AKP is BACK to ensure a magnificent finale to 2011 and herald in 2012 with a TRUE MONSTER of a release marking the standard by which all instrumental albums should now be judged. Remember when Tubular Bells challenged and broke all the rules, KALUGIN likewise takes that musical leap.
Lovers of all good music will be engrossed as he ever enriches your enjoyment and challenges the listener to many a "what comes next" moment when arriving at the traditional classic progressive rock point in major tracks that very few are capable of pulling off and onwards to that ultimate symphonic experience.
There are so many styles here you would need a page to just list them all! But put simply KALUGIN just writes plays and produces SOMETHING THAT'S SPECIAL and our music needs leaders. Here he shows KALUGIN IS THAT MAN.
Two long tracks take centre place JOURNEY THOUGHT THE LOOKING GLASS and title track LOST SYMPHONY, complimented by a variety of shorter tracks that explore music to its full symphonic glory making it 64 minutes to savour.
As with SUNCHILD - AS FAR AS accompanying the great man himself the musicians at the heart of the album are Alexandr, Sergey, Oleg and Vanya, alongside an elite array of classical musicians playing Bassoon, Flute, Oboe, Viola, Violin and Cello.
KALUGIN, its evident here, went into the studio on an emotional high fresh from his critical success with the recent AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE plus his performance with legendary ex Uriah Heep's John Sloman at the UK's Summers End festival, producing an album confirming him as a JUGGERNAUT of a musician, a talent likened to a MAGICIAN he creates a Tapestry of Symphonic Art Rock that weave together a maze of Progressive, Art, Heavy, Traditional, Classical, Jazz Rock and so much more, KALUGIN keeps pushing the envelope without sacrificing his trademark rainbow of melodies each playing individually, continually and even alongside each other at times.
Karfagen is the brainchild of the Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin. He uses this project/band for mainly instrumental music. This can be specially heard on the debut album Continium (2006), the second releaseThe Space Between Us (2007) and on the compilation album The Key To Perception (2009). The music of bands like Happy The Man, Camel andFocus were important sources of inspiration on these releases, but Mr. Kalugin has also been influenced by the music of jazz-rock guitarist Pat Metheny. The third official release Solitary Sandpiper Journey (2010) contained more vocal parts than the two previous albums, while the jazz-rock and fusion elements clearly decreased. Elements from classical and folk music combined with more vocals had taken over on this album.
However, the old musical style seems to have returned on Lost Symphony, the latest record of Karfagen. The album is again almost completely instrumental and it strongly tends in the direction of the same type of music you could enjoy on the first two albums. This can be simply explained because in the booklet it is said that the music originates from 2000/2002. Some of the music was even lost for a while, but could be restored thanks to a demo that included 'the lost symphony'. Looking at the back of the CD-booklet you get the idea that you just bought a vinyl album, since Lost Symphony has been divided into 'side one and two' and even a 'third side'. This third side includes the bonus tracks, but I don't think that these tracks were meant to be bonus tracks; otherwise it would be rather strange to name your album after a bonus track which is moreover the best track of the entire album. This lost track belongs together with Journey Through The Looking Glass to the highlights of the album.
A lot of splendid keyboard work can be heard all the way through, just as on the band's first two albums. However, I once again heard influences from the music by Dutch band Focus. You have to listen very carefully to this album a couple of times before you discover what it's all about. All compositions flow into each other like a classical piece of music. This surely is cleverly done, but it means that the listener has to be focused all the time. This way you'll discover new things every time you play Lost Symphony. All details have been hidden in the music and you can only discover them by spending more time on this album. Sometimes you hear traces of Camel, Pat Metheny or Focus; at other times the Ukraine folk music takes over and invites you to enjoy the music of a different culture.
I would like to advise people who enjoyed Karfagen's early work to check out Lost Symphony. Also those who like the music made by Pat Metheny, Camel or Focus will get a very satisfying album if they decide to buy this release, but beware! Take your time while listening to the music on this disc, since the beauty of it all will only be revealed if you're patient.
Lost Symphony is a huge step forward for the Ukrainian project Karfagen, led by the brilliant Antony Kalugin. The album is completely instrumental and practically every composition on the album is a highlight. You might expect a bombastic and heavy symphonic sound with a title like this, but what you get is a symphony of subtleties.
