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Modern-Rock Ensemble


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Modern-Rock Ensemble Touch The Mystery album cover
4.03 | 204 ratings | 28 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Meditations (11:43)
2. What Will Happen To My Country? (3:02)
3. Touch The Mystery (19:50)
4. My Angels (3:16)
5. Swamp (live) (9:51)
6. Meditations (Russian Version) (11:43)

Total Time 59:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Vladimir Gorashchenko / vocals, synths, electric & 12-string guitars, electric sitar, producer

- Max Velichko / lead guitar (1,3,6)
- Anton Kalugin / rhythm guitar, synth guitar solo, Fx
- Igor Zakus / fretted (3) & fretless (1,2,3,6) basses
- Alex Fantaev / drums (1,3,6)
- Victor Golubets / lead guitar (1,6)
- Oleg Yaroshchuk / guitar and acoustic & electric violins (5)
- Gleb Czapkalov / piano & synths (5)
- Georgiy Cherkasov / cello
- Bogdan Gumeryuk / soprano sax (3)
- Kostya Ionenko / bass (1,6)
- Victor "Jaco" / fretless bass (5)
- Sergey Puchkov / tabla (1,6)
- Igor Andrievskiy / violin
- Andriy Pavlov / violin
- Aleksandr Pavlov / viola
- Vladimir Babutin / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Sergey Shulyma with Tamara Gorashchenko (design)

CD self-released (2016, Ukraine)

Digital album

Thanks to roj for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE Touch The Mystery ratings distribution

(204 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE Touch The Mystery reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
5 stars It took a long while but it was worth the wait. It was in August that I received this album. Right on the first listen I felt there's something special about this release from Ukraine. The music itself is of course very finely crafted; the bandleader, composer and keyboard player Vladimir Gorashchenko indeed seems to be a perfectionist as the liner notes reveal. But what's most important, it goes beyond being just good music. I mean, one can sense the personal passion, dedication and the urge to express all the emotions and the view on the world via music. That's what makes it special.

Vladimir has a decades-long musical background, and it's suitably present in this release, in terms of both the texts and the music. His group "Modern Rock Ensemble Putnik" was active in the latter half of the 80's. The opener 'Meditations' (featured also as a Russican-language version in the end of the album) was recorded in 1988 in Italy, and in 2013 the piece was finished with new recordings of vocals in English, lead guitar, basses and a few synth lines. It's a fine epic of nearly 12 minutes. Sonically it reminds some solo efforts of FISH, especially his debut Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors. For example in the way the fretless bass effectively comes very audible here and there in the spatial soundscape (I'm thinking of Fish songs such as 'State of Mind'), and in the emotionally loaded dynamic range of the composition, in which the vocals are in a larger role than generally on this instrumentally oriented album. Vladimir has a warm baritone voice.

The fifth track 'Swamp' was recorded live in a jazz festival in 1989, by Mk. 2 of Putnik. This 10-minute instrumental is dedicated to to the legendary art-film director Andrei Tarkovsky who struggled against the swamp-like Soviet ideology. Also this composition is mostly rather slow-paced and thoughtful, with both jazzy and New-Agey nuances. Excellent playing! Two short pieces between the long tracks are delicate keyboard solos; 'What Will Happen to My Country?' is touchingly melancholic, and 'My Angels (decicated to my fiwe and daughters)' expresses gentle love beautifully.

The central piece is the 20-minute title track, a multi-part epic that is said to be a "musical biography" of Vladimir. It's full of emotions and wide dynamics. I'm not sure if the brief spoken parts are doing good for the music, but on the other hand they increase the sense of personal passion that I mentioned before. The composition has both some sections that many would consider a bit sleepy, and cathartic highlights. Impressive! Now the hard question of the rating: I'd give 4½ stars if possible. This album might be slightly over-pathetic (and a bit too sugary on the short pieces), and to have a same song in two languages is not so valuable for me, but for the perfection in the production and for the emotional depth I want to give the full rating. I hope there'll be more releases from Vladimir's music archives, as the text suggests.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars I guess it was a year ago when I received a message asking for my opinion on some music composed by a Ukrainian artist, Vladimir Gorashchenko. It's never easy for me to say when I will have time to listen to someone's request and then comment or write a review, but a hole opened up in my music schedule and I gave it a listen. And I was duly impressed. I listened to the whole album and gave my thoughts to my contact. The main question was, "Would this album be welcomed in the PA community?" or something along those lines. What a question! Do cows eat grass?

