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iamthemorning - ~ CD (album) cover



Crossover Prog

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5 stars Iamthemorning - "~"


I'm writing this review now with the hope of this album moving up the charts, but will write a more detailed review in January when I post my albums of the year (of which this is very high).

This is a phenomenal album. Not only that, it is free. FREE. FREE GUISE FREE. I have since donated money to the band, but this is currently available free from their bandcamp page

The entire style of the album is described by many as "chamber pop". I had never heard this term before, but apparently it refers to a style of indie rock/pop with extensive use of strings and orchestral arrangements. This is that plus a lot more. The band use elements of traditional folk, classical, and of course, prog, to create a wonderfully relaxing blend of melodic "neo-classical vocal indie" (as the band calls it) music. The vocalist is truly amazing, but the piano is the true highlight. Most of the songs are very stripped-down, with only piano, voice and strings. But when the full band kicks in it is wonderful.

I will post a full review in january for this as my (currently) #2 album of 2012 in January, but for now I have reached the 100 word requirement, and am feeling quite sick, so I think I'll just put the album on (hopefully my CD copy will arrive soon) and have some coffee.

Download this if you like music. Everyone will like this in some way. Even my 82 year old grandmother liked it. Phenomenal album.

Report this review (#825544)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars --Very relaxing album--

I downloaded this album after following a link in the "free prog" thread on the PA forum. Of all of the legal free music I have ever gotten, I have to say this is in the top percentage. The songs are well written, and it has a great mellow quality that is lacking in a lot of new music these days. I love the very effective use of piano as the main instrument: very little (if any) synthesizer to be found. The female vocals are very well done, and not distracting at all from the music. My favorite track is probably the more upbeat "burn", but all of the "intermissions" are right behind.

Overall a great listen.


Report this review (#832975)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars A very clear example of popularity not correlating with quality. This obscure Russian band released a debut with flawless sound engineering as well as consistent songwriting of the highest caliber.

That being said, you should be aware that the music is very accessible and has little relation to progressive rock. The music is instead heavily influenced by classical music. For starters, all band members have a higher education in classical music training. Also, the leading instruments include a grand piano and violins. Elements of pagan folk/new age, and contemporary music are intertwined with the classical songwriting.

The more energetic moments are fundamental in making this album dynamic and exciting, without breaking the gentle mood, even when crunchy electric guitars and driving motifs are present. That is an example of smart arrangements and sound engineering.

The gorgeous (and often multi-layered) vocals take a major presence in every song (and some of the intermissions) and elevate an already great album into a moving and highly relaxing listening experience. They generally are soft and airy yet blends really well with the harder- edged moments throughout the album.

Personal favorite moments: The quality is surprisingly consistent but I seem to be replaying Intermission 1/Inside, and Touching II the most often.

Final Rating: 4.5 stars and highly recommended to anyone who loves good melodies.

EDIT: changed to 5 stars, remastered version fixed a few minor flaws, improved sound quality, and enhanced arrangements even further.

Report this review (#878959)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars ~ is a refreshing stream of beautiful crossover/chamber rock/folk rock songs often interlinked by interludes/etudes called "~[intermissions]" (there are six not intcluding the two long breaks of silence amid the final 11m42sec 'song' "i.b.too" [8/10]). The often-piano-based songs showcase the wonderful, smooth, controlled, breathy voice of Marjana Syomkina--often on multiple tracks. The music most often reminds me of TORI AMOS when it is stripped down to just piano and voice (e.g. on "circles") and IONA when a full chamber rock band is accompanying Marjana (e.g. on "burn"). The voice most often sounds like IONA's JOANNA HOGG, though it does take on the classic TORI AMOS and even, sometimes, JANE SIBERRY/KATE BUSH-like stylings (e.g. on "weather changing," "~[intermission III]," and "would this be"). The full band interplay is exquisite--especially since there is invariably a stringed instrument or two or three in the mix--right up my alley for perfect prog (though I love woodwinds and accordians, too)! And keyboard payer Gleb Kolyadin's touch on the piano/keyboards reminds me tremendously of RENAISSANCE's master ivory tickler, JOHN TOUT.

Favorite songs: 1. "~[intermission I]" (2:48) (9/10); "inside" (4:16) (9/10); 3. "burn" (4:40) (10/10); 4. "circles" (3:19) (8/10); 5. "~[intermission II]" (0:52) (9/10); 6. "weather changing" (3:05) (9/10); 9. "touching II" (4:04) (10/10); 11. "monsters" (3:59) (8/10); 12. "serenade" (2:28) (10/10); 13. "~ [intermission V]" (0:55) (9/10); 15. "~[intermission VI]" (1:46) (9/10), and; the musical parts of 16. "i.b.too" especially the sublime final three minutes.

For lovers of clean, clear, crisp, dynamic folk/chamber music in the tradition of IONA, TORI AMOS, KATE BUSH, JANE SIBERRY, RENAISSANCE or ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN.

4.5 stars rated up for amazingly consistent high quality in composition, performance and production. The only "flaw," IMHO--and this should fuel them for the future--is that the band might have stretched themselves even further. I hope they will be around for a long time for I, for one, will be an avid follower.

