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Iamthemorning Belighted album cover
3.84 | 372 ratings | 14 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intermission IX (1:21)
2. The Howler (3:57)
3. The Human Misery (4:19)
4. Intermission X (0:53)
5. Romance (3:02)
6. The Simple Story (3:30)
7. Intermission XI (1:22)
8. 5/4 (3:50)
9. Crowded Corridors (8:44)
10. Gerda (4:52)
11. Os Lunatum (4:32)
12. Intermission XII (2:36)
13. K. O. S. (6:06)
14. Reprise Of Light / No Light (5:17)
15. Intermission XIII (0:59)

Total Time 55:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Marjana Semkina / lead & backing vocals, composer & co-producer
- Gleb Kolyadin / grand piano, keyboards, string arrangements, composer & co-producer

- Vlad Avy / guitar
- Mark Knight / guitar (2,13)
- Andres Izmaylov / harp
- Max Roudenko / bass
- Gavin Harrison / drums
- Grigory Losenkov / string arrangements (3,8)

Nevsky String Quartet:
- Anna Tchijik / 1st violin
- Kristina Popova / violin
- Vladimir Bistritsky / viola
- Vsevolod Dolganov / cello

Turner Quartet (3,6,10):
- Robert Yeomans / 1st violin
- Ruth Funell / violin
- Holly Rouse / viola
- Rosie Banks-Francis / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Konstantin Nagishkin

CD Kscope ‎- KSCOPE305 (2014, UK)

2xLP Kscope ‎? KSCOPE940 (2016, UK)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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IAMTHEMORNING Belighted ratings distribution

(372 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

IAMTHEMORNING Belighted reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars The now infamous sophomore slump: what can be made of it? Why do bands debut with such fire and passion, but suddenly veer off course in sometimes epic fashion? Iamthemorning has not done this. Yes, it was a fear of mine, but this Russian two-piece has managed to stay my fears with a mature work of art. In fact, I would say that they have exceeded my expectations.

If you don't know about Iamthemorning, the bands consists of Marjana Semkina and Gleb Kolyadin, true artists and lovers of all things real and heartfelt. Marjana lends her angelic vocals while Gleb's masterful grand piano and keyboards are a strong foundation. On their first album "~", these two mesmerized with strong melodies, simple songs, and a hefty amount of neoclassical influence. Indeed, it was what I needed to hear at the time, as I fell in love with Marjana's brilliantly honest, emotional style and Gleb's ridiculous skill. Their combined, contrasting artistry is heavily felt, even in their production design. Naturally, then, I was hoping for a continuation of all this on their upcoming release "Belighted", snatched up by none other than Kscope.

"Belighted": what an interesting title. It literally means "in a state of spiritual and intellectual exaltation", and so I think this is an excellent hint at what this album is all about. Marjana gives her all in her vocal performance here. Her self-taught style is easily the highlight of the album, and her mastery of hooks (very difficult ones at times) never stops impressing me. But it's not just her vocal skill that impresses, it's the nature way in which she sings about very personal and intriguing, disturbing topics. She often seems very cold in her approach, yet only in a way that seems like a thinly-veiled cover for a plethora of very human emotions, from dissatisfaction and despair to hope and love. She maintains a delicate balance between vocal brilliance and fragility, especially on "Romance", "To Human Misery", "The Simple Story", and "Crowded Corridors", and this simply intrigues me.

Yet, the instrumentation on "Belighted" is equally arresting. Gleb astounds (as usual) with his elegant grand piano, creating atmospheres of sophistication and intelligence. A huge list of collaborators, including Gavin Harrison, have given use of their skills here, too, and it really shows. Iamthemorning, while still retaining some of their signature chamber sound, have decided to use a wider selection of instruments, utilizing electric guitars and ambient keys, too. You might be saying, "So what?" Well, for this neoclassical band that normally drove their music with the use of piano and violins, it's a big difference. Right off the bat, "The Howler" announces the presence of distortion with a subtle and addictive guitar lick that blends perfectly with the swirling acoustic instruments. Later on, in "Crowded Corridors", a whispering, ambient guitar adds touches of mystery to the music. As you can see, while they use some standard instruments, they use them in very Iamthemorning ways.

