This time we are listening to a very talented musician’s duo from St. Petersburg, Russia: iamthemorning. Their musical style is described as progressive/chamber pop by reviewers from different magazines and by the band themselves due to the combination of chamber music – reduced number of players and progressive rock – a combination of psychedelic music with jazz and rock influences.
The great music we are about to discuss is owed to singer Marjana Semkina and pianist Gleb Kolyadin. They knew each other while being students from the Saint Petersburg Conservatoire, home of great Russian musicians like Tchaikovsky or Rimsky-Korsakov, and went for this curious name thanks to the I Am The Morning song from Oceansize’s debut album Effloresce.
With their approach iamthemorning honors the classical music tradition of Russia. As a proof, you will find small preludes in their albums, like the Intermissions from their Miscellany EP from 2014. The point in which the band’s music becomes close with the pop genre is Marjana’s vocal approach. Her timbre and melodic lines are sublime and very easily perceived, adding a new element to the instrumental texture designed to work with her vocals.
Formed in 2010, they have released 3 studio albums, 1 live album and one EP.
Their first and self-titled album was released in 2012 and contains 18 great tracks. This production worked as the band’s artistic statement and initial proposal into the crossover prog genre, working with a different combination of instruments: bass, vocals, piano, string quartet and percussive elements like vibes, marimba, glockenspiel and drums. Burn was the official single from this album and is an exciting progressive pop exercise: it keeps a soft texture that is enhanced by Mikhail Istratov’s great work at the drums. We can also fin here the first seven Intermissions, which work as beautiful instrumental interludes between the sung tracks, giving us a wide palette of sounds.
Belighted was their following album, released in 2014 along with the Miscellany EP. This time we will listen how iamthemorning’s sound has developed their rock and pop side by adding an electric guitar to the texture and more melodic vocal lines, as we can see in tracks like The Howler or To Human Misery. They stay loyal to the progressive style in songs like The Simple Story, Romance and 5/4. The great work at the drums in this album is from Gavin Harrison from Porcupine Tree.
It also remarkable how the band started a Kickstarter campaign to fund their first live album release Live From the House of Arts, which included special souvenirs for those who contributed to make this record happen: early download links, signed postcards, handcrafted jewelry and a limited edition CD! They set for a 5,500 pounds goal and went beyond that raising over 6,000 pounds! The campaign was a smashing success and the album was already a fact by 2015, with a beautiful cover that shows us the reverse of the house we have seen in the Belighted album, intending to see this production as an expansion.
iamthemorning continued to evolve into a more progressive band with their next album: Lighthouse. Released in April 2016, it is the most recent production from the band and goes for a haunting sound which goes deeper into the progressive side of their music, reinforced by Porcupine Tree’s Gavin Harrison and Colin Edwin and Riverside’s Mariusz Duda. Songs like Chalk and Coal are a particular example of how deep their sound palette has turned, and Clear Clearer is a demonstration of how Marjana’s vocals can turn music into a deep experience for the listener.
This band stands as one of the most innovative and interesting acts in today’s prog scene, with so much great material in just 3 studio albums that surely deserves a listen from everyone interested in a new approach to progressive music!