St.Petersburg, Russian Federation
‘Serendipity’ is a contemporary classical album from Oknovokean, two melodic geniuses. The form of classical music is no longer on the billboards and some may then assume that the musical genre has been forgotten. They could not be any more wrong. Advances and evolutions in the classical and neo-classical genres are present and accelerating, with more and more talent throwing great works up into the streaming ether for us to digest and contemplate. Oknovokean is an excellent example of such advances, never has classical felt so new. The sounds and expressions that live within ‘Serendipity’ are many and complex. If you tune the radio to classic from time to time, or just feel like experiencing something from within, then Oknovokean are a duo that deserves your attention.
Classical music is for me, very grand. Pieces about revolution, nature and war. ‘Serendipity’ is different, and it is what makes the album stand out. The sound is certainly grand, punctual and emotive, but it feels accessible and friendly. No longer does classical music have to be daunting, it can be captivating and thought-provoking all the while being fun and melodically distinct. ‘Delirium’ is the first track on the album. It is the equivalent of easing yourself into a bath, soothing and tangible is the piano as you enter. It wraps around you like water and just as you are submerged, the true power of Oknovokean rears its wondrous head. The Viola applies itself to the melody and the song takes on an unearthly quality, it is as if they are speaking, breathing and dancing themselves and we are here to watch.
The album paints pictures in your head with heavy oils. It shifts them around to form shapes and blend colours. You are left staring at emotions or ideas rather than stories or people. ‘Park Lights Melody’ is smooth and uplifting. The titles of the songs I think are suggestions or reflections on what the song was written toward. Think on Park Lights it says, as you imagine them glowing in the autumn dusk. This image is then plied and warped by the sonic pairing of Oknovokean into a concept and it's astounding.
The music itself is beautiful, powerful and human. There’s no beat track here, no click to follow simply the breath of the melody and the song that carries you along. ‘Leaves Talk About Fall’ is a showcase of this. It starts rigid, keeping to an arpeggio in the back and building layers of melody on top of one another, growing and swaying. Yet the pace is not constant, it needn’t be. It yields to let you take it in and advances to promote thought and get the blood pumping and it works wonders. The Viola throughout the album acts as the subject for many of the sonic metaphors presented here. It is the singularity to the pianos cacophony, it lines the path of progress through ‘Word for Word’ and acts as the emotional through line in ‘Dusk in My Window’. It feels like the Viola’s window, dusk being painted by the piano. A call and response plays, it's a conversation in song.
There are 10 songs on ‘Serendipity’ and together it is 40 minutes of stellar performances from both players. They take us through seasons, days and minutes throughout the album. ‘Swallow of Spring’ and ‘Snowflakes for Breakfast’ bookend ‘Echo Fantasy’ with feelings of nature as ‘Echo Fantasy’ feels like a singular personal journey. ‘Serendipity’ asks questions, how does a changing season affect us, how does it affect you? Does it get you down? ‘Sunkissed Rain’ explores the need for sadness, the benefits of empathy and being human. It's simple when you think about it, but we don’t. Oknovokean have presented us with a sound space and prompts us to be human and I thank them for it. ‘Carpe Diem’ finishes the album and starts us off on our own journeys of self-expression and exploration. Seize the day, and do so with ‘Serendipity’ playing you on, you will not regret it.