Then this summer a package arrived for me from the Ukraine. It was the album I had heard now here at last released on CD. "Touch the Mystery" by the Modern-Rock Ensemble. It's a simple name to be sure. Nothing like Destiny's Draught or Three Quarter Triangle or anything like that. Simple but very apt. The music is a rock band with an orchestra-worth of other instruments for the main compositions "Meditations" and the title track, and the live recording "Swamp" is also more than just a simple rock band sound. I was immediately interested when I heard the opening "sitar" notes (actually a sound created on acoustic guitar after laborious experimentation) and the slow building of the music, which made me feel I was witnessing the sunrise from some ancient temple. Vladimir provides his deep vocals for "Meditations", singing in bass baritone and sounding a bit like the late Leonard Cohen. The 11-minute track is a wondrous composition weaving acoustic ethnic sounds with guitar rock that features Max Velichko's guitar work. It is one of those 10-12 minute mini-epics that have just the right length and attention to detail that make it a great pleasure to listen to. From this track I was sold on the music.

The title track flows from the same spring but at 19:50 it weaves across a broader plain. There are moments of waves in the music with a rich rock performance that changes to softer, soothing music, and then switches back to the rock, and back to the softer music again. I confess that after several listens I haven't dissected the song perfectly, but there are "parts" with the music changing and a reprise near the end, and Vladimir offers his vocals once more. I think he originally worried that people might not like his low register but I feel the deep warm tones are a welcome change from the usual.

Two other tracks, "What will Happen to My Country?" and "My Angels" (a tribute to his wife and daughter) are keyboard compositions that are very pleasant, though I can't help but think about the weight behind the interrogative title of the former. What will happen to the Ukraine indeed?

There are two other tracks on this disc. One is a live recording from 1989. It was recorded on a single tape recorder and so the sound quality is not as good as the rest of the album, and Vladimir confesses that the fretless bass is lost a little in the sound. But sound quality aside (it's not bad really), the performance shows already the kind of skill that went into not only the writing but also the playing. The other track is a version of "Meditations" sung in Russian. There are some minor differences in the mix and instrumentation here and also Vladimir sings in baritone here as opposed to bass baritone.

Vladimir's musical background includes early interests in "Sergeant Pepper's", Deep Purple "In Rock" and Genesis' "Selling England by the Pound". By 1983 he was composing music of his own and as we can here, he was performing his music as early as the 1980's. Working closely with guitarist Max Velichko, Vladimir is involved in Max's forthcoming album and will work with him further on a second album for Modern-Rock Ensemble.

There is a special quality to this album that makes is stand apart from most of the other stuff I have in my collection. It's a wonderful debut though certainly one that took a long time coming. I will look forward to hearing what Vladimir has to release next.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 100

Today I celebrate my hundredth review on Progarchives. As you can imagine, today is a very special day for me. Since a long time I planned to celebrate this date with a very special album from my country, the album generally considered the pinnacle of progressive rock of my country, "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Véus E Marte" of José Cid. However, I changed my decision and I decided to celebrate this date with this new album of this new musical project. Why? Because this new musical project has won a very special place into my heart since the first moment I listened to it. All begun in the end of 2015 when I was contacted asking my opinion about the album. As many of us know, we are often contacted by many groups to review their albums. And as we know too, we can't review all those albums. However, in this case, I was very impressed with this project. Despite not only the music is great but also Vladimir is a man with great skills, as a composer and performer. So, soon I became interested in this project and decided to review it.

Modern-Rock Ensemble is a musical project of Vladimir Gorashchenko, a composer, poet, keyboardist, guitar player and producer from Ukraine. About the project's name, Vladimir comments that his musical style was influenced by a great heritage of art-rock, jazz-rock, cosmic rock, symphonic rock and ethnic rock which he considers as essential parts of modern rock music. It also means that Vladimir wants to get more complex ensemble or orchestral type of sound. To this project Vladimir invited many talented Ukrainian rock and jazz musicians as well as a string quartet.

