July 12, 2023

Regular readers of these hallowed pages might remember a couple of previous reviews I’ve done for this “band”…A Day in Venice is actually a one-man-production, aka Andrej Kralj, a multi-talented artist from Trieste, Italy. Andrej is a clever chap, he’s a painter, poet and music producer; he’s also regularly been creating music by himself with a little help from his friends, having written and produced three full-length albums in his home studio in the middle of the woody Karst plateau since 2014.

His releases under the ADIV banner include A Day in Venice (2014), Singles (2018), III (2019), the EP Lights(2020), and four singles TWIOYS (August 2020), Ophidian Queen (September 2020), No one can stop you (April 2022) and Flames of Gold (May 2022) – the last two being tasters for this new album, notwithstanding it was originally due to be released in late 2022. Better late than never!

Andrej with his mojo!

The music is always elegantly intriguing, well worth hearing! To my mind, ADIV’s style has veered away from its early metal influences through to an ambient post-rock, always quite laid-back, all with a melancholic ambience (I’ve previously suggested touches of Goldfrapp, Snow Patrol, that sort of thing, hinting at a sort of elegaic wistfulness but not depressing – more that sense of calm at the end of the day). I’ve seen somewhere a description of ADIV’s more recent work as being denser, darker, still elegaic, and interestingly now introducing shamanic percussions – it certainly adds to that ambient tribal vibe.

This time around, all the vocals are performed by his good friend Angelos Kyprianos, whilst ALL instruments are down to Andrej Kralj. He is also responsible for the lyrics, music, arrangement, recording, mixing and production, the only aspect not handled himself being the Mastering, again done by Steve Kitch. Angelos’ voclas certainly lend a different mood to the tracks, to me he’s uncannily like Nick Cave in his delivery, and the songs feel designed around that?

There are eleven tracks here, which is quite a sizeable production for a self-release. The album’s opener is Twioys…aha! It stands for The World Is On Your Side, the clue being in the lyrics supplied with the beautifully crafted hi-tech sort of memory stick the album arrived on. ‘Twioys’ certainly starts off slow and dark, a touch of shamanic percussion, with Angelos sounding particularly Nick Cave-like. A quite pacey rhythm then slews in and the track becomes quite upbeat in that Nick Cave way! It’s good, a tastefully sparse arrangement that grips your senses.

Reins of Freedom starts slow, gentle, a touch of soft ballad, water trickling, very ambient, interspersed by a nicely meaty post-rock section, and the skill of the man is how he weaves these factions together. A second gentle piece again effortlessly morphs into a straight rock routine. And that’s why Prog fans should give this a whirl, they will definitely appreciate the variations in the arrangements. You Will Meet Your Love continues that same yo-yoing but ambient effect, sparse and simple guitar notes binding the song together over the ebb and flow of moods each track conjures.

Flames of Gold again has that shamanic trickling, shimmering, superbly crisp production, Angelos being augmented here by another long-time compatriot Amanda Onicee, whose vocals simply float before your ears. Languid, melancholic melodies sum up their style – not without another touch of fascinating water/rushes? Ophidian Queen is introduced by those same tantalising touches of shimmering shamanics, they’re really effective and again Andrej manages to inject a quite dark riff without disturbing the vibe. Intriguing is the word I used to start with, and it fits the bill perfectly – along with hypnotic, calming, mesmerising – in a previous review I described this as being perfect music to gaze into the evening gloom with a glass of something – works again for me!

Counting Steps really does have a sense of Snow Patrol about it, and I do mean that as a compliment, melodic alternative dark pop would be a fitting description for a track where ADIV has the knack for simply blending gentle delicacy with surprisingly meaty post-rock structures – surprising in that you don’t register it as “heavy”, more a case of cleverly layered arrangements that are deceptively simply but just work! Your Thoughts Buried In Darkness lives up to its name – things are getting progressively darker towards the end of the album, this and the next three tracks continue to blend so many good layers of music together – rock, folk, shamanistic/tribal material, ethereal atmospheres…

And then we have the album’s closer, Aghori. This haunting beauty weighs in at around eleven and a half minutes, quite unlike anything else so far. Bubbling bass underpins the crooning (not sure if this is Angelos or Andrej singing). As you might expect this is a more drawn-out, organic, jazz-blues affair, a touch of Oboe care of Luis Marquez, and a few bursts of Saxophone from Maurice Soque. This track feels like the soundtrack to a film noir, it’s quite subdued, a dreamy almost psychedelic quality, but simultaneously meticulously knitted together. As it nears its end, more guitar comes in and the oboe and sax also feature again. It closes with an ethereal whisper, leaving you deeply calm and satisfied.

This is a lovely work of art – and love – carefully and gently crafted and blended by a wizard and his friends! I loved it!