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Modern-Rock Ensemble - Night Dreams & Wishes CD (album) cover

NIGHT DREAMS & WISHES

Modern-Rock Ensemble

 

Neo-Prog

4.16 | 193 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars As it was expected, the long-awaited follower for the patchy debut album Touch the Mystery -- which has gained an enormous amount of 187 ratings with the ratio of 4,04 stars -- is placing Ukrainian MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE rather permanently in the front page's list of the most visited artists now as the album has been for some time available in Bandcamp and the CD edition is finally out. In a word, this 78-minute conceptual suite is ambitious. It can be felt that the artist, Vladimir Gorashchenko, has poured his whole soul, passion, life experience and world view into this work in an almost Mahlerian way. And mind you, I'm not saying this in a positive sense only. The parts follow each other seamlessly (more so than would be possible on a double vinyl album, I guess), so it's a massive piece to digest. In his liner notes VG opens the the concept in detail. Everything is centered around the idea of DREAMING, in both meanings of the word: the sometimes surrealistic visions we see in our sleep, and our wish to reach something grand and desiarable in our lives, ie. to make our dreams come true.

Approximately for the first quarter of the album, cinematic instrumental music is taking the listener into "the voyages with Morpheus"; contained is a calm vocal section about preparing for the night dreams. VG himself sings all the main vocals (with his deep, ageing voice), backed nicely by his daughter in this little song -- and to a lesser degree on the whole album. There's wonderful dynamics between beautiful delicacy -- starring especially VG's keyboards and Bogdan Gumenyuk's flute -- and the more intense moments with a Fusion flavour.

Later on the album starts to raise more ambivalent ("not sure if I like this at all") thoughts in my mind, with its more or less aggressive sections. First in the movement dealing with VG's restless youth, in which e.g. the antipathy towards school is woven into music -- and singing that at times gets poignantly ugly. Also saxophone increases the angry intensity in the music that all of a sudden has a hard, metallic edge.

Short, piece 'Insomnia' contains interesting Gentle Giant-like elements. A very needed interlude between epics.

Then we enter the 28½-minute (and multi-multi-part, if you read the track list and all the descriptive subtitles) movement titled 'Dark Kingdom & the Evil King'. It is radically overblown with its dramatic, and to be frank, rather clichéd plot about mean rulers and hard-lucked gladiators fighting for their lives and eventually rising against the power. During that massive movement my attitude turns rather negative, and it makes me think that the album as a whole is TOO ambitious, that it is being crushed by its own weight. Gosh, there are even some clashing of swords. I do understand that VG is not precisely deling with ancient Romans but with the restless world of today as well. Exactly because of that he maybe had too much aggression to pour into his magnum opus. There surely are also very fine passages along the way, but I find it very hard to sit through all that battling in multiple listenings. (Think of a spectacular and expensive theatre production dealing with something like the ancient Rome: you may well be impressed, but you'd never consider going to see it for a second round.) After that monster movement comes a couple of shorter pieces that are enjoyable and more purely musical (in contrsast to overblown melodrama), although not as climactic as a work of this size would demand.

So, I'm definitely not liking this album without some serious reservations, but for the great musicianship and some excellent moments, four stars are deserved. Also the artwork on the gatefold digipak cover is fine.

Matti | 4/5 |

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