Exposé Online banner

Roman Stolyar — Missa Apocryph
(Electroshock Records ELCD049, 2005/2010, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Missa Apocryph Cover art

This release in no way fits the standard mold of Electroshock music (though they’ve been breaking that mode a lot lately, so maybe we should stop remarking on it!), being essentially a prog-rock concept album rather than experimental electronic music. Not being Catholic, I can’t speak to the religious value of this music, though I suspect that the lyrical source (the Apocrypha) might rule it out from official approval. I can, however, speak to its musical qualities, and those are quite appealing. It follows the structure of a traditional mass (“Kyrie,” “Gloria,” “Credo,” “Sanctus,” “Benedictus” and “Agnus Dei”), and is arranged for keyboards, drums, and vocal ensemble. The vocal arrangements are the star of the show here, thoroughly in a Classical mode (with some more modern harmonies) and gloriously polyphonic, often intertwining and overlapping in lovely complex patterns. A few sections, especially in “Credo” are essentially unaccompanied vocals. Two other passages of note are the instrumental portion of “Benedictus,” which is the most overtly rocking part of the set; and the long building of “Agnus Dei,” with its eerie string synth and piano backing. The rather sterile digital tones of the keyboards and drums are at first a bit off-putting, but in time the quality of the composition, in addition to the strong vocals, outweighs that flaw. Still, I would love to hear this music recorded by a full band; Stolyar’s keyboard work is good, but the impact to be gained from having a more robust performance would likely be impressive.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 39, 2010 releases, 2005 recordings

Related artist(s): Roman Stolyar

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Klangwelt - XOIO – XOIO is Gerald Arend's (aka Klangwelt) third CD release. Gerald plays New Agey electronic music. The majority of his music fits within the trance-techno realm making it great for the dance club scene,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues