iamthemorning
Belighted


4.5
superb

Review

by menawati USER (94 Reviews)
September 17th, 2014 | 103 replies


Release Date: 09/15/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Classically inspired Russian chamber folk duo iamthemorning build upon their impressive debut to deliver a beautifully subtle and engaging album.

Iamthemorning’s debut, quietly released in 2012 as a free download, slowly and surely gained a reputation as one of the best progressive folk releases of the past decade. Strong classical influences and an ambitious approach to song-craft characterised the debut but it was its delicate charm and softly lilting atmosphere that really elevated it beyond mere technical competency. This sophomore effort, partially funded by Kickstarter, follows a similar format to the debut and retains a lot of the elements that made it such an arresting experience. This time around, however, the arrangements are more confident and ambitious yet manage to achieve a sparseness in quality that results in a markedly more refined offering.

The classical influences are unmistakeable throughout the album. You could almost describe iamthemorning as a progressive chamber folk orchestra. The core of this Russian group comprises Marjana Semkina on vocals and Gleb Kolyadin on grand piano but a plethora of guests, including the Nevsky String Quartet, inject a multi-layered tapestry of textures into proceedings. Marjana’s vocals were undoubtedly the most immediately appealing aspect of the debut and nothing has changed in that respect. There is an undeniably soothing, almost dreamlike, aspect to her delivery which lifts many of the already impressive piano driven pieces into a world of gossamer clouds and pastel shades. A couple of the songs, especially the gently waltzing ‘Romance’, evoke impressions of Kate Bush in one of her more winsome episodes, but Marjana certainly has a style all her own and incorporates a pleasing soulful edge into her ethereal voice. The epic ‘Crowded Corridors’ showcases her capabilities to full effect as she breathes a fragile misty vocal line over the haunting harp passages and solemn reverse-delay effects that characterize its opening section. This delectably engaging music isn’t just about Marjana though. The progressive aspects to the group’s repertoire come to the fore further in as the song evolves into an eclectic chamber piano piece decorated with gentle tribal folk percussion and tasteful progressive folk rhythms.

Apart from a brief flirtation with some overdriven guitar riffs on ‘The Howler’, which opens the album after a brief introductory piece, subtlety is definitely the order of the day throughout. There are strong melodies which jump out at you in places but these seldom form a repeating theme for the songs and usually act as mere fleeting glimpses before the music drifts off into other territories. The aptly titled ‘The Simple Story’ is about as close iamthemorning come to delivering a traditional verse/chorus structure in this selection of pieces but even here the melodies are more of a gentle nudge than a bold statement. As was the case on their debut, this approach lends the whole experience a gauzy ambience that doesn’t set out to grab you but merely beckon you inside its world of gently shifting soundscapes. The whole stream-of-consciousness atmosphere is strengthened further by the wonderful intermission pieces that link some of the more ambitious songs. These intermissions lack Marjana’s haunting voice but contain some beautiful music, especially ‘Intermission XII’ which seemingly attempts to shoe-horn 200 years of classical music progression into its modest two and a half minutes and ranges from sonorous Bach inspired solo cello through to evocative Ravel-esque melodies.

While not expanding significantly upon their debut in terms of style iamthemorning have definitely succeeded in re-capturing and expanding upon the calm inviting atmosphere that permeated it. The debut was perhaps more immediately appealing as it contained a smattering of upbeat songs with strong consistent melodies and simpler structures but this is a more mature affair with greater depth and longevity. As a body of work this album is a real jewel in the wasteland of overcooked and sterile progressive music that dominates much of the contemporary scene. If you missed them first time around don’t make the same mistake again.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
September 17th 2014


16584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Full streams at :-



http://iamthemorningband.bandcamp.com/

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Belighted/9882724

https://soundcloud.com/kscopemusic/sets/iamthemorning-belighted/s-sr7O6





If you like this their debut is similar and is still 'name your price' on bandcamp here :-

http://iamthemorningband.bandcamp.com/album/-

ChoccyPhilly
September 17th 2014


11670 Comments


Man, you always review the sweetest looking albums, mena. Will check this one out, sounds like my kind of thing

Digging: Mount Kimbie - Love What Survives

menawati
September 17th 2014


16584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, hope you like it, one of aoty so far for me

Friday13th
September 17th 2014


6127 Comments


sounds sweet I liked what I heard

Digging: Duke Ellington - The Far East Suite

Atari
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2014


22711 Comments


mental pos, this looks like some folky goodness

Digging: Langhorne Slim - Lost At Last, Vol 1

menawati
September 17th 2014


16584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys, i didnt know it was out either captain i came across it by chance yesterday, they signed to KScope now so maybe this will get more exposure than their debut

Atari
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2014


22711 Comments


nice feature pal. was gonna request this be featured myself but you already beat me to it ;)

menawati
September 17th 2014


16584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

appreciate it man, hope some people buy into this thing it's beautiful

Totengott
September 17th 2014


4131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds like something for me, congratulations on the feature!

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2014


4408 Comments


Great rev as always, mena. This def looks promising.

ChoccyPhilly
September 17th 2014


11670 Comments


There seems to be only a single song available for preview on the bandcamp by the way

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 17th 2014


25051 Comments


The song at the top of their bandcamp page for this album sounds incredible. Thanks for shedding some light
on this!

Totengott
September 17th 2014


4131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening now, already enjoying it.

menawati
September 17th 2014


16584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys, their debut called '~' is still name your price on bandcamp if you like this.



Oh i see yes choccy, pity, there are a few more at http://www.kscopemusic.com/artists/iamthemorning/ i

think, full thing streamable on gplay so i assume it's on spotify too

Totengott
September 17th 2014


4131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gavin Harrison on drums, fuck. Must have.

BMDrummer
September 17th 2014


14045 Comments


this sounds cool, gonna check soon

johnnydeking29
September 17th 2014


11424 Comments


This sounds so awesome; wish it wasn't so pricey on Bandcamp

Totengott
September 17th 2014


4131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heard 2 tracks so far and I love it.

menawati
September 17th 2014


16584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes that is pricey i agree, it's not a double album either, i'd like the flacs of this but not at that price

so I'll stick with gplay. Their debut is essentially free on there though and if you like this you will

definitely like that too.



nice toten, its a grower too

BMDrummer
September 17th 2014


14045 Comments


their debut is on spotify but this isn't :[



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