New album of Olga Stankevich "Piano And The City. Dreamway" will be released on iTunes January, 12. We are glad to present you the CD review written by Heath Andrew, US music writer who was the first examined the Album.
Classically trained Russian pianist Olga Stankevich has put her talent and skill to use in recording an album that is by no means a typical concert pianist’s debut. While there are plenty of ivories being tickled, it’s all being done to a dance beat. Piano & The City Dreamway finds itself somewhere in the middle of classical piano, pop, trance, and dance music. The blending of styles works very well, like drinking a mixture that should seemingly taste peculiar and foreign, yet finding it’s new and refreshing.
Stankevich opens her album with “Contiguity,” an ideal selection for showcasing her style. The song begins with a rich piano melody with some quiet keyboards creeping up underneath. Around thirty seconds into the track, the drum beat kicks in and the fusion is complete; Stankevich continues to play a beautiful, classically inspired piece with some pop sensibilities while the keyboards add atmosphere and the beat keeps it danceable. If you were to remove the dance and trance elements, there would still, at the core, be a beautiful piano piece.
Being an instrumental album there’s nothing in the way of lyrics or vocals to grab the listener’s attention. It’s entirely up to Stankevich’s playing and the arrangement of the dance elements. After a few songs, the novelty of the hybrid genre wears off as the keyboards and beats start to make several of the songs sound similar to each other. Parts of “Rhythm Of Heart” could be interchanged with “Dreamway”, “Sense Of Time” or “Inspiration” and still sound as if it were coming from one song. This is not to say that the songs aren’t good by themselves, but it’s a problem that dance and trance music can have in general.
When Stankevich hits on a truly unique sound in the music, the results are blissful. The unwieldy titled, “Ballet in ‘Trash’ Style,” has a booming drum track with thundering fills and a constantly compelling sense of urgency. The arrangement is rather dark with a breakdown about halfway into the song featuring a chilling choral vocal effect and an elegantly played piano solo. When it returns to the main melody, “Ballet…” continues its dramatic tone unrelentingly until its end. “Rain” also possesses a unique sound with a thrilling performance by Stankevich. The song opens and closes with a fast flourish as she flies through the notes at a blistering speed. The song’s main melody is propelled by a driving beat and quietly played keyboards that play in a counter to the piano. The softly played duel is a bit of a buried gem in the song itself and a showcase of the talent Stankevich has for playing and writing.
Playing towards the close of the album is “The Russian Land,” a bit of an epic piece that goes through several different sounds and is the most sonically diverse song put to the record. Beginning blissfully, Stankevich’s piano is backed by an accordion type sound, easily described as jolly, and builds towards a darker vocal choir. The rest of the song goes back and forth between these two styles and is an absolute treasure of a song because of its dichotomy. Stankevich has written a piece of music that segues between being toe-tappingly upbeat and chillingly ominous, and makes the transition seem natural.
Piano & The City Dreamway also contains a bonus track, a remixed version of the song “Inspiration.” The original song wasn’t a far cry from a remix in itself, but the “Justin Fry Radio Edit” version demonstrates how well suited Olga Stankevich’s compositions are for the dance floor in a club. Even when the dance/trance production wears a bit thin, the originality of Stankevich’s work keeps her music entertaining, as does her talent for playing the piano. Piano & The City Dreamway has a lot to offer music fans of all varieties due to its successful fusion of different styles. Hopefully, it’s this kind of originality that will permeate the music industry and inspire other artists to be bold and experimental.
Review by Heath Andrews
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)