The album on review here, entitled Night Dreams & Wishes”, is the second full-length album by the Modern-Rock Ensemble, a collaboration of international musicians under the auspices of Ukrainian composer and producer ‘Vladimir Gorashchenkoa’, (poet, and keyboard/guitar). It is, without doubt, an epic rock assemblage that encompass all aspects of the progressive rock, space rock, jazz rock and classical rock spectrum. Accompanying album notes suggest that the listener “might not find it obvious that many parts of the suite are related”. And after several plays in the process of reviewing its contents I would subscribe totally to this statement. However, it is an album that will remain on my turntable for quite some time and, as a consequence, I will certainly look forward to investigating further the storylines and in the process, gradually piecing the various musical sections together? To aid clarification and at the end of the review I have included ‘Vladimir’s’ explanatory text which details out the storyline and various links.
For me the entire works are a glorious all-embracing musical scrap book that contains a massive wealth of ever-changing musical soundscapes. These movements all combine together to create and contribute to the lengthy seventy eight minute overall score which has the semblance of a mighty rock opera. Buried within the score are of lots of little but familiar musical snippets that jump out at you and beg your attention as they pass you by. My ears anyway picked up cleverly integrated droplets of ‘Slaughter on 10th Avenue’, ‘West Side Story’, Isao Tomita ‘snowflakes are dancing. All wonderfully captured and sucked into the heart of the score to suddenly spring out and thrill you. But this is the very tip of a magical iceberg of gratifyingly well-constructed keyboard inspired music.
The flow of the music between individual and adjoining sections frequently form patterns of everchanging tempos that vary considerably. Instances where slices of raucous guitar and synthesiser entanglements shift seamlessly over to delicately and exquisitely administered acoustic guitar and flute resulting in a plethora of different moods as the style of the music switches constantly throughout the lengthy programme. Dancing like little wisps of sunlight, gorgeous flurries of keyboard electronica add dimension to the main instrumental phrasing. Just so much going on its difficult to take it all in at once especially the added jazz rock fusion excursions which burst forth onto the scene with stunning bass lines, grandiose saxophone passages, frenetic drumming, aggressive percussion and even more keyboard generated mayhem all beautifully layered on top of a vast array of varying background foundations.
Even though Vladimir’s keyboards are the focal point of the album dynamics, the contributions from the other musicians are enormous. Powerful lead guitar, tremendous bass guitar and saxophone are all amazing. It is clear that the key stand out feature of the entire suite is the fact that it has all been painstakingly put together with care and expertise, no offbeat jam sessions or throw away tracks. The whole production has been perfectly worked out like a major symphony.
Whilst the vocal contributions are far and few between there is an enjoyable vocal input from ‘Vladimir’ and again executed with a mixture of styles ranging from that of tender sweetness to monstrous stage like aggression. Especially the delightful and quite romantic duet ‘Night Comes’. Dreams with ‘Anastasiia Gorashchenko’
The artwork is quality, wonderfully assembled with much thought and care, clearly with the purchaser in mind. Quite the best package I’ve seen for many a day. Artwork: "Balcony" (1977) by Vitaliy Vasiliyev
Summary, another must have top score album and one that represents a veritable and complete musical encyclopaedia of the progressive rock genera
Vladimir Gorashchenko – keyboards and synths; acoustic 6-string, nylon & 12 string guitars; electric guitar; recorder; percussion; lead and backing vocals.
Max Velychko – lead electric guitar, acoustic 6 string guitar in “School Days”, drums demos, timpani. Enver Izmailov – tapping electric guitars + electric bow in “Overture”, “Morpheus”, First and Second Voyage with Morpheus, “Insomnia”, 2nd part of “Life of the Poor People”.
Evgeniy Selezniov – drums.
Igor Zakus – fretless bass.
Dmitriy Trifonov – fretted bass.
Bogdan Gumenyuk – soprano & tenor saxaphone, flute.
Brody Green – additional drums .
Alexander Kotov – backing vocals, co-lead in “Want Some More?” and “Gladiators”.
Anastasiia Gorashchenko – all female voices.
Tamara Gorashchenko & Anna Danilova – kids voices.
Choir: Alexey Gordiyenko, Vladimir Gorashchenko, Andrew Nazarenko, Eugene Sokolenko, Tamara Gorashchenko, Oksana Chernetz, Anna Danilova, Illia Yakovlev. String Ensemble: Igor Andriyevsky – violin; Vitaliy Leonov – 2nd violin; Konstantin Kuleba – viola; Sergey Petrov – cello; Taras Pivlek – contrabass.
Suite Tracks “Night Dreams & Wishes”.
1. Intro - Night, Universe and Our Inner Space 03:01
2. Overture 05:52
3. Night Comes. Dreams 11:09 Night’s Creeping in Town / Morpheus the God of Night Dreams / First Voyage with Morpheus / Second Voyage with Morpheus / Third Voyage with Morpheus
4. Barocco Scherzo - Fourth Voyage with Morpheus 02:03
5.Childhood & School Days 11:31 The Gang of Young Roosters / Nostalgia for Childhood / Childhood / Time Runs Ahead / Mother’s Lullaby / School Days / Time Runs Ahead / First Love.
6. Insomnia (with nightingales & E. Izmailov) 03:44
7-9. Dark Kingdom & The Evil King: 28:28 Part 1: Dark Kingdom / The Ball in the Dark Kingdom / The Evil King / Evil is Spreading Around / Life of the Poor People Part 2: Despair, Fear & Hesitations / Uprising / First Battles and Small Victories / The Main Battle: a) We are Winning!? b) Trapped by the King’s Troops c) King’s Troops are Surrounding and Defeating the Rebels / Revenge of the Evil King / Rebels – Prisoners and Slaves Part 3: Gladiators (Fight, 2-nd Uprising and the Victory) / Hymn to Freedom / Gladiator’s Feast
10. Wake Up 05:42
11. Final / Outro 06:27
“Vladimir Gorashchenkoa’s” After the first listen it might be not that obvious that many parts of the Suite. However, different themes are developing throughout the Suite. The main theme “Night Comes” is repeated 6 times in different variations.“Time Runs Ahead” appears 4 times, including “Gladiator’s Feast” and “Wake Up” parts. “The Gang of Young Roosters” further develops in “The Ball in the Dark Kingdom”. The theme of “School Days” at first appears in the “Overture”, then in “Third Voyage with Morpheus” in different time-signature, then goes “School Days” itself, and then the theme is repeated in “Defeating the Rebels” and in “Final”. “First Battles and Small Victories” appears at first in the “Overture” and then it further develops 3 times. “The Evil King” theme is developed throughout 5 pieces. In “Insomnia” one can find certain themes from other parts. I don’t want to show all the parallels, since every listener might have their own opinion. Music is not a pure mathematics, driven by logic and theory. First priority – it’s emotions, which are giving birth to harmonies and melodies. Welcome to the “Night Dreams & Wishes”. I wish you an interesting journey. V.G.