Karfagan is to all intents and purposes Antony Karlugin who also goes under the guises of Sunchild and Hoggwash.
On this latest Karfagan album Antony has brought together many fabulous musicians from The Ukraine. I was first smitten by Karfagan after listening to the album Continium which i would whole heartedly recommend. The first thing that i noticed about this album when i recieved it through the post is the wonderful presentation. Like all Karfagan albums the artwork is fabulous. When you handle an album like this you can understand why fans of the humble LP prefer them. To imagine the Karfagan albums on a 12"X12" LP cover would be a site to behold. Musically the album has all the complexity of Gentle Giant through the wonderful guitar of Camel to the Elizabethan pomposity of Focus.
Indeed on track 3 Silent Anger part 2 i had the overwhelming want to shout a hay nolly nolly and find a Maypole to dance around. I am surprised at just how English the album sounds considering that the personnel are mostly if not all from Ukraine. It is only when the gorgeous Marina Zakharova begins to sing that the game is up. I didn't find the tracks on which Antony sung quite as appealing. Although the final track Mystery on which he is supported by Marina was a little better.
The final track in true prog tradition is a little over 22 minutes long and split into 5 parts. I hear a lot of Snowgoose in this track. All in all the album is 75 minutes long so you get a lot for your 9 quid. On first listening i didn't think that the recording qualitly was as good as Continium which i still prefer. That's not to say that this album isn't as good. It's all down to personal preference. I fully intend to obtain all of Antony's albums as i think they have a lot of bang for the buck. There are so many brilliant elements to this album, not only some great keyboard sounds but guitar, drums ,bass as well as the myriad of other musicians playing flute,bassoon,cello,viola and accordian,oboe,sax, the list goes on. If you like constant musical reprisals and continuing themes Karfagan might not appeal.
If you enjoy a more freeform feel about your music you will simply adore this album. Background music this aint. It demands to be listened to. It may not smack you in the face on first listening but i think it's a cracking piece of work. Buy with confidence.
Solitary Sandpiper Journey and other Karfagen related albums are available from www.caerllysimusic.co.uk
| Gothenbourg's finest have put together a fabulous excursion of high octane prog on this their third album. Openimg with the 14:45 minute scene setting extraviganzor "Suddenly The Rain" it is obvious from the outset that band have fused all known prog entities and taken them to the wire. Early amphetamine driven Genesis meets Yes. ELP and King Crimson. This track is laden with extremely grungy sounding Hammond and fabulous Emersonesque synth swathes. Fabulous stuff! Tardigrade the second track is more in the Gentle Giant ilk and with the exception of the albums concluding flourish is one of the shorter tracks on the album. The the third song "The Chosen One" begins a little more lilting replete with beutiful Mellotron strings and acoustic guitars. It isn't long before the roller coaster starts up though and it's every prog heads dream. I can't think of anything negative to say about this album though i suspect it would be unacceptable to those who believe that true prog stayed within the perimeters of the 70's and all else is just fake. Moon Mountain is a beautiful acoustic and electric neo classical piece which really lends a touch of class to the whole album. As The River Runs finds the band in full bloen opus mode again and has you listening to some classic analogue synth sounds. I am unsure if the majority af keyboards are soft synths or the real thing. What ever they are they had me fooled. I can only think that the incusion in the band of Magnus Paulsson in 2002 was an extremely good idea. All such responsibilities fell on the shoulders of founder member Stefan Renstrom before Magnus arrived. All would be forgiven for thinking that the seventh offering on the album "Strawbwrry Jam" has been an omissin from Yes's Relayer album,wow! Keep your hands inside the ride at all times. My favourite track however is "The Cicles End" which leads into the mighty 26:29 minute epic "Brother Where You Bound" which with the inclusion of "Beautiful New Day" conludes the story of Tardigrade. And if you fancy a Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Moment click on the Simon Says website www.paradisesquare.net and read the story in full. Art work/packaging, content and entertainment factor make this album shine. Shear unadulerated prog at it's most pompous best. An enjoyment factor off the scale. Go for it Progsters.|
***** The progmeister says Yes.