Report this review (#888869)
Posted Sunday, January 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars iamthemorning offered this album for free, so I listened to some of the previews, and downloaded the album. Listening to the album in full was a pleasant surprise. This album isn't totally prog, but more folk rock/indie. The influence of classical music in this album is obvious. I found that this album sounded similar to the band The Corrs, so if you like either iamthemorning or The Corrs, you'll probably like the other. This album is packed with gorgeous melodies and often odd instrumentation. There are 6 'intermissions' on the album which each last for about one minute, and feature multi-layered vocals (especially in the first one), hand drums (in the third one) and more. They link the longer songs together. Inside, track 2, features quick piano work at the beginning, and the song turns more intense towards the middle, drums being added in this section. Finishing the song is some beautiful piano work. Circles is a song that is similar to Inside, with a dark sound throughout the song. Burn is a more upbeat, funky song than the others, with syncopated drumming. This is the king of song that makes you want to tap your feet. Monsters is another upbeat song, which again has a dark sound to it, a bit like Scotland which has distorted vocals. Touching II is different, with a memorable melody, and odd sounding guitar (I think?). Strings join later in the song, which makes this track one of the highlights of the album. That's just an overview of the album, if you are interested, listen to it and download it, it's free after all. 5/5
Report this review (#890135)
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's a very big pleasure for me to say that music on this LP is as beautiful as this album's cover, because '~', the first record by Russian art rock/post-rock band iamthemorning, became probably the best debut of 2012.

iamthemorning was formed in 2010 in St. Petersburg, their music collides post-rock, sympho rock, pop rock with art rock tendencies, and it works so well! In their music they provide us a very beautiful and organic blend of accessible (and utterly mindblowing) songwriting, symphonic arrangements and Maryana's heavenly vocals in their absolutely astonishing work.

It's very nice to see such a beautiful, professionally recorded and excellently mixed album from a Russian band (y'know, situation with music in Russia is very deplorable). I hope that appearing of this band on Russian musical scene will give a birth for a brand-new generation of bands, consisting of talented members with excellent musical tastes, rather than what we might find in almost every popular Russian band today.

iamthemorning is really hell of a band. I wish them good luck in their starting career, and it were very good news to know that this year they're going to record a new LP.

A sheer masterwork. 10/10

Report this review (#890643)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars I'm in a busy period. I downloaded the album when the band was suggested for inclusion and I have forgotten it after a while. Then I've seen it mentioned by a reviewer as one of the best albums of 2012 so I went back to it.

I've been immediately hit by the female vocals. Initially they reminded me of bands like After Crying, also thanks to the excellent piano which follows the initial choir, but this is a different thing: the classical influence is strong but the vocalist adds a folky touch to music that's peaceful and relaxing but has a dark low-layer.

The feeling is very well represented by the album cover. The sea is dark and it rains, but there's not a storm. Even in this conditions watching the sea can relax.

The piano is the main element in all the tracks. When the ensemble plays in its entirety the musicianship of all the elements is clear. The third track "Burn" features an excellent violin. The vocalist sometimes makes me think to Christina Boothe of Magenta, sometimes to Sally Oldfield and even to Heather Findlay.

Another remarkable thing is the strings arrangement. The fusion between the strings and the traditional "rock" instruments is effectively a fusion. All the elements are well integrated.

But the best chracteristic of the album is in my opinion its "progression". If you let your attention to be captured, it's like reading one of those books that you can't stop reading until they are finished. I don't know if there's a concept, I haven't followed the lyrics, but the songs give the impression of a story to follow.

Together with Distorted Harmony I think this is the best debut album of 2012 and iěm giving it the same number of stars. I'm only regretting to have waited so long before giving it the attention it deserves.

Report this review (#897818)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This deliciously innovative debut release from iamthemorning finds the band presenting a distinctive sound to the world. It reminds me attempt to produce material with symphonic prog sensibilities without resorting to the symphonic prog conventions of the classic 1970s era, instead adopting a gentler sound focused around acoustic instruments and Marjana Syomkina's gorgeous vocals. Imagine what would happen if a group of classically trained musicians with prog inclinations got really into Kate Bush's sound on Hounds of Love, stripped out the samples and electronic effects, upped the classical content and then extrapolated from that, and you're in the sort of ballpark these guys are playing in. The album can be downloaded from their official Bandcamp site in your choice of electronic format at a price you personally select (even free, if you like), so there's little reason not to sample this unique act.
Report this review (#897953)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Being a Progressive Rock fan is a hard work. Every single day you have to listen to a lot of new music trying to find something really remarkable, something, that will not leave your playlist for a long time, something, that'll be in tune with your soul.

This rather young Russian band is just what I was looking for a very long time, it reminds me the best from early After Crying, Mostly Autumn and even Solaris. A very rare mix of art, beauty, perfect recording with pure sound and a lot of classical instruments along with fascinatig female vocals makes this album a truly masterpiece. I believe in their music, it makes me completely forget about the outside world when I hear them. It's a long and exciting journey to the hidden corners of your mind, when each listening reveals something amazing new. Simply turn on this record, and let the music flow through your veins.

Highly recommended five stars.

Report this review (#916020)
Posted Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars I certainly hope I do not sound too arrogant, but I will have to disagree with the "majority opinion" about this band and especially this particular album.

First of all, I think the only real novelty that the band is introducing in this record is the band itself. Yes, now we know that there is a band called iamthemorning. We also know that its members all live in St. Petersburg and attend a distinguished musical school. Good stuff.

As for the novelty factor of the music itself, there is none: the album simply continues to carefully tread the celtic-ky slash nordic-ky slash New Age-ey path. There are a few brief forays into the "crossover prog" territory, but even those lack the lush, voluptuous "prog" sound texture we all know and like.

I may be becoming a grumpy old man, but I positively do not see anything in this album that would stand out or stir any emotion in me.

