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MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE

Neo-Prog • Ukraine


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Modern-Rock Ensemble biography
MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE is a vehicle for the talents of Ukraine's multi-talented Vladimir Gorashchenko. In September 2016 he released the first Modern-Rock Ensemble album "Touch The Mystery". What a fine album it is too. Gorashchenko is certainly no newcomer to the progressive rock world, and indeed one track from the album was recorded back in the 1980s, under a different name, Putnik.

MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE's music is not what I would describe as archetypal Neo Prog. The material is quite varied, with jazzy and ethnic hints, however the overpowering influence is Neo/Symphonic, two genres that tread closely together. Drawing on the classic symphonic sounds of the early 70s, but with a modern twist, the long instrumental passages are a joy to hear. Fans of both genres should find plenty to interest them in the music of MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE.

Gorashchenko is clearly a serious musician, covering vocal, keyboard and guitar duties. On the debut album he is assisted by a guest appearance by the legendary Ukranian musician Anton Kalugin, famous for his work as Karfagen and Sunchild.

It has taken considerable time for this project to hit the ground and it has been well worth the wait. Hopefully a follow-up album will be not as long in the making! As one would expect, background information has been very hard to find.


ALBUMS
Touch The Mystery (2016)

PRESENT LINEUP
Vladimir Gorashchenko - lead vocals, keyboards, guitars
Igor Zakus - basses
Alex Fantaev - drums

Modern-Rock Ensemble official website

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MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE discography


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4.00 | 135 ratings
Touch The Mystery
2016

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MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

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Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Yuki_liu

5 stars According to the information on the CD it was a long way for Touch the Mystery to be released, even longer to get to Hong- Kong. However, it was worth the wait. Once in a while there are albums that can not only impress, but stay in the memory and moreover fill an urge to listen the album more and more times. First, this is really an ensemble sound and I can imagine why part of the audience will have negative comments ' this music is far too sophisticated. However, in the prog- rock of 70th there were many examples of sophisticated music: Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, VDGG and others. Yes, it is much more complicated than just drum-bass-guitar-keys-vocal. There are many intricate tunes and melodies and even more important is that they are further developed through the pieces. There is as well some impressive 'musicianship' in the album starting from the fretless bass, playing rhythmical and melodical roles; cello, playing great solos, second voice and rhythm; string quartet being classical in one moment and 'heavy metal' in another part. Arrangements and orchestration sometimes are very fresh and help a lot to get the whole idea of Vladimir's composing. No matter how many people will love this album, but it is definitely important to listen to it.
 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

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Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by ayaaf91

5 stars For many years I am visiting the PA site to find some new prog-rock music. I was not having intention to register on the site being mostly a fan of Jazz and Classic music. However, after listening to the "Touch the Mystery" by Modern-Rock Ensemble I decided to write a review. Thanks to PA, one can get an access to sometimes very interesting musical projects. To my taste there are not too many bands with such a mixture of jazz and classical music as the Modern-Rock Ensemble. I like the sound very much and production as well as great synergy between strings, saxophone, guitar and keyboards. Great fusion of styles, rhythms and time signatures. It is even more interesting and exciting to see what the next album of Modern-Rock Ensemble will be like.
 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

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Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Progilya

5 stars Some of the PA fans are sincere admirers of this album, while others have different points of view. This album obviously proves a well-known proverb: "as many heads ? as many wits". Being a journalist and reviewer at other musical editions and magazines, from time to time I visit PA to see new names and albums. This year PA helped me discover a number of very interesting albums and Touch the Mystery by Modern-Rock Ensemble was one of them. If not for PA it would otherwise be very difficult to find the first album of this Ukrainian group. Due to my occupation hundreds of albums go through my ears, but more often than not the first listening is, sorry to say, simply jumping through the songs. To continue with listening an album should attract me by its interesting sound, melodies, development of pieces, as well as vocals and lyrics.

First, this album simply intrigued me and made return to it once again to listen all through. By now I have listened to it 5 times and am now one of its followers. Even though it was quite a task to get used to the Vladimir's peculiar vocals, I liked his sincerity and emotion; it reminded me of love of my youth to Iron Butterfly and Steppentwolf. I liked a lot sound of the album which has something in common with "In the Court of the Crimson King". Along the whole album the sound combines transparency, but at the same time - deepness and power. I was also very impressed by professionalism of the musicians that Vladimir involved into his project ? now I see that we know very little not only about Ukraine, but also about its musicians.

The album proposes a lot of melodic and beautiful themes which are further developed and very interestingly performed by different instruments. It turned out that lyrics and emotions of Vladimir are very similar to those of mine. The style of the Modern-Rock Ensemble, which Vladimir describes as fusion of sympho-rock, jazz-rock and classical music, in my opinion is the most attractive facets of the album. I will not assert that everybody can or should like this album - it is not "easy listening". But from my side I would highly recommend anybody to listen to it.

