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COMPASSIONIZER

RIO/Avant-Prog • Russia


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Compassionizer biography
A Russian project COMPASSIONIZER have got started gradually in the spring of 2020 as an off-shoot of ROZ VITALIS (and they say the project was named after the 2007 album of ROZ VITALIS). The trio - Ivan ROZMAINSKY (keyboards, percussion), Leonid PEREVALOV (bass clarinets, clarinets), and Serghei LIUBCENCO (guitar, doira, rubab) - have recorded material for their debut album in the "quarantine period", or from the spring until summer 2020, and the creation titled "Caress Of Compassion" was released upon September 18, 2020 via an independent label ArtBeat Music.

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4.29 | 18 ratings
Caress of Compassion
2020

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COMPASSIONIZER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Caress of Compassion by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.29 | 18 ratings

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Caress of Compassion
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by nick_h_nz

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Compassion' sounds like a warm and fuzzy word. And yet, when you think about it, it is almost the opposite. Compassion is essentially the sympathetic consciousness of, and concern for, the suffering, distress and misfortunes of others. Its Latin roots translate it almost literally as "suffer with". Not so warm and fuzzy then? I mention this because it is something I hadn't thought about before listening to Compasionizer's debut album, Caress of Compassion. I was expecting something cosy and comfortable, warm and inviting, and what I heard did not always match those expectations. So, then a 'Caress of Suffering', an almost paradoxical combination of ugliness and beauty wrapped up in twelve exquisite and atmospheric tracks, at once subtle and grandiose.

The album pulls the listener in gently with the quite beautiful yet vaguely unsettling Whole. There's a quote about compassion that I've seen do the rounds on social media several times over the year. It wasn't too hard to find an example, and this is what it said: "I don't just listen to your words. I listen to your use of words, your tone, your body movements, your eyes, your subtle face expressions. I interpret your silences. I can hear everything you don't say." Whole seems to be as much about what isn't present, than is. So while it might declare itself to be 'Whole', it leaves me feeling that it isn't. "I'm fine", it declares in words, while all other cues suggest otherwise. It's an absolutely fabulous opening number.

At this point, I should point out that the files I received did not have complete names, so 'Whole' was indeed not at all whole, as it is actually The Whole Creation Travaileth in Pain Together. So I reviewed an album based upon what I was hearing, and inferring, and it seemed to match the titles of the tracks. Yet they were not the full titles. I wondered whether to start the review again with this new knowledge, but instead merely inserted this paragraph as explanation.

The blurb I received declared Caress of Compassion to be "Melodic Atmospheric World Avant Music", and one aspect that I love about this is the various textures and tones provided by using instruments from both the west and the east. As Whole progressed, it started to remind me of the recent album from 3,14 which fused the instruments and instrumentation of west and east in a musical representation of the various peoples and cultures spread along the length of the legendary Silk Road. And yet, the ghost of Roz Vitalis (from which Ivan Rozmainsky of Compassionizer will no doubt be better known) is ever present, giving Compassionizer an avant edge missing from that descriptive blurb.

Street feels like a somnambulant walk down familiar roads, which I am prone to doing on routes so well known I can walk them on autopilot. There's a sense of haze and daze, and the beat is almost hypnotic, disappearing at times, the way I can be conscious of my footsteps, then not, as I drift away in my thoughts while continuing to walk. It's over before I know it ? just like those walks down those familiar streets. I had to check if it were just an interlude, because it seemed to be only a minute or so long. But actually, it's almost three-and-a-half minutes long.

The intriguingly titled How Poems is beautifully minimal, and yet very much present. Unlike Street's sleepwalking quality, How Poems booms and resonates in a quiet fashion, that precludes passive listening. I love what I assume is a bass clarinet in this number. It's absolutely wonderful. But further delights are not at all far away! Caress #1 begins with a delicate, almost Disney-like melody. It's the most beautiful passage so far, not seeming to have an undercurrent of something not so beautiful. This doesn't last too long, though, as it becomes less assured. The chiming delicacy of this Caress is irresistible.

Beware begins in a suitably spooky and ominous manner. The beat that kicks in comes as a complete surprise (though not a jump scare), and it's almost like listening to psychedelic-era Porcupine Tree, mixed with soundtrack-era Ulver. It's a trick and a treat ? and it's a glorious and unexpected one. So much so, that when the darkness returns with Heart (heart of darkness?), I suddenly realise I have been as incautious as Red Riding Hood, and forgotten to heed my warning. Beware? I heard no wolves (unless you count the aforementioned Ulver). Heart sounds almost like an admonishment, nevertheless. It almost comes across as a conversation between two parties ? one of which is giving the other some truths. There's a back and forth movement to the piece, but one half of this is definitely in a stronger position than the other.

