble Espanyol was built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exhibition as the pavilion dedicated to art and was conceived as a real “village” in the heart of a city. The aim was to give an idea of what might be an “ideal model” of an Iberian village that would bring together all the characteristics of all peninsular villages. It was built in thirteen months and, curiously, had an expiry date, as it was supposed to last the same time as the Universal Exhibition: six months. However, thanks to its success, the Poble Espanyol still stands to this day, and some of the buildings have outlived the original ones to become one of the few monuments built for an International Exhibition that can still be visited.

The Festival is held in the central courtyard and is a beautiful setting with olive and palm tree lined  stone balustrade terraces, balconies draped with colourful plants and parakeets flying overhead. A far cry from soggy Glastonbury.

All your needs are catered for with ample eateries, bars and facilities and we never had to queue more than a couple of minutes for anything. It is the best organised festival we have been to and clean, as most people placed used food and drink containers in the bins provided when discarded, a few drunk ‘tourists’ being the exception and they were berated in to tidying up. There were even lockers available should you wish to offload items/garments and return to them during the day/night. Security was good and polite along with excellent service without hiked prices. The merchandise was plenty and I did indulge a little, again nothing was overpriced. So…….

DAY 1: Friday – 1700:

kEV 1

We arrived in good time and joined the line, people were friendly and my all over print PALLAS t-shirt drew quite a few admiring glances, there was quite a bit of t-shirt posing with everyone checking out each others. I got chatting to a guy in a Ltd edition Sanctuary 2 t-shirt and discovered he was a local and a big fan of Rob Reed. Entry to the Friday night was free if you had tickets for the Saturday, bargain!

We were soon through, into the festival and as we were some of the first, took the chance to get our bearings and map out the facilities, grabbing tokens for the food and drinks for both nights to save time and buying our merch. It was lovely and warm with a gentle, pleasant breeze circulating and the sun sat neatly at the edge of the courtyard roofs offering welcome shade. We found seating on some of the stone steps giving a great view, though standing and moving around at intervals was required to prevent ‘numb bums’.

Kev 4

Up first were local band, Exassens, (www.exxasens.com), formed in 2011, I’d describe them as an instrumental rock band, or post-rock, but with hints of progressive and space rock. A mix of different sounds, where guitars with long echoes, blend with synths and a powerful rhythmic base, displaying many influences such as Pink Floyd and The Cure, through to instrumental bands like Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai. The solar system backdrop videos adding to the atmosphere and they warmed the late afternoon crowd up nicely. Whilst mostly instrumental, Bruce Soord did make a surprise appearance to duet on vocals for one track raising a cheer from those watching.

Kev 2

As the venue began to fill we were joined by a bunch of Spanish lads and a lady (girlfriend) who explained they had grown up together in Barcelona and then gone their separate ways. The festival is their excuse to meet and catch up every year. They spoke fairly good English and we joked about our phrase book Spanish. They seemed to value our opinions on the bands and made for a very pleasant company throughout the evening. Konnie wasn’t complaining as the lads kept topping up her drinks!

Up next were Obsidian Kingdom, (www.obsidiankingdom.com) another local band with a hard-to-classify heavy sound with plenty of contrast, making use of multiple sound resources. Unfortunately the sombre and cryptic quality of the band’s lyrics and music coupled with muddied sound, brought the atmosphere down somewhat. I don’t have any live shots unfortunately as we had been led to believe no cameras were allowed (not true) and the heavy use of smoke in the early evening sun blurred my phone photos. Listening to them online now they sound better than on the day.

Plastic glasses refilled we were ready for the much anticipated Russian band, I Am The Morning and they didn’t disappoint. The captivating, angelic vocals of a barefoot Marjana Semkina as she floated round the stage, with the beautiful keys of classically trained piano maestro Gleb Kolyadin drifting around the square. They enchanted all and were ably assisted with strings and backing band. Flowers were thrown on stage and they won our hearts, someone even shouted out ‘Marry Me Marjana!”. They captivated everyone watching with a quite magical performance and deserve a wider audience.

Kev 3

By now the sun was beginning to set behind the buildings and the lamps in the square came on adding to the ambience as we discussed the music so far and waited for the next act.

Kev 5

On to the stage bounced the surprise of the festival for us, with much enthusiastic applause from our Spanish friends who had advised us ‘this band is brilliant, yes’. I had seen the current album cover but not heard any of the music from Icelandic band Agent Fresco (www.agentfresco.is) and what an awesome show. Think a male version of Bjork with a band coming from a Rage Against The Machine/At the Drive In angle and you’re some-way to describing them. The mechanics and rhythmic patterns unpredictably stutter, yet seamlessly stitch together into stunning compositions veering from blazing alt-guitar rock to piano ballads and stadium-size anthems, often in the same song, to decisive euphoric effect. All this with lead singer Arnór Dan Arnarson defying doctors orders after leaving hospital only 48 hours earlier, having been treated for pneumonia and told he had to rest. They left us breathless and wanting more and we hope Arnór is soon fully recovered and we get the opportunity to see them again.

