COMPASSIONIZER - An Ambassador In Bonds

Compassionizer - An Ambassador In Bonds

10 songs
55:24 minutes
***** ***


Compassionizer is a project of Ivan Rozmainsky (Roz Vitalis) and other musicians. The band was started in 2020 during the lockdown, and promptly released their debut album Caress Of Compassion which – I have to confess – I forgot to review. Now they are already back with their second longplayer An Ambassador In Bonds, and just like the first time they once offer some finest grade instrumental chamber prog music. There are guitars, bass, synthesizers and drums, but they are only a part of the ensemble augmented mostly by regular and bass clarinets, Eastern and other assorted percussion instruments, rubab (an Eastern string instrument that at first sounded like a banjo to my ears) and harpsichord. The songs never adhere to typical rock structures, but owe more to modern classical music.

The opener Follow After Meekness starts with harpsichord before the rubab and synths join in, and then there comes the clarinet, which is a very featured instrument on this record. The synth bass halfway into the song reminded me of Peter Hammill’s In Camera from 1974. At eight minutes this is one of the longer tracks. The following Different Sides Of Ascension is a rather friendly piece with a cheerful clarinet melody. Caress Of Compassion (Part 4) might be considered a link to the debut and is a rather melancholic yet beautiful piece of music. The Man That Sitteth Not In The Seat Of The Scornful has a gloomy beginning and even comes with slightly distorted electric guitar. Its final half comes again with a mighty synth bass that I really have found a liking to. An Ambassador In Bonds (Part 1), first part of the title track trilogy, is rather abstract sounding, but the following An Ambassador In Bonds (Part 2) comes with a genuine coalminers’ brass band feeling. I Am Sitting On The Pier has a wonderful synth sound that reminds me of the stuff that could be found on Robert Wyatt mid-eighties to early-nineties albums. Hard-Won Humility is at seven minutes yet another longer piece full of blissful melancholy. An Ambassador In Bonds (Part 3) reuses the title track’s leitmotif but turns really eerie towards the end, adding some unexpected echo and dub effects to the otherwise very acoustic music. The album concludes with the thirteen-minute-long Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens, a nice ending to a really intriguing album.

An Ambassador In Bonds is not an easy album to get into. I must have listened to it quite a number of times now, and always discover new details. The overall chamber prog sounds comes with a healthy dose of avantgarde, some Rock in Opposition flair and here and there a few Canterbury touches. If you like the more adventurous sides of artists like Robert Wyatt and Henry Cow, then you should be delighted with An Ambassador Of Bonds, an album where many songs are titled after Bible verses. Ivan Rozmainsky is possibly Russia’s best kept secret. Once you come across his Bandcamp page, you will be surprised at how much music he has recorded and released so far, and even more astonished that he still manages to come up with great music after so many years of busy activity.

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