"Touch The Mystery" has six tracks. "Meditations" is the English version and the last track is the Russian version. It's one of the lengthiest tracks on it. It begins with some eastern musical influences that develop progressively all over the track. It's one of the two tracks on the album with some vocal work. This is a very good track, very well developed and with some original musical moments. It oscillates between slow and more aggressive parts. "What Will Happen To My Country" is a soft, melodious and emotional track that shows the feelings and the concerns of the composer with the future of his country. It's a very beautiful and nostalgic piece of music composed only for keyboards. It represents for me the most beautiful moment on the album. "Touch The Mystery" is the title track and the lengthiest track on the album, and is also the great highlight of the album. This is truly a majestic track. It has all the ingredients to be a masterpiece. Despite being another epic as the first one, musically it's very different. It's magnificently constructed and orchestrated, and has a great strings work. The music flows and develops naturally all over the track. It has also a very beautiful tune. This is really a great piece of progressive music. It's not a surprise that this track gives its name to the album. "My Angels" is another very soft, melodious and emotional track of the album. It's another piece of music composed only for keyboards. This time it shows the deep feelings of the composer's love for his wife and daughters. It represents the second most beautiful moment on the album. About the short pieces in the album I must say that they are absolutely beautiful and lovely. Both show Vladimir's own feelings about two very important things for him, his country and his family. "The Swamp" despite be the third lengthiest track on the album, is very different from the other two. First this is a live version and second it's strongly influenced by jazz. This is also an excellent track, more experimental than the previous tracks and where the strings work is also very beautiful. The track is also magnificently constructed. This is really another great piece of music. In my opinion this is the second highlight of the album.

One more thing. My compliments to Sergey Shulima, he made a great job with the paintings used on the album cover.

Conclusion: "Touch The Mystery" is a very interesting album, magnificently composed and orchestrated and with a very professional work. It has some beautiful and emotional moments and also some great job from all the performers. The strings work is really impressive and beautiful. The album is very well balanced and the inclusion of two small and soft pieces in the middle is really an excellent idea providing some of the most beautiful moments on the album. They break the most emotional moments of the lengthiest epic pieces. The vocal work of Vladimir is very curious and interesting. His voice is very deep and strong. Some can consider it too much deep for their tastes. But I think the use of his vocals on the album was very well balanced. The musical performance on the album clearly shows to be an album made by a keyboardist. However, Vladimir gives a lot of room for the other musicians shine on their own performances. I must say that I'm very impressed with the keyboard skills of Vladimir. I must confess that I didn't know anything about his musical education. His keyboard work is really great and I always presumed that he had a classical training. Now, I know that I was right. This is simply one of the best progressive albums I've heard to in the last years.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

P.S. : There is only one thing that worries me about this musical project, which is its classification. I'm not really sure if consider it a neo-prog project was the better option. I can see why, but I continue with many doubts. Despite I never was a great fan of the expression neo-prog (I like very much of bands which are caracterized as neo-prog bands), I think the music of Vladimir is much more profond. I always thought that the neo-prog style is nothing more than the symphonic prog style more simple, more melodic and more commercial. So, this is what bother me with this project. Despite Vladimir's style be very melodic it has nothing to do with simple, and especially, it has nothing to do with commercial. In my humble opinion, Vladimir's style has its roots very profond in the symphonic prog, as his classical training as a musician shows, we can clearly see it on "Touch The Mystery". By the other hand, and as himself says, his musical style is very much influenced by many and varied music styles, as we can clearly see on the track "The Swamp", which has clearly fusion musical influences. So, it would be more natural to me to put Modern-Rock Endemble in the sub-benre of Eclectic Prog or even Symphonic Prog. However, the decision was made and I accept it.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Sounding much like 1980s Rick Wakeman comes Ukrainian Vladimir Gorashchenko's Modern-Rock Ensemble (with a little help from Anton Kalugin). Touch the Mystery presents a collection of songs that Vlad has been reworking since the end of the 1980s. These nice sounding, mature, emotional songs are a welcome addition to the Prog lexicon.

