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Roz Vitalis - Compassionizer CD (album) cover

COMPASSIONIZER

Roz Vitalis

RIO/Avant-Prog


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avestin
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I heard of Roz Vitalis before but never had the chance to listen to their music. This latest release is the first I get to hear and I was looking forward to this, since what I read mostly got me intrigued about them. Roz Vitalis began in 2001 in Saint-Petersburg and have since self-released 4 studio albums, two EP's and one live release. This is their fifth studio album. I got a promotional copy of this album, and am glad to have this opprtunity to explore this band's music and to be able to promote it here in PA and in other places online.

The back of the album cover says: "The goal of this concept album is to unmask and reveal the spiritual evil of the modern humanity's materialist vainglory". Well, I for one would have composed something entirely different, but that's what great about music, is that you can hear the sound of other people's thoughts, views and way of life. The album in general has a quirky, otherworldly sound to it, which is why I don't necessarily link the music with the said concept behind it, but their idea is as good and valid as any other.

A point of reference could be (early) Art Zoyd and at times even Univers Zero (and the composers who influenced those bands as well) but only as a general guiding idea of the style of music. In some tracks I even hear traces (stripped down and bare) of Industrial (Wakatte Kudasai and Annihilator Of mortal Hazard for instance) and Electronic music (for example, Autumn Of Hypocrisy) which might be more pronounced in their earlier releases. The music is keyboards based and lead with electronic drumming, and while there's a guitar in this particular album, it does not pronounce its presence too much. At other times, the music (like in the very beginning of Tragic Fate) can be a spacey drive which then strays away into the experimental and dynamic side which is the dominant aspect of the music here. At other times, there's a heavy dosage of electronic music which gives this perhaps a colder sound that fits what the concept of the album, for instance in Autumn Of Hypocrisy, in which it this particular sound represents well what I perceive to represent cynicism and insincerity like in the title. But in fact this "colder" sound gives a contradiction to other parts in which there's "warmer" parts. Other parts (Compassionizer) are more sinister sounding, giving a better idea of what they want us to realize during our listening to the album. It's also one place where the dark sound of Univers Zero might come to mind, but just as an impression, not due to a similar tune being played. In general, the sound that they deliver is rather gloomy and conjures up images of loneliness to me, but not as dark as those two bands mentioned above. This is in part due to the choice of instruments and their sound and to how the music is performed - the music guided by the keyboards which change sound from time to time in accordance with the mood Roz Vitalis want to create. The resulting sound is not as full and jam- packed as those other band's music is (a good example for such a "full" sounding album would be Yugen's Labirinto Dacqua, which I love by the way); it leaves some "empty space" for resonance and for us to absorb it more easily perhaps (if that makes any sense). The music roams around freely, and yet it has defined structure and theme, and moves forward and isn't experimental for the sake of experimentalism, but for the sake of creating something different. While there is a chance that the recording may annoy people who don't like the use of samplers to create the vast instrumentation presented here (there's only 3 musicians but it sounds like there's more), I personally find them to be well done, and that part of the charm of this album, is this exact characteristic. I think that there's a good variation of sounds and "instruments" represented to keep the listener interested and focused. For me, the music itself manages to overcome any issue that may come up from the fact I just mentioned (plus, I think it's done well and is not displeasing to my ears). I think they managed to create their own original sound, with some nods to their influences.

What I can say is that this album has made me want to listen to their other albums as well. It is intriguing, explorative, with a weird and somewhat gloomy atmosphere (like I love it) and what matters most to me, enjoyable and makes me want to listen to it again. Not mind blowing, or a must have album, but definitely an album I feel is worth my music listening time and one that I will come back to listen to. A journey album.

3.5 stars.

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#124363)
Posted Saturday, June 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
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4 stars This fifth studio effort by Russian outfit Roz Vitalis is one that should please those looking for quirky music of a kind that can only be described as challenging. Not overly advanced, but crafted and assembled in a manner that will test your notions about musicality and melody.

In style we're treated to works of a classical nature, with circulating piano motifs and digital strings central, blended with folk inspired textures alongside spacey sounds and distinctly psychedelic guitar layers. Cacophonic, dissonant parts are served with the same ease as gentle harmonic themes. Rhythmic experiments is something of a red thread throughout, as the band investigate odd and quirky drums and percussion alongside rhythmic melodic sounds, creating motifs with subtle dissonance and disharmony. Even brief ventures into the atonal, helped along by the other instruments.

And while a well made melody is a constant presence, it is the experimentation with the non-melodic aspects of this disc that is the most interesting one. Those who are fascinated by such endeavours should find much to please them on this disc.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#301475)
Posted Friday, October 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars In the journey to review all the studio albums of ROZ VITALIS I finally came to the last album to look like sole Ivan Rozmainsky project with guests, next ones will be group efforts.

Overall this is almost NOT an avant-garde album, with mostly keyboards, programmed percussion and other effects, guitar and some clarinet action. Almost always slightly slower than mid tempo. Both guitar and clarinet are scarce, psychedelic, often quite quieter than keyboards. After most previous albums going from very avant-garde to very boringly spacey this seems to be MUCH more balanced. Track by track thoughts with ratings follow.

