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Roz Vitalis - Lavoro D'Amore CD (album) cover

LAVORO D'AMORE

Roz Vitalis

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.87 | 80 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was also approached by the Russian band to look over their most recent release, truth is that I was not in any way sonically familiar with the group though I recognize the name. The benefit of such a situation is that I have absolutely no preconceived judgment or bias one way or another and therefore I can enter with open mind and open ears. First of all, the cover is quite appealing, a sort of Split Enz-like take on non-obvious weirdness, a dark haired beauty in drab farm clothing in a seemingly wheat laden field , contrasting with azure skies above, a strange anchor in the lower left-hand corner that must convey something odd, but what? This is all instrumental music composed by keyboardist Ivan Rozmainsky, set in a traditional romantic mode with occasional romps into slight dissonance and experimentation, staying away from any prog by number attitudes that may plague instrumental works from time to time. Bassist Ruslan Kirilov likes to be heard and his prosperous rumble is there to behold , well supported by a couple of athletic drummers , while additional soloing is provided by some delectable and dependable flute, somber trumpet phases and finally, some jazz- influenced electric guitar playing by Vladimir Efimov. Just like with the Gourishankar, another talented Russian band that is due for another release we hope, the unknown instrumentalists are first-rate and highly talented. Nothing of epic proportions, most tracks are in the 3 to 6 minute range, save the eighth track that is a tad longer, clocking in at 8 minutes and change. An overt Italian romanticism influence is startling on a couple of pieces that have Italian titles, a rather innocuous nod at fellow romantics that populate the 'boot', with flowing piano leading the charge. 'Il Vento Ritorna' and the title track make this impression quite clear, sounding more RPI than anything else, as the flute takes the center stage and ushers in the delicate breeze that caresses the soul, adding some piano, bass and harpsichord support. The romantic Russian style of melancholic artistry is their most appealing trait and it's in abundance here.

'The Acknowledgement Day' sets the adequate mood from the onset, solid yet brittle, adventurous yet somehow familiar. The pied-piping flute beckons one forward, playfully into some pre-set comfort zone where everything sounds just right but different. Nice guitar phrasings that have a Jukka Tolonen jazzy feel that is most pleasant though not exactly modern. Each track has this rather overt melodic dissonance that is engaging, infusing occasional blasts of trumpet to pack some punch, as well as slick use of the underused harpsichord, an instrument that should be further showcased. The two in question are prominently featured on the delightful 'There Are the Workers of Inequity Fallen' (whatever that means!). There are enough melodies here to keep stubborn classicist like yours truly hooked, lined and sunk. Occasional visits into outright symphonic, careening into dizzying space rock as well as various other forms of edgy progressive , touches of medieval and even jazz (especially the clean 70s styled electric guitar). There are plenty of quirks, twists and turns, occasional harder pieces like 'Need for Someone Else' where the stirring axe riffs really take over the stage, chugging, churning and charming all in one. The space whispered finale is amazing! Seguing nicely into the dark and the murky, the harrowing 'Invisible Animals' seeks out deep space realms, sizzling asteroids nimbly zooming past in synthesized glory and propulsive bass motoring the rhythmic engine. The piano also retains its place of glory, as Ivan Rozmainsky is a truly gifted player, caressing his ivories with infinite taste and style, overtly so on the ornate 'Every Branch That Beareth Fruit', flute following right behind like some obedient disciple. Simple and beautiful.

The highlight piece may just well be the longest track here, the hyper-quirky 'What Are You Thinking About?' which seeks to assemble all these interests into one convenient vessel, the mouthy bass leading the charge with choppy guitars in tow, moody and grandiose , like some MIG fighter doing aerial acrobatics, amid a canopy of symphonic bombast.

Highly original and infusing fresh ideas into a powerful mass is no mean feat and I am mighty impressed. Lot of love went into this work, hence the title!

4 passion crafts

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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