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Sunchild Messages from Afar - The Division and Illusion of Time album cover
3.92 | 151 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Searching Diamonds (4:44)
2. Grail and Time (8:00)
3. 60 Degrees to the 70s (6:47)
4. Mystery Train (3:49)
5. Dreams from a Lonely Town (2:17)
6. The Division and Illusion of Time (7:36)
7. Victory Voyager (20:33)
8. Father (10:34)

Total Time 64:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / keyboards, vocals, percussion, composer, arranger, co-producer

- Viktoriia Osmachko / lead & backing vocals
- Nikita Osmachko / lead & backing vocals
- Olha Rostovska / backing vocals
- Max Velychko / acoustic & electric guitars
- Oleg Prokhorov / bass
- Kostya Shepelenko / drums
- Sergiy Balalayev / drums (8)
- Maria Baranovska / violin (8)
- Roman Gorielov / acoustic guitar (8)

Releases information

Composed, arranged, mixed & mastered: Antony Kalugin
Lyrics: Antony Kalugin & William Mackie
Producers: Antony Kalugin & William Mackie
Artwork design & concept: Antony Kalugin
Original paintings: Igor Sokolskiy

Recorded in Kharkiv (Ukraine) 2017-2018

CD Caerllysi Music (2018, UK)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Prog Network & projeKct for the last updates
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SUNCHILD Messages from Afar - The Division and Illusion of Time ratings distribution

(151 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SUNCHILD Messages from Afar - The Division and Illusion of Time reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin is currently offering his `Messages from Afar' musical saga, a trilogy of predominantly retro-flavoured symphonic prog works, the first being released by his Karfagen project last year in 2017 with the sub-title `First Contact'. The second part has arrived in 2018, `The Division and Illusion of Time' but instead this time it's appearing under the Sunchild banner, a side-project name where more song-based material Mr Kalugin composes ends up, so while his charmingly accented vocals and harmony singers are front-and-centre this time around, there's still plenty of luxurious instrumental backings behind them, even if the tunes themselves remain more of a priority here.

Opener rocker `Searching Diamonds' has an AOR guitar-driven punch to it, and the buoyant energy throughout moments of it wouldn't have sounded out of place on any of the recent Glass Hammer discs. `Grail And Time' holds a poppier soothing chorus but also works in a tasty Electric Light Orchestra-like break in the middle. The psychedelically mellow `60 Degrees To The 70s' holds enough quirky electronics, comical vocals and reflective lyrics that it could almost be a Flower Kings outtake, and `Mystery Train' is a lovely all-instrumental interlude with glorious David Gilmour-esque guitar soloing. `Dreams From A Lonely Town' is a brief shimmering reprise of `First Contact' from the first `Messages from Afar' disc, and the title track `The Division And Illusion Of Time' is a crisp atmospheric Neo Prog-sounding rocker with touches of Pendragon and I.Q.

It wouldn't be a prog-related album without a lengthy epic, and the twenty minute `Victory Voyager' doesn't disappoint. With heroic guitar themes, triumphant fanfares and soaring female backing vocalists that embrace the same soulful quality of `Dark Side of the Moon', some rollicking passages remind of those sprightly sprints that popped up on the classic P.F.M albums, and Antony is definitely channelling Roger Waters circa `The Wall' through `The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking' with his half-spoken/half-sung vocal approach!

Finally, despite the album being constantly vocal based, Camel fans will weep for joy with the near-eleven minute all- instrumental closer `Father' that also channels Pink Floyd and Mostly Autumn, and it incorporates delicately tender piano and fanciful violin around the most heartfelt of Andy Latimer-like electric guitar soloing, making for a stunning way to close the disc.

Some prog listeners will wish there were more purely instrumental passages to break things up a little more, but it definitely means that this Sunchild chapter of Antony's trilogy stands out with its own identity and character. With dignified tunes, vibrant instrumentation, surreal and uplifting lyrics and no shortage of variety, `The Division and Illusion of Time' proves to be another classy and dynamic release from Antony Kalugin, a prolific artist who is constantly proving himself to be one of the pre-eminent masters of modern symphonic-progressive music of consistently excellent quality.

Four stars.

Review by patrickq
3 stars This album starts strong, but begins to repeat itself after the fourth song.

The first six songs on Messages from Afar: The Division and Illusion of Time seem to constitute an album of their own: at about thirty-four minutes, this series of songs is the same length as most albums were in the 1970s. "Searching Diamonds" and "Grail and Time" are both nice art-rock pieces with overt prog-rock references. The lead vocals on these two, by Sunchild mastermind Antony Kalugin, Viktoria Osmachko, and Nikita Osmachko, are very good. After a divergence into more progressive territory ("60 Degrees to the 70s"), the jazzy instrumental "Mystery Train" strengthens my suspicion that Kalugin has absorbed a wide variety of popular music from the 1980s. Although guitarist Max Velychko was prominent on the first three songs, "mystery Train" is where he really starts to stand out. The "Dreams from a Lonely Town/Division and Illusion of Time" medley closes the first half of the album in a logical way, revisiting many of the moods and themes of the foregoing music with a sense of closure. However, by this time, a monotony has set in. The soaring chorus of "Division and Illusion of Time" is duly majestic, but tedious at the same time; the eight-minute "Grail and Time," has already trodden much of the same earth.

