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Gleb Kolyadin - Gleb Kolyadin CD (album) cover

GLEB KOLYADIN

Gleb Kolyadin

 

Crossover Prog

4.14 | 91 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

proghaven
4 stars This album is the best possible evidence that there's no Russian progressive as a developed scene/school. Once upon a time I mentioned this on the PA forum - and was immediately booed by special collaborators, prog reviewers, senior members etc. How!? What?! Do you know Aviva? Do you know Little Tragedies? Do you know Dawn Dialogue? - and so on and on. Yes, yes. I do. Make no mistake. In total, about 150 prog artists from Russia are listed here on PA. (Or more, I checked a year ago.) But they don't form a national scene/school. And the brilliant 2018 solo album from Gleb Kolyadin puts an end in proving this.

Nobody knows how it turns out. Most of historical bands of 1970s-1980s so-called Russian rock (which was in fact Soviet underground) were distinctively Russian and formed a whole, a real (though partially semi-professional) school, a musical movement. Just remember DDT, Mashina Vremeni, Alisa, Brigada S, Agata Kristi, Chaif, Nautilus Pompilius, Aquarium, Nastya, Yanka, Piknik, Grazhdanskaya Oborona and other projects by late great Yegor Letov... well, even hooligans like DK, Romych Neumoev or Chorny Lukich were distinctively Russian. I don't like to say that they systematically and professionally used, or reworked, or rearranged Russian traditional music in their works. No, not at all. Far from that. So-called 'national spirit' in music is truly impossible to be verbalized - but easily diagnosed by ear. Kerrs Pink is Norwegian, Genesis is English, Eloy is German, Kansas is American, Topos Uranos is Brazilian, Asia Minor is Turkish, Czeslaw Niemen, SBB and Abraxas are Polish - but...

...but Riverside is global. No Polish national spirit may be found in their music, despite all its splendour. And as global are Russian 1990s-2010s prog artists en masse. On the other hand, Russian national spirit is present in the music of old proggy/somewhat-close-to-prog bands like Dawn Dialogue, Oblachny Kray, Araks or Urfin Juice. But perhaps they were not prog enough and/or (with the exception of Araks) not professional enough to form a Russian prog scene. Yes they were distinctively Russian, but (with the exception of Araks!) dangerously close to what we in Russia call 'samodeyatelnost' (amateur performance). In fact, they belong to the same school as Aquarium and other old Russian rockers. Quite Russian and well crafted as a composer is Nastya, but her music is rather indie than prog. Distinctively Russian and highly professional was and still is Kalinov Most, but this greatest band is usually found to have too strong folky, psychy and bluesy touch to be included in the prog community. Maybe Andrei Misin is the only true progster from that old generation.

Kolyadin and his band Iamthemorning are purely cosmopolite Russian progsters. Their albums (all amazing in all respects I admit!) miss the same thing that was present in old 'Russian rock' but is usually missing in modern 'Russian prog'. Kolyadin's music is global, supranational if you like, and it does not put any start to what might be called genuine Russian progressive school. If we discuss the musical level (composition, arrangements, instrumentation, musicianship) of Kolyadin's solo album, then undoubtedly it's a masterpiece (5 stars). But if we consider it a work by a Russian artist, then it's rather 'good but non essential' (3 stars; that's why I give 4 stars as an average...). Just because it should start a movement in current Russian music but didn't.

Glinka said: a nation creates music, we artists only arrange it. Russian music needs new Glinka - can Kolyadin become him?

Sure. Why not? He is talented enough and, on the other hand, crafted enough for that. But instead, he does his best to pass another exam for the degree of 'progster like everybody else'. Yes he passed this exam perfectly well again. He formed a sort of supergroup for his solo album, the only two tracks with vocal are sung in some language that didn't even remind Russian, and some people already say that Kolyadin is 'another Emerson'. Most likely they think it's a compliment. I'd say it's rather a condemnation. Why should Kolyadin become Emerson The Second (or Banks, Lord, Watkins, Moraz or anyone else) while he has all opportunities to be Kolyadin The First And Only? The only thing needed for that and still missing in his music is national spirit. And in this respect I (as a dedicated listener) rely on Kolyadin more than on other current Russian progsters, because very slight 'prodromes of Russianness' may nevertheless be heard in some of his virtuoso piano-dominated pieces. Hardly but heard.

P.S. Looks like I completely forgot about the track-by-track investigation principle. Excusez-moi, I'll try at least to end up with it. As a diehard prog fan I should mark first of all the only track with duration typical for epic suite, i.e. 10-minute Confluence. But its musical tissue sounds homogenous with the surrounding material, and can faintly be distinguished from it by ear. In fact, the entire album is one giant epic suite. An excellent epic suite, with no doubt.

proghaven | 4/5 |

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