Rozmainsky & Mikhaylov Project - For The Light

11 songs
48:08 minutes
***** ***


Earlier this year, I reviewed a live album by Roz Vitalis, a progressive rock band from Russia led by virtuoso keyboard player Ivan Rozmainsky. You only need to check out his bandís Bandcamp page to see what a busy artist he is. It seems that recording with his band and under his own name isnít enough for him, as he is now back with Rozmainsky & Mikhaylov Project, named after him and guitarist Vladimir Mikhaylov. Other musicians of the project are drummer Yurii Groiser and Leonid Perevalov who plays clarinet and bass clarinet.

The eleven songs on For The Light are mostly and with only one exception rather short, and after my first listen through the album, it became clear that there is a leitmotif of "light", because whenever that word is featured in a song title, a melody recurs, sometimes accompanied by ethereal female guest vocals. As with the opener Wounded By Lack Of Light which starts with said female vocals, before Rozmainsky joins in with his vintage keyboards, soon to be followed by the slightly bluesy guitar playing of Mikhaylov. The following Keep No Thou Silence is a short accessible track where the interaction between the melancholic piano and the slightly Oldfieldian guitar makes for some heart-warming moments. A first more experimental moment comes with A Dedication To The Floydian Sun, which sounds like a hardly disguised tribute to the ancient Pink Floyd classic Set The Control For The Heart Of The Sun. Itís also here where Perevalovís bass clarinet first comes to use. This is a really unusual instrument in a rock setting, but it helps to elevate RMPís sound to a higher domain. Create In Me A Clean Heart comes with a mellotron part, making for a more typical retro prog sound, although there are also a lot of strange synth sounds that sounds like relics from a forgotten Soviet era. The Thing In The Light once again reuses the "light" leitmotif, but otherwise feels more like an interlude with warm keyboard and guitar sounds. This segues into Dancing Through The Twilight, another of the catchier tracks where it shows that you can come up with memorable instrumental music, provided you have songwriters that know how to write a suspenseful tune. Delivered From The Snare Of The Fowler begins like a normal song before soon taking an unexpected turn into more experimental territory. Irish Shine is a bare exercise in laid back progressive rock with some folk elements. At nearly six minutes, Coming Of The Troubled Waters is the second longest track, with its first half being once again something you have to come to expect from these guys, and the second half leaving them to play in avantgarde waters. A Flower In The Smoke is more accessible once again, before the album ends on its ten and a half minutes long title track, which feels like an improvisational quartet where each musicians seems to have the right to do whatever they want, and while this long track might have felt a little lost in the middle of the album, it is a very fascinating way to end this album.

After repeated listening to For The Light, I must admit that it is a really suspenseful and original album that may come with some small weaknesses like maybe the occasional lack of focus, but all in all I applaud the musiciansí uninhibited take at progressive rock. There are all kinds of sub-genres like chamber prog, avant prog, retro prog and psychedelia mixed into this fascinating entity that manages to feel like a musical fairy tale. So the cover artwork is kind of cheesy, but once again Ivan Rozmainsky has proven to be one of the most fertile artists of the Northern hemisphere.

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