I'm only halfway through the album. I could go on, but I feel like this is something that, if you've read this far and are still interested, you're already caught in the Sinkhole. Compassion can be misguided, and I'm well aware that I'm quite possibly reading into the music ideas which come from my own personal circumstances. Caress of Compassion feels like an album that will make every person feel something different, but will also without doubt make the listener think. This is the compassion, I feel, as the listener is drawn to think about what the music is telling them (or, as I alluded to earlier on, not telling them). Caress of Compassion is not a passive listening experience. It is not always a comfortable listening experience. But it is always a beautiful listening experience, and part of that beauty is the empathy the listener has for the music. This might well be Ivan Rozmainsky's best work yet! Wow!

 Caress of Compassion by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.29 | 18 ratings

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Caress of Compassion
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Vanamonde

5 stars With their new album (the first one within the Compassionizer project) Ivan Rozmainsky and his team continue to explore new realms of the musical reality. It is an exploration in the proper sense of the word because as typical for this artist even within one composition he rarely gets stuck in one motif even happily found but always boldly proceeds his way through the limitless space of musical associations and reflections. The Whole Creation Travaileth in Pain Together, one of the best works of the album, with its feel of disturbing suspense and oriental touches inventively created by the rubab and doira opens both the album and this twisted adventure as quite consistent with its title. May be my favorite of the whole collection is 1907 with its the noble and persistent ardor and beautiful baroqueness of the melody. The music of the whole album combines fluidity and precision in expressing the richness of human moods and emotions, and by the way it is why I can easily imagine many of these compositions as a great accompanying melody for an art-house movie. It is definitely a big success of Ivan and the team and a next important step in their musical evolution.
 Caress of Compassion by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.29 | 18 ratings

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Caress of Compassion
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars The more recommendations I get for projects involving Ivan Rozmainsky, the more interesting I end up considering him as an artist, with the work he's been involved in being quite a variety of projects with distinct sounds, ranging from the avant-garde intensity of Roz Vitalis, to the vintage symphonic sound of RMP, to even featuring on some prog metal tracks with Trappist System Trio. Of all of these artists and sounds however, Compassionizer's Caress of Compassion might just be the most interesting of all of his work, taking on an approach quite far removed from the rest of his work, being considerably more focused on atmosphere and texture above typical songwriting, often feeling more akin to ambient rather than the prog he's been a part of. It also helps that in the case of this album, it's more than just a case of trying something different, but actually executing these ideas well, utilising the variety of instruments to paint a variety of sonic landscapes that cover a range of emotions, ranging from the mysterious to the melancholy.

The album kicks off with one of its best tracks, The Whole Creation..., immediately creating an atmosphere utilising the range of exotic instruments along with the droning of keyboards, giving off a very mysterious feel, with imagery reminiscent of exploring a dark cave. This is combined with a light eeriness as well, further adding to the atmospheric depth at play. The way this track progresses as well is also incredible, gradually becoming denser as more instruments are added to the mix without losing the subtlety that contributes to the immersive nature of the album, with the powerful guitar melodies being especially impactful. I also appreciate tracks like Street out of Sleep and Beware of Evil Workers that make full use of the keyboards to create a very artificial, futuristic sound while maintaining the use of the other instruments to undercut this with a somewhat organic feeling to it all, a contrast that is utilised excellently to provide further complexity to the atmosphere.

On the other side of things, there are tracks such as How Poems Lose Relevance and Beware of Evil Workers yet again that have an understated sense of grandiosity to them, with the sound of an organ or harpsichord in particular being key contributors in this, demonstrating some great versatility whilst not compromising the cohesion either, all sounding quite different yet undoubtedly belonging to the album. If there were one thing that this album could use a bit less of however, it's definitely the minimalistic parts almost entirely dedicated to largely isolated piano melodies, often contributing a melancholy tone to the music, but rarely being able to have the same sort of power as much of the other material, particularly during Caress of Compassion, Pt. 2. That's not to say that these are all entirely bad however, as in the case of 1907, this tone is quite profound in its relative emotional impact, managing to almost sound introspective in its delivery, with the diversions into the other elements of the band once again giving that distinct feeling of progression despite the fact the understated nature of the album.

Overall, I wouldn't just consider this yet another successful project for Ivan Rozmainsky, but straight up his most successful of all the ones I've heard so far, being quite an interesting change of pace to his regular material, but such a great one at the same time. I feel like he completely succeeded in his vision of creating something far more melodic and atmospheric than his past works an tying these all to more positive emotion, as even during the darker sounding portions of this album, there's a constant underlying beauty and meditative sound to it, being tranquil even at its most intense. All of this combined with meaningful use of a wide variety of symphonic instruments gives this a very distinct, unique identity that is unlike much of what I've heard. I would definitely recommend this album to those that enjoy extremely atmospheric music, as this is definitely the main thing that this album is aiming for, and accomplishes this for sure while still having quite a lot of character to go along with it.

Best tracks: The Whole Creation...., Beware of Evil Workers, 1907

Weakest tracks: Caress of Compassion, Pt. 2, My Soul as a Thirsty Land

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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