This small taste is an indication of the attitude present in this album. Iamthemorning, for better or worse, sounded very much the same from beginning to end in their debut album. As good as it was, it still explored the same sounds and ideas over and over again. "Belighted", however, shows the band's commitment to progress and maturation. Surrounded by their signature (and brilliant) instrumental intermissions, their main tracks are very different from each other. Like precious jewels, some are guitar driven, some are vocally dominated, some are dark, some are uplifting, and others have incredibly complex structures. "5/4", one of my favorites, showcases a carnival-esque, swirling melody that rises only once, and it's enough to leave you begging to hear the track again. This happens quite often in this album, and I'm afraid that, as a result, I can't really choose a favorite track. I would point to "The Howler", "To Human Misery", "Romance", "5/4", "Crowded Corridors", and "Light/No Light" as my favorites, and I appreciate them more every time I hear them.

Indeed, "Belighted" is often like a big teaser. It draws you back for more, and it absolutely requires 5 or 6 listens to appreciate (in addition to a big, sensitive sound system). I was speaking to Marjana about how I fall in love with this album a little more each time I hear it, and she was adamant about the fact that this album is meant to require time and persistence in order to grasp it fully. I have fallen head first into this world of invention, creativity, and pure beauty, and it has easily become one of my favorite albums of the year. "Belighted" is a monument to progression, art, human emotion, and deep storytelling that shouldn't be missed, and I certainly think many prog "veterans" could learn from this young band. With inspiring elegance, passion, vulnerability, and hope, Iamthemorning has ventured forth to present their work to the world, and I hope people will give it the time and accolades that it deserves.

Review by Zitro
5 stars Two years ago, a virtually unknown Russian band released a debut with chamber classical orchestration, gorgeous multi-layered vocals, and the occasional modern rock touch. Very few initially noticed it, but eventually by word of mouth, it became an unexpected favorite 2012 album in progressive rock, despite the scarcity of progressive rock elements. Listeners there mainly rated on songwriting and enjoyment.

Now, we have a second iamthemorning album, expanding on the elements from the first album. A confident, mature album that will likely bring rave reviews all over the place given the band is not as obscure as in 2012.

The music is once again heavily influenced by classical music. Vocals and piano continue creating the foundation of the music, with orchestral instrument, drums, and modern rock sounds adding layers whenever needed. Even the modern rock sounds are used in a very classical, 'iamthemorning' way.

The added complexity of the music was a risk. After all, the debut's instantly rewarding melodies and its safe, if brilliant, songwriting approach made it very difficult for many listener to honestly hate such an album. Now, we're dealing with complexity levels more to the tune of classical music and progressive rock. This is now easily categorized as progressive rock, with less direct melodies, knotty musical ideas, occasionally long songs, more in-depth instrumentation and lyricism. The risk is that I enjoyed the first listen less than the first listen of the debut. However, I cannot decide which album I prefer now. I feel like this one has a few minor flaws based on the risk-taking approach, compared to the near-perfection pop of the debut. However, there are even more 'WOW!' moments here in my opinion, some of the very best musical passages I perceive to come across.

Flaws? I seem to only gripe about the slow development of their last full song, the samples in 'Howler' and the beginning of 'K.O.S' with a repetitive, awkward drum beat and one-chord guitar riff. Luckily, the latter two songs are overall highly interesting and dynamic songs otherwise, which is why I said the flaws are not severe as they involve a small fraction of two songs.

Strengths? It's hard to name them all. The intermissions remain impressive. The first one has such a captivating atmosphere, I can't imagine anyone being hard-pressed to say 'nah' and stop playing the album. The fourth intermission (titled XII) almost reaches song-like status in length, starting with classical violin and continuing with mesmerizing piano. The last intermission is almost transcendental in a spiritual sense.