1. "Meditations" (11:43) A nice song with welcome guitars and an interesting baritone voice. Twelve minutes seems a bit long for the little development that occurs but it works! (9/10)

2. "What Will Happen To My Country?" (3:02) one of the two keyboard instrumental solos from Vladimir. They both sound a lot like 1980s Rick Wakeman pieces (including the use of dated synthesizers and New Age-y electronic piano). This one is a bit more developed in terms of multiple tracks and the use of multiple instruments. (8/10)

3. "Touch The Mystery" (19:50) This is the most developed, prog rock-like song on the album, with many shifts in tempo, melody and dynamics, instrumental orientation. The only song with the presence of sax (soprano) this works very well for this song--as does the nice lead guitar work of Max Velichko (KARFAGEN). Some of the sound reproduction and sectional shifts remind me quite a bit of UNITOPIA's 2009 prog epic masterpiece, "The Garden." I also quite enjoy the use of both fretted and fretless bass in different sections here. Nice work, Igor Zakus! Altogether an interesting, engaging song with competent flow compositionally and great performances throughout. The sound of the keyboards used throughout are often feeling dated, and the transitions sometimes feel a bit predictable and/or cliché. (9/10)

4. "My Angels" (Dedicated To My Wife And Daughters) (3:16) pretty enough but a bit over-saccharine for my tastes. Same criticisms as for #2. (7/10)

5. "Swamp" (Recorded Live During The Jazz Festival In 1989) (9:51) despite the poor sound quality, this is an interesting song, very spacious and full of pretty melodies. Though apparently from a live performance, the song feels as if the band were experimenting with being together as well as the use of various sound effects. Also, each section feels somewhat rehearsed while the transitions are a bit rough, feeling forced. (7.5/10) 6. "Meditations" (Version In Russian) (11:43) as intimated by the parenthetical addition to the title, this is the same music tracks as song #1 with the lyrics sung in Russian. I always prefer songs sung in the artists' native languages. (No rating.)

Though I am well aware of the prolific presence of Anton(y) Kalugin in the past decade (I own several albums of projects of his [Karfagen and Sunchild]), I am not as intimately familiar with his personal instrumental sytlings to differentiate between his contributions to this album and those of its composer. It works.

A 3.5 star album; good but certainly not extraordinary. Rated down for brevity of original and unrepeated material.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars The Ukrainian outfit MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE may only be getting around to releasing their first album in 2016 but despite it all, Vladimir Gorashchenko finally releases his musical labor of love and at long last unleashes his poetic prowess, instrumental skills and proud self-taught maestro of production. This band actually has roots all the way back in the 80s. The first project began as Modern Rock Ensemble Putnik from 1985 to 1989 with two distinct versions having emerged but by 1990, Gorashchenko was compelled to care for his ill mother and other family matters thus putting his musical endeavors on hold for extended periods of time. Like any musician who is passionate with that enduring flame of creativity, the pilot light may have been put down to simmer but never truly extinguished and as a result the ideas and techniques simply accrued over the years until finally after over a decade and half into the 21st century the very first album TOUCH THE MYSTERY has finally seen the light of day.

The modern rebooting of MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE was resurrected in 2008 when Gorashchenko (who handles guitar, keyboards, sitar and vocals) met Anton Kalugin (who handles synth, guitars and special FX). Their shared passion for progressive rock, particularly the symphonic side of the spectrum inspired them to search for other talented like-minded musicians in their native Kyiv to fulfill their musical visions. The biggest hurdle in recording this album was in finding a producer which is apparently quite difficult in Ukraine so in the process Gorashchenko took on the role of learning from scratch how to produce the album himself and as a result added many more years than it should have for completing the project.

Given that TOUCH THE MYSTERY is really a patchwork of several decades' worth of material, it therefore has a true epic feel that has aspects of a long extended timespan and a sense of perfection where every little detail has been scrutinized and tweaked to obsequiously adhere to its intended role in a truly staggering project that includes a whopping 18 musicians contributing different parts of the album. TOUCH THE MYSTERY only has six tracks with the majority being close to or well over the ten minute mark. It also contains two shorter tracks but as a whole manages to barely clock in at under an hour long listening experience. According to the liner notes Gorashchenko has written over 50 songs in his creative musical life time and has whittled this album down to a mere six tracks. While this is a studio album, it does contain the live track "Swamp" recorded all the way back in 1989 at a jazz festival which does include some jazzy workouts and is virtually unperceived as a live track.

