Ilyin, Gennady - Porcelain Pavillon,
This review starts with exactly the same comments as that which I provided against his debut album, but just in case you didn’t read that one here it is again. Little Tragedies were formed in 1994 around a graduate of St. Petersburg Conservatory, composer and keyboard player Gennady Ilyin, in the city of Kursk. Their early music focused on the genres of instrumental suite, variations, different combinations of classical, contemporary and rock music. According to Gennady Ilyin, it was more like improvisations without lyrics and vocals - he was just interested in working with 'pure' music. At the end of the Nineties he recorded two solo albums, of which this is the second. Originally this was released as a Little Tragedies album by Boheme in 2000, but it was reissued by Mals in 2009 with a bonus track (and new artwork) and this time correctly under Gennady’s own name.
Gennady was assisted on this album by Igor Mikhel (guitars) and Evgeny Shchukin (sound engineer); and as with his debut he put music to the poems of Russian poet Nikolai Gumilev. This is progressive music, with more than a hint of classical forms, and the piano is an extremely important focal point. Given that this is a keyboardist’s album one of the questions is normally whether it is more like Wakeman or more like Emerson. Well, it’s like neither for the most part, and like both of them at others – this is music that has more in common with Hungarian prog bands After Crying (particularly) and Solaris. Maybe it is because they have similar influences, but I know that I thoroughly enjoyed this from beginning to end. The lyrics are in Russian as one would expect, but I never find listening to vocals in a foreign language to be a problem – in fact it allows me to concentrate more on the sound, and as this moves from fairground to deep classical with wonderful prog bringing it all together there are some great sounds and arrangements to be heard. Well done on Mals for re-releasing these two gems.