By the way, I am not detecting anywhere the "virtuosity" many other reviewers have been reporting. The guy on the piano is probably the best musician in the band, but even he is just good - not great. The rest of the players are competent, but their playing is uneventful and unremarkable. The female singer's voice is not unpleasant; still, it's a little bleak and thin in my opinion. The vocalist is not a risk-taker: she delivers her airy notes in a rather low volume and avoids "unnecessary" excursions outside of her safe (and, for that matter, narrow) range.

The melody lines also seem to be revolving around the same ambient-style chord sequences over and over again. Again, not horrible, but not terribly stimulating either.

On my 7-Star scale this would be 3/7 ("below average"), so I am afraid i will have to award this album two stars only.

Report this review (#922026)
Posted Sunday, March 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was very surprised when I saw that Iamthemorning's album got such acclaim on Progarchives. I knew this band right from the time they started to create music, and I listened to them on many live performances for the last two years. In the beginning there was nothing but celestial piano and heavenly voice ? this was "Inside". So, composer Gleb and vocalist Maryana are the core of Iamthemorning, creating beautiful airy sound regardless of other musicians, who were, in the first incarnation of the band, Alina (cello), Ilya (violin) & Filipp (viola). The band went through some changes, it was interesting to see differences in the sound when they performed as quintet, trio or duet. But when it was about recording of the album, Iamthemorning underwent transfiguration into complete modern band, adding electric guitar, bass and drums to their sound. The aforementioned string trio participated in the recording, but after that they left the band. At the presentation of "~" Iamthemorning included what I call "cosmic" section of the band (Gleb & Maryana), string section (varying from 2 to X musicians from one gig to another) and "rock" section ? Eugeny on guitar, Max from Kubikmaggi on bass (this guy is crazy wild master of bass, listen to Kubikmaggi, you will hear that his technical level and creative power are absolutely mindblowing) and Misha on drums (cheerful guy who is responsible for most of the spontaneous jokes in live concerts).

This incarnation of the band is really powerful in composing as like as in performance. All the music is built on fantastically beautiful piano of Gleb Kolyadin (aka Poloniumcubes in his solo work), the cornerstone of Iamthemorning sound. Gleb has a talent to fill all the musical space with his piano, as the air fills all the room given to it ? that's the reason why Iamthemorning sound so brilliant even if they perform as a duo with Maryana, or why I do find Gleb's solo sketches as cool as 'morning's music. Maryana's vocal is strong and crystal-clear (Maryana is total perfectionist in the studio; and she's cute and shy in live performances). I'm glad that the role of string section was reduced ? it appears to be dominant only in episodes. For me as a rock music addict it's a great thing to hear powerful bass-drums-guitar driven sound reigning over 'morning's music! But there is neither real "rock" on the album, nor "prog" (except if you like to call everything that sounds interesting and not-dated "prog"). Iamthemorning play intelligent, elegant chamber music with half-rock instrumentary. That results in great duality of graceful studio music and powerful live playing.

Report this review (#923935)
Posted Monday, March 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album being the best album of 2012 (as of March 2013), really? Although this album isn't bad, I wonder how it can surpass Big Big Train, Anglagard and Co. It's merely prog related and much more classical / folk with some rock orchestration here and there. Piano and violin are the main instruments throughout the 50 minutes. It's mostly laid-back music that you will play in the background while doing other stuff. If you like that kind of music try Jorane, her first albums are of this kind, with a very similar voice and with a larger emotional palette, the breadth of the music on ~ being restrained. It's playing in the same zone for the most part and after a few listens it becomes monotonous. I also see other similarities with artists like Loreena McKeenit and the likes, minus the pop factor.

So all in all not a bad album but not ground-breaking either. It's worth checking out since it's free but honestly I wouldn't buy it if I had to. Sorry but this is the perfect example of an overhyped album. And what left me perplex is the lack of progressive rock, isn't it what this site is all about? So 3 stars because it's good music but I remove 1 star because of the lack of prog rock.

Report this review (#925241)
Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
5 stars I kind of felt compelled to listen to this album after seeing it at the top of the 2012 list. Besides that, it's free; so you basically must give it a shot. That said, I've seen many great reviews for iamthemorning's debut album entitled "~". That title is quite appropriate, but I'm not even sure why.

The music is certainly very muted and even indescribable. It has a neo-prog feel, as well as a bit of prog folk. This combination is very pleasing to the ears, and it is does remind me a bit of the excellent bands Introitus and Frequency Drift. The eclectic array of musicians rarely do anything overtly complex, but they do play excellently. There are, however, some rather amazing moments that really blew me away. "Touching II", for instance, really sucked in my attention. The fantastic violin work and the soft vocals really score highly. Speaking of vocals, the female vox are outstanding, and very delicate. Again, she does remind me of the Frequency Drift singer---that is not a bad thing at all. Also, I must comment on the lyrics. The lyrics are highly abstract and amazingly well written. They claim inspiration from Maynard of A Perfect Circle (amazing band), and it definitely shows.

Overall, iamthemorning's debut is quite outstanding. It is delicate and beautiful like a watercolor painting, and it requires a step back mentally in order really to appreciate the abstraction and pure beauty. Is this album of the year? I don't think so, but it is certainly deserving of a spot somewhere in the best of 2012.

Report this review (#928407)
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Iamthemorning firstly caught my attention not because of their third position on Progarchives (I'm a newbie here), but because of the name of the band. As a huge Oceansize lover grieving about their separation I caught this band as a straw that could save me from drowning. I thought that it is highly possible that people that took Oceansize title as a name of a band (modified, though) make music that can be not bad - to say the least!

