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EXOTIC CREATURES AND A STOLEN DREAM

Sunchild

Crossover Prog


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Sunchild Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream album cover
4.19 | 88 ratings | 12 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD/Digital edition:

1. Life Lines (26:26) :
- a) Timeless Motion
- b) Wings of the Storm
- c) The New Day Dawning
- d) In the Garden of Hope
- e) Beautiful Creatures
- f) Crimson Queen
- g) The Tide
2. Northern Skies (14:14) :
- a) Only in Wildest Dreams
- b) In the Valley of a Stolen Dream
- c) Haunted Visions
- d) Under the Northern Skies
- Bonus tracks:
3. Timeless Motion (reprise) (1:24)
4. Northern Lights (3:07)
5. Northern Skies (single edition) (4:51)
6. Life Lines (single edition) (7:07)

Total Time 40:40


LP edition:

1. Life Lines (Side A) (19:54)
- a) Timeless Motion
- b) Wings of the Storm
- c) The New Day Dawning
- d) In the Garden of Hope
- e) Beautiful Creatures
2. Life Lines (Side B) (6:26)
- f) Crimson Queen
- g) The Tide
3. Northern Skies (14:17)
- a) Only in Wildest Dreams
- b) In the Valley of a Stolen Dream
- c) Haunted Visions
- d) Under the Northern Skies
4. Northern Lights (1:43)

Total Time 42:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / keyboards, vocals, vocoder, percussion
- Ivan Goritski / drums
- Alexandr Pavlov / electric, acoustic & nylon guitars (1)
- Max Velychko / electric guitars (2)
- Konstantin Ionenko / bass, double bass
- Yan Vedaman / soprano saxophone
- Sergii Kovalov / accordion (1)
- Olha Rostovska / backing vocals
- Maria Panasenko / backing vocals

With:
- Dmytro Ignatov / electric guitar solos (1 parts e & g)

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 - 2018-2022
Re-mix and Vinyl Master - March 2023

Cover: Igor Sokolskiy
Label: Caerllysi Music
Formats: CD & Digital (January 9, 2023), LP (July 7, 2023)

Thanks to black_diamond for the addition
and to Prog Network & projeKct for the last updates
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SUNCHILD Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream ratings distribution


4.19
(88 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
43%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (22%)
22%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

SUNCHILD Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Yesterday was the official release date for the latest offering of Ukraine's No. 1 prog maestro Antony Kalugin. In the last few years he has operated productively under his own name and KARFAGEN. This is the first SUNCHILD album since 2018 when "Messages from Afar - The Division and Illusion of Time" was released as some sort of sequel to a 2017 Karfagen album.

It's not so easy to see any major differences between various Antony Kalugin projects, but perhaps one could claim Sunchild to be slightly more song-oriented. On previous albums there has often been a certain pop sensibility as well, and the soundscape is a bit more electrified and modern compared to Karfagen's tradition-friendly Symphonic Prog. This album doesn't show a strong attempt to emphasize the differences: I suppose in theory this could be a Karfagen album, and the compositional structure surely follows the tendency of recent albums. That is, two long pieces served with some bonuses that recycle the material of the main work. Can't say I'm thrilled by this habit of the bonuses (I do see the practical point of including the single edits and such), because naturally I'd prefer the CD to contain more than two equal pieces instead.

'Life Lines' (26:26) is a bold and ambitious multi-part modern symphonic prog epic. There's a catchy intensity right from the start, a feeling of grandiosity ' la The Flower Kings or Spock's Beard. Antony does the lead vocals which admittedly are more present than on his recent instrumentally oriented releases, backed beautifully by Maria Panasenko. The dynamics are well thought in the composition full of tempo changes and alterations between power and delicacy. Both the composer's array of keyboards and the electric guitar of Alexandr Pavlov build spectacular melodies, and of course all the other musicians are excellent, too. Accordion and soprano saxophone have their appearances. A detail I'm not fond of is the use of vocoder a couple of times, not a big deal though. To a middle-aged proghead there's hardly anything brand new in this fairly accessible epic, but it's very enjoyable, one of the finest and the most powerful Antony Kalugin has ever produced.

