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Little Tragedies

Symphonic Prog

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Little Tragedies Chinese Songs - Part One album cover
3.40 | 28 ratings | 4 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I'm Sitting in front of a Full Cup Not Drinking. (4:33)
2. Absorbed in My Thoughts (7:22)
3. Sitting Carefree in the Shadow of the Pavilion (7:37)
4. At the Window (4:32)
5. There Came an Unexpected Guest. (10:24)
6. Wanderer (13:07)
7. Do You Remember How We Said Goodbye? (4:02)

Total Time: 51:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Gennady Ilyin / vocals, keyboards, composer & producer
- Alexander Malakhovsky / guitar
- Aleksey Bildin / saxophone
- Oleg Babynin / bass guitar
- Yuri Skripkin / drums

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Lyrics by 8-13th century Chinese poets. Here performed in Russian translation.

CD MALS ‎- MALS 216 (2007, Russia)

Thanks to prog-jester for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LITTLE TRAGEDIES Chinese Songs - Part One ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LITTLE TRAGEDIES Chinese Songs - Part One reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Little Tragedies is a Russian band that plays complex and beautiful symphonic prog although they cannot be easily shoeboxed into one genre sound. This is my first album of theirs and I was quite impressed. Masterful musical storytelling and incredible playing make this very exciting music. Every song takes you somewhere different and interesting; they really have a lot of variety and a very modern, eclectic personality. These guys remind me a bit of the French band Cafeine but with more space and ambiguity. Yet another sign that perhaps Russia is the place to look for great new prog albums---and in my opinion this band deserves the attention thrown to the less interesting Gourishankar.

"I'm sitting" begins with a lovely electric guitar leading into the first vocals backed by keyboards. Vocals are in Russian but the lyric booklet provides English translation which is nice. At times I am reminded of Italian prog due to the thoughtful arrangements and depth. There is beautiful melody here from both the guitar and keyboard, I love it. "Absorbed in My Thoughts" attacks from the start with a much heavier sound than the first track. Everyone is just jamming, lots of exuberant keys, nimble emotional lead guitar, and oh boy the drumming! I have a new addition to my list of favorite drummers: Yury Skripkin. This man is a monster! He hits with near Bonham-like violence but with the insane fills of the most technical players. At time this songs get so furious as to approach Crimson territory but they never get muddy or skronked out, it always stays tasteful and tuneful first. "Sitting Carefree in the Shadow of the Pavillion" begins with a vocal that reminds me a little of a Decamps style over synths. In fact, the vocals throughout sound a bit like a quiet, restrained Ange storytelling. They don't bother me because they're low in the mix and not in your face, but I agree with Igor that I'd like to see more instrumental work from this band and less singing. Their music is animated enough that it doesn't need a bunch of yapping. Back to the song. A long keyboard solo without percussion is quite nice and slow. The whole song is keys and vocals and it's a nice breather after the last rocker. "At the Window" is wild, with sort of a jazzy reggae sound if you can imagine that. Great bass and drums, nice sax solos. "There Came an Unexpected Guest" is a real highlight with fiery guitars, propulsive keys and more of the killer drumming. This song hits orbit and later closes with some nice piano. At 13 minutes long, "Wanderer" is the albums most pretentious moment. She starts with slow, lonely, sad flute-like keyboards for 4 minutes before the vocals and some single guitar notes rise. The entire track is a variation of slow drifting keyboard experiments that will bore some but please the "soundscape" lovers. "Do You Remember How We Said Goodbye" begins with piano and a wistful mood before the band crashes in halfway through in what is more or less a good pop song.

Certainly a recommended title to any fan of sophisticated music. It is adventurous and beautiful, it executes what it attempts, and the playing is stellar without being mechanical. This could appeal to fans across almost any genre base due to its variety and quality. 3.25 stars.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Russian progrock sensation Little Tragedies (I am absolutely delighted about their album Return and New Faust ) was founded in the late Eighties but it took a while before they released their debut album in 1999. However, the recent years Little Tragedies is more prolific by releasing every year at least one CD. In 2007 they even produced two albums entitled Chinese Songs Part 1 and Part II.