And oh how wrong I was! "Not bad" is the least suitable mark for this outstanding work! It is simply brilliant! I did a bit of a research and it turned out that things are even more interesting than i firstly thought. These guys are just a students in Russian Musical College, and the vocalist is self-taught. No one in a band is above 23 years and they already competing with Big Big Train and Anglagard! From their facebook page i found out that they are even embarrassed because of this sort of confrontation because this is their first album and they never expected something like this to happen.

Anyhow. Immediately after turning this charming music on you are literally switching the world off. This young girl guides you to some sort of surreal and mysterious world full of beautiful voices and visions. Holding on to the powerful piano parts you continue your journey with drums filling the air with tinkling and strings colouring the landscapes to some fantastic colors. Each song is like a full fairytale - the lyrics is amazing! Beautiful abstract poetry.

The arrangements are totally awesome. These kids combine their classical thinking with progressive music they obviously like, so harmonically that this definitely may turn into something new and called-for in case they continue developing their own unique style. I just hope that severe reality will not break them down and they will continue making this outstanding music. I think that progressive community should unite to help these folks.

Report this review (#937525)
Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a debut!

After seeing multiple reviews of this band along with the beautiful album artwork, I felt compelled to check out Russia's iamthemorning...boy was I in for a treat. From what I understand, the members are all classically trained and still in college at this time, yet "~" could've conviced me that this was a work coming from a mature band near their prime that had been together for many, many years!

The overall sound of the album is primarily classical, with the piano and violin/viola/cello being the main driving forces of most of the songs; however, the structure of many of the songs give a progressive feel to them. The two that particularly stand out to me are "Burn" and "Inside", which both have several different "sections" to them, being both beautiful and intense at times.

The only minor gripe I have with the album is the constant feeling of intensity and urgency in the sound. I'm looking forward to future releases from this band, and I hope the band in the future will produce at least a few songs that show another side to the band. Give me a song that is relaxing and peaceful throughout!

Regardless of this nitpicky criticism, this is one of the finest albums I've heard in years. I've never quite heard a progressive album like this that has such an emphasis on classical music, which makes it fresh and exciting! I would encourage everyone to check "~" out, and spread the word of this incredible band. From what I've read, they are still in debt from promoting and recording this album, and any support would be well appreciated. This band is well ahead of their years, and this is what a debut should sound like! 9/10

Report this review (#938557)
Posted Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This band plays neo-classical music in combination with folk and progressive rock, but it would be better to describe it in one word : Iceland. The music of this distant, fairy tale country can't be confused with any other, so if anyone has ever heard Mum, Sigur Ros, Bjork they'll know what iamthemorning sounds like. In 2012, the band released their debut album "~". That's right - "~". And that's what I'm going to talk about. So back to what I was saying - their music is filled with virtuoso piano melodies and soft vocal, accompanied by a strong sounding of strings, guitars and drums. The album is very professional, saturated and atmospheric. There you can find such powerful compositions as "Burn", "Monsters", "i.b.too", that are perfectly supported by the soft revelations in the form of intermission. Some compositions, like "Inside", "Circles", "Scotland", "Weather Changing", "Would this be" may be a little bit confusing, as under the delicate wrap of piano music is the powerfull rock hidden. The main and only single from the album - «touching II», is a beautiful composition with soulful lyrics, adorned with playful pizzicato and string orchestra arrangements. At the same time, surprisingly enough, in this song you won't hear any guitar sounds or beats of drums. Already a bold move, considering that the Russian public usually prefers powerful rock. Marjana's vocal deserves a special mention. Light and soulful - as fragile as the wings of a butterfly - her voice shyly, yet confidently goes through the stormy sea of piano music played by Gleb. As if a little boat is in the open sea of guitar waves, and from the board you can hear how the sea is crashing into the beach with blows of hi-hats. A very bright image supported by the album cover. In conclusion, I'd like to say that for me iamthemorning has become a kind of a revelation in the abyss of poor-quality Russian music, where every once in a while you can still find a silver glimmer of hope for a better future. If I continue to develop this metaphor, i should say that these ordinary guys from St.Petersburg has become a great shining part of something amazing - wonderful music. And if this album is not enough for you, don't worry, they are already working on their next and they also regulary upload new songs to their side projects - sleepwalkingmusic and poloniumcubes. Connoisseurs will be very pleased to hear the exquisite "lo-fi" with familiar Marjana's vocal and amazing spontaneous piano melodies from Gleb. But, of course, don't forget to come back to the light in the pitch black - iamthemorning.
Report this review (#952823)
Posted Thursday, May 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, this album is very well promoted, being on-line distributed by "one-click" free downloading from the band's website. With its fresh sound, excellent performance, amazing female voice and high production quality this easy-of-access album guaranteed the wide audience and PA reviewers' top ranks for the band. Few days ago I received the long-awaiting CD and it is just ... Beautiful! A pretty nice blend of symphonic/folk/crossover prog with piano sound dominating and lack of rock instruments like quitar, bass, drums (though not completely eliminating) make this album sound somewhat resembling a famous AFTER CRYING's Overground Music masterpiece. Marjana's voice is simply bewitching, charming, relaxing, gorgeous, ... (add whatever you want). Very strong debut, and 5 stars no doubt!
Report this review (#955161)
Posted Monday, May 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Iamthemorning's debut album '~' is a genuine surprise package opening on 'Intermission I' with multilayered female vocals that translate beauty into a cosmic realm, enhanced by captivating piano. Eventually a backswept slice of sound merges to 'Inside' with an angelic solo vocal by Marjana Syomkina and minimalist piano by Gleb Kolyadin, very raw and intimate. There is something disquieting in the dissonant melody, but the beauty transfixes as a gorgeous violin chimes in. then a viola is played and some very grandiose piano hammering stabs of staccato blemishes. The soundscape builds into a Magma like chant, though always English, and then it breaks again with piano and violin cascading over the organic textures.