 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

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Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Another day, another prog project out of Ukraine.

Modern-Rock ensemble is essentially the solo project of band leader, singer, guitarist, synth player, and producer Vladimir Gorashchenko. A longtime member of Ukraine's prog scene, Gorashchenko drives much of "Touch The Mystery" along, though he is joined by a whole slew of musical collaborators, including Karfagen veteran Antony Kalugin. Genre-wise, Modern-Rock Ensemble sits comfortably in the symphonic and neo-prog style, but doesn't get too complacent; there are occasional nods to jazz and ethnic music, and a certain new age vibe weaves its way in and out of the whole affair.

Although these atypical flairs make themselves apparent at various points in the album, I find that "Touch The Mystery" still falls well within the realm of predictability that enshrouds most symphonic prog. The album's two extended compositions, the opener "Meditations" and the 20 minute title track, are each par-for-the-course symphonic/neo fare. Each one contains extended instrumental passages that allow the band to explore, blend, and contrast different timbres. While very tastefully constructed, I can't help but feel that they never develop into any substantial. Each one just seems to be a showcase of sounds, without any underlying tension, conflict, or narrative. Pleasant listening, but not the kind of thing that really captures you and draws you in, or creates new worlds in your head.

In a similar vein, the music, while brimming with competency, often lacks in energy. And that isn't necessarily the fault of any of the musicians' performances. It's just that the production, crystal clear as it is, seems to have overshot the fine line that keeps it from sterility. The softness and clarity of the production actually works to heighten the album's two ballads, the piano instrumentals "What Will Happen To My Country?" and "My Angels". Melancholy and contemplative, these two pieces are actually quite suited to the subdued sound of the album. During the two epics, though, and the more unorthodox live recording, "Swamp", a lot of the dynamic power that should be there is flattened out and lost. It also doesn't help that Gorashchenko has what may be the most offensively mellow voice in the world. Imagine the guy from the local DMV reading out a book on tax code. And then imagine that getting played back at half speed. Or remember that one teacher you had back in school whose class you simply couldn't not sleep through? Those sorts of memories were really coming back to me whenever Gorashchenko started to chime in between instrumental passages. I digress. There is one welcome respite to come from the vocals, though; when they start to sing out "Touch it! Touch it!" at the end of the title track, its comes across as excellent comic relief. Indeed, that line may be one of the most awkward, least tasteful things to hit prog since the cover of "Love Beach". Truly a laugh-out-loud moment in the middle of an increasingly lacklustre song.

So, I suppose that Modern-Rock Ensemble falls prey to the typical symphonic quandaries. Tasteful ("Touch it" aside), but not overly creative. Competent, but not overly exciting. On the whole, I'd consider this to be very middle of the road prog. It's a very safe listen, so if you're not necessarily looking for anything too risky, "Touch The Mystery" should be a thoroughly enjoyable choice of music. With all things considered, I'd consider this to be a good album. No more, no less; 3 safe stars.

 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

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Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

5 stars In late 2015 I received a private message asking me to listen to this album. At that time it still was not released and so it also was not included in the Prog Archives database yet, so I could not write a review about it then. The album was finally released in September 2016, and it really took several more months to be included in the Prog Archives database. Finally, it was included in mid December 2016. I listened to the album four times in their bandcamp.com website. And my opinion about this album has not changed.

The MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE is a band from UkraIne led by composer Vladimir Gorashchenko. It seems to me that this "Touch the Mystery" album, their first, took several years to make. It has a line-up of several very good musicians from Ukraine. The recording and mixing is very professional and good, too. I also like the cover design.

A song by song review:

"Meditations": a song with some musical influences from India, even with the use of some electric sitar and tabla sounds, at least in some parts of the song. The rest of the song also includes some very good distorted lead guitar parts and some Prog Rock arrangements. This song also includes lead vocals by Gorashchenko.

"What Will Happen To My Country?": an instrumental musical piece played by Gorashchenko with keyboards, bass and programmed drums. It is one of my favorites from this album, and it remembers me a bit the sound of CAMEL in some parts.

"Touch The Mystery": the title track of this album, with a length of almost twenty minutes, with a lot of Prog Rock arrangements, some Classical Music influences, and lead vocals by Gorashchenko, who also recites the lyrics in some parts. This song presents a "musical biography" of Vladimir Gorashchenko, as they say in their website. It also includes some very good guitar parts, some wind instruments and other orchestral instruments. This is maybe the best and most Progressive song in this album.

"My Angels (dedicated to my wife and daughters)": another solo performance by Gorashchenko on keyboards, and also it is a very good musical piece.

"Swamp (live)": a live recording from 1989 from a Jazz Festival. This song shows a lot of Jazz-Rock influences with Latin-American rhythms, very well played. But the drums and percussion sound to me like being played on an electric drum kit, and also some of them sound to me like being programmed (maybe I'm wrong).