The album begins in an exotic way with sitars, ethereal ambient eddies of sound and and immediate vocals that sound like a progressive version of the baritone bard of the north Leonard Cohen. The music immediately establishes a vibe and overall sound for the entire playing time. It resides on the mellow and subtly sophisticated mode with occasional outbursts of amplified guitars and rock regalia for contrast's sake. Tablas perform percussive dottings of an insinuated Indo-raga rock type of album run but as the music morphs in and out of a dream sequencing chain of events that perpetually change the mode and mood as if reality itself has been influenced by invisible gravitational pulls outside of the human perceptive senses. It all flows across as if a meditative trance has been magnetically manipulated and tweaked to the left and to the right as if some unforeseen forces have masterminded a musical coup in the regularly scheduled program.

MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE has been described and placed in the neo-prog category but also exhibits healthy doses of space rock, symphonic prog, Indian raga music as well as scant examples of pure heavy rock. There are many example of Rick Wakeman influenced keyboard note bends as well that often provide the very symphonic backbone of certain parts of certain tracks. While the two shorter tracks "What Will Happen To My Country?" and "My Angels" can certain give an impression of the oft-hated genre of AOR vibe (aka the "neo-prog cheese syndrome" coming into play and admittedly my least favorite tracks of the lot, the longer more multifaceted have much more to offer but because of the inherent nonchalant methodology of marching into procession, the music could possibly inhibit the listener's expectations of something more raucous brewing in the mist. This was my initial expectations but have found a new lease on the sophisticated subtleties upon subsequent listenings.

First and foremost this album reminds me of the 60s Moody Blues with Gorashchenko's narrations interpolating themselves into the overarching musical developments. You know, the kind that was heard on the extended version of "Nights In White Satin" as well as some of the symphonic elements on board. Beyond those obvious influences lies the early neo-prog leanings of Genesis, the 80s extended neo-prog offerings as heard by Arena and IQ as well as other space rock pioneers such as Pink Floyd, however despite all the influences this is a shimmering rotisserie of ideas coming into play and taking turns in the spotlight much like the performances evidenced during a Cirque Du Soleil show where certain aspects are in the spotlight for a while and then fade to subordinate roles so that others can shine for a while. This is particularly true for the third and most lengthy title track which clocks in at a staggering 19 minutes and 53 seconds. While the brilliance of TOUCH THE MYSTERY may not lie in the sonic inventions that are on display but rather the performance artistry that allows it to ebb and flow in a unique set of circumstances. The music is impeccably produced and every little tiny note slide and percussive beat shines brilliantly and the juxtaposition of sounds is almost perfect.

Personally i find this one growing on me after every listen. While upon first listen i felt a bit underwhelmed because of my own expectations, after several spins i have accepted the album on its own terms and have been seduced by the subtle sophistication that resides in ever twist and turn of the album's majestic magnitude. While melodically very accessible from the very first spin, this one is much like a Porcupine Tree album that has elements that will hook you immediately but yet draw you back for more and only then unleash new ways of interpreting the album. True that the baritone vocals of Gorashchenko can be unexpected because this type of music often insinuates a much more versatile vocal style but i have to admit that the limited vocals that only sporadically enter the musical arena are rather perfect for the rare moments that a musical direction requires some sort of verbal directional force. TOUCH THE MYSTERY is certainly a sophisticated album that is the product of several decades of creation. So don't expect to understand this on a few short listens that are not without full-on attention span aroused. While i wouldn't consider TOUCH THE MYSTERY an all-time classic, i do find this an extremely beautiful album that keeps me entertained throughout its entirely.

Review by Guillermo
5 stars In late 2015 I received a private message asking me to listen to this album. At that time it still was not released and so it also was not included in the Prog Archives database yet, so I could not write a review about it then. The album was finally released in September 2016, and it really took several more months to be included in the Prog Archives database. Finally, it was included in mid December 2016. I listened to the album four times in their website. And my opinion about this album has not changed.

The MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE is a band from UkraIne led by composer Vladimir Gorashchenko. It seems to me that this "Touch the Mystery" album, their first, took several years to make. It has a line-up of several very good musicians from Ukraine. The recording and mixing is very professional and good, too. I also like the cover design.

A song by song review:

"Meditations": a song with some musical influences from India, even with the use of some electric sitar and tabla sounds, at least in some parts of the song. The rest of the song also includes some very good distorted lead guitar parts and some Prog Rock arrangements. This song also includes lead vocals by Gorashchenko.