The piano work is master class from Gleb Kolyadin and continues to dominate on the following track 'Burn'. This has a heavier feel, more accessible but no less brilliant in structure, especially the way the violins caress the tempos with their own time signatures. The classically trained musicians have a dynamic unity with highly original styles and the vocal is the icing on the cake. There is no getting away from the incredible piano but those violins, cellos and violas are absolutely exquisite.

'Circles' has a simpler structure, almost like a Kate Bush composition, with melodic high register vocals and strings over classical piano. 'Intermission II' is a short cello and piano piece then the heavier piano motif follows on 'Weather Changing' with more of those haunting ghostly vocals. The sound is almost Enya like or at the least Celtic, especially with those violin embellishments.

'Intermission III' is very high vocal reverberations chanting a mantra with piano foundations, soon followed by 'Scotland' that sounds more like a song one might hear on an alternative radio station. Then a plucking string melody opens 'Touching II' though I haven't heard part 1. I really like Marjana's vocals on this again like Kate Bush meets Enya. The atmosphere is rather dark with that reverberating cello plucking sounding out. When the slicing violin sounds enter it resonates nicely and draws me in even deeper. This is very intense unsettling music with a symphonic beauty.

'Intermission IV' has piano layers and a zither sound with odd Oriental nuances. 'Monsters' has a stronger beat that is easy to latch onto, and the vocals are powerhouse along with a tense layer of serrated strings. The lead guitar played by Evgeniy Abzalov is heavy with feedback loops especially the ending.

'Serenade' is a shorter song overlaid with discordant pianos battling it out with a string foundation and effervescent vocals. 'Intermission V' sounds like a tuning up session as two separate tunes are played by piano and violin though it sounds inviting enough as a break. Then the chords of 'Would This Be' strike up, a heavy piano melody. The vocals are mixed to the front lending an intimate setting. The percussion is effective utilising wire brushes to maintain a complex rhythm. The lyrics are about dealing with the pain of brokenness; "I can feel the rain coming down, I can feel the shame, the rain that keeps coming down,

Another 'Intermission VI' breaks the songs with multilayered sparkling vocal harmonies until we get to the final and more progressive piece 'I.B.Too' clocking 11:41. This opens with piano and piercing breathy vocals; "I used to believe in you", Marjana croons, and then the song builds into a heavy distorted guitar riff, and some grand string sections. This is the most progressive song on the album, and includes an extended instrumental section with some sporadic drums and strings. Another Intermission is followed by 'Afis' with footsteps walking till we come to a pretty piano melody played so beautifully and Marjana chiming through with her crystalline vocals. The seagulls and waves bookend the opening of the album.

Overall iamthemorning have created something very special here, so exquisitely beautiful and classical it bears no resemblance to anything else I have heard and therefore exudes an original aroma, so needed these days in the music history. No complaints in the prog department either as it has some odd flavours, and is intriguing enough to stand out among the other Crossover acts on offer. A pleasant surprise, and one album to revere by a band who dares to be different.

Report this review (#978303)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was an unexpected album. A late band called "iamthemorning" in the top of PA list. Consecutive weeks at the popular artists here. I needed to check the hype. After all, I had to buy this album, and god knows it was the most expensive album that I bought this year (not the album in itself, but the import price).

Weird as the band name and the album title "~", the tracklist are full of "~" (intermissions) between the tracks. I easily felt in love at first listening with Marjana's voice. The band focus on neo-classical passages, with prog rock times. The instrumental is great, mainly the piano. The songs aren't lengthy at all. But it's the kind of complex music that isn't hard to understand. It's relaxing but... dark. The cover art reminds me of post-rock acts. I like the band logo too. I personally talk to Marjana about their music. She is a wonderful, gorgeous person.

It deserves 5/5, but I will rate only 4/5 since the album reach the top too soon, and "iam" still hoping more albums and masterpieces from this amazing band. Keep on proggin, we will ever support great bands like this!

Report this review (#982878)
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Iamthemorning's debut "~" just shows how the progressive rock genre is still alive and well to this day. The greatest album of 2012 in my opinion.

The album begins with the first "Intermission", containing beautiful vocal harmonies from Marjana Semkina (as with the whole of the album). Seven different intermissions that pop up about the place, normally of minimalist sections acting as breaks in the album, employ interesting musical techniques (e.g. the strumming of piano strings as heard on ELP's "Take A Pebble") and well-fitting gentle interludes (e.g. slow, thick-sounding cellos).

The first "real" song is "Inside" which carries a delicate, haunting piano tune with intriguing melodies, lyrics, and chord progressions. Lots of musical techniques are all used in this song alone such as the arabic-influenced section, with the odd effect arising above the simplicity of the piece, and complex textures and layering throughout that seem to slot in to each other. An excellent beginning which becomes "Burn", bearing similar qualities to "Inside" with wonderous strings sliding about and beautiful parts all through. An upbeat song get very relaxing, and gives me chills on every hearing. Also brilliant lyrics, background strings and vocal harmonies and piano playing. Istratov's percussion skills also come into view here. The song eventually retreats before the following starts:

"Circles" introduces more techniques such as the off-time piano into with luscious arpeggios rolling about. Marjana's vocals return with more excellent melodies and lyrics, backed by the flowing cello that beautifully contradicts the plucked viola (or violin?). Sounds like a dream! "Weather Changing" is a little different to the other tracks. In my opinion one of the weaker tracks overall but still great and the album could do with something like this amidst all of the calmness. Lovely unexpected chord changes and very melodic (maybe even too much).

