Every album has an identity, no matter how experimental that identity may be, but when it comes to pinning down the style of Impresario’s Songs from Inside, conventional genre terminology just doesn’t cut it. “Living in My Dreams,” the record’s first track, get us jazzed up with a cosmopolitan groover much in the same way that the acoustic-based “If You Knew Me” washes us with melodic textures that are anything but devoid of color. “Goodbye My Friend (For Jason)” might not have the sonic nucleus that the exotic “Whatsoever You Do” does, but let’s face it – the two songs make for a delicious cocktail when consumed within the same sitting. Whether it be the familiar beat of “Lean on Me” or the relentless swing of “WKOFMNRU,” Valerian Ruminski isn’t shortchanging us on sonic brilliance in Songs from Inside, which serves as the official debut of his Impresario project. On the contrary, I think this is one artist who is breaking off more than most listeners will know what to do with this summer. Overindulgence isn’t a part of the formula, but if you’re in the mood for something littered with over the top catharsis on all fronts, this is an LP that you really need to get your hands on this month.
“Leap of Faith,” “Gringo Bingo” and the heart-stopping “The Coat Aria (Vecchia Zimarra)” are incredibly muscular in their own unique ways, but regardless of which track in the trio you listen to first, you’re going to notice that the vocal is always the main star of the show. Valerian Ruminski has a versatility that can’t be practiced into existence – you’ve either got this kind of talent or you don’t, and lucky for all of us, he’s sharing his gifts without holding anything back in Songs from Inside. The drums are a little loud in the mix during “Lean on Me” and the lustrous “Sometimes,” but I can understand the intended concept for sure. By increasing the scope of the percussive presence, it definitely makes it easier for us to zero-in on all of the intricacies in the vocal harmonies here, and that’s definitely a win-win for all parties considered. Although this is a solo project for Ruminski, recorded under quarantine, the synthetic elements in the sound are very warm and organic in tone (which is a lot more than I can say for some of the other artists I’ve reviewed in the past few months).
There’s still a lot of room for Impresario to continue growing into the sound that Valerian Ruminski has set forth for this new brand, but as of now, I think his is a story that most indie disciples are going to want to keep a close eye on. While boldly experimental around every turn, Songs from Inside stings with an emotionality that most any listener can relate to, regardless of their preferred genre of melodic music. This is material that doesn’t ask anything from us in return for a plethora of aural treasures inside of ten tenacious tracks, and I for one hope to see more like it from Impresario as the years go by.