Rainy Season - Return

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Boheme Music
Catalog Number: CDBMR 010179
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:20:00

Russia's Boheme Music released another stunning album last year (copyright 2000, though), reissuing Rainy Season's 1992 release Return. This short album - three tracks filling a mere 41 minutes - is filled with the sweetest progressive rock instrumental rock you could imagine. Oh, not sweet in a syrupy, saccharine kind of way - but in the beautiful and moving kind of way. In the Italian kind of way, to be honest. The core of the group is Maxim Pshenichny on multiple instruments --guitar, bass, voice and keyboards -- and Alexey Petrov on drums, wood box, glockenspiel and triangle. They are joined by Alexey Zubarev on flute, slide guitar, and pizzicato guitar; Maxim Kuznetsov on free guitar, and Rinalda on voice. The first track, "Scents Of A Forest" starts out as serene and hazy as a cool, crisp winter morning with flute, light percussion, and sonorous guitar. Fans of such American contemporary instrumental and electronic artists as Robert Rich and Steve Roach will find much to enjoy here. There is in Zubarev's flute a hint of a Native American feel, and this is true of the whole piece, mainly due to the textures.

"Towards A Clear Water" follows. Sparse percussion, water-like sound effects, and triangle all combine to create atmosphere of a crystalline lake. You can almost see the lake shimmer in the bright sunlight, clear blue sky high above. I often make mention of those videos (from Miramar and others) that show landscapes from the air, played back with the accompaniment of music. This feeling is here to, the sense of movement, at least. We are soaring over this lake with the ease and grace of an bird, rising and descending on the thermals. As you might expect, there are guitar solos here -- heavenly ones, at that. The emotion in the soaring leads is palpable, the drama and expression in them moving. Yes, the style and feel of these pieces have become familiar to those of us that listen to Rich, Roach, Tangerine Dream ... the whole Narada, Hearts Of Space, and Miramar rosters, etc. But when it's done as well as this, when it is as stunning as this, who cares if it's not "progressive" in a strict dictionary sense.

However, progressive it is, even in the strict sense. The final piece on this album is the two part "Red Night." Return, one three albums from this group, was originally released on vinyl, making this the equivilent of side two. While one assumes that one puts the strongest material on side one, fearful that the listener won't get to side two, here Rainy Season spare us nothing. "Part 1" is a moody, atmospheric piece, progressive in an experimental and arty way. Here is where the pizzicato (or plucked) guitar comes in, along with a sliding like sound (often used in horror films)...but it is subtle. In fact, the whole piece is quite subtle, Petrov's light percussion creating a breathing like rhythm. No sooner do you get settled that the rhythm changes again, percussion and keys taking the lead (again, Native American rhythms come to mind). There's a stillness, like a held breath. Something is going to happen...and then it happens. A crash, a mere precursor to a bigger crash... an easing... tension...you just don't know where this will go next. Even in the calm passages, you feel a sense of excitement, of anticipation... all in all this is terrific and terrifically moving stuff. There's even some angularity at points in this piece that made me think of King Crimson, and there are parts that are most definitely in the prog rock category. A little something for everyone, I suppose, and yet it doesn't seem at all disjointed because of it.

I can't say it enough - wonderful, wonderful stuff. I'm overawed by it. Return is well worth seeking out.

Scents Of A Forest (7:00) / Towards A Clear Water (14:19) / Red Night (20:00) Part 1 - Part 2

Maxim Pshenichny - sound track, guitar, bass, voice and keyboards
Alexey Petrov - drums, wood box, glockenspiel and triangle
Alexey Zubarev -flute (1), slide guitar (2), and pizzicato guitar (3:1), supporting guitar (1, 2, 3:2)
Maxim Kuznetsov - free guitar (3:2)
Rinalda - voice (3:1)

The Ice House (1986) (unreleased?)
Return (1992/2000)
Album Of Herb (or The Grasses Album) (1993)
Nostalgia (1997)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin RU

Added: February 23rd 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 589
Language: english


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