You will have to listen to the album a couple of times carefully before you get to the structure of it. All compositions flow into each other. But once you have acquired the taste, you just can't stop listening to it. Every time you listen, you will discover new things, new sounds in the background, or little details you hadn't noticed before in the arrangements, which are all meticulously worked out.
To achieve this varied sound, mister Kalugin has once more surrounded himself with a small orchestra of excellent musicians. Apart from the standard band line up, consisting of guitars, keyboards, bass & drums, there can be a enjoyed a small string section and a lavish woodwind section, consisting of a flute, a oboe and a bassoon. As an extra folk element, a bayan, a Russian/Ukrainian sort of accordion is added to the line up. As mentioned, there are no vocals on this album, or it should be the sporadic text less vocal interventions in some of the compositions. I don't think words would have been necessary on this album. The eloquence is in the music.
The sound of Karfagen has always been firmly rooted in Ukrainian folk music, which gives the band a very characteristic sound. The music is very melodious and mixes in a beautiful way jazz, classic, folk and symphonic rock into a beautiful fairy tale-like musical landscape.
Practically all compositions on Lost Symphony are written by keyboard-player Antony Kalugin, with the exception of an acoustic guitar gem by guitarist Alexandr Pavlov, who may be held responsible for most guitar parts on the album and another one by Roman Gorielov, who makes a guest appearance only in that particular piece.
After a short keyboard introduction the music evolves in the up tempo and solid "Salvatore", a very attractive composition, displaying right away the many musical aspects Karfagen has to offer.
The short organ intermezzo "Orgaria" leads to the beautiful symphonic "Cosmic Frog & The Beast". Both the electric and acoustic guitar parts by Alexandr Pavlov are worth mentioning. The gentle melodies played by the bassoon made me unconsciously think of "Papillon" by the Italian band Latte e Miele. It's a miracle that so many fluent and attractive melodies fit in such a short time space. The well chosen keyboard sounds are never intrusive and connect all sections of this modern classical composition, that ends with a smooth chord played by the winds.
I liked a lot the "Journey Through The Looking Glass", a huge musical adventure with lots of tempo and character changes. The subtle acoustic melodies are often alternated by solid band interventions, supported by a very effective rhythm section. The excellent flute playing by Vasya Ivanov reminded me a lot of the Hungarian band Solaris on "The Martian Chronicles" and I certainly think that fans of that band will be pleased with this Karfagen album as well. The bayan carefully placed in the arrangements gives this composition just its necessary uniqueness. Again the subtle keyboard sounds of Antony Kalugin are closely intertwined with the several woodwinds, violins & cello.
The Symphony Of Sound (a bit of a pleonasm there), added as a bonus track (I wonder why) is another great composition, that according to the story in the booklet almost was lost, because the bulk of the arrangement had been erased, but luckily the track could be reconstructed thanks to a raw audio mix. It's a solid piece of music with some remarkable keyboard playing.
The recording is well done, the sound has a great transparency, thus highlighting all details of the arrangements. The beautiful paintings in the booklet by Alla Navrotskaya add a lot to the folk character of the album and fit in with the music perfectly.
I think that mister Kalugin has achieved with his "Lost Symphony" an album that will appeal to everyone who takes the time to listen to details and I would recommend this album in particular to fans of artists like Pekka Pohjola, Solaris, Mike Oldfield and Latte & Miele or simply to those who really love great music.
An album with so many highlights, which provided me with so many happy hours, can only be rewarded with five stars !
Very nice jazzy prog--often sounding like Pat Metheny, sometimes like Mike Post television themes, sometimes like Strunz & Farrah world music, always amazingly melodic and with crystal clear production. The keyboardist, Kalugin, is definitely the show here but all collaborators are good. Amazingly, some of Kalugin's 'keyboards' sound like real woodwinds! (Are they?) And please tell me that's a real accordian! With computer generated music these days it's hard to tell. Anyway, congrats for a imminently listenable and beautiful 'symphony.' Your music will endure! The album is so new to me that I'm not ready to rate it a five star masterpiece but I'm hard pressed to justify why it's not. It is virtually flawless--except that some will miss the vocal/lyrics of this collection of instrumental songs. And some will not like the absence of metal power chords.
"Lost Symphony" by Karfagen is like an vintage art rock fairytale - something special for those who loves Camel "Snow Goose" and Gryphon "Midnight Mushrumps". It`s an instrumental album that is divided on to three chapters, nearly 22 minutes each. I can clearly imagine it as a