After the 3rd intermission, "Scotland", one of my favourite on the album, is heard. Exquisite chords in the verse gradually build up with gentle guitars go into some otherworldy string sections, and on the second time, a heavier more chaotic approach which resolves back to the first. Another great atmosphere is created, and echoing guitar mutes and tremolos that fade off along with the piano. "Touching II" follows, with more pizzicato strings, echoing melodies from earlier in the album. The soothing violin on the track is almost indescribable, which joins in later on with a thumping cello and viola to create another brilliant landscape. An amazing track.

"Monsters" includes more vivid musical techniques, and effectively manages to make the track heavy using the orchestral strings in a way I've never heard before. It segues into "Serenade", with excellent acoustic guitars and pianos working well together in yet another magnificent display, with even more harmonies and surprising chord progressions. "Would This Be" echoes distant memories of "Weather Changing" and "Touching II" with cello glissandos added in. Nothing too different here, but still a fantastic track.

"I.B. Too" is a slower song but doesn't drag behind at all like others, with interesting percussion that enters the sweetly sung lyrics. Midway through, the song reaches a climax and totally reinvents the verses. After the final intermission, "Afis" ends the album. With more sumptuous lyrics and chord progressions, it brings the album home excellently as sounds of waves and seagulls refer to the incredible artwork and back to the beginning.

A(+)/A+ - A magnificent diamond in the roughness of Russia. An underrated masterpiece, can't wait for their next one!

(Without intermissions:) Inside - ***** Burn - ***** Circles - ***** Weather Changing - **** Scotland - ***** Touching II - **** Monsters - ***** Serenade - ***** Would This Be - ***** I.B Too - **** Afis - *****

Report this review (#1001131)
Posted Friday, July 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Heavy rock lovers, refrain.

When I access musical expressions do not know, attempted to strip from prejudice and listen carefully to the product. It is true that the comments and rating can influence, but only at first. The proposal iamthemorning music is held in songs led by piano, violin and Syomkina Marjana pitched voice. The piano performances are formidable. There are guitar collaborations in a secondary role but tasteful. This course does not mean that the music is always calm, sometimes as fabulous "Burn" and "Weather Changing" topics, quite progressive, the band sounds powerful and solid, as well as some sections of "Monsters" and "Would This Be". In "Serenade" acoustic guitars and piano give it a delicious folk touch to another good song. And the great delight classicists in "Touching II" are great. The last track is actually divided into three parts with two silences in between, the initial is another beautiful song, which lasts 4 '30 ".

4 + stars.

Report this review (#1001243)
Posted Friday, July 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I came to Progarchives from RateYourMusic, where I saw a giant review by Gallifrey. I even managed to read it till the very end and what actually made me come here and read more about the band and then to and listen to the album on Bandcamp and then made me buy the first album is the fact that these kids from Russia have GAVIN HARRISON playing with them on the release that they are preparing right now! And i thought wow, if Gavin Harrison got interested then probably I should check them out. So I did.

And i was completely blown away by the first album. No wonder they are gaining popularity and no wonder you people on PA love them so much, and no wonder people have an unbearable desire to write more and more about that (and that leads to the 3000-words reviews like the one that I saw on RYM) and tell people about that. Because they definitely deserve this.

I looked up some information about the band and what amazed me is that they are only playing for 3 years and they haven't even graduated yet. The vocalist (oh this voice! I dream of it now) is 20 or so years old and the piano player is a bit older and still studying and he is a genius. You can rarely meet such an amazing musical performance as these kids have. Utterly magnificent. I've listened for about 400 releases for the past two years but I can't remember any musicians that create something as beautiful and pure that you can say that this is clearly music for the sake of music. For the sake of beauty. The melodies here is the center of everything. Vocal melodies. Melodies in the piano parts. Melodies in string arrangements. Even guitar riffs. And they all live together perfectly without interfering, which I find incredible.

Some songs, as a lot of reviewers mentioned before, are far from progressive rock ? they have clear classical music influence, but this is refreshing! Although some songs seem to be simple from the first glance, you listen carefully and realize that so many things are hidden beneath the surface! Take for example "Circles" or "Serenade" with those amazing backing vocals or "Weather changing" with its percussion or "i.b.too" and its string parts playing along with the guitar! I simply love the way how these musicians hide their intelligence without making their music too difficult to listen to. Marjana's angelic voice literally covers it all and presents it to you in a form that anyone would like and then you realize that it is much more than just sweet songs about sad world. Even the vocals have its double meaning. Singing about death in such a lovely manner is captivating.

The pianist Gleb also deserves a special word. I used to listen to classical music a lot (my parents teach in the musical school so I was forced to listen to it from my childhood and it really got to me) and I used to find it difficult to listen for a long time. Like, my concentration just crawled away after the first ten minutes. But here, the situation is drastically different. After you turn the album on and listen to the first two minutes with its multilayered vocals and then the piano starts playing ? you won't be able to stop listening until the album ends in 50 minutes. The piano and voice work so perfectly well it reminds me of Kate Bush and her last album. And each songs is like a different chapter of the same story that you want to listen to over and over again.

This is incredible. This album is a masterpiece and I urge everyone who comes across this review to go and have a listen (it is free on Bandcamp, but the band now seems to experience a lot of difficulties because of the second album recording being expensive so please help them if you like the music). No wonder Gavin Harrison decided to join the guys for the following album at least, and i hope so much they'll have a chance to play together.

