Although he just released his debut album, the name Gleb Kolyadin was already getting noticed, and not only in the prog rock world. Looking at the guest musicians' names, it's clear he's made himself known among some well-known musicians as well. Before we dive into a Duo Review of the album, there's an introductory interview with Gleb by Jerry van Kooten.
Interview With Gleb Kolyadin
Congratulations on the release of your solo album!
Thank you so much! This album turned out to be a true journey in all senses.
When did the idea grow to write a solo album?
For the first time the idea of a solo album appeared in my mind many years ago, probably about the moment when we released our first album, with Marjana. But all subsequent years I postponed this venture, focusing on other projects and mainly on Iamthemorning. For about seven to eight years, I was writing something like a musical diary. The main point was that I wanted to capture an idea that came to my mind within one night. I did not even name these tracks, just used the dates as titles.
Some of these drafts periodically became the basis for the Iamthemorning's tracks or other serious projects. But there was still so many unused material collected over a couple of years, that I decided to put together my favourite drafts into a separate studio project. In the end, I still composed a lot of new music too, so this album is a reflection of myself at that time.
In general, this album was a kind of a challenge, the answer to the question "can I single-handedly implement this project and bring the accumulated ideas into that form which I will eventually be satisfied with?". This process was long and at the same time fast. Time flies very quickly.
You got a lot of well-known people to help you. How did that go?
When I was still working on a demo version, at some point I realised that the material did not fit into the framework of a simple "piano album". I needed other instruments and other colours. Therefore, after consulting with my sound engineer Vlad Avy, we decided to write to all those musicians that I like and invite them to participate in the recording. It so happened that they all agreed, after listening to the demos! So, the idea of a chamber album has grown organically into such a large-scale project.
Is the writing process different when composing for Iamthemorning? When do you know it's a solo piece or band piece?
First of all, I always just record an interesting idea. From any outline, you can make a basis for the subsequent instrumental or a vocal track. This is a purely technical task. However, with further work, the difference between a song and an instrumental is more palpable. In the song, the vocals carry the basic meaning and all other instruments are the arrangement. Even if there are a lot of melodies inside the music, it's still a background for the voice. In instrumental music there are more possibilities and fewer boundaries. At the same time, however, it is not always easy to connect all the musical layers with each other, unlike in vocal music. These are different tasks, but each of them is fascinating in its own way.
Will these songs be played live some time?
Recently I played a solo concert in one of the theaters of St. Petersburg. It was a piano concert where I performed an adapted version of the album, adding a few improvisations. I would gladly repeat this program, because solo concerts are always a spontaneous and improvisational process. I like to play music in a new way every time. But also, I would like to perform these tracks with an extended band and with a rhythm section. Perhaps this will happen the next fall, but so far I have no concrete plans.
What's next? Any plans for promoting the album or keep on writing? Do you focus on one thing at a time or can you do solo and band together?
The last months have turned out to be extremely tense. Now we are preparing something very interesting with Iamthemorning that we've been working on last year. It's still a little secret, but I'm sure you'll like it. There are also some concert plans for the next fall. But I think that until then we must complete the recording preparations for our fourth album.
Gleb Kolyadin - Gleb Kolyadin
Dario Albrecht's Review
Gleb Kolyadin is a pianist and composer from St. Petersburg (Russia), known in the prog community mostly for being one part of the duo Iamthemorning, together with Marjana Semkina. His first solo album is released through the British KScope label and features an impressive array of guest vocalists and instrumentalists, but first and foremost it showcases Kolyadin's impressive talents as composer and performer.
The first song Insight throws the listener right into it, giving a perfect, yes, insight of what this album is about: piano-driven proggy goodness, with complex yet flowing grooves and a great dynamic range. The overall mood on Insight is one of pure joy and exuberant passion. Astral Architecture couldn't be more different from that: somber melancholy, with Antimatter's Mick Moss providing depth with his velvety voice, softly but surely bringing the song to it's inevitable climax: "Come on and levitate"! A stark contrast to the opening song, but not an inch less fantastic.
