CHRONIQUE / REVIEW
ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
the mystery of cosmic sorrow
Release date: March 01, 2016
Format: Digital, CD
Label: Mals Record
Richard Hawey - Avril 2016
CHRONIQUE / REVIEW
ETERNAL WANDERERS est une formation russe fondée en 1997 par les sœurs KANEVSKAYA. Jusqu’à maintenant le groupe a à son actif trois albums, le dernier datant de 2011. EW fait dans le néo, ses influences sont proches de groupe comme Mostly Autumn, Magenta ou Karnataka, toutefois on peut penser aussi à Pendragon. Le chant est féminin et en anglais et il est assuré par Elena qui a une très belle voix en passant. Dans la grande tradition des projets ambitieux typique des années soixante-dix, il nous propose ici un long voyage de quatre-vingt- dix minutes, avec un sujet quasi idéal pour ce type d’exercice: les sinuosités du cosmos. Vous serez confronté à plusieurs styles qui s’entremêlent pour votre plus grand plaisir auditif.
Un projet de cet envergure demande de grandes qualités artistiques aux protagonistes, ils ont dû faire face à plusieurs défis et les relevés, ce qui a donné une œuvre réussie. Chacune des dix compositions, autant instrumentales que chantées sont riches et solidement interprété. Il faut pourtant avouer que l’ensemble est complexe et qu’il vous faudra peut-être plusieurs écoutes pour apprécier l’intégralité du thème. Les changements de rythmes et de styles sont fréquents, parfois délicats, parfois extrêmes. Les atmosphères suivent les mêmes schémas. Aux claviers, Elena sert de pivot et de chef d’orchestre, pas de longs solos de claviers ou de déchainement. Elle se concentre surtout sur les climats et les textures. Au chant, elle montre dela confiance, un excellent potentiel et de la retenue. Aux guitares, Tatyana est tout le contraire. Elle démontre autant de finesse et de délicatesse que de violence, de langueur que de folles envolées. Il faut aussi ajouter le superbe travail du bassiste et l’efficacité du batteur. Avant de terminer je citerai quelques titres qui m’ont impressionné, tout d’abord « Born to Suffer », un véritable chef-d’œuvre, « Silent World » ou « Gamma Waves » qui sont tout aussi bon. D’ailleurs il est à noter que le premier CD est plus varié tandis que le second est plus space et totalement instrumental.
La création d’une œuvre de ce type demande beaucoup de courage et de confiance, ce qui m’amène à dire que nous avons là un groupe qui a beaucoup muri. ETERNAL WANDERERS est devenu après trois albums une force majeure de la musique progressive. L’amateur aura un certain travail à faire car un album double n’est jamais facile à digérer et la complexité des compositions donnera l’occasion à l’auditeur de se retremper dans la musique d’ETERNAL WANDERERS et d’en apprécier chaque instant.
Musiciens / MUSICIANS :
- Elena Kanevskaya / lead vocals, keyboards
- Tatyana Kanevskaya / guitars, backing vocals
- Dmitry Shtatnov / bass, backing vocals, analog
synths and effects
- Sergey Rogulya / drums, percussion
- Dmitry Drogunov / flute
- Alisher Zvid / saxophone (Methane Rain, The Space)
PISTES / TRACKS
1. Message from Space (3.50)
2. The Mystery of the Cosmic Sorrow (8.30)
3. Methane Rain (8.18)
4. Gamma Waves (5.30)
5. Born to Suffer (10.09)
6. Silent World (8.50)
7. Valley of the Oblivion (6.03)
1. Following a Neutrino's Flight (9.29)
2. The End of The Satellite Age (23.26)
I. Hard Times
II. The Great Dance
III. It Went the Wrong Way
IV. Brand New Program
V. Falling Down
3. The Space (4.26)
ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
WITH: ELENA & TATYANA
30 APRIL 2016
Performed by: Richard Hawey
PROFIL - My first question is to ask what attracted you to the rock and more precisely towards progressive music?
ELENA & TATYANA: Our parents never liked rock music, and in childhood we listened only to classical music and Soviet pop music that was broadcasted on radio. Then we studied at musical school where all teachers predicted us a career of classical musicians or teachers of music. But then we entered the specialized physics & mathematics school, and then the institute, and the desire to play music suddenly appeared again… But it was the desire to play rock. It appeared from nowhere – no one definitely influenced us, or introduced us his favourite rock band… We just started to play, to listen and to write own songs. We never thought what kind of rock style our songs were – we wrote what sounded in our heads. Then we heard Pink Floyd, and it impressed us greatly. Then came Yes, ELP, Dream Theater and other progressive rock monsters which influenced in one way or another our music.
PR - How can you call your music?
E&T - We usually define our music as art/progressive/psychedelic rock. The definition is so complicated because we think that our music does not fully meet the term “progressive rock”. Together with “classic” progrock some songs include more melodic, psychedelic themes, and even folk and power metal elements. As to “The Mystery Of The Cosmic Sorrow”, its second CD may be better defined as electronics and sympho-electronic experiment.
PR - As you mention on your website"The Mystery of the Cosmic Sorrow" is the result of five years of work, how was the writing period?
E&T - Really the idea of the album is much older. Five years we mention are the period of arrangement and recording. Of ten compositions of the album only three have been written since 2012. The title track of the album, “The Mystery Of The Cosmic Sorrow”, was written in 1998, “Space “ and “Valley Of Oblivion” were written in 1996, 20 years ago! So, the writing period of this album is actually half of our life. And the album is indeed the central idea of EW’s creative activity.
