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Antony Kalugin - Stellar Gardener CD (album) cover


Antony Kalugin


Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 87 ratings

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3 stars Stellar Gardener is entirely written and played by Antony Kalugin, almost entirely instrumental work headed by the Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist; only Olha Rostovska (his wife) accompanies him vocally in one of the two majestic suites that make up the album. Stellar Gardener is in a certain sense the continuation of the previous Marshmallow Moondust (2020), also tracing its compositional scheme. Hinged on evident stylistic features of a symphonic prog matrix to which the author is totally devoted.

Stellar Gardener is therefore a perfect example of the way in which a lot of meat is put on the fire but, thanks to the qualities and a certain taste of the musician, the sounds are able to flow fluently despite an evident predictability. The first suite, Stellar, has a suspended, spatial incipit, interrupted by the very decisive entry of the guitar and the rhythm that soon turns the cards on the table, varying and modifying the rhythm; between pauses and restarts keyboards and guitar are essentially drawing arabesques and melodic inlays, alternating in a continuous game of overlaps, of levels that follow one after the other, constantly imbued with a romantic aura. Kalugin's eye is musically always turned to the past and also on this occasion, in the 20 minutes of the event, references are not lacking. Gardener (21 minutes) opens with an orchestral movement on oneiric contours to then acquire rhythm and vitality in a Genesis brand crescendo. Synth fugues and an increasingly crackling sound system are the masters until the entry of the six strings which in turn feeds the redundancy of the theme. A first vocal graft and the sound of the flute give further pathos to a now rarefied plot, before a choral reprise in which the sound of the Hammond is also distinguished. A preparatory phase, in progress, precedes a second vocal graft, then a significant tearing of the guitar for a rather tight rhapsodic section and finally a crepuscular epilogue.

In conclusion: The focus is on the aesthetically romantic, relaxed-looking melodies, which, however, never slide into well-tended boredom. Also because the denser, more intense ideas repeatedly bring the gentle contrasts into the soothing melody flow. Very rarely even aggression comes into play. The imaginative arrangements, which present an impressively wide range of timbres, guarantee you will have little surprises and a lot of listening pleasure. Kalugin distributes his melodic ideas evenly over various keyboards, the guitars, the virtually generated strings and wind instruments as well as the accompanying chants, so that the two long tracks of 20 minutes each pass very quickly. Symphonically arranged, with choral chants, or moments that seem chamber music stand next to the parts that have been arranged for a traditional symphonic prog line-up.

prog_traveller!! | 3/5 |


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