White Dawn establishes a small musical theme on the piano, playing around with counterpoint and fugato in a Bela Bartók Microcosmos-like fashion, before it is picked up by Kaleidoscope and transformed into a more jazzy style. Female vocalizations enter and shift the song towards a more Kotebel-esque sound. Theo Travis' flute underlines the similarities to the Venezuelan/Spanish piano prog legends. The song ends with a synth solo and subsequent final return to the piano theme from the beginning.
The next two songs flow into each other as well. They too present the same musical theme in different forms and moods. The slow Clair de Lune-like ending from Eidolon is quickly swept away by the upbeat, jazzy Into The Void.
The Room is like the perfect marriage of Kotebel and Human Touch's greek ethno jazz. More Bartók-ness makes sure the piano keys get a proper rhythmic beating and also the melody lines are quite reminiscent of this great Hungarian composer. Confluence however starts out in a subdued fashion again, with Steve Hogarth's first appearance. If Chopin's Nocturne had a baby with Marillion, this is how it would sound like. But that's far from a description for the whole song. Ten minutes of song need to be filled with a little bit more substance after all. And so it transform through a slow build-up into a heavy and gloomy yet still subtle ending.
Constellation / The Bell brings us more 'nocturnal' Chopin homages on solo piano, with some eerie avant-garde wailing added at the end, while Echo Sigh Strand is going through a lot of changes in its quite short duration of just two and a half minutes. The massive crescendo ending seems to be a favorite component in Kolyadin's compositions repertoire, as it makes a comeback in the next song already, and I have to add, to a staggering effect.
Penrose Stairs could be Keith Emerson jamming with King Crimson spiced up with some more jazz. The penultimate Storyteller is grooving away like hell and Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess is also doing what he does best: Rudessing away! And then I kinda wished the album ended there, as the album closer The Best Of Days would have suited a Marillion album much better. Don't get me wrong, it has got a nice melody and some beautifully subtle fretless bass courtesy of Nick Beggs, it just seems kind of out of place after all that was going on in the 50 plus minutes that preceded it.
Nevertheless, Gleb Kolyadin has crafted an early highlight of 2018 with his self-titled solo debut album, an absolutely mandatory listen for all prog fans who like to embrace classical and jazz influences alike, thus comes with a very high recommendation and leaves me craving for more.
Calum Gibson's Review
Having always been aware of Iamthemorning, and off the back of a favourable review of them from my parents after seeing them at “Be Prog, My Friend”, I decided to have a look at the debut album from their pianist (and one half of the band), Gleb Kolyadin. The debut album boasts an obscene number of A-list progsters, with the band being made up of Gavin Harrison (King Crimson, Porcupine Tree) on drums, Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson, The Mute Gods) on bass, Theo Travis (Robert Fripp, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson) on flute and saxophone. Add to this, guests Steve Hogarth (Marillion) alongside Mick Moss (Antimatter) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on additional keyboards. This alone makes it worthy of a listen.
Kicking off with a tense and intricate mix of drums and keys, the album draws you in in an almost tense, but jazzy and light-hearted way. If the opening track is an Insight into the rest of the album, then it is a good way to kick things off.
The vocal work from Mick Moss is outstanding, bringing a soft and sombre tone, especially when mixed with the keys. An almost gothic fairy tale sounding track that truly brings a range of emotions and power together.
Kaleidoscope brings a fantastic bit of pace in, with a wonderfully playful and twisting prog number, showcasing all the band members' talents. Flowing keys and twisting flute solos intermingle with driving drums and beautiful bass work.
The second to last track, Storyteller is one I had been looking forward to. As a huge Dream Theater fan I was curious to see what Rudess would do outside of his main band. The result was a nice dark outing, and a solo that was most definitely Rudess, but without quite as much pompous showing off as he can sometimes do in Dream Theater.
The album is a wonderful mix of both dark, sometimes melancholy, yet joyful and fun music. Being largely instrumental, the tracks seem to be almost a case of the musicians having fun and showcasing the sheer enormity of talent that is present. It flows incredibly well and should be listened to as one piece of music to hear the utter brilliance. I am definitely going to be looking at Iamthemorning more and am eagerly awaiting a follow-up album.
If you enjoy chaotic and fun, but incredibly tight prog, or indeed anything the individual members have been a part of, then this is the album for you. If that is your style, then in my humble opinion you likely won’t need another album again.