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Mister Robot - Robot Dreams CD (album) cover

ROBOT DREAMS

Mister Robot

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars Excellent second album from Mister Robot aka Ruzakin Aleksei. Symphonic prog as must sounding this genre, with cool instrumental work and excellent vocals. Very smart music, melodic, singing and incredibly emotional. Perhaps this is the best prog rock from Russia. Of the seven compositions, three vocal tracks stand out - Awakening, Return and Landscape to Order. But instrumental pieces don't spoil the picture either. Lyrics are all in Russian, but I think this is not a hindrance for those who do not know Russian, because the language of music is universal. I hope his upcoming music stays around the same type of genre and I hope the next album will not lower the level that his first album Fables for Robots set. Good luck to everyone.
Report this review (#2637371)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second album of the Mister Robot project by Russian musician Aleksei Ruzakin. Like the first one, everything is done by himself, without any participation from the outside. After the rather successful and strong debut of "Fables for Robots", something similar was expected to be heard on the second - a complex and sophisticated symphonic prog with an emphasis on keyboards. However, the album is more guitar, and keyboard parts play a secondary role on it. The overall compositional density of the material compared to the first albums decreased, freeing up space in the majority of its vocals. I would like to say about the vocals separately, in my opinion this is one of the strongest components on the album, and in such compositions as Return and Landscape to order, Aleksei reveals himself as a completely mature vocalist, whom it is very pleasant to listen to. The album, like the first conceptual one, is dedicated to dreams, and the title refers to the story of the same name (as well as a collection of short stories from 1986) by the American classic of science fiction Isaac Asimov. Separately, I would like to say about the texts they are very poetic, in Russian, which in my opinion is a big plus. I think the vocals would lose a lot of sincerity if the lyrics were in English.

1) Dream (Inside a dream) - a short intro built on a dialogue between a synthesizer and a classical guitar in the finale of which the voice (of the awakener) says - it's time to wake up, wake up, open your eyes.

2) Awakening is a composition consisting of six parts that smoothly transition into another. It opens with a pleasant trio of acoustic guitars with a gradual increase in the number of musical instruments. Good instrumental work, good bright dramatic vocals.

3) The Return is the longest play in which the impressions of a person who dreams that he died are told (that's how I understood it). Starting at a slow pace, by the chorus the piece accelerates to a pulsating bass and piercing and very emotional vocals. In the middle of the piece there is an absolutely masterpiece part with a flute, in which the dynamics of the composition changes from light piano to hard forte, when a whole block of solo instruments is added to the flute. It reminded me of Pink Floyd. The most poetic composition.

4) Eternal procession - the first notes of the piece associatively refer us to the music playing at the funeral. The effect is achieved by guitars working in the manner of bagpipes, and rectilinear percussion. Excellent styling.

5) Landscape to order is the best piece of the album in my opinion. Imagine that Iron Maiden took a flamenco guitarist and a couple of flautists into their band, adding jazz/fusion elements to their music. Nine minutes of music, but you won't have time to get bored. Fast tempo, dense arrangements, sparkling guitar solos and not a drop of contrivance, everything is very fresh and sincere. The composition ends with a gorgeous vocal section that you want to listen to and listen to again and again. The texts tell about a certain world of their own, into which the main character plunges when he sleeps.

6) A Bedtime story is a completely instrumental piece, with a large number of very different guitars. A good sad composition, but it did not cause any special emotions.

7) Falling asleep (legendary pink - CEAE) - the final piece. It was made in the synthesizer electronic meditatin style, although it was not without guitars here either.

As a result, we have an album of diverse and very different compositions in mood. 4.5 stars. I strongly recommended it to all fans of progressive rock.

Report this review (#2637831)
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A fine second effort from young Russian solo artist Aleksei Ruzakin--follow up to his surprising and excellent 2020 debut, Fables for Robots.

