Russian keyboardist and composer Gennady Ilyin has been a member of the progressive rock band Little Tragedies since their inception in the mid 90's. While their classically inspired symphonic sound has won the hearts of fans all over the world, they remain a bit of an enigma to this reviewer. The Sun of the Spirit which was Ilyin's solo debut originally issued in 2000 on the Boheme label, has now been reissued by the Russian label MALS.
If you enjoy music that is primarily keyboard driven then you'll definitely appreciate Gennady's performances on these nine tracks. He handles most of the instrumentation, save for the odd contribution from guest guitarist Igor Mikhel, as well as the vocal duties which are all sung in Russian. The lyrics are taken from the works of famous Russian poet Nikolai Gumilev.
The Sun of the Spirit comes across as a pleasant surprise mainly due to the fact that the music presented here touches on a few different styles and doesn't stick to one particular flavor. The first two songs "Parrot" and "Witch" are dramatic compositions that come across as very theatrical sounding, as if they were originally conceived for the stage. Gennady continues his flair for the dramatic on the next song "I Saw A Dream" only this time he rips of an extended and dazzling synth solo right in the middle that is sure to get your attention. Other highlights include "Thoughts", a muscular track with a great overall ELP vibe which features another sizzling keyboard solo guaranteed to make Keith Emerson proud, and "Post Officer" which has a distinct folk influence in part because of the subtle accordion work. The bonus track "Christmas" is a resplendent instrumental that finds the focus placed directly on the intricate acoustic guitar and synthesizer passages which intertwine perfectly.
The Sun of the Spirit has plenty to offer and if you like symphonic/ progressive rock that has quite a bit of variety, as well as a flair for the dramatic, then this release should be right up your alley.
3) I Saw A Dream
4) Reader Of Books
6) Marquis de Karabas
7) Post Officer
8) The Sun of the Spirit
9) Christmas (Bonus Track)