Mariana Semkina -

(CD 2020, 42:57, Kscope KSCOPE661)

The tracks:
  1- Dark Matter(3:15)
  2- Am I Sleeping Or Am I Dead(4:27)
  3- Turn Back Time(4:08)
  4- Ars Longa Vita Brevis(3:03)
  5- Invisible(3:10)
  6- Lost At Sea(5:03)
  7- Skin(4:56)
  8- How To Be Alone(2:53)
  9- Everything Burns(3:18)
10- Mermaid Song(4:35)
11- Still Life(4:09)

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In 2018 released Iamthemorning keyboard player and composer Gleb Kolyadin his first solo album (see review). Now two years later his fellow band member Marjana Semkina also presents her first solo album. Titled Sleepwalking. Strangely enough she released it as Mariana Semkina. Of course, one question immediately arises! How far does the artist move away from the paths of previous collaboration with her musical counterpart? Specifically, what is different on her first solo effort compared to the albums she releases with her regular band?

To be honest what the female singer, lyricist and co-songwriter Semkina comes up with differs not that much from what she presents on the albums made with Iamthemorning. This album could easily be a follow up to The Bell (see review). The band's latest album released in 2019.

Not even the musical assistance of well-known guest musicians such as Jordan Rudess (keyboards), Nick Beggs (bass) or Craig Blundell (drums) could make this album feel and sound different what she does in the company of Kolyadin. Not even with the help of the St. Petersburg Orchestra 1703. Maybe she doesn't want it to sound different and feels comfortable with what she came up with on Sleepwalking.

Because you can still see who is behind this kind of music. She primarily combines artistically arranged pop with influences from folk, alternative and classic elements. The music has a certain dark, melancholic undertone. A little drama and a lot of emotionality determine the sound of the musical ideas she brings to her audience. An audience which are also the people who buy the albums made by Iamthemorning.

Although the ideas came about in an increasingly dark phase of the protagonist's life, attempts were nevertheless made to channel the feelings into creative energy. This gave rise to passionate, equally introverted music with certain dynamic leaps, but overall somewhat lighter and less demanding than at Iamthemorning. The general approach is a bit simpler, carried by wonderful melodies and even more focused on the voice, but sophisticated and implemented.

As said before, Sleepwalking is basically more or less a different Iamthemorning album, only under the name Mariana Semkina. Therefore highly recommended to everybody who loves the music made by this band!

*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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