1. "Sleep (Inside a Dream)" (1:20) opens with a keyboard and guitar that sound like they come straight out of a 1980s New Age album by GOBI or the Brothers Gordon. But it's nice. (4.25/5)

2. "Awakening" (7:54) Quite an impressive little multi-part mini-epic--great keyboard, guitar, and vocal work. The drums and sound engineering fall short of the standards established by the above, however; the instruments feel too starkly separated; there needs to be better blending and mixing of the sound fields of the individual instruments. A little TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA-feel in the second section. (I wonder if he knows--and likes--the loud scraping sound of his picks hitting his guitar strings with every pluck.) I LOVE that Aleksei has decided to sing in his native tongue! Probably the most mature sounding song on the album. (13.25/15)

3. "Return" (11:27) some cheesy, outdates sounds given to two-chord strumming rhythm guitars, drums, and even the vocals--though, again, I really appreciate Aleksei's voice and the fact that he has courageously chosen to sing in his native Russian. The bass lines are also rather rudimentary--and thin. The highlights are all in the individual soloing keyboards and electric guitars. (17.33/20)

4. "Eternal Procession" (5:02) a nice little filler that almost feels like an study of Mike Oldfield guitar tones and styles (which he performs and engineers wonderfully), but otherwise feels under-developed. And, wouldn't it be nice if that flute solo were an actual flute? My second favorite song on the album. (8.67/10)

5. "Landscape to Order" (9:19) multiple keyboard flutes and complex Spanish guitar play open this one before drums and jazz fretless bass enter to support Aleksei's dynamic vocal performance. His vocal style reminds me tremendously of that of Polish band Lizard's lead singer, Damian Bydlinski. Great melodies! Though the song flows very much like a pop song, it has some truly wonderful (and spacious) performances from the instrument components (though I'd throw out that fifth minute). The most polished and cohesive song on the album (despite the incongruent fifth minute)--helped by great acoustic guitar and synth play and awesome melody lines. My favorite song on the album. (18/20)

6. "A Bedtime Story" (2:43) acoustic guitars (or guitar-like instrument) layered over each other with various echo and delay effects. Begins to slip over into the realm of New Age in the second minute, but then the guitars get serious and the drums, bass, and lead electric begins to solo. Another song that sounds more like an étude than a finished composition. (4/5)

7. "Falling Asleep (Legendary Pink - CEAE)" (3:04) a song that certainly sounds dream like, but one that also suffers, as above, from poor sound engineering. Nice chord and melody choices. My third favorite song on the album. (8.75/10)

Total Time 40:49

Compositionally, production-wise, even in terms of technical skills/prowess, this album does little to show Aleksei's progress from last year. "Awakening" and "Landscape to Order" are the best songs--for their dynamics and compositional diversities--and for the fact that they both sound the most like "finished" songs--but, still, they're a bit too messy and sadly deficient in places. Though I still love his sound, his style, his vision, I still see a LOT of room for growth. As I recommended in my review of last year's release: Aleksei, I think you'd benefit tremendously from the inputs of a professional drummer and seasoned sound engineer. Who knows, collaboration may not damage your vision (or ego) but enhance and expand it!

B/four stars; a fine sophomore effort from a very talented artist from whom I still hope for GREAT things in the future. Highly recommended to all prog lovers for their own enjoyment and edification.

Report this review (#2668711)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2022 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since the release of the first album Mister Robot, I have not recognized a single new artist from Omsk. Apparently, Aleksei does not know them either, otherwise he would have invited someone to his project, which would definitely not hurt him, but on the contrary would only unload and give him the opportunity to focus on other things. The music has become a little simpler, although it has not lost its compositional and instrumental and melodic quality. The vocals have become more confident, but the sound of the album has not become better, which can certainly become one of the growth factors in the future. I also hope that some simplification of compositional structures will not become a trend for this undoubtedly talented artist. More Russian prog!
Report this review (#2669132)
Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2022 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is notable different than "Fables for Robots" (That one reminds me of Mike Olfield) . This time, every song sounds different form the rest of the album. There are energetic songs (Awakening), ethereal themes (A bedtime story), even pop melodies (Landscape to order, some sung sections), all of them with great musical arrangements. Long songs (almost epics) are my favorites and are clearly more elaborate. Ruzakin seems to feel OK playing all instruments. He is great on guitars and keyboards (and he plays so many of them) , maybe someone could help on bass and drums. Completely sung in Russian? I don't care, I'm not a native English speaker.
Report this review (#2690953)
Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2022 | Review Permalink

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