3* Tragic fate 7:05 Has an atmospheric start with synthesizer effects, then some clarinet(?) and guitar come in, tension grows slowly and quite boringly up until 2:50. Then things change completely, somewhat complex drums, energetic keyboards - all what I've come to like about Roz Vitalis, but this time even with frisky or wailing guitar! This is one of the most avant-garde parts of the album. At 4:10 another change, to slow organ and guitar interplay, then at 4:50 again the main theme, building up to just a guitar and drums and percussion. From 6:15 goes some stomach-timbred organ with guitar. This could have been a 5* track with another intro and probably middle part.

3* Autumn of hypocrisy 3:59

This starts with a distinctively Rozmainsky'ish piano solo with some synth effects. Now it's bright, now it's tense! Seems like it shows just what a hypocrite looks like. From 1:40 sawing synths kick instead with some more normal keyboards. This probably should show what a hypocrite feels inside towards what he plays the hypocrite about. After 3:15 goes some psychedelic clarinet part. All happens with no drums. It's an illustrative track with wonderful intro, but the end is boring and sawing is quite uncomfortable.

4* Compassionizer 5:21

This one starts with a playful quirky dissonant piano solo, like from early films, from some scene with an intricate prank. Guitar helps with quiet howling. Complete change at 0:45: now two keyboard parts with scarce drums and murmuring synthesizer effects. Main keyboards parts keep changing while drums are quite the same but complex. Keyboards gradually play darker, drums help to pump more drama. From 4:30 goes sole spent synth part. Overall it's not a 5* just because my expectations were too high from music building up in the middle. Neither the way it was done nor the climax feel like excellent, just very good.

3* Elusive goodness 4:24

This is a mellow yet quirky keyboards (piano, synths, effects) composition, same theme delivered with different flavours and some spin off themes. The track title is really telling: melody really hints at goodness all the time, but there's also a slightest hint of tension. Beautiful but slightly repetitive and no other instruments. Easy 4* if sole keyboards are good for you.

3* Wakatte kudasai 7:27

It starts with some psyche clarinet and synth effects, from 1:30 some harpsichord-like synths and clarinet play in turn and together. An oriental (clarinet) and otherwordly (synths) tune follows, very interesting, with infrequent rhythm, tension builds up gradually up until 4:35. Then follows some 'standard' lovely avant-prog for a while, then rhythm changes, guitar starts playing, clarinet shuts down. 5:40 - keyboards are silent for a while, just guitar with drums and percussion, then keyboards and guitar play in turn several times, then blend, but guitar is still leading the way. All in all it's quite an extraordinary composition for Roz Vitalis (with quite a part of supporting, not leading keyboards), but for my taste it's overextended and slightly dull in the middle.

3* Annihilator of moral hazard 6:23

This is their all time concert hit, there are several versions on the live/bootleg CDs. The one prefixed with 'Wooden bear' is a psyched performance with lyrics, played until 2011. Then there's a better version with normal instrumentation, like at 'Live 14-11-14'. It still has quite psychedelic middle, but the main theme has quite some time. Also there were numerous concerts with other arguably rockier versions not available on CDs. The studio version though is very different. It starts with sprightly drums and murmuring keyboards, also there are some flute like sounds, then some tense quiet synth part with percussion. Then these two parts repeat with slight variations. Heavy parts are very good. Then some psych synths with rhythm- synth and guitar which changes at 3:50 to a continuous guitar fingering. Then follows the main theme and then again it's played but by guitar only. Main theme is easily 5* but the quiet/psych parts somewhat spoil the experience for me once again.

3* Dances of lost opportunities 5:38

This is a keyboards + percussion tune. Starts with an almost bright piano solo, track title again is quite telling. Then the heavy synths with percussion continues the melody with no brightness at all. Then a slowed down build-some-tension part which abruptly ends at 2:15 to allow some sole synth part. From 2:50 again a darker avantish part which I like. From 4:25 again just sole synth up to the end.

3* Disruption 3:41

This starts seemingly like a sequel to the previous track, below the average tempo. Then from 1:15 synth effects are supporting sole keyboard part, then sole guitar, then some clarinet with hints of guitar. From 2:32 the first theme again.

4* Train of parting (Compassion version) 7:55

It starts with a piano solo, again reminiscent of the previous track. Then synths and effects, then drums kick in, then guitar. Nice tension built suddenly changes at 3:15 to a quite bright but appropriate insert. Salivating listener from 3:50 hears an avant-prog part like from 'Tragic fate', up-tempo. Then some change to a leading guitar with synths and mid-tempo drums, building up to a 5:25 climax with flickering drums and howling guitar. Silence from 6:20 to 6:50 where just one drum beat happens followed by a closing keyboards-guitar interplay. Better coda would have easily made it a 5*.

Time-weighted score 3.25

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Send comments to XPEHOPE3KA (BETA) | Report this review (#1428602)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2015 | Review Permalink

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