"Hard-to-define music inspired by classical music with a distinct symphonic character is what the listener is served on Roz Vitalis' latest studio effort. "Revelator" isn't a production that shares too many characteristics with what most would describe as symphonic progressive rock, however; the band's blend of acoustic, electric and electronic instruments is an innovative and fairly challenging escapade into this universe, rather original too I might add. If you can imagine a blend of brooding symphonic Italian-style art rock and Isao Tomita, liberally flavored with a variety of acoustic instruments, you wouldn't be too far way from what this CD has to offer. If you think this sounds intriguing, I'm pretty sure that this is a CD you will treasure."
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"REVELATOR finds the band continuing to utilize their own unique style of using classically inspired keyboard music while adding all kinds of interesting additional layers of percussion, woodwind instruments, progressive electronic, strings and horns as the icings on the cake. As with the other albums i've heard REVELATOR is in the same vein however this band is very masterful in keeping a different feel for each album as not to sound like they're just repeating things and going through the motions.
REVELATOR seems to rely a bit less on the classical elements and has more of a folky flavor all the while adding the touches of avant- prog quirkiness to the mix. It is all instrumental like the other albums i've heard. The music has a kind of tug-of-war effect between an enthusiastic happy feeling and a dark somber depressant. Once the melodies hook you and reel you in then starts all the stranger elements. As with the other albums this is one that ratchets up the differences and never slaps you in the face. Once the hooks are in place then comes the slight time sig changes, electronic embellishments, occasional flute and horn runs and shuffling of expected roles in instrumental behavior.
It's always hard to convey unique music in linear written language, especially music that is as eclectic as this. Suffice it to say this qualifies as a form of avant-prog for its quirkiness but it is also very symphonic in its sound as Ivan Rozmainsky's keyboards dominate the overall sound pretty much for the entire run while other instruments which include cello, flute, shakuhachi, viola, bassoon, trumpet and flugelhorn interpolate their respective timbres intermittently into the nooks and crannies of the melodic procession that hops from one track to the next. The tracks are all fairly distinct and the keyboard parts sometimes completely drop out to let in segments that sound very avant-garde but no matter how weird things get they are always resolved as to make a pleasant listen that isn't too out there for the listener.
... Very cool stuff. "
(c) siLLy puPPy
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"In the beginning Roz Vitalis was a one man band but it soon became more. On the latest 2011 recording the line-up of musicians is Vladimir Efimov / guitars, Vladislav Korotkikh / flutes, whistle, Philip Semenov / drums, percussion, Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky / bass, and Ivan Rozmainsky / keyboards, Hammond, percussion. Guests include Fedor Kirillov / cello, Artemy Sementsov / flute, shakuhachi, Janna Kotsyuba / viola, Fyodor Mozhzhevelov / bassoon, and Ilya Rysin / trumpet, flugelhorn. It’s a nice cast for sure. This is their first on the Russian MALS label where before the band self released all of their material over a period of a decade.
You have nine songs of tight surprising progressive music that any classic progressive rock lover into Samla Mammas Manna, Supersister, Simon Steensland, ZNR, Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Gentle Giant, Conventum, and a odd palate of RIO bands from across the world all in one CD, will love hands down. It’s that fruitful, yet it is also with it’s own stamp. You’ll even hear bits of The Enid in places. How’s that for a bundle of joy? The band sounds like that have been together for many years. It’s the great hand of Ivan Rozmainsky who still makes the magic happen ( who was the man band who founded Roz Vitalis back in 2001). Honestly, I hear so many different styles it truly drove me nuts trying to find all the references I could compare ‘Revelator’ to. I will suffice to say it has all I have said and more. The one other important thing to mention is that it is an all instrumental CD. It’s almost exhaustive to try and listen to every instrument they use in all the songs on first spin. This is exactly why the recording will stand up to the test of time, and not lose your attention at any given moment.
I’d spend the next hour trying to describe the music play by play so I challenge you to give this neat creative and unique ( to say the least) release a try. I didn’t think they’d keep making them like this. It’s so rare to hear the great to the bone explorative progressive music like this these days. Consider this a priceless jewel ! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!"
(c) Lee Henderson
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"We have had a Bechstein grand piano in our family for many years. I recall being seated at my mother’s piano as a child, dutifully practicing the chromatic scales I was assigned as part of my piano lessons. The years have gone by and the Bechstein now makes its home at my sister’s house in Boston, with a smaller and more manageable digital piano taking up residence at my mom’s place in Rhode Island. I have fond memories of the Bechstein as an instrument, so I was struck with sentimental delight upon receiving my review copy of Revelator by Russian outfit Roz Vitalis, and seeing the Bechstein listed as one of many instruments of choice in the credits.
