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


Modern-Rock Ensemble



4.25 | 80 ratings

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4 stars 'Night Dreams & Wishes' is the 2nd album from the project 'Modern-Rock Ensemble' headed by Vladimir Gorashchenko from Ukraine and released in 2019. This album has really made the rounds in ProgArchives, and has been reviewed several times already, most of them being very positive reviews. This lush, well orchestrated and performed album definitely deserves all of the praise it has been getting, as it is quite an excellent album, full of multi-faceted music. Besides the talents of multi- instrumentalist Gorashchenko, there is a list of 24 other artists that provide the use of their talents to bring this album together.

The tracks 'Intro' and 'Overture' are all instrumental, full of layers of lush synthesizers and other instruments, and many of the themes are introduced here, that will also appear throughout the album. It's not until 'Night Comes. Dreams.' that the vocals start. In the beginning, it is only Vladimir singing, but later, a female guest vocalist joins in, giving some texture to the lyrics and vocal passages. In this track, a combination of peaceful synths and acoustic guitars give the track most of the relaxing sound. This track runs through 5 subsections. All the while, the music moves through lush and accessible landscapes that are well orchestrated, moving from soft, pastoral textures and later, the main spotlight being given over to brassy instruments and heavy guitar giving it more of a jazz/rock fusion. This full sound gives way to a simpler, almost classical sounding style in 'Bracco Scherzo', a short and light piece that reflects a bit of pastoral baroque-ness against a romantic period sound, and then suddenly becoming jazzy.

'Childhood and School Days', another track with several sub-sections, goes back to a chaotic, jazz/rock fusion sound, and even evokes the sound of the hard progressive rock sound that borrows from the likes of early Deep Purple with its heavy organ sound mixed with the spacey effects of synth-generated sounds. This track is a personal one in that it reflects a lot of experiences from Vladimir's own childhood. A sudden switch to a nice, peaceful piano interlude calms the atmosphere which becomes more peaceful when synths are added in, almost sounding like a combination of Vangelis and Tomita. Later, things turn more organic as acoustic guitar and flute return us to a simple and pastoral sound. Around the 7 minute mark, there is a sudden shift to a heavier sound led by guitar and synth, and vocals begin. There is a nice combination of sax, guitar and synth that keep this section heavier, progressive and solid. It's not until well into the 10th minute that the music changes back to a soft, music-box style sound that carries it to the end of the track. 'Insomnia' is the last track, and works as an intermediary track, with a airy and peaceful sound and birds chirping in the background. The music is a bit dissonant and sounds a bit unsettling while it stays light nevertheless.

The next 3 tracks make up the 3 parts to 'Dark Kingdom & The Evil King', each one of these parts having their own subsections, and having an overall timing of 28 minutes. Even though it might come across as an ancient story from the titles of the subsections, the theme is timeless: the use of pawns to fight the wars brought on by the evil politicians and leaders of the world, and these 3 tracks move us through the evil maneuvers of these warmongers. Music and vocals tell the story, and they do it all effectively, the music begin well composed and moving from dark and heavy passages to lighter and nostalgic sections, moving smoothly and seamlessly from one section to the next. It's very progressive as meters, tempos, styles and musical shifts take us through this epic masterpiece. Sections move easily through every style from baroque to heavy prog as these tracks play through, creating an album within an album. More time and story is told through long instrumental passages, that nevertheless, constantly change, and if you follow the section titles as the music goes along, you can easily follow the story that each section is trying to convey. Excellent guitar, organ, synth solos tell most of the story with occasional vocals and narrated sections, but most of the storytelling is left up to the instruments. Overall, this long track moves rather quickly, and even takes on the semblance to some of Rick Wakeman's own ambitious tales told through music, story and choral-like effects and etc, but here we get the balance of several instruments, and we end up with not just a one-man orchestra with guests, but with a one-man extravaganza. It's hard to believe most of this is the compositional responsibility of a single person.

Following this is 'Wake Up'. After the long, epic 3-part track, this one begins with the peaceful sounds of birds and synth, later the acoustic guitar joins in, and eventually the birds fade away as the melody continues, and vocals ala a Ukrainian 'Cat Stevens' sings a simple melody. It's a nice and simple change of pace, enhanced by the Tomita-like whistling synth. The last track is 'Final/Outro'. This track ties things up, closing the album in much the same way that it all opened up, layers of lush synth and acoustic guitar that gets replaced by a more complex and dissonant jazz/rock fusion, then suddenly turning heavy with harsh guitars and soaring synths. Then halfway through, a nice piano interlude brings in the last part bringing back the acoustic guitar, violin and the summation of vocals.

This is quite an excellent kaleidoscope of sounds and styles, quite amazing and well produced. It takes several listens to understand how it is all tied together by recurring themes and sections, and after 77 minutes, it may seem like quite an involved listening session at first, but the more you hear it, the more it becomes appreciated. This is definitely an ambitious undertaking, that at times tends to seem a bit too ambitious and heavy in substance, but overall, it is quite an excellent tour- de-force of progressive (and other) styles arranged in to a very organized and well-composed album. Easily 4 stars.

TCat | 4/5 |


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