(25 September 2009) Ilona Virostek is one of the bevy of female vocalists that Musical Discoveries have met this past 18 months through MySpace. An emerging singer and songwriter from New York City, she is performing and recording under the Moniker Ilona V. Singing primarily atop light arrangements of acoustic or electric guitar and warm keyboard washes with little percussion, her focus is clearly on lyrics and voice. Her work is securing global acclaim. She remarked that she was off to France at this writing. Read the review of her "Good Morning" (plus two B-sides) 7-inch single and well as seven additional tracks provided to Musical Discoveries below.
We thank Toxic Pete for his remarks about Ilona's "Good Morning" three-track single. It just don't get much more stripped down than this - listening to "Good Morning" by Ilona V is like stepping into a secret garden where everything is serene and pure, a place devoid of clutter, a life-giving place to re-energise and rejuvenate, an oasis in a parched desert. Accompanied by nothing much other than succulent, punctuative acoustic guitar, a couple of bars of harmonica and cello and the occasional percussive interjection, Ilona lets her beautifully sensitive, gentle voice carry you to a better, more fulfilling place.
"Good Morning" and its two B-sides, "Universe Arms" and "Who Can Tell?" are like a breath of fresh air in an oppressive smog, a drink from a crystal clear stream when you're surrounded by stagnation and pollution. Ilona V has turned urban, poetic music back on its head. She's returned to basics, to a time when lyrics mattered, to a time of evocative words, sympathetic accompaniment and sparse, empathetic arrangements. Ilona's music may sound a little morose at times but somehow, and I think it's through her musical honesty and sense of downhome-ness, she still manages to be uplifting and refreshing.--Toxic Pete (Shaded Moontide, November 2008 link)
In addition to Ilona's "Good Morning" single, the artist has finished seven individual tracks along the path to a full album release. While clearly singer songwriter material, the style might also be called folk. "Gonna Ride" is a tenderly delivered short track. Ilona's sweet vocals are delivered atop a very slow acoustic guitar and extremely light keyboard wash. The crisp acoustic guitar work in "The Cloud-Bound View" is joined by a lovely chime (see photo left) punctuating the arrangement. We especially enjoyed the production of this number.
"Fall Song" continues to illustrate Ilona V's style. Singing tenderly backed by acoustic guitar and chime, her voice evocatively delivers the lyrical content. We also appreciate the effects in the beginning segment of the track. The additional reverb in "Rainy" works well with the acoustic guitar and chime accompaniment. An especially warm keybard wash adds great texture to the track.
"The Never-Ever" is a tenderly sung track, Ilona's whispy vocals gliding atop acoustic guitar with a light chime to punctuate the arrangement. Her mid-tempo demo "Gone" is more richly arranged for Ilona's tracks with eastern style washes joining her acoustic guitar and a more robustly produced vocal line. The final track Ilona provided is the lovely "Half Moon" instrumental. We hope that she continues to work with these arrangements in the development of her full length album.
Ilona is sharing her music via streaming audio at her MySpace. Many of the tracks mentioned above can be heard there. You'll also see an array of positive comments on her work on the page. Wishing Ilona godspeed towards the recording and production of her first album.