"What Will Happen To My Country?": an instrumental musical piece played by Gorashchenko with keyboards, bass and programmed drums. It is one of my favorites from this album, and it remembers me a bit the sound of CAMEL in some parts.

"Touch The Mystery": the title track of this album, with a length of almost twenty minutes, with a lot of Prog Rock arrangements, some Classical Music influences, and lead vocals by Gorashchenko, who also recites the lyrics in some parts. This song presents a "musical biography" of Vladimir Gorashchenko, as they say in their website. It also includes some very good guitar parts, some wind instruments and other orchestral instruments. This is maybe the best and most Progressive song in this album.

"My Angels (dedicated to my wife and daughters)": another solo performance by Gorashchenko on keyboards, and also it is a very good musical piece.

"Swamp (live)": a live recording from 1989 from a Jazz Festival. This song shows a lot of Jazz-Rock influences with Latin-American rhythms, very well played. But the drums and percussion sound to me like being played on an electric drum kit, and also some of them sound to me like being programmed (maybe I'm wrong).

This album as a whole is very good, and it really has a variety of influences from several musical styles, as I wrote in my review about every track.

You can listen to this album (and also to buy it) in .

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another day, another prog project out of Ukraine.

Modern-Rock ensemble is essentially the solo project of band leader, singer, guitarist, synth player, and producer Vladimir Gorashchenko. A longtime member of Ukraine's prog scene, Gorashchenko drives much of "Touch The Mystery" along, though he is joined by a whole slew of musical collaborators, including Karfagen veteran Antony Kalugin. Genre-wise, Modern-Rock Ensemble sits comfortably in the symphonic and neo-prog style, but doesn't get too complacent; there are occasional nods to jazz and ethnic music, and a certain new age vibe weaves its way in and out of the whole affair.

Although these atypical flairs make themselves apparent at various points in the album, I find that "Touch The Mystery" still falls well within the realm of predictability that enshrouds most symphonic prog. The album's two extended compositions, the opener "Meditations" and the 20 minute title track, are each par-for-the-course symphonic/neo fare. Each one contains extended instrumental passages that allow the band to explore, blend, and contrast different timbres. While very tastefully constructed, I can't help but feel that they never develop into any substantial. Each one just seems to be a showcase of sounds, without any underlying tension, conflict, or narrative. Pleasant listening, but not the kind of thing that really captures you and draws you in, or creates new worlds in your head.

In a similar vein, the music, while brimming with competency, often lacks in energy. And that isn't necessarily the fault of any of the musicians' performances. It's just that the production, crystal clear as it is, seems to have overshot the fine line that keeps it from sterility. The softness and clarity of the production actually works to heighten the album's two ballads, the piano instrumentals "What Will Happen To My Country?" and "My Angels". Melancholy and contemplative, these two pieces are actually quite suited to the subdued sound of the album. During the two epics, though, and the more unorthodox live recording, "Swamp", a lot of the dynamic power that should be there is flattened out and lost. It also doesn't help that Gorashchenko has what may be the most offensively mellow voice in the world. Imagine the guy from the local DMV reading out a book on tax code. And then imagine that getting played back at half speed. Or remember that one teacher you had back in school whose class you simply couldn't not sleep through? Those sorts of memories were really coming back to me whenever Gorashchenko started to chime in between instrumental passages. I digress. There is one welcome respite to come from the vocals, though; when they start to sing out "Touch it! Touch it!" at the end of the title track, its comes across as excellent comic relief. Indeed, that line may be one of the most awkward, least tasteful things to hit prog since the cover of "Love Beach". Truly a laugh-out-loud moment in the middle of an increasingly lacklustre song.

So, I suppose that Modern-Rock Ensemble falls prey to the typical symphonic quandaries. Tasteful ("Touch it" aside), but not overly creative. Competent, but not overly exciting. On the whole, I'd consider this to be very middle of the road prog. It's a very safe listen, so if you're not necessarily looking for anything too risky, "Touch The Mystery" should be a thoroughly enjoyable choice of music. With all things considered, I'd consider this to be a good album. No more, no less; 3 safe stars.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An eclectic journey!