The twenty-minute "Victory Voyager" follows. Like most of the first half of the album, it's made up of well-performed art-pop passages bridged by proggier sections. The female singers return to the forefront of the mix, and Velychko gets to display his skills as the piece moves from section to section. It all hangs together, but I'm left with the sneaking suspicion that it's a clever assembly of slices of the first half of the album.

Given that it's an instrumental coda to the album, you might think the ten-minute "Father" must be too long. But remember that this album is a 65-minute affair. "Father" is long, but it makes sense, both as a distinct musical piece and as the album's closure. Like "Victory Voyager," "Father" shifts from style to style, and again, Velychko gets much of the spotlight.

Messages from Afar: The Division and Illusion of Time has some very strong aspects; to begin with, instrumentalists Kalugin and Velychko are great throughout. The lead vocals and lead guitars tend to be just a little forward and isolated in the mix for my taste, but this doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the album, and other than that minor quibble, the album is well-produced. There is some very good songwriting, especially on the first two songs. The first times I listened to this album, it was on in the background as I was driving or doing other things. It sounded pretty good under those conditions, but a closer inspection revealed the shortcomings I cited above.

I think my criticisms can be summarized as follows: In the vinyl era, this album would have either been pared down to fit on two sides, or another ten minutes would have been added to justify a double album. The first four songs - - "Searching Diamonds," "Grail and Time," "60 Degrees," and "Mystery Train" - - already account for more than one side of vinyl. If the remaining 42 minutes were to be reimagined as a suite half that long, I might be trying to decide whether this was a three- or four-star album.

Instead, I had to decide between two and three stars. I think I've given Messages from Afar: The Division and Illusion of Time enough listens to be able to write a review, but my opinion as to the rating is still up in the air; I'll revisit this review someday and see if I still agree.


Update (6/26/2020): fifteen months later, a three star-rating still seems about right.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars This is the second in a series of albums by singer/keyboard player Antony Kalugin, but while the first 'Messages From Afar: First Contact' was by Karfagen (their ninth studio album in all), 'Messages From Afar: The Division and Illusion of Time' is by Sunchild (their eighth). Kalugin writes a lot of material, and he uses his more song-based with Sunchild, and the rest with Karfagen. But, if that isn't confusing enough, apart from saxophonist Michail Sidorenko, all of Karfagen who played on the first 'Messages' album are also involved with this one, along with a few additional musicians. In some ways it does remind me of Clive Nolan in the Nineties when he seemed to use the same key musicians for many of his projects (step forward Karl Groom and Ian Salmon in particular), but I don't think even her ever took it to this level.

Although one may guess this album began life in Eastern Europe due to the slightly accented vocals, for the most part this feels like a very British album indeed. Camel and Pink Floyd are obvious influences (listen to "The Division and Illusion of Time" to see what I mean), while "Grail and Time" is nothing short of 'Sunburst Finish' era Be-Bop Deluxe, a band I rarely reference but here it is very opportune indeed. From start to end this is a wonderful album, feeling very modern, with plenty of look backs into the Seventies to create something which is really easy to listen to but could never be called easy listening. Antony never seems to get enough credit for both the quality and quantity of music he produces with his bands, and this is yet another incredibly solid release which is definitely worthy of investigation by all progheads.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Sunchild is one of the three-band projects featuring the young and talented Ukrainian composer and keyboardist Antony Kalugin. The 7th album of Sunchild 'Messages From Afar' contains 8 songs that are very melodic packed well and with excellent musical ability especially 'Victory Voyager' t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2135159) | Posted by Oji ozbon | Saturday, February 9, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I like this album very much. Antony managed to gazer (again!) an excellent team of musicians, and this time he added a pair of excellent male and female vocalists: Nikita and Viktoriia Osmachko. In my opinion, this is Antony's best album to date and kind of modern prog classic. The music is yo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2113373) | Posted by Booba Kastorsky | Tuesday, January 1, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was positively surprised by this new album by the composer Antony Kalugin. I know almost all of his discography and my favourite album is Sunchild's "As far as the eye can see"; so I was hoping in something similar: warm, majestic and atmospheric but with melancholy in the background. But wish ... (read more)

Report this review (#1955942) | Posted by ale73 | Tuesday, August 7, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Good old days and timeless friends to the song we unite..." This time Antony has released incredibly "warm" and positive album. And i do agree - the cover is stunning - something really different from the dark shades of the previous "Isolation" and "Synesthesia". While listening to the album, you ... (read more)

Report this review (#1952214) | Posted by Trinity S | Thursday, July 26, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first thing that hits you about this album is the cover. A truly stunning cover. But we are here to listen to the music. This is a sequel to Antony Kalugin's Messages From Afar: First Contact by Karfagen. And a wonderful bookend it is. The first song, 'Searching Diamonds' sets up the whole a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1943432) | Posted by Drmick1971 | Friday, July 6, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The remarkably prolific Antony Kalyugin, Ukraine's best musical export, returns a year after Part One of his Messages From Afar trilogy, which appeared under another of his alter egos, Karfagen. Kalyugin is something of a musical polymath, in that he rarely sits still musically for too long. Par ... (read more)

Report this review (#1943246) | Posted by alchemymark | Thursday, July 5, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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