Roman Stolyar

Credo

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The Russian label Electroshock has chosen an unusual aesthetic realm that encompasses academic electro-acoustic music, new age/ambient and progressive rock. In the case of Roman Stolyar's Credo, all these forms are represented, for better or worse. Hailing from Novosibirsk, Stolyar has included three works on this first solo album. "Credo RS" takes the form of a self-portrait in four parts, for a total of 36 minutes. The composer rummages through his eclectic musical tastes and capacities as an instrumentalist. The piece begins with a solo on melodica, followed by another solo on piano. Gershwin-esque passages lead to a full-scale progressive rock romp, strongly reminiscent of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Pirates" -- all that in the seven-minute introduction! Stolyar plays piano, synthesizers, and harmonium backed by a programmed rhythm section. But his original trait is to be found in his use of recorders instead of the concert flute. He displays surprising virtuosity. "Credo RS" moves through swing, improvised, and more prog rock passages. If it does go through all of Stolyar's defining elements as a composer and musician, it fails to truly make sense as a coherent piece. More satisfying is the vocal suite "Songs of the Seasons" (25 minutes). Written for and featuring singer Yelena Silantieva, this work remains resolutely prog rock from start to finish, hinting at Mike Oldfield, Renaissance, and more EL&P. The "Autumn" section stands out, beautiful and luxurious. Silantieva's accent makes it hard to understand the words at times, but her angelic tone and phrasing largely compensate. The closing "Meditation" starts out like a strong ambient prog piece but the last minutes feature crude digital editing that is meant to be "experimental" I guess, but only sounds gratuitous.

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