And then you have the songs and they are so, so good. All those subtle melodies and exciting instrumentation in 'Howler', the beautiful 'To Human Misery' with a very captivating main melody yet also with a lot of subtle instrumentation. I should try not to overuse the phrase 'subtle complexity', but I think that word really describes this album. Subtle complexity is what makes this album work so well: you latch on into some obvious melodies on first listen, but then all those little details won't make you lose interest. Every instrument plays melodies, sometimes simultaneously.

'Romance' and '5/4' sound a bit like more intricate version of Tori Amos music. They are whimsical, enchanting yet quite complex in instrumentation. Those little details like the muted violin melodies and brief 'shredding' electric guitar that somehow sounds mellow. The '5/4' song is mostly in 6/4 actually, but when it shifts to a 5/4 meter playing a carnival-like atmosphere, it's pure genius, even if it sounds like a horrible idea at first listen. It's an odd choice for a single. I thought it would be 'The Simple Story' which is more instantly recognizable with its melodies and the great piano line near the end. 'Crowded Corridors' is possibly their most accomplished composition to date and also their longest by far at nearly 9 minutes. It begins relatively subdued with their typical instrumentation and vocalizations, if more haunting than usual. Something else going for it is the more 'epic', dramatic moments that work incredibly well. It'd be interesting if they revisit this approach to songwriting in later albums. A particular highlight, besides the obvious piano solo in the latter half, is a slow melody at minute 3 being revisited at the very end at a faster pace.

By the way, most of these songs deviate from a typical song structure to help make it more impactful and dynamic. The song 'Gerda' starts very soft and delicate but later sounds very empowering and grand: it's yet another great song. 'Os Lunatum' starts as an outstanding piano + vocal duet, both at their very best, especially during the song's main hook. Guitars later become dominant on the song's instrumental section. The song concludes with a full band sound, the progression from the very beginning being very natural.

'K O S' may be marginally a less enjoyable song here because of that first minute which sounds repetitive and lacks what I like about the band. The rest is an interesting experiment as they veer towards a progressive rock / alternative rock sound without fully losing their trademark vocals, pianos, and subtle way to adding melodic layers. I love the way it ends, reprising the intro in such a way that almost redeems it. The 'Reprise of Light no Light' is another lesser favorite, developing in a slow fashion that sometimes tests my patience. I do love that it, along with the last intermission, ends with peaceful, abstract noise.

In the end, they have accomplished a very difficult feat, given the high standard the set themselves with their debut. This second album is very intelligent music as well as very deep, emotional music. It touches me. In the end, despite the occasional flaw, it's a masterpiece and I anticipate it being consistently among my favorite pieces of music regardless of genre alongside their debut.

Source: Free streaming off soundcloud.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While not as breathtakingly fresh as 2012's stunning debut, ~, Belighted is a step forward for this young duo of Russian songwriters. With Belighted iamthemorning steps into modern recording studio, collaborates with seasoned prog rock musicians, and lays down a more diverse palette of songs. What for me (and other reviewers) has really caught my attention is the growth and maturation of singer Marjana Semkina. Her delivery of the lyrics adds such a powerful emotional depth and 'heaviness' as to in effect upgrade what could be fairly run-of- the-mill songs into powerful masterpieces. I know of very few singers in progressive rock music--past or present--who have this kind of effect on a song's overall impact. In particular, "Romance," "The Simple Story," "Gerda," and "Reprise of Light/No Light," and the first and last "Intermission" benefit most dramatically from Ms. Semkina's growth--though no song graced with her vocal touch fails to engage and win over the listener. I have to agree, however, with other reviewers that I think it an overall damaging flaw of the album that Marjana's vocals are not mixed more prominently into the forefront.

The theme of having "Intermission" songs between most of the full-length, vocalized songs continues from ~ though here there are only five to work their magic between the ten full- length songs (most of which are presented in pairs). There is a difference on Belighted as the Intermissions are not so folk/neoclassical oriented. They are more like sound experiments, each showcasing a different instrument: Marjana's dreamy voice, guitar, piano & waves, cello & piano, and strings and voice, respectively. Each, in turn, is treated with various and sundry sound engineering effects.

