Piano AndThe City. Dreamway (Michael Morgan)

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Michael Morgan

Instrumentals within pop music are usually a rare find; normally, they just don't go together.  Russian piano pop princess Olga Stankevich plans to dispel that myth with her eleven-song pop song “piano-scape” Piano and The City: Dreamway.  Filled with her virtuosic and be-tickled piano linguistics, Olga layers in combinations of clubby synths and techno drumbeats that add a pop and dance sensibility to an otherwise purely classical sound.

"Contiguity," the lead track off of the album sets the dramatic tone for the rest of the album's fusion of light club pop beats and classical piano playing.  The piano on the opener cozies up to the beefy bass beat showing off the ease of the artist's virtuosity. The voiceless melody wants to belt out vocals, and does so through the gargantuan piano progressions.  Another track screaming for vocals is "Path Towards The Dream." Its beautiful melody and uplifting rhythm is desperate for lyrics and a soprano female vocalist.  The heartfelt melody is evocative with the backing of synth woodwinds and the gentle pulses of drumbeats. The touches of guitar sprinkled during parts of the song were a bit too concealed in the background and could have added more "oomph" to the sound.

Olga's passion for pulsating dance beats shine on tracks like "Rain" and "Sense of Time."  "Sense of Time" gets its disco on with jamming piano leads and violin synth backing.   The varied synths build up gradually and constantly change their dynamics throughout. The song's bridge sees Olga at her best topping off the song with an unrestrained jabbing of piano licks, and the enlightened organ funk towards the end of the song signals a new beginning.  "Rain"'s gravitational delivery is fast and furious, with pianos piggy-backed by bass beats and a pace that is perfect for gym workouts or television scene plot-thickeners. CSI or Law and Order music producers might want to see what is in store for their next episodes and entertain the idea of licensing the urban cityscapes painted by Ms. Stankevich's piano.  The scurrying piano concludes as if the song found its own escape route, or, the answer to the unanswered question.

"Inspiration" is one of the most memorable tracks on the record, appearing twice: once with a Justin Fry remix and the other, the original production. Great remixes tend to almost create their own new versions of songs. Justin's remix is a bonus track and a welcome addition to the album that fans of club beats and remixes will really enjoy.  This song, backed by a three-part harmony is anthemic and big in both its musical simplicity and aesthetics.  The variations on the melodic theme played out on the keys are scattered and well placed throughout.  The remix takes on the pulsations and club-like beats of “Rain” and also adds some electronica synth touches that really make this a great remix. Like the other songs, "Inspiration" is carried through by the swift strikes of the piano and a heavy dreamy orchestral pop backing.

The subtle club rhythms and highlighted piano melody of "Etude" re-justify the album’s place as an experiment of pop and classical convergence.  Its upbeat tempos are only slightly rivalled by “Inspiration” and “Rain.”  "Ballet in "Trash" Style" takes the album into different territory than the other tracks.  It has a tempo that makes it seem like its ready to fall over into something wider and vaster.  Its inevitable change into a new rhythmic tempo keeps listeners on edge.  The music is suitable for scene-moving television drama scenes or theatre intermissions.  "The Russian Land" also is a different spin on the more commercially appealing club beat tracks.  It combines an authentic mix of accordions, adding an exotic touch to the forceful orchestrations of piano and drum machine beats.  It’s another uplifting song within the album that should be a refreshing repeater for listeners.  Another variation of the artist’s musical styles is embedded in the emotive melodic lines and dance beats of “The Flight.” The muted electric guitars and big bass thumping beats add a new flavor to the album’s already diverse array of sounds and beats.

Lovers of classical piano and 80’s or 90’s dance club music will appreciate the experimentalism and magical virtuosity of Ms. Stankevich’s music and production work. 

 

Michael Morgan

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