Intelligent Music Project is a Bulgarian music project lead by Milen Vrabevski MD, which started in 2012 with the release of John Lawton's Power Of Mind album. The albums after this, were released under the moniker of Intelligent Music Project II and III.
Today it's my pleasure to write some words about the successors, Part IV: Sorcery Inside and V: Life Motion. IMP uses a number of Bulgaria's top musicians for the instrumentation added with super drummer Simon Phillips, who has participated on all albums and helped with the arrangements and functions as producer as well. A very smart choice of Milen is the recruiting of some renowned vocalists from all over the world to give his compositions a voice.
For Intelligent Music Project IV Sorcery Inside, Ernest Tibbs; from Phillips solo project Protocol joined on bass along with vocalists; Carl Sentence, vocalist for Nazareth, former Asia vocalist John Payne, former Toto vocalist Joseph Williams and Richard Grisman, known from River Hounds. Musically the album combines Toto reminding compositions, especially the one Joseph Williams guests, could easily feature on a Toto album and melodic, classic rock songs with an accessible touch. Although the compositions are pretty interesting, the instrumentation has been kept quite sober, no excessive soloing. But especially the guitar solos are effective, tasteful and to the point. What stands out on both albums is the way traditional Bulgarian elements are delicately embedded in the songs, creating a very nice and cosy atmosphere. All in all, for me the track with either John Payne or Joseph Williams in the lead turned out to be my favourites.
For the 2020 release Intelligent Music Project V Live Motion, the musicians are all Bulgarian again, only Simon Phillips remains as a steady solid factor throughout the albums. Payne returns as well as Grisman, new is the amazing Ronnie Romero, known from Rainbow and more recently Vandenberg. What also has stayed are some Toto references, but again the songs are wonderful; melodic, catchy, with sometimes a bit more focus on the acoustic guitar. Absolutely a must for every melodic rock fan is the brilliant combination of vocalists Payne and Romero on By the Side Of The Minute, where both vocalists challenge each other to the limit.
If I compare both albums, due to the songs and the way they are executed, both albums are equal and should definitely appeal to many melodic rock fans. Production wise, I prefer part V, just for the clear sound, where all musicians and vocalists are crisp in the total mix.
Sorcery Inside ****
Life Motion ****+
Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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