Again, I can't say that this album has hit me with the same kind of power as their debut--but ~ was so fresh and unexpected. Belighted comes at you with Marjana's now familiar voice and a greater variety of backup and stylings, though Gleb's extraordinary piano work and strings arrangements are still quite present and essential to most every song. I am quite fascinated and taken with the five Intermissions, but there are two rather delicate piano-centric songs that don't lift off as well as my hopes and expectations desire despite Gleb's extraordinary talent ("Crowded Corridors" and "Os Lunatum"). I think I'm waiting for Marjana's input to take the songs to another level, to a some kind of soaring crescendo. These are by no means bad songs--and are intricately crafted pieces of beauty. They just could have been . . . more. And then there are three songs that simply don't click with me ("The Howler," "Romance" and "K.O.S.").

I agree that this is no sophomore slump. Belighted is a collection of beautiful, intricately crafted songs. Gleb and Marjana both display extraordinary growth, artistry, and skill. I want to give these shining young stars of modern music five stars but I think--I hope--that there is more, even better, music to come.

Five star songs: "To Human Misery," "The Simple Story," "Gerda," the Kate Bush-like "5/4, "Reprise of Light/No Light," and all of the "Intermissions."

4.5 star album that, unfortunately, leaves room for improvement.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Russian band iamthemorning, which revolves around the creative partnership of keyboardist Gleb Kolyadin and vocalist Marjana Semkina, quickly rose to prominence following the release of their debut album "~" back in 2012. Since it's release they have released an EP, and in 2015 they also released a live album documenting their efforts on stage. "Belighted" is their second studio production, and was released in the fall of 2014 on prestigious UK label KScope.

I belong to those people who thought it was a brilliant idea for KScope to snap up this fine, talented band. I really enjoyed their debut album, and found the music they explored there to be one that would fit quite nicely in to the KScope roster of bands due to the emphasis on moods and atmospheres, and was of course interested to hear how this band had developed since that event took place.

iamthemorning continues to explore their particular brand of what one might call atmospheric laden progressive rock in a fine manner. We're treated to interludes with a firm nod in the direction of classical music, Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" did come to mind on a couple of occasions for those, mainly due to Kolyadin's piano motifs I guess, as Mussorgsky's piece originally was one made for that instrument, and did feature interludes between the main parts of the composition. Marjana's vocals are more sparingly applied in those sections when present, naturally enough I guess, as these atmospheric interludes for me first and foremost comes across as ones that highlight the talents of Kolyadin.

As for the rest of the songs, they are by and large of the same general orientation as the ones on the band's debut album. Marjana's vocals combines fine with orchestral backing, piano and careful use of rock instrumentation. Drummer Harrison makes his presence heard obviously, but by and large the instrument aspects of the compositions are mainly mellow, although a recurring element is how these compositions builds up to the occasional layered, majestic and dramatic crescendo prior to subsiding again. In that context this band has something of a post-rock spirit to it, and it is very much appropriate when some of the tracks also features careful use of delicate guitar textures of a post-rock orientation.

There's a lot of positives to this album, and second to last track Reprise of Light / No Light, with it's careful build up to a sound, mood and arrangement more than a bit like Kate Bush' massive hit Cloudbusting, is perhaps the main positive for me, alongside Marjana's expanded vocal repertoire: At least to my ears she appears to use a few more approaches and variations to her singing now than on the band's debut album, indicating a vocalist still intent on development.

The downside for me is that the album as a whole feels, in lack of other words, safe. There are few edges to the material, other than the blazing guitar riffs that book-end second track The Howler, and I get the impression that Marjana's vocals are somewhat restrained too. Partially due to mix and production I guess, but she also appears to stay within the scope of the careful and dream-laden vocal delivery a bit too much. Memory is rarely trustworthy, but my recollection is that there were at least a few more emotionally laden, powerful vocal details at play on the band's debut album, even if subtly rather than dramatically so, but this aspect isn't much of a feature this time around. The combination of these two for me results in an album that lacks those moments of pure magic and brilliance I treasured when I encountered the band initially. I should add that these are minor points though, and rather subjective at that.

