2023 / Silent Beat Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Metamorfosi is a fascinating evolution of Milana Zilnik's 2020 release, Abracadabra. An expression of some of the same ideas taken in a different direction, this album includes more instrumentation and a colorful roster of musicians from several different countries. Milana composed the thirteen tracks and performs the vocals (wordless) as well as playing the piano and hang drums (two of them!). Arty Sandler produced the album, which was mixed and mastered in Dolby Atmos for a more immersive listening experience. Other instrumentation includes cello (Yoed Nir), guitars (Vitaliy Tkachuk), drums (Phil DiMercurio), electric and upright bass (Craig Akin), and flutes (Boris Khodorkovsky). The music on the album defies any specific genre or category - something I always appreciate. Elements of rock, jazz, cinematic, pop and classical - a little bit of everything - are utilized in order to tell the highly imaginative story.
The basic storyline for Metamorfosi is that when a composer decides to write music for the "Alice in Wonderland" story, she accidentally opens a portal in her grand piano and falls down the rabbit hole. She finds herself in a Steampunk-ish Wonderland and undergoes a series of transformations, becoming various characters from the story (manifestations of different sides of her own character). Quoting Milana:
"My life has been swirling around Wonderland for a long time. I have two cats who are as mischievous as Cheshire's smile. I have a Mad Hatter for a husband, crazy enough to believe in three impossible things before breakfast and all day long, and even crazier to make them real. I have Tweedledee and Tweedledum for kids, complementing each other in curious ways. I have my own inner demons to fight against, be it the Red Queen or Jabberwocky."
Metamorfosi begins with "The Hatch," a mysterious piece that sets the tone of the album. "Down the Rabbit Hole" goes quite a bit darker, expressing the emotions experienced as the composer falls as well as her fear of the unknown. "Curiouser and Curiouser" finds our heroine in a small room among surreal surroundings. Appropriately, the music is very strange and surreal as well. "The Choice" is whether to turn back or go forward. There is a lot of variety in this piece, reflecting very powerful emotions and being pulled in both directions. The title track is about transformation itself as well as the composer becoming Alice in order to enter Wonderland. The piece is almost classical at the beginning and gradually evolves through several rock and jazz elements as she experiences a variety of emotions. It's a fascinating musical evolution - steady yet gradual enough to not be obvious. "Point of No Return" is one of the most powerful tracks - both emotionally and musically. Very dark and mysterious, the combination of cello and electric guitar is especially effective combined with Milana's expressive voice. "Queen of Hearts" is not a flattering musical portrait, but it's a whole lot of fun to listen to! In "Jabberwocky," Alice goes to battle against the manifestation of her own dark side. Very dramatic, its ending is abrupt. By slaying the Jabberwocky and being able to bend time, Alice is able to bring peace to Wonderland. "Reflecting the Sky" depicts the transformation from chaos to calm, from dark to bright. "The Other Journey" brings our story to a close as Alice/Composer prepares for another adventure. I'll keep my fingers crossed that Milana Zilnik and company will go with her and take us with them! This is great stuff!
Metamorfosi is available from Amazon, Bandcamp, Apple/iTunes and many streaming sites including Spotify. Don't miss it!
October 23, 2023