'Northern Skies' (14:14) has much more melancholy and sorrow -- just listen to the daily news, need I say more -- woven into it, but in the optimistic spirit, with a faith for a better tomorrow. Being notably shorter, 'Northern Skies' contains surprisingly plenty of wide dynamics, including also some rollercoaster instrumental sections. It's nevertheless the moodier vocal sections that make this piece so emotionally strong. The dual (male + female) vocals are used to a great effect, and Maria Panasenko even has her own portion of lead vocals.

'Timeless Motion Reprise' (1:24) recycles the first movement of 'Life Lines' in an instrumentally oriented way, giving a big role to Yan Vedaman's soprano sax. Rather esoteric 'Northern Lights' is also mostly instrumental. The single editions of the two main pieces (4:51 and 7:07 in length) function pretty well, but in the end they're insignificant to the album whole. With or without taking the bonuses into the equation, Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream is a strong and finely produced four-star prog album warmly recommended to everyone ever having enjoyed the works of Antony Kalugin. And if you haven't yet, why not give this one a chance!

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well Crafted, Classic Prog Vibes with Few Surprises

Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream is a wonderful chance for lovers of classic prog to sink themselves in new material. Chief architect Antony Kalugin is clearly a very skilled craftsman of song and instrumentation. This album hits all the usual boxes - epic length compositions, lots of keyboards, soaring guitar solos, extended storylines, theatric delivery, you get the picture. Others have mentioned Flower Kings and Spock's Beard and this album definitely sits in that range of the genre. I also get some Phideaux vibes (though I find that artist a lot more evocative.)

The album is essentially two epics. The longer first track, "Life Lines" shoots straight down the middle in so many ways. Mid-tempo, relatively mellow moods, no big risks. As a result I find the composition extremely pleasant but not very memorable. While very well executed, everything we get has been done before. The second song, "Northern Skies" is more brooding, a little slower, and I connect with it emotionally to a much greater extent. Female vocals (both lead and backing) feature more prominently and definitely add depth. The breadth of moods in the music is much broader here as well, and hold my attention to a greater degree. (As a complete aside, there is a little melodic element that quotes the theme to "Cheers" which cracks me up every time it goes by.) Some of the sections are little more quirky, more whimsical. Still epic, it's a much better song, but still doesn't take huge risks or present anything truly surprising.

I could see myself putting "Northern Lights" on a Prog 2023 Playlist. Scratches the classic prog itch well.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The first release of Antony Kalugin's Sunchild project in five years (after a string of seven in the previous ten years). This comes as little surprise as Antony is (and has been) one of Prog World's busiest and most prolific artists.

1. "Life Lines" (26:26) quite the NeoProg lite production--even bordering on religious rapture--compositional sophistication with excellent musicianship and great sound production throughout. The first reminds me of MOON SAFARI and THE FLOWER KINGS. From the seven-minute mark to 10:50 I'm reminded of KNIGHT AREA (and The Flower Kings). From the 11-minute mark to there's a EDDIE JOBSON quality to it, but then the vocals in the 14th minute make it slide back into the psuedo-religious MOON SAFARI feel of the opening section with some elements reminiscent of Mark Truek's UNITOPIA. The "heavier" motif of the sixteenth minute has some Focus and even Eloy elements but then the Hendrix riff of the seventeenth minute takes us into a vocoder voice and Yes harmonized vocals before some Rick Wakeman melodies and riffs. The motif of the 19th minute is rather late Pink Floyd-like. The calm of the 20th minute feels so TFK--even leading to one of Roine Stolt's signature low-key conspiratorial vocal sections (which is also very like David Gilmour's singing/vocal style). I love the accordion in any prog song but the brief appearance in the 22nd minute feels to contrived--as if the band is making a Mike Oldfieldian effort to throw every instrument available into the song--simply for the sake of saying it's there. Luckily, it reappears in the 23rd minute, albeit in the background. Overall, this is a very likable, inoffensive, well-put-together epic. Unfortunately, lyrically (and, somewhat, musically) it feels almost too imitative of The Flower King's 59-minute masterpiece, "Garden of Dreams," from their 1999 release, Flower Power. (45/50): - a) Timeless Motion - b) Wings of the Storm - c) The New Day Dawning - d) In the Garden of Hope - e) Beautiful Creatures - f) Crimson Queen - g) The Tide