In many cases, especially in the past, there were comments about the dreaded second album, when an artist had created a good debut but then ran out of steam the second time around. Thankfully this isn't the case with iamthemorning, who have made a quality effort with their second CD "Belighted". Perhaps a little bit on the safe side musically, but the compositions continue to be compelling and to blend inspirations from classical music, rock and post-rock in a generally appealing and interesting manner. A band with a potentially broad reach too, I wouldn't be all that surprised if they develop into a unit that makes an impact also in the mainstream music market if they manage to keep at it.

Review by Warthur
3 stars The key iamthemorning duo of Marjana Semkina and Gleb Kolyadin were able to step into a professional studio environment for this followup to surprise hit "~", thanks in part to the contributions of Kickstarter backers. The end result was presumably an important learning experience for them, given that they were able to keep their recording career going afterwards and follow it up with the masterpiece Lighthouse, but I find that Belighted itself is a bit less interesting either than what preceded it or what followed. It's all very pretty, but there's a certain irony to a song here being called "The Simple Story", since it does feel like they are playing it safe and keeping things simple here rather than really stretching.

It's probably worth a listen for anyone who likes their particular chamber folk style of art rock, but at the same time I wouldn't put it on the level of either of their other two studio albums.

Latest members reviews

3 stars "iamthemorning" is a Russian band which has gained some attention among prog people since their debut record "~" in the year 2012. I haven't heard that record so I could not give you any points about development and so on but I have carefully overheard their second, 2014 year record "Belighted". ... (read more)

Report this review (#1376534) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, March 2, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This young russian ensemble takes us to an enchanting promenade amid very original musical landscapes, sometimes soft and quiet, sometimes tormented and even furious. Marjana's sensitive and sensual voice is a perfect guide to follow and it is made more moving again by Gleb's omnipresent, subtile ... (read more)

Report this review (#1372860) | Posted by Kjarks | Wednesday, February 25, 2015 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is a big disappointment !!!! I bought "Belighted" on the basic of the excellent reviews it has received on Progarchives. To date 35% of reviewers have given it 5 star rating. Usually when a new band without a big biased fan base gets that many 5 star reviews it indicates that they have pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#1345546) | Posted by FXM | Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Iamthemorning's debut record is my favourite debut album of all time. By a fair amount too. The amount of compositional maturity and uniqueness this obscure Russian duo showed on their very first outing was beyond impressive. Melancholic chamber pop melodies adorned with strings and intricate ... (read more)

Report this review (#1322478) | Posted by Gallifrey | Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is indeed an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. BUT! It is an essential listen for anyone who appreciates a greatly crafted piece of art. I fell in love with iamthemorning's music by listening to their first album. They were my companions in one of my trips this ... (read more)

Report this review (#1316372) | Posted by chuckyfunk | Friday, November 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.5 stars. A big step up from their debut. iamthemorning made some big waves with their debut "~". Even though the Prog content was not very high the combination of Marjana's beautiful voice, the well thought out Chamber music, the incredibly lush melodies and Prog inspired rock music create ... (read more)

Report this review (#1315706) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Wednesday, November 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'Belighted' is the second long play experience from today Russia's greatest music act, iamthemorning. Being as frail, etherial and beautiful as their debut album, '~', iamthemorning's second effort is also a huge step towards the exploration of new musical horizons. If '~' was completely a chamb ... (read more)

Report this review (#1290303) | Posted by ole-the-first | Saturday, October 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I discovered Iamthemorning soon after they released their first album, and was anticipating the follow up with excitement and trepidation. The second album can make or break a career. It is either a disappointment or a triumph. I am glad to say it is a triumph with a few niggles. I will get the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1281878) | Posted by mahgni123 | Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I am sorry, I will have to downgrade it to 3 stars, if not 2. Back in 2012 iamthemorning, by magic or otherwise, won the "hearts and minds" of the PA folk. The "~ " album they made then was neither prog, nor good. I found it weak, bleak and palpably pretentious, but the people of PA spoke: it so ... (read more)

Report this review (#1279298) | Posted by Argonaught | Friday, September 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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