This time I feel lucky once again for being introduced to projects I never thought I would discover (thanks Andrew Nazarenko), and the least I can do is to write a bit about it, because it simply deserves to create people's attention. This is a project of Vladimir Gorashchenko, a veteran artist that has here gathers a magnificent blend of sounds and genres, providing to us, the listeners, a complex trip around the world. The album consists of five different compositions and a repeated track but sang in a different language.

It opens with "Meditations", a song that was actually composed in the late 80s but rearranged this decade. Here we can listen to the English version of it. I mentioned above this album offered a complex trip around the world, I think with this sole track we can notice it, due to the blend of eastern sounds (far and mid) and some nice rock elements. The song flows and shares a diversity of passages, some calm moments and some explosive ones in which the voice seems to be more emotional. Sometimes the tag neo-prog can be evident, but overall, I wouldn't dare to tag the music, only progressive music, whatever it means to you. It is important to say there is a wonderful fretless bass here, which in my opinion is a very important element. "What Will Happen to My Country" is the shortest track, a 3-minute delicate song with piano and a disarming atmosphere that represents a contrast with the previous song.

Now the longest one is "Touch the Mystery", whose 20 minutes delight us with paradoxical passages, several changes and countless atmospheres created by the string ensemble. This is a challenging track, one magnificent composition that would easily be the album's highlight, but what a highlight! It is impressive how the song flows in spite of its several changes, and it is delicious how new elements appear while the minutes pass and contribute adding new nuances and textures. There is a saxophone here and there, so there is an evident jazzy feeling. Keyboards is also a main instrument here, taking the leadership and making the direction of the music. There's even spoken word here, so while the minutes pass the band keeps surprising us with the addition of new elements. Great!

"My Angels" is another short piece that Vladimir dedicated to his wife and daughters. It is just like the second track, a soft piano solo piece in which the composer shows his love not only for his "angels" but also for music and life. Well, at least I could feel it this way. "Swamp" is the final track, and it is a different one because it was recorded live back in 1989, long time has passed indeed. This track is more in the jazz vein; its first moments are more experimental, then the addition of violin creates deeper atmospheres and the strings cover the composition wonderfully. The album finishes with the Russian version of "Meditations", nothing new to add, but the language.

A great and quite interesting album this is, not quite easy to dig, but highly recommendable for those who are seeking for a new prog experience.

Enjoy it!

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Report this review (#1775519) | Posted by kirock | Saturday, August 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It was interesting and unexpected to find such an authentic album coming from Eastern Europe. I don't depreciate progressive rock from that part of the world in any way, but it is really striking to hear, how former USSR country representative absorbed Western music and gave it it's vision ... (read more)

Report this review (#1742659) | Posted by IconiK11 | Wednesday, July 12, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars According to the information on the CD it was a long way for Touch the Mystery to be released, even longer to get to Hong- Kong. However, it was worth the wait. Once in a while there are albums that can not only impress, but stay in the memory and moreover fill an urge to listen the album more an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1705586) | Posted by Yuki_liu | Monday, March 27, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For many years I am visiting the PA site to find some new prog-rock music. I was not having intention to register on the site being mostly a fan of Jazz and Classic music. However, after listening to the "Touch the Mystery" by Modern-Rock Ensemble I decided to write a review. Thanks to PA, one can g ... (read more)

Report this review (#1687177) | Posted by ayaaf91 | Monday, January 30, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Some of the PA fans are sincere admirers of this album, while others have different points of view. This album obviously proves a well-known proverb: "as many heads ? as many wits". Being a journalist and reviewer at other musical editions and magazines, from time to time I visit PA to see new name ... (read more)

Report this review (#1686312) | Posted by Progilya | Saturday, January 28, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Disappointment of the year? Not exactly because I had not heard of them before but a great album? Not even slightly. Elevator music comes to mind. The first track is ruined by vocals. It could be quite good due to the Indian sounds mixed with guitars. The 80s electronic piano from track 2 are the e ... (read more)

Report this review (#1674271) | Posted by Harmonica909 | Saturday, December 31, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As a professionally trained musician, I must admit that I was really impressed by that album. The most important factor for a successful performance is the ability of the artist to not just invite the listener into his/her music, but alos make them (listeners follow the performer). That album do ... (read more)