PR - The new album is a double concept album; you want to introduce us?
E&T - The album starts with the message – a signal coming from the cosmic abyss. Massive antennas receive it among chaos of sounds and decode a call from space... Meanwhile a man is going along a street at night, deep in thoughts, in a state of melancholy close to depression. Suddenly his conciousness grows dim, and he falls upon the asphalt pavement. The crowd of people surrounds him, the sounds of approaching ambulance are heard. But for him who is lying upon the asphalt pavement, all this buzz seems like far echos in subdued sound of the waves. His eyes are turned towards the night sky, where the cosmic abyss has yawned, and the mystery of the cosmic sorrow has been revealed… Then we behold the perfect wonder of the Saturn’s satellite Titan where the methane rain is crying for the lost stranger; penetrate to the human brain’s electric impulses, face two guises of silence – solemn silence of the mountain top and the chilling one of summer smoke in Moscow in 2010; intrude into the thoughts of a man whose life is crumbling; ponder over destinies of outstanding people who one day were forgotten…
The second part of the journey involves the listener to a neutrino’s flight through any matter to the interstellar worlds. Then follows the 24 minute sympho-electronic epic “The End Of The Satellite Age” written by Dmitry Shatnov, who is not only a bass player, but also a very versatile musician. This composition leads the listener from the 50s of the 20th century, flight of the first artificial satellite, through the Caribbean crisis, the age of consumption, commerce and the cult of yuppie to the present days and fading of the space dream… The journey ends with the ballad about space in whose infinity it is possible to find harmony and peace.
PR - I have noticed a slight change in your line-up, Dimitri DROGUNOV (flutist) who was with Eternal Wanderers since 2006, left in 2012, you are now four. You thought to replace it?
E&T - No, we didn’t think of replacement. Maybe it was somehow predefined, because the compositions for the next album after he had left, “The Mystery Of The Cosmic Sorrow”, didn’t require flute. As to Dmitry, we remain good friends.
PR - Is there a promotional tour or concerts that are planned?
E&T - We plan a presentation of the album on June 3d 2016 in Moscow. We are going to play all compositions of the album, including “The End Of The Satellite Age”. Now we are rehearsing actively. Then we hope to play some more promotional concerts in St. Petersburg and maybe other places, they are not defined yet.
PR - When creating EW, what was your main goal? You think you have reached it already?
E&T - When creating EW in 1997 we were young, and had only one goal – to play music, to express our thoughts to the world, to unite members of the band under the common idea. And we can say this goal has been reached. The members of the band are now the best friends and some of them even relatives. Of course there were ambitions to devote to music all life, but these ambitions haven’t been realized. We still need to earn our living in another way to have the opportunity to record albums.
PR - Have you ever lived moments of discouragement with the desire to stop everything?
E&T - There was never the desire to stop everything, and music least of all. But surely there were some moments of discouragement. And the main reason for this is the lack of time we can devote to music. The professional activity with which we earn our living have nothing to do with music. Sometimes there arise thoughts something like – could we have changed it? What would have been if we had given up everything and just tried to earn a living playing music, like did rather many famous musicians? In our student days we were terribly poor, and the possibility that we could have earned enough to buy good musical instruments, to record and mix the albums was minimal. In Russia you must be very lucky if you may live good enough playing such “noncommercial” music. Many of our musician friends don’t have families and children, and for us it is unacceptable. Our children make us truly happy.
PR - What are your main musical influences?
E&T - Of progressive and psychedelic rock music our main musical influences are Pink Floyd, ELP, The Beatles, King Crimson. As well as rock music, our great musical influence is traditional electronic music and electroacoustic experiment – Tangerine Dream, Bernd Kistenmacher, Artemy Artemiev. In 90s at nights we listened eagerly to the radio programme “Back To the Universe” about electronic music, it made an unforgettable impression! And of course we should not forget about classic and orchestral music of the 20th century (Prokofiev, Schnittke, Nyman, Glass, Goldsmith, Zimmer etc.)
PR - Do you think progressive music is still alive?
E&T - We are sure it is alive! Of course it is not so popular as for example pop music or rap, but it surely has its devoted fans both among young and elder people. There appear many new young rock bands who play progressive rock, and do it not badly.
PR - In Quebec I notice that most progressive music fans are relatively old, however we note that more and more younger people begin to learn and appreciate this music genre. what is it like in Russia?
E&T - At progressive rock festivals where we had played the listeners were mainly of middle age, 30 – 45 years old. But there also came young ones, maybe progressive music fans, or maybe they had just come to have fun with their friends – but after the concert they came up to us and said “oh, that was cool!” :) Also among young progressive rock fans there are many ones who learn to play guitar or keyboards or bass guitar – in progressive music there are many virtuoso musicians who inspire youngsters to musical feats.
PR - What are your future projects?
E&T - This year we are planning to play concerts, and without a hurry start working with the new album. When we were young, we wrote so many songs that up till now we have a lot of material for new albums. :) But all songs written at that time are just a motive and lyrics – that’s all. So now we’ll need to arrange them carefully, and only then it will be possible to think about recording.
PR - You have the last word ...
E&T - It’s marvellous that music which is intangible, and if to think soberly, just the oscillation of particles in the air, influences so greatly upon the human soul. It is real magic. We are happy that we can create music, and play music, and with music share with listeners the part of our souls. We want to thank all our friends who believe in us. The show goes on.
PR - Hope to see you in Quebec one day.
E&T - Thank you!