Report this review (#1042967)
Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.5 Stars. The dawning of a fantastic new band. Album of the year 2012

iamthemorning are a new and young band that have been making some big waves ever since they released their debut ~. This Russian band combines prog rock and neo classical music, but in a way that is very different to traditional Symphonic prog. In fact ~ is probably the most original release to come out of 2012 and they have a sound that is uniquely their own.

The 18 tracks present do a very good job blending and flowing into each other, so once you listen to one of the songs you will have a hard time pressing the stop button! The classical instruments (which are all professionally played due to the band's formal classical training) are energetically played and combined with Marjana's voice their is an uplifting and life affirming energy to their music. The only current band who can rival them in this are Big Big Train but unlike them their is no need for retro prog which makes iamthemorning fresher sounding.

Their songs are a perfect combination of accessibility but still keeping a complex edge. In fact some songs such as Burn, Touching II and Serenade could become hits on the radio if they had the advertisement. This does not mean the band are selling out as they are high quality songs that go beyond being catchy.

Songs such as Scotland and I.B.Too are proof that the band are capable of delivering a all-out prog assault without warning (as they both have a quiet intro) if they need to. But the constant flurry of activity from their classical instruments means that traditional prog is not essential to keep the proghead satisfied. They are not a one-trick pony either as Inside and Monsters are quite dark and unsettling. This ability to occasionally change the mood from light and free to dark and tense does just enough to keep you on your seat and not get bored. It also gives a depth to their sound making it more likely that this will be a prolific band who will have many strings to their bow.

Their aren't any weak tracks here, although quite a few of the Intermission interludes are by themselves nothing special and require the neighbouring songs for support. With so many songs under the 5 min mark (the 11 minute I.B.Too is just 3 tracks) one longer song would help the album have a focus point. Hopefully their next album will do this.

It is worth remembering that the band wrote this album when they were still focused on their university studies. So I am very exited to know what they will produce when furthering the band's success becomes their top priority! Their next album will let the prog world know if they are a flash in the pan or new prog legends in the making. But if nothing else ~ should stand the test of time as a classic. With ~ being free on their bandcamp webpage you have no reason not to get this!

Report this review (#1047621)
Posted Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Russian band IAMTHEMORNING was formed in 2010, and appears to revolve around the talents of creative duo of Marjana Syomkina and Gleb Kolyadin. Their self described "acoustic/chamber progressive" music found its initial outlet in 2012 with the release of their digitally self released debut album "~", - or "Tilde" if you like, as that is the name of that specific symbol. In 2013 this production was released on CD through the German label Beste Unterhaltung Records.

Russian band iamthemorning has made itself a debut album they can be proud of. Beautiful female lead vocals courtesy of Marjana Syomkina supplemented by equally beautiful piano textures by Gleb Kolyadin, supported by classically oriented string arrangements and occasional rock oriented sections with bass, drums and guitars adding their distinctly contrasting features to this otherwise classically oriented landscape. I'd suggest that fans of artists like Kate Bush and Bel Canto might want to inspect this album, especially those amongst them who also have a taste for classical music in general and chamber music in particular.

Report this review (#1064207)
Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am listening to this album for th fifth time. It is really good, the problem is that since I only listen the new albums five times, I will have to wait for one year or so to listen to it again. This is a really pity, since it is really good. The voice of the singer is very sensual, which makes it very attractive. I think that thats the problem for many men. All of them find a hard time to five less than 5 stars. That is what I exactly do, give to it five stars. Probably, the next album of these guys will be worse, but this is unimportant.
Report this review (#1080163)
Posted Friday, November 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of those days, I saw on Facebook a friend posted a link to his girl in which Touching by iamthemorning was being featured, the name of the band caught my attention, so I clicked on it, and later, I loved the song and wanted to discover more from them. So here I am, after some months listening to this band from Russia whose music actually is far from being progressive rock, but it does have some connections. Its debut self-titled album was released in 2012, but it was re-released one year later with 18 total songs. Though the band has just two official members, of course the music is performed with the help of other studied musicians.

The music offered here is closer to classical music, with a beautiful female voice and a very clean sound that allow the cleverly composed tracks shine more. It opens with "Intermission I" in which the sound of birds and a beach appear as background, then female vocals enter seconds later with repetitive phrases, then they vanish and a piano appears, playing in a truly classical way. It leads to "Inside" which shows its charm and beauty since the very first seconds, the formula is the same, female vocals and piano as main instruments, though some other ones are added here and there, producing a neo- classical style with the help of the different strings. After a couple of minutes the intensity increases a little bit, and a new structure is formed now, with a kind of mid-east sound that makes the music progress, though this was only a brief passage because it calms down and returns to its original form. If you liked these first two tracks, then you will love the album, otherwise, I think this may not be for you.

"Burn" lasts 4:40 and it is the longest track here, so you will not find epics, not at all, what you will find is a bunch of short songs that form one entity, well crafted tracks that give as a result one great final product. This song is wonderful, there is a bass on it making the rhyhm along with drums, but piano and other strings make a terrific work, always accompanied by the beautiful voice or Marjana Semkina. The music is great, I love the complexity of its structure, I love the changes and that post-rockish feeling that lies on it. This is one of my favorite songs here.

"Circles" is another wonderful track, not as emotional as the previous, but it also has its charm, so when one start listening to it, it is impossible not to feel touched by it, and at the same time, feel a strange but deep calm. "Intermission II" is a one minute instrumental track in a classical vein, with piano and cello creating a disarming sound. It leads to "Water Changing" whose sound is more oriented to the folk side of iamthemorning. This offers new elements, new textures that renew themselves in the same album, so it is healthy for the listener because the music is not stuck in a pigeonhole, it does change and shows different paths. A new one minute piece appears with "Intermission III" but this time it adds Marjana's vocals, beautiful as usual. Now it's time for "Scotland" which is another sensational piece that perfectly fits in with the band's style, here drums again add its rhythm while piano and strings produce a stronger and more emotional sound that later becomes rockier for the first time in the album. So it is a very good combination of classical music and soft rock, I repeat, that rockier touch appears only for some seconds.

