Reviewed by ProgCat on 27 Dec 2007
is Andrew Roussak
's debut album. Roussak is a Russian musician living in Karlsruhe,Germany. He is classically trained from an early age and plays keyboards and piano. On this album he is performing mainly progrock with classical influences.
The artist helds his influences to be ELP
, Keith Emerson
and Rick Wakeman
. Besides his solo effort,Andrew is playing keyboards in the bands Henry
and Dorian Opera
This CD, No Trespassing, has both it's strong and weak moments. The short version of my review is that the excellence of the keyboards and progressive music here is counterbalanced by style & song choices that diminish from the overall listening pleasure. Here is a track by track commentary:
- No Trespassing 4:31 - At first listen a disappointment. The track grows, however,after a few listenings. The vocals of Hendrik Plachtzik is not great on this track. Roussak shows great skills at the keyboards. The production,however, sounds a bit flat and dated.
- Prelude 2:59 - A piece written by J. S. Bach done in a Wakemanesque way. Roussak's keyboards and piano playing is very good. Exception comes to mind. A good but too short track.
- Lost in the Woods 4:36 - an instrumental Roussak-track based on classic neoprog. Good guitar playing throughout the track. Plachtzik vocals sounds much better on this track.
- Wartime chronicles 7:18 - The longest track on the album is a nice instrumental piece heavily based around Roussak's strong piano and keyboards playing. After some 3 minutes heavy drumming accompanies the synths in a proggy way. Both Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman clearly comes to mind. A good track.
- Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring 3:56 Simply does not work for me as it is presented. This J. S. Bach piece is nice enough, however as delivered here it seems more suitable on a Henry Mancini or a James Last album.
- Rhythm of the universe 5:27 - A good rock start is taken over by Hendrik Plachtzik's vocals which reminds this reviewer of a performer in the European Song Contest. Puddle rock,or AOR-dance music. After 3 minutes; however, the track picks up and a good guitar sound accompanies Roussak's excellent keyboards making for a strong ending after a weak start.
- All Good Things 4:10 - A track more suitable on a classical piano album than on a prog album. It's true that straight classical piano appears successfully on other progressive albums and it might have worked here had the overall album flow been more consistent. There is no doubt thought that this song has fine piano playing though.
- Do without me 5:01 - A completely change of style here. As this gives the listener a feeling of a jazz-cabaret direction. Maybe a good idea on a contemporary jazz album, however, not here.
- Vivance furioso 5:15 - The artist's clear admiration for Keith Emerson is again clearly shown. After a short piano-introduction Roussak again shows he really is a great keyboard player. Excellent synths and mellotrons in the old Emerson/Wakeman way. This is a strong keyboard track.
- Maybe 5:35 - Unfortunately the album closes in a boring cabaret-concept like way. Colin Blundstone or Barry Manilow comes to mind.
All in all, No Trespassing
is an album that has its' very good moments. Roussak has many talents however this release suffers because they are mix them all together on one album in a way that distracts from the whole. If he wants to choose cabaret-jazz then it would be better if he were to keep that to its' own album. Same with AOR and puddle rock; leave it out. As individual and separate releases of these styles they may succeed (and I am sure a prog one would a strong audience). And bundled together here, well.....
There are excellent prog moments on No Trespassing
and these moments - on their own - make a good start on what might have been an excellent prog album. Unfortunately, the incongruous styles from the selection of tracks presented here reduces the total impression of the album.
I look forward to Roussak's next solo and to his work with Dorian Opera with hopes that he puts his best ideas together in a more cohesive fashion. I give this release a 6 out of 10.