REVIEW: Impresario (Valerian Ruminski) — Deliberately Constructed Moments (LP)
Sparking to life with a bubbly beat that gives us a taste of easy-going vibes ahead, the positive sentiments of “What a Wonderful Day” are all Impresario has to throw down at the start of Deliberately Constructed Moments to have my attention. The unburdened strut of “What a Wonderful Day” hits a wall with the ominous flow of “Every Moment,” but what remains unchanged is the melodic presence of singer Valerian Ruminski’s incomparable vocal, the brightest star in this record. He’s running head-first into treacherous grooves ala “Dirty Water” like his best life is waiting for him on the other side, and while I knew he was capable of operatic harmonies before I ever sat down to review Deliberately Constructed Moments, I couldn’t have guessed he would be putting them to work as hard as he is in these songs.
“The Dancing Ghost” has a lumbering beat that could put out one of your speakers if you’re listening on a cheap setup, but I think that was a goal Ruminski had all along — invasive sonic might. He’s throwing a lot of weight around via the bottom-end swing of this track as well as the pummeling “Mr. Lonely Heart,” one of my favorite songs here, but he doesn’t sound like he’s wallowing in pop/rock excesses for a second. Contrarily, this is an efficient use of decadence — if there ever was such a thing — and an encouraging look for a burgeoning maximalism movement trying to expand from the physical medium to popular music in 2021.
Don’t let its title fool you — “Deep Purple” is hardly an homage to the heavy metal pioneers, but instead a slow-rolling, smoky nightclub song that brings us right into the palm of Valerian Ruminski’s hand inside of its first twenty seconds. It’s curiously placed next to the ’80s throwbacks “Sandals With Socks,” “Broken Line,” and “Fake News,” all three of which had no trouble getting the blood pumping through my body like a brisk run on a chilly winter morning. The fluidity of this album is never based on aesthetical comradery, but instead the capabilities of its featured player as they’re relentlessly shoved into the spotlight (by his own will, I should note). He doesn’t need bells and whistles to create a flow; after all, I don’t think they’d fit with the vocal and instrumental punch Impresario creates unassisted.
“There is a Body” offers up the most stripped-down look of Deliberately Constructed Moments, but its melodic treasures don’t overwhelm us any more than those preceding it in this tracklist. We cross the finish line in the haunting “If the World Runs Out of Love,” and though the cosmetics of this song would have us believing it to be as beat-driven as the other material here, a closer look will reveal how much of a centerpiece, single-caliber listen it is. In a mission to find world peace or something at least close to such a concept, Valerian Ruminski’s Impresario is giving us a mighty fine soundtrack to enjoy this year, but I’d still encourage audiences to give it a thorough analysis to really appreciate what Deliberately Constructed Moments is meant to express.