And the one that caught my attention comes next, "Touching II" which is a truly beautiful piece that has the delicacy and charm of the voice, and the challenging and energy of the strings. I love this song, it might be catchy, but it is very well crafted, it starts slow and little by little progresses, adding new elements until it reaches a climax and the strings produce a heavier, terrific passage. It remains as my favorite piece. "Intermission IV" appears immediately after Touching, it is just a piano driven piece that leads to "Monsters", whose rhythm makes the music catchier, which is another point on favor, because it keeps the neo-classical sound, meaning the music is not really fought with a catchy sound.

After the intensity and emotion created by Monsters, "Serenade" appears with a magical sound produced by acoustic guitar making a clean sound, and being accompanied by a fast piano and a wonderful delicate voice. "Intermission V" brings tranquility to us with that amazing violin sound that creates beautiful images. "Would this be" simply continues with that great blend of classical style with folk highlighted by a beautiful female voice, and of course some rock hints in brief moments, like in the last emotional minute of this track.

"Intermission VI" is the longest intermission piece I think, you know, a brief pause, a shorter track, beautiful instrumentation and warm and calm vocals on it. This collection of short pieces is simply wonderful. "i.b.too." is the last "long" song of this album (I mean, over 4 minutes song). It starts much calmer than others, only with vocals and piano at least in the first minute, because later drums, bass and some other instruments complementing in a charming way this nice track, which all of a sudden becomes more aggressive, more passionate, and in consequence, much better. This may be an example of why iamthemorning is often labeled in the prog rock scene. This song is actually a killer, one of the best without a doubt.

The final couple is "Intermission VII" and "Afis". The first one of course is the shorter one, a beautiful piano driven piece that puts some tranquility on me. While the second one produces some melancholy, I sense a goodbye here, and it is, iamthemorning finishes a wonderful album with this beautiful piece, which as the other ones, gives charm, magic, and purify our souls. This may be a therapeutic album if you need an hour of tranquility and beauty, so please give it a chance, you can listen to it through their Bandcamp site.

I love this album, which has to my ears and soul all the positive adjectives I can mention, however I am not sure if this can be considered a progressive rock masterpiece, though musically speaking is simply superb, it flows perfectly and has no lowlights. Anyway, I will give it 5 stars, I love and enjoy it every single time I listen to it, and I hope you do.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#1135137)
Posted Friday, February 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars Somehow I totally managed to miss the debut album by this Russian duo, and I first saw the name when reading a post by Second Life Syndrome on ProgArchives. A short while later he asked if I would mind reviewing their material, so I wandered over to Bandcamp and picked up "~", (I know the symbol is called a "tilde", so don't know if that is the name of the album or they just prefer the symbol). Anyway, this is a Russian duo of Gleb Kolyadin (piano, keyboards) and Marjana Semkina (vocals, backing vocals) along with some additional musicians, and after releasing this in April 2012 they revisited it and remastered it and then reissued it at the end of that year, and it is available both on CD or through Bandcamp (name your price).

There seriously just one word that fits this album, and that is "beautiful". Marjana has a fragile delicate voice that at times reminds me of Kate Bush, while Gleb has a wonderful touch on piano, and often these two are the main source of all the music. They do use other guests effectively, particularly with strings, and although there are also electric guitars and percussion these are used very sparingly indeed. Apparently they describe themselves as "a neo-classical vocal indie band... that ...combine non-typical but easily perceived vocal parts of progressive rock with a distinctly classical musical approach", but I prefer just to think of it as majestic and powerful, yet fragile and delicate at the same time. It is possible that this is one of the finest albums by a band you have never heard of, although if you ever check out the top 100 lists by year on ProgArchives then you may have come across these already, as they are currently sat at #2 for 2012. That puts them ahead of most of the Top 10, so they are above Motorpsycho, Big Big Train, Echolyn, The Tea Club, The Flower Kings, Magma, Silhouette and 3RDegree!

Overall this is an incredibly impressive debut, full of grace, full of beauty, and is absolutely essential.

Report this review (#1218753)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here is an album that I had seen on PA several times and had been interested in getting it for some time. When I finally did, I was so amazed by everything. Right off the bat the first song is one of the most beautiful vocal/piano melodies I have heard in a long time. As I listened to the rest of the album I found it consistent in its sound and yet endlessly creative. My favorite song would have to be the oddly named I.b.too because it just gets so epic, honestly.

Also I feel it is important for anyone thinking of getting this album to get the two extra tracks after said song. While I.b.too does a grand finality to it, I believe the seventh intermission and Afis have a more beautiful finality which ties the whole album together much better. It's more sentimental if you will. Hearing the lovely Marjana sing the word "complete" like she does in Afis and the returning of the ocean waves brings the great album full circle, and emphasizes the beautiful cover art.

I would recommend this album to anyone because it is honestly super accessible. The classically driven melodies last just long enough to hold the attention of people who don't normally listen to classical music, or prog for that matter. This is something I've seen first hand when I've introduced some of my friends to this album. In all seriousness, if anybody out there is reading this and you haven't heard this album by now, just go do it already. It will be worth it, especially if you're on a beach somewhere.

Report this review (#1480997)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2015 | Review Permalink

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