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Modern-Rock Ensemble - Touch The Mystery CD (album) cover


Modern-Rock Ensemble



4.05 | 178 ratings

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Steve Conrad
4 stars Modern-Rock Ensemble "touch the Mystery" This project spans thousands of miles and several decades.

It involves some of the cream of the national progressive rock musical community- Antony Kalugin of KARFAGEN, Max Velychko, and others.

It arises from Ukraine- a land of deep history, culture, and sometimes upheaval.

It displays poetry, almost in a "Beat" style, spoken word passages, and topnotch musicianship throughout, interspersed with very occasionally insipid cinematic keyboard sounds.

There are portions of intense passion, vocals sung in a "countercultural" bass/baritone voice (when the prevailing progressive "culture" is powerful tenor vocals), and orchestral majesty.

All of this is brought together by a musician, Vladimir Gorashchenko- who according to his liner notes in the beautifully appointed CD digi-pak, said he was influenced by '70's art-rock and jazz, AND who also happens to be a business tycoon in Ukraine.

To say that this CD challenges, perhaps DEFIES, easy critique, is an understatement.

I think all these factors and more must be considered when listening to this experience, this music, in this context.

For example, liner notes explain that the title track is "musical biography"of Vladimir, divided into sections (not easily discernible without the heads up given), each section titled and probably laden with personal meaning.

We can learn based on these notes that he weathered Soviet political oppression, whether directly or indirectly, during which dark days, artistic expression was to follow rigidly prescribed paths.

We can sense a husband's and father's love for his family, and as a citizen, for his country and its people.

In the context of a music project, we can definitely hear that since the late 1980's if not longer, Vladimir has been making high-caliber music, and is an exacting, perhaps obsessive perfectionistic leader.

Because portions of the music actually date back to the 1980's (and were used as kernels to build upon, then to improve by remastering and re-recording parts), there can hardly be said to be a clear theme or concept.

What comes through most is the respect the rest of the artists and musicians and producers hold for Vladimir, and their urging him to put together some of his musical legacy in easily accessible form.

The lyrics provided reveal the almost mystical bent of poetry, and the poetry used in the extended "Meditations" urge deep reflection with soaring images, and some melancholy.

In another case, "The Swamp" is dedicated to a film-maker who apparently stood up against the Soviet oppression, which gives the sense that Vladimir had such sympathies as well.

Finally, the artwork of Sergey Shulima must be noted- vivid, graceful, gorgeous. It's a fitting setting for this retrospective and biographical music laden with many layers and meanings.

Set aside preconceptions, and give yourself to the experience provided by Modern-Rock Ensemble and Vladimir Gorashchenko.

Steve Conrad | 4/5 |


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