Kev 6

The night had drawn in and we settled down ready for the head-liners, the excitement was palpable and voices rose as the anticipation grew. The stage planning and crews had made smooth transitions between the different acts, removing and replacing equipment with practised ease showing very little delay, keeping close to schedule but allowing time for ample refreshments.

Kev 7

Enter head-liners of the night The Pineapple Thief to resounding applause, as they burst into a repertoire, which plundered their catalogue as far back as Variations on a Dream including a ‘shortened’ version of one of my favourites, ‘Remember Us’ with some great guitar soloing. An apt track as the crowd were not going to forget this performance for a long while. Konnie remarked how much they have grown in the ‘live’ environment, the last time we saw them was in a very small, intimate venue and tonight they looked so comfortable on the large stage, every bit the stadium head-liners.

Kev 8

A polished, rocking performance, holding the crowd in the metaphorical palm of their hand and our newly found Spanish friends couldn’t agree more. Great sound quality and lighting added to the performance and even though they played a couple of encore tunes we would of all happily stayed longer.

Kev 9

Buoyed by a great night’s entertainment we said goodnight to our ‘crowd’ and flowed out of the venue and into the streets, strolling toward the city, it was 0130 and everyone was chatting as they walked. We struck up a conversation with a young Frenchman man who now lives in New Zealand. He’d flown over to visit his Mum in France and then down for the festival before heading back to NZ. To say he had enjoyed the first night would be an understatement, amid the numerous enthusiastic expletives he enthused about the evening none stop until we parted company and steered ourselves contentedly toward our Hotel, tomorrow would be a longer day, but who knew what delights awaited us………..

Kev 10

Part 2 of Kevin’s BE PROG, MY FRIEND! experience is coming very soon…..

iamthemorning confirmed for the BE PROG! MY FRIEND festival in Barcelona

BE PROG! MY FRIEND FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE FINAL BAND IAMTHEMORNING 

CO-HEADLINERS STEVEN WILSON & OPETH

MAGMA, BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME, ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN, THE PINEAPPLE THIEF, TEXTURES, OBSIDIAN KINGDOM, EXXASENS 

1ST – 2ND JULY

KF_Amorphis_PosterA1.eps

Barcelona based festival Be Prog! My Friend have announced the final band for this year’s line-up. Russian progressive duo Iamthemorning who released their new album ‘Lighthouse’ earlier this month will join the likes of co-headliners Steven Wilson and Opeth as well as Magma, The Pineapple Thief, Between The Buried and Me and many more. Vocalist Marjana Semkina comments:

‘It’s a great pleasure for us to join the amazing line up of Be Prog! My Friend this year – such a lovely surprise at the very last moment. It’s a great pleasure, but also a great challenge. We’ll be playing the chamber set with our string duo (cello and violin) and some percussion, and you can’t get more different from other bands on the festival. So, we’ll see how the audience responds to such a huge contrast and our almost classical sound. It will be our first appearance in Spain and first big prog festival – wow, so many things for the first time. Very exciting.’

Since its inception in 2014 the Barcelona based festival Be Prog! My Friend has played host to the likes of Anathema, Devin Townsend, TesseracT, Camel, Meshuggah, Katatonia, Riverside, Isahn and Alcest.

Taking place in the beautiful open air surroundings of Poble Espanyol, the site is one of the most important landmarks of tourism in Barcelona. By day the Catalonian hotspot is an architectural museum and on the first weekend of July it will play host to some of the world’s finest progressive bands.

Sponsored by Metal Hammer and Prog Magazine, 2016 will see Be Prog! My Friend co-headlined by Steven Wilson and fellow progressive heavy weights Opeth.

Friday 1st July Is a free entry show only for those who have purchased tickets for the Saturday. This will also now take place at Poble Espanyol having been moved from the Sala Apolo concert hall to meet demand. The line-up features Steven Wilson’s label mates The Pineapple Thief who will be joined by the highly rated Icelandic band Agent Fresco and Barcelona’s very own Obsidian Kingdom and Exxasens as well as the newly added iamthemorning.

The line-up so far:

Friday 1st July, Poble Espanyol:

The Pineapple Thief, iamthemorning, Agent Fresco, Obsidian Kingdom, Exxasens

Saturday 2nd July, Poble Espanyol:

Steven Wilson, Opeth, Magma, Between The Buried & Me, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Textures

Tickets priced at 90 Euros are available here:

http://ticketmaster.es/es/entradas-musica/be-prog-my-friend/6279/

http://www.beprogmyfriend.com/

facebook.com/beprogmyfriend

Be Prog! My Friend takes place in the heart of Barcelona and with an airport only 12km away, regular, cheap flights make it an easy festival to get and from the UK. Bands will start playing from mid/late afternoon each day which will also mean visitors have plenty of time to explore the stunning city of Barcelona while they are there.

http://www.barcelonaturisme.com

 

Review – iamthemorning – Lighthouse – by Progradar

cover

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.

banner

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)