On Chinese Songs Part I we can enjoy the typical Little Tragedies sound: from dreamy and mellow with almost whispering native vocals, soaring keyboards, harpsichord and warm piano runs to heavy with a fat synthesizer sound and a very propulsive rhythm- section, reminding me of Japanese 'over-the-top-proggers' Gerard (led by the keyboard wizard Toshio Egawa). In comparison with previous albums, Little Tragedies sound a bit more laidback and, like on The Sixth Sense, the band uses at some moments a saxophone player. My highlight is the long composition There Came an Unexpected Guest. featuring the Little Tragedies trademark: a more and more bombastic sound with flashy synthesizer flights, a thunderous rhythm-section and fiery guitar runs. I also like the wonderful sound of the ethnic Koto, blended with harp and keyboards in the piece The Wanderer.

This is a decent effort but to me it sounds that Little Tragedies is a bit running out of ideas.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars After being captured by "The Sixth Sense" - LITTLE TRAGEDIES' 2006 release, I became eager to get their following product and only calm down after putting my hands on this "Chinese Songs - Part I" and. I was a bit disappointed: so much pursuit to end this way. Well, the songs are less inspired and weaker that I expected, as a general rule, but the general production is still fair and the band shows talent and competence, thence not an overall loss.

First, the Chinese tunes I heard were quite different from what I thought they should be but since these guys live closer to the Great Walls than myself, perhaps, I was wrong or had an erroneous conception. or they maybe treated the whole theme with a bit of irony. Anyway, this album hasn't the vivacity and flair observed in their previous effort, it displays basically a series of mellow songs, with some boring and drowsy passages, and highlights provided by fine keyboards accompaniment and the exquisite and tuned vocals.

Tracks are segued as in a lengthy suite resembling a conceptual opus, very personal, indeed, with the starting-point being 'I'm sitting in front of a full cup not drinking...', a short track that brings good promises not totally achieved; the song sounds like a continuation of their former album, the mentioned "The Sixth Sense". 'Absorbed in my thoughts', the next track shows a good balance and colorful parts. 'Sitting carefree in the shadow of the pavilion' adds few along its more than 7' while 'At the window' is interesting and even amusing (maybe for being short).

The two longest tracks that start the second segment of these "Chinese Songs - Part I" looks sometimes like a repetition of what has been presented along the album, this time supplied with sound effects, pieces of experimentation and new classical and different instrumentation. The last track, 'Do you remember how we said goodbye?', starts poignant and goes into a crescendo, the best song section, only to fade ghostly and sorrowful.

I rate this album as an average work, able to amuse band's fans but to be avoided if one is being introduced to LITTLE TRAGEDIES. Consequently, a neat 2.5-star rate but since there's no half stars I'll raise the rating to 3 taking in consideration some nice moments and band's abilities and hard work.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Closing in on a 15 years long career, Little Tragedies showcase some excellent songwriting skills on part 1 of their Chinese Songs release.

The album basically comes across as a mix of two styles: Lush, ambient and slightly new age soundscapes and epic, dramatic symphonic rock not vastly different from Emerson, lake and Palmer in style.

Layers of synths are a dominating fixture in all tunes, and the piano is a very central instrument as well. Melodic, floating and carefully crafted melody lines in the mellow songs and segments are mixed beautifully with complex melodies in the more pounding prog rock tunes and segments, with piano, guitar riffs, keyboards and synths all providing parts of a melody - except when one of the instruments are soloing; then the other instruments underscore in a very nice manner.

Good and interesting compositions here too, fans of symphonic prog rock that also enjoy new age like or ambient music will probably love this release; as long as the all Russian vocals isn't a problem.

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