On their third studio album By The Waters Of Tomorrow Russian psych / space rock outfit Vespero have proven yet again they are true masters of the long form instrumental composition. Although the changes in musical direction over the course of their previous two albums appeared to be somewhat subtle, at least on the surface, they've still continued to push their densely layered atmospherics off into new directions, and yet without sacrificing any of their trademark sound.
After the first couple of listens to By The Waters Of Tomorrow my initial thought was perhaps this would be the album where I'd have to stop raving about how good the band is, and maybe, just maybe I would finally have to dish out a less than five star review. I mean after all they definitely had set the bar quite high with their last two albums, Rito and Surpassing All Kings. However, if I've learned anything about Vespero over the years it's that their music has a tendency to reveal itself a little bit at a time, so for this reviewer it's best that I give their albums multiple spins before trying to formulate any concrete thoughts or opinions on the music.
Buckle your seat belts and be prepared to be taken on yet another wild and magically diverse sounding musical journey where anything is possible. Produced once again under the watchful eye of Alisa Coral (Psi-Corps), who also guests on a couple of tracks, the band has added a few new sounds into the mix this time around, in addition to bringing back violinist Valentin Rulev.
Propelled by the Fedotov brothers, Ivan (drums, percussion) and Arkady (bass, melodica, bass synth) holding down the rhythm section, the band is rounded out by Alexander Kuzovlev (guitars, electronics) and Alexei Klabukov (keyboards, mellotron). The sound is fleshed out beautifully with the addition of Vladimir Belov's splendid cello playing, coupled with the aforementioned return of Rulev's equally as stunning violin work. Check out how the second track, the Eastern tinged "Percious", with its abundance of atmospheric synth washes and ever shifting tempos, benefits from the added colors of the cello. Both Belov and Rulev's expressive playing and rich sounding multi-dimensional textures really help take songs like "Tall Tree", "Gao Zült", "Punto Fijo" and "Pavane Lacryme" to a whole new level.
By The Waters Of Tomorrow is one big highlight from beginning to end, but "Seagulls Sing (When It Rains)" might just be the strongest composition on the album. On this serendipitous track dreamy keyboards mingle in perfect harmony with the airy flute work of guest musician Natalya Dosoyevskaya and Elena Belozyorova's female vocal, while the ever present spacey sounding synth passages provide an impressive overlay for Ivan Fedotov's dexterous work behind the drum kit.
By The Waters Of Tomorrow is yet another masterpiece from Vespero. The band has amazingly once again put together an absolutely enthralling, free flowing and complex sounding collection of music that will slowly reveal itself to you one glorious layer at a time. If you haven't yet heard what arguably has to be not only one of Russia's premium musical exports, but also one of the finest examples of what modern, psych/ space rock should sound like, then Vespero definitely have to be on your musical radar.
4) Gao Zült
5) Tall Tree
6) Punto Fijo
7) Pavane Lacryme
8) Seagulls Sing (When It Rains)
9) Aurora Borealis