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(69:56; Roz Vitalis)
I have been writing about Russian band Roz Vitalis for a fair number of years now, but I have never gone back and investigated their early material. However, Ivan Rozmainsky (keyboards, programming, winds, percussion, vocals) sent me birthday wishes a few months ago, along with this album and an EP which I thought I might enjoy. ‘The Light of the People’ was originally self-released in Russia in 2004 and was their third full-length album. Ivan was joined on this by Nadezhda Regentova who provided keyboards (plus vocals on one of the three songs), keyboard player Vladimir Polyakov plus guest guitarist Sergey Laskin who played on the opening number only. There are only three songs on the album, although there is a total playing time of some 70 minutes, and much of it is instrumental. What I found completely fascinating about this album is that it owes more to church and baroque music than it does to what I think of as progressive. There is a large amount of woodwind instruments and various percussion, including tubular bells, timpani, and xylophone, as well as plenty of keyboards. Musically it feels like a classical piece in three movements, with melodies coming in from different direction and being repeated on different instruments. In terms of progressive music, I feel this has more in common with Gryphon than it does with what I think of in Roz Vitalis which goes to show just how much the band have changed over the year. There is no sense of rush, but rather one of quiet deliberation, with each note being played by a particular instrument for a reason. This album was released only a year after their second, ‘Lazarus’, which I have also not heard, and I am at a loss to understand how this could have been recorded so quickly as there was undoubtedly a huge amount of hours spent in a studio crafting this and pulling it together. For those, like me, who have only come across Roz Vitalis in recent years (their 2018 album ‘The Hidden Man of the Heart’ is truly wonderful) then it is makes sense to go back in time and hear a band in their infancy who were already making wonderful music.
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