This album as a whole is very good, and it really has a variety of influences from several musical styles, as I wrote in my review about every track.

You can listen to this album (and also to buy it) in modern-rocken.bandcamp.com/releases .

 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

BUY
Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Harmonica909

2 stars Disappointment of the year? Not exactly because I had not heard of them before but a great album? Not even slightly. Elevator music comes to mind. The first track is ruined by vocals. It could be quite good due to the Indian sounds mixed with guitars. The 80s electronic piano from track 2 are the elevator music component I think. Overall the band may be competent but I have no clue as to why some reviews state this is special. I have many samplers from magazines a long time ago that sound like this album. Candle and perfume shop music.
 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

BUY
Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by michaelmaizels

5 stars As a professionally trained musician, I must admit that I was really impressed by that album. The most important factor for a successful performance is the ability of the artist to not just invite the listener into his/her music, but alos make them (listeners follow the performer). That album does have that unique factor. I wanted to continue listening the music, and, frankly truly enjoyed it. I think that everyone should take a note of that group, and that album, in my view, a beginning of a great and extremely interesting path for that group. I must, of course, mention Vladimir, his commitment and dedication to the music, which, in my view, is admirable, and should be noticed by listeners and young musicians.

The reason I gave that album 5 stars is the fact that I want to listen the music again and again, and that is what defines a true artist, which in my view Vladimir and his group are. I want to listen the next album, buy that album, and enjoy it as much as enjoyed Touch The Mystery.

 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

BUY
Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Mingo

3 stars Quite pleasant but forgettable. I have seen reviews putting this in the same league as Foxtrot. It is not. I also see another review saying 80s Wakeman. That is closer! Not his greatest era. The title track is pretty good but I can't hear anything that stands out on the rest of this. Eighties progressive rock ended up sounding a bit like this album to me. No surprises or great vocals of the past. There have been some great inventive music from Eastern Europe in the last few years, so I am surprised by this one. Some nice moments and that's the best I can say.
 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

BUY
Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by lizzard

5 stars More often than not end of a year brings a lot of precious gifts, prog rock is luckily not an exception in this respect. A number of very beautiful albums have been released recently, with Touch the Mystery being one of the most outstanding ones. Unlike many of the modern music this album has nothing to do with the wider young audience and commercial success is hardly achievable for them. But i hope this was not their goal. They play old good art rock, and nostalgia was the first impression i had after listening to the album. Nostalgia for those years when I was young and composers and musicians were sincere in their music. Now it is another world, and while amount of different groups and projects is enormous and one can hardly hope to grab it over its life span, only rare birds of new projects apply to what we loved about Genesis, Pink Floyd, PFM, ELO... If you are in your 40th and older ? this album is for you.
 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 135 ratings

BUY
Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by celebrationrock

5 stars Released in 2016 this album has a great synergy with a progrock of the 70-th. Ukrainian musicians made a great job.

An album starts with Meditations. 12 string guitar's nerve is uniting together the whole piece. It revives back nostalgia for the 70th prog rock. A simbio of oriental rock and symphonic music in this piece is natural and fresh. I like the way the piece is developing increasing its power by each verse. Electric guitar and cello are changing places, playing around with the voice, being either a duo at one moment or two rivals in the following part. In the beginning this piece is seemingly mellow, however the mood is constantly changing, leading us to the end of the first part with deep synthesizer bass and a change of time signatures.

Reappearing of the voice in the second part supported by nice and simple synthesizer lines might lead us to an optimistic final, however very on the contrary the final is much more dramatic if not pessimistic with the great work from Alex Fantaev drumming. It is the first time that I have seen the important role of cello in a rock piece. Very strong progressive rock epic. After a short and melodic piece we are coming to the central piece of the album - Touch the Mystery. It combines many styles, sometimes classical, sometimes fusion or ambient, few parts are even close to a hard rock. In the beginning of the piece Vladimir's synthesizers are playing around saxophone, guitar and string quartet, but further in the piece they start to fight, quarrel and argue with each other. Each and every musician in this piece played his important role to reach the target of Vladimir in his Modern-Rock Ensemble style and sound. Then after a short breath of a fresh air we are getting in the "Swamp". I can understand that maybe one of the reasons why Vladimir doesn't want to re-record this "live version" ? it was played "on courage" during the festival and one can fill real emotions, drive and synergy of musicians playing during the concert. It is obviously hard to reproduce it in a studio atmosphere now. Great electric violin part supported by 2 strong synthesizer players and fretless guitar. It is great fusion of jazz-rock with sympho-rock.

Vladimir has spent on this album more than 5 years not for nothing. He had chosen great musicians for this album. He reached his composer's goals in each epic. I would like to positively comment as well his producer's skills ? interesting sound, each instrument (out of more than 20 used) is clearly heard in this ensemble.

Thanks to Roj for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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