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(50:49; Roz Vitalis)
Ivan Rozmainsky (electric piano, synth) and his band has been delivering class instrumental music from Russia for nearly 20 years now, and this album continues that fine tradition. This was recorded live at the annual Babooinumfest in St. Petersburg in 2019, an event which features some of the very best bands in this field, and on this their eighth live album (the fifth in consecutive years) the band were previewing many tracks which have yet to be recorded in a studio. Joining Ivan on this jaunt were Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky (guitar), Ruslan Kirillov (bass), Vladislav Korotkikh (flute) and Evgeny Trefilov (drums), and the quintet continue to follow very much their own path as they combine RIO and avant prog in a way unlike many others. When Korotkikh is involved he often takes the lead melody role, but he is not involved in every song, and here it is down to Kirilov to try and steady the ship as everyone else goes off doing their own thing. One of the real differences between these guys and many others is that Ivan is using electric piano a great deal, almost in the manner of a harpsichord, and his synth sounds are very much those of the early Seventies organ, while Vladimir is very much a rock guitarist who plays plenty of power chords and uses quite a bit of distortion, and Trefilov is all over the place, adding to the dynamics and appeal. They can do gentle and pleasant when they wish to, but it is when they are in full flight they are at their best, experimenting, yet always making logical sense so the listener is not left behind. This is music which is progressing and challenging boundaries as they refuse to follow the crowd. Roz Vitalis continue to be one of the finest progressive bands from Russia and is one that any proghead should be investigating if they havenít done so already.
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