Report this review (#1673979) | Posted by michaelmaizels | Friday, December 30, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Quite pleasant but forgettable. I have seen reviews putting this in the same league as Foxtrot. It is not. I also see another review saying 80s Wakeman. That is closer! Not his greatest era. The title track is pretty good but I can't hear anything that stands out on the rest of this. Eighties progr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1672705) | Posted by Mingo | Monday, December 26, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars More often than not end of a year brings a lot of precious gifts, prog rock is luckily not an exception in this respect. A number of very beautiful albums have been released recently, with Touch the Mystery being one of the most outstanding ones. Unlike many of the modern music this album has nothin ... (read more)

Report this review (#1672519) | Posted by lizzard | Monday, December 26, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Released in 2016 this album has a great synergy with a progrock of the 70-th. Ukrainian musicians made a great job. An album starts with Meditations. 12 string guitar's nerve is uniting together the whole piece. It revives back nostalgia for the 70th prog rock. A simbio of oriental rock and sym ... (read more)

Report this review (#1671343) | Posted by celebrationrock | Saturday, December 24, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What is Music? Notes, sounds, rhythms? Not only. Music is emotion, music is philosophy, music is impression, music is joy... and I really found all the above mentioned in the Touch the Mystery album! For sure the target audience of this album is of mid-age. I listened to it several times and every t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1670802) | Posted by Shade Of Time | Friday, December 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

2 stars There were some nice reviews about this album and it had quite good rating. So I went to Spotify and gave it a try. And a second one and a third one. I just don't understand the fuzz about this. I consider myself as a big fan of neo-prog and like the genre but his album does not hit any chords w ... (read more)

Report this review (#1670622) | Posted by 302 | Thursday, December 22, 2016 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Underwhelmed. Don't get it. Sounds like any number of derivative albums but without any depth. After buying Meal Morses epic, I was led to this because it is more highly rated than that album. It just drones on and on and on. Nothing actually wrong with this except it just isn't very good. I di ... (read more)

Report this review (#1670483) | Posted by ProgMagFan | Thursday, December 22, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's very cold in our region of Canada now. That is why it was very comfortable during our Saturday men-beer- party at the mantelpiece with Modern-Rock Ensemble album. We've not been disturbed by wives and kids to attentively listen to the album. Afterwards we discussed our impressions; however ... (read more)

Report this review (#1670251) | Posted by Sbob2 | Wednesday, December 21, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Modern-Rock Ensemble "touch the Mystery" This project spans thousands of miles and several decades. It involves some of the cream of the national progressive rock musical community- Antony Kalugin of KARFAGEN, Max Velychko, and others. It arises from Ukraine- a land of deep history, cultur ... (read more)

Report this review (#1670154) | Posted by Steve Conrad | Tuesday, December 20, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My personal interest to prog rock started with Genesis and Procol Harum. The music they made was unique, at that time it was a breakthrough. Since then a lot has changed, but what I don't like about the development of prog rock is that it is going mainly in circles. On very rare occasions a new gro ... (read more)

Report this review (#1669925) | Posted by AlesN | Tuesday, December 20, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album deserves the attention of fans of progressive rock, primarily because the Ukrainian composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Vladimir Gorashchenko presents his very special approach to progressive rock music. The album is hard to attribute to one particular genre of progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#1669790) | Posted by Yuriy Danko | Monday, December 19, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maybe this is one of the albums that I have been waiting for many years. After the great explosion of prog rock in 70th, very seldom we are facing a fresh sound and a new approach to prog rock. I am absolutely sure that there will be comments that Vladimir is using in his Modern-Rock Ensemble pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1669786) | Posted by Dragon@ | Monday, December 19, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was aware that in this project participated 2 musicians whose music I already know well: Anton Kalugin (Karfagen and Sunchild) and Max Velichko (Inside the Sound and Karfagen) therefore I was expecting to hear similar music on this CD. In the end of the day Touch the Mystery by Modern-Rock Ens ... (read more)

Report this review (#1669474) | Posted by Igor Cherezov | Sunday, December 18, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Touch the Mystery" is the first album of the Modern-Rock Music - a project of a Ukrainian musician, composer and producer Vladimir Gorashchenko. Vladimir has been composing music for more than 30 years and this album is to certain extent his musical biography. The leading Ukrainian musicians were ... (read more)

Report this review (#1668254) | Posted by AndrewNazarenko | Friday, December 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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