2. "Northern Skies" (14:14) electric piano backs Antony's David Gilmour/Roger Waters voice impressions before more computer keyboard generated sounds work their way in. At the very end of the second minute the full rock band jumps in as female vocalists lead in the chorus. It's almost too beautiful (like a saccharine Christian rock song). Nice guitar solo from Alexandr Pavlov. Strong, soulful female vocal in the lead during the fifth minute. I like the HARMONIUM-like ("Dixie") saloon piano in the sixth and eighth minutes. The melodies and singing style begin to feel as if borrowed from the American band AMBROSIA. The nine-minute mark marks a return to the opening motif only, cleverly using treated electric guitar arpeggi in the fore instead of electric piano. Again, this is a very likable, inoffensive, well-put-together epic--even if it does plod along a bit. There are elements of this song (like the eleventh minute and female vocals) that I like better than anything in the album's other epic, but then there are some that feel rather common and banal. (27.5/30): - a) Only in Wildest Dreams - b) In the Valley of a Stolen Dream - c) Haunted Visions - d) Under the Northern Skies

Total Time 40:40

You won't find more accessible NeoProg than this.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of NeoProg--something most prog lovers will thoroughly enjoy adding to their music collection.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Great artwork - was hooked by it. Than i was blowned away by the music. 2 tracks only... but what a tracks! 2 fantastic epics (i have it on a Vinyl as well!!! - lovely blue splatter edition) I read that Antony wants to continue Karfagen project only because of sales... and because Karfagen is ... (read more)

Report this review (#3057825) | Posted by Art for Rock | Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream," the 2023 release by Sunchild, is a tantalizing journey through musical artistry. Anchored by solid musicianship, the album ventures close to the realm of a masterpiece. At its core, the standout feature is undoubtedly the exceptional songwriting and the impress ... (read more)

Report this review (#2934114) | Posted by Prog Network | Saturday, June 17, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The absurdly prolific Anthony Kalugin returns with the eighth album under his Sunchild moniker. Musically, the differences between Sunchild and Kalugin's best-known project Karfagen are pretty slim, the chief one being an increased emphasis on vocals, and with it, a penchant for radio-friendly m ... (read more)

Report this review (#2902352) | Posted by runciblemoon | Tuesday, March 28, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream' is the first Sunchild album since 'Messages from Afar: the Division and Illusion of Time' in 2018 which was the first of Antony's projects I ever pre-ordered. Antony has mentioned that this new album took him four years to make. We have been lucky that other man ... (read more)

Report this review (#2901713) | Posted by Drmick1971 | Saturday, March 25, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's an excellent and successful return of Sunchild by genius Antony Kalugin. Despite such a terrible time for Antony's native country, he continues to create such an amazingly bright and light pieces of art. The album consists of two main tracks ? Life Lines and Northern Skies and four bonus tr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2882388) | Posted by MalenaRoss | Wednesday, February 15, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "AND there is a chance that one day you might write a standard lads, so churn them out quick and fast". Antony Kalugin certainly subscribes to this school of thought. Under his own name, as well as the projects Hoggwash, Karfagin, and Sunchild, he turns out consistently elevated music at an incr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2881985) | Posted by SilverLight59 | Monday, February 13, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars SUNCHILD was born in 2008, another project by Antony KALUGIN, showing the extent of his talents as a composer. A sound at the crossroads of stored sounds of yesteryear, reworked to leave for flowery bucolic lands; varied tempos where the keyboard takes the lion's share; a symphonic sound more fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2880713) | Posted by alainPP | Monday, February 6, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Sometimes, lists of musicians related to your favorite bands include some that you listen to but don't quite connect with. And you try, but you don't succeed. Fortunately, when they are musicians with a musical universe as varied as Antony Kalugin's, sometimes it's just a matter of time before th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2874874) | Posted by Yubal | Friday, January 13, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Before I talk about this magnificent album I feel the need to put on record a comment I see from time to time made by reviewers "kalugin is prolific "as a negative statement for god sake the man is amongst the very few prog musicians who are full time dedicated to making new music he is ... (read more)

Report this review (#2874457) | Posted by CAERLLYSI | Wednesday, January 11, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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