Roz Vitalis’ history goes back to its conception by multi-instrumentalist and composer Ivan Rozmainsky in 2001. His baby throughout the ensuing years has seen the release of a couple of independent full-length CDs, an online label download album, some EP length and full-length CDRs, and now Revelator. It’s the band’s debut label physical release.
On the album, Rozmainsky plays the aforementioned Bechstein along with the shvi on one track, Hammond RT-3 organ, other keyboards, and additional percussion. Vladimir Efimov plays electric and acoustic guitars. Vladislav Korotkikh plays low whistle on one track and flutes on eight of the CD’s nine tracks. Philip Semenov plays drums and percussion and Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky plays acoustic and bass guitars. The music is jointly and strongly composed throughout by the various members and a few guests, with only Rozmainsky receiving a music composing credit for each and every track. And those talented guests get in on the fun, like Artemy Sementsov who offers up some mournful shakuhachi, a Japanese end-blown flute, on Silver Melting.
Keyboards are the predominant element on Revelator, so if you dig keyboards you would probably go for this album. The album’s Russian classical sound is not unlike that of compatriot and label mate Gennady Ilyin.
On Persecuted, Rozmainsky lays down dark, toccata style playing on the Bechstein along with the meditative sound of the shvi (a fipple flute with Armenian origins). Ilya Rysin plays some ceremonial brass (either the credited trumpet or flugelhorn, I can’t tell which). Fyodor Mozhzhevelov layers in some carefully placed bassoon, and Efimov sprinkles across some plaintive electric guitar.
His guitar duels boldly with Rozmainsky’s playing on Warm Tuesday, which also features a bit of somber cello from Fedor Kirillov.
We have quite a talented cast of players on this CD, with a groove evoking Ravel’s Bolйro from Semenov, that Eastern low whistle from Korotkikh, waterfalls of bass from Semenov-Tyan-Shansky, and staccato viola from Janna Kotsyuba at various points. References across the CD include early Pink Floyd, the darkness of Van Der Graaf Generator, and the Western ambience of Steve Roach/Roger King.
So if you have a craving for experimental, adventurous music with touches of Russian classical and a bit of avant-garde, you might like this CD. There’s probably not too much on here for mainstream pop enthusiasts.
The CD packaging is professionally designed, with musician credits in the four page booklet and a track listing on the back inlay.
With their next release, I see an area of opportunity for the band to include a guest female spoken word artist. My personal taste, just saying."
(c) Jim Corcoran
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"The music of Roz Vitalis has been labeled "chamber electronic prog," and that's as good a description as any of this project helmed by Russian composer and keyboardist Ivan Rozmainsky. With influences ranging from Gentle Giant to Le Orme, King Crimson to Kraftwerk and Yes to Depeche Mode, Rozmainsky plays music that sounds like the soundtrack to his stream of consciousness.
On Revelator, he employs a flute and whistle player to complement the guitar-drums-bass-keys setup, and each of these nine songs take listeners in new (albeit sometimes not always pleasant) directions. While "Underfrog" is seven minutes of laid-back spaciness, followed by a beautiful acoustic interlude in "Midwinter Tulips," "Deadlock of the Deceiver" becomes obnoxious with high-pitched squeals and a heavy-footed organ. "Persecuted" punishes with off-kilter rhythms (but the jazziness is downright horny), and the piano-centric title track shows off Rozmainsky's flair for the quirky, the dramatic and the carnivalesque."
(c) Michael Popke
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"As ever Russian composer Ivan Rozmainsky offers up his chamber electronic prog for the world to listen to. No one said it was going to be an easy ride and to be honest I think the most fitting descriptive words would be interesting, disturbing, adventurous and rewarding.
Revelator at times is a seamless semblance of pure musical magic, a presentation of sounds that call to mind the greats like Gentle Giant and Le Orme. Never one to shy away from a challenge, the journey the band employs is inventive mixing beauty and elegance as can be heard on "Warm Tuesday" which is a washed with stunning keyboards and flute, a theme that belies the whole album, although the soundstages aren't always immediate or accessible.
Musically the album moves in varying directions, the organ heavy "Deadlock of the Deceiver" and "Painsadist (Hit Version)" which engage a plethora of electronic interactions creating a unique if off kilter soundstage that is almost soundtrack in approach. "Underfrog" is a spacey trip par excellence which really develops as it travels, which is countered by the acoustic beauty of "Midwinter Tulips", which sounds somewhat out of place, but mirrors its title perfectly.
"Persecuted" the penultimate and longest track on the album finds Roz Vitalis at their creative best; a carnival-esque approach with its diverse timbre and meter that undulates, creating tension and atmosphere whilst "Silver Melting" offers fitting and beautiful closure to the whole proceedings.
If you are looking for quirky and intriguing musical creations then look no further. This isn't going to be everyone's idea of a great album, but I can assure you for the slightly more adventurous out there like myself, this is a great album."
(c) John OBoyle
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