Iamthemorning have been around since their formation back in 2010 in St. Petersburg which consider Marjana Semkina on Vocals and Gleb Kolyadin on Piano. They have released two albums on the Kscope label including an EP and a live album. This year they released their third album entitled Lighthouse. The album is engineered by Marcel Van Limbeek who worked with Tori Amos and self-produced by Gleb and Marjana. They brought along Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) on Drums, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) on Bass and Vocals, and Mariusz Duda (Lunatic Soul, Riverside).
The album is a mixture of classical chamber music, folk, and jazz by adding a wide-ranging texture throughout the entire set. It is also a concept album about a woman who is suffering from a mental illness as she tries to fight the disease through a remission and into a final breakdown. Through the inspirations between Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, it’s an emotional and touching story dealing with the subject along with depression.
It was recorded between London, Moscow, and St. Petersburg and it almost for me feels, like a soundtrack and a movie inside your head of a one-woman show sung throughout the whole thing which very much in the realms of Jacques Demy’s 1964 French classic, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. You can imagine the woman’s pain and suffering on what she’s going through her breakdowns and the illness she is suffering from. As the music itself, it is a spectacular and striking essence of what the duo brings to the story.
The striking ominous intro of the first part of I Came Before the Water sets a stirring tone of the character through the reflections of herself with beautiful string sections, dripping water, and a cry for help as Marjana’s vocals beams through the pain into the person’s head. Colin’s bass lines on Clear Clearer, has this spirited melody as organ and brushing drums starts at first with a Jazzier introduction as it moves into both harmonious rhythms with a lifting section as guitars channeling Robert Fripp at the very end.
Elsewhere, Sleeping Pills features a haunting piano section that Gleb channels in the midsection that the trouble for the person’s tragic soul is only getting worse as the title track featuring Riverside/Lunatic Soul’s Mariusz Duda takes onto the vocals in the last three-minutes of the song just gives me chills between him and Marjana’s duet-ting together, it gives the atmosphere a chilling yet soaring experience.
It reminded me at times between Steven Wilson and Ninet Tayeb’s Routine and bits of Hand.Cannot.Erase thrown in at the same time as Duda and Semkina do a brilliant job together. It just gives me more of what is on here that just made my eye-brows go up at each track. The lullaby turned waltz section in the styles of Vince Guaraldi with Harmony and the medium speed tempo with catchy grooves to dance to with Matches with an homage to Thelonious Monk and bits of Keith Emerson thrown in.
Chalk and Coal is a disturbing immense composition. The vocal arrangements, both singing and speaking in the beginning is someone near the end of their total breakdown. Marjana just hits those vocals in the park very strongly. There is a darker tone throughout the midsection with the experimental and heavier elements as the disease suddenly comes in as the character realizes in the speaking section as they taunt this person towards their doom with no light at the end of the tunnel.
I love the Jazzy sections in Gleb heads forwards through his piano to know what is happening near the end of the story as he plays towards the end in a fade out as we hear and watch what is about to happen next through an echoing reverb. The second part of I Came Before the Water and the finale, Post Scriptum, is the end with a tragic closing of the character’s choice of death.
It just sends goosebumps on my arms as you can see the person going through the final chapter of the book to say goodbye to everything. The instrumental closer, is a gorgeous piano filled experience and helps to understand the incredible talent that Iamthemorning shows here, is a gigantic wonder of amazement that have taken me to another surprise on what they did next.
I really enjoyed Lighthouse. It feels like looking at a beautiful painting of Vincent Van Gogh. The right moment at the right time that you could imagine hitting closer to home dealing with the subjects of Mental Illness and Depression. The duo themselves nailed it perfectly with an emotional and stirring concept. And with help from various band members, it is something worth exploring into their music. A challenging issue and a tragic storyline, this here is a stirring gem released this year that the Kscope label have released this year.