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Sunchild - As Far As The Eye Can See CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.06 | 223 ratings

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Life Line Project
5 stars 2011 has been an excellent year for Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin. He is both the mastermind of the Karfagen project, with whom he released the more than excellent "Lost Symphony" and his band Sunchild. Again he has surrounded himself with a large number of first class musicians, of which a large number coincides with Karfagen. Some significant differences are guitarist Andrey Kobylyanskiy and two female vocalists of which it's hard to decide who is who. The quality of these female vocals however is exceptional.

I think the lead singer, who is also featured on the band photos in the accompanying booklet, is Olya Chernova (there are two vocalists credited, so it's hard to tell). She sounds a lot like Kate Bush and her singing is adding a totally new dimension to the Kalugin music. Just listen to songs like "The Ring Of Eternity" or the brilliantly and theatrically sung "Mirrors" (more of this please !!). Her voice is certainly one of the highlights on this album. It's a pity Antony Kalugin alternates these brilliant vocals with his own sometimes mediocre singing, bothered by a strong Ukrainian accent, which at some spots even causes timing problems. If it weren't for the great vocal contributions of the earlier mentioned Olya Chernova or the incredible musicianship of Antony Kalugin, I would have been inclined to take of one star. However the capacity of mister Kalugin to make extremely gifted arrangements and compositions is of such importance, that I think that every self-respecting progrock music lover should have at least one of his albums and I think "As Far As The Eye Can See" would be an excellent choice.

Don't think Kalugin is a bad singer. In particular the more solid passages sound more than all right and in the harmony parts he fits in more than well. You just have to listen to a song like "March Of Fate" to find out. The weak spots are in the more subtle sung passages in which he reminds me of Wallenstein's Jürgen Dollase, an excellent player, but not a too convincing singer.

The album opens with "Stars Of Cardiff Bay", an impressive composition of over fifteen minutes, in which mister Kalugin and his small orchestra display all their abilities. Well executed melodic symphonic art rock, stocked with impressive instrumental passages, gloriously centred around the brilliant and convincing keyboard playing by master Kalugin. A huge alto saxophone solo is provided by Misha Sidorenko. Excellent synthesizer and organ solos, worthy of Eddie Jobson's U.K., are alternated with subtle woodwind and string passages. Surprising and musical like vocal parts are followed by solid and virtuoso electric guitar solos. The song has everything a real proglover may wish.

As with the Karfagen project the arrangements provided by Antony Kalugin are incredible. He knows exactly to create beautiful new instrumental colours by finding all the right positioning of the woodwind and string parts. I was particularly struck by the inventiveness of the arrangements of the oboe and bassoon parts. Those who care for great flute performances should try out songs like the earlier mentioned "March of Fate" and the beautiful "Visionary Sights" in which even the male vocals are well sung. The chorus is catchy and it's a song that could almost become a hit, a song that keeps haunting your mind.

All songs on "As Far As The Eye Can See" are of outstanding quality. They all contain a melodic and harmonious warmth, that makes you want more. In these days of numbness and hurry, the music of Sunchild takes you away from it all with beautiful melodies, sometimes inspired by folk music sustained by the use of the bayan (a sort of accordion), but most of the time all of great originality. Apart from the earlier mentioned little short-comings the vocals are well arranged and perfectly executed. There are even spots where I was reminded of musicals like "Chess", because of the outstanding and theatrical quality of the choral vocals.

The album ends with title track "As Far As The Eye Can See" in which once more all Sunchild qualities are shown at their best. The only pity is that the album ends rather abruptly.

I have listened to the album lots of times and as so often with Antony Kalugin products you just keep on discovering new things in this so meticulously elaborated music. The recording and production are of excellent quality. It's one of the 2011 albums I have enjoyed most, so it would be a shame to deny Sunchild one of the so well deserved five stars ! Recommended to everyone !

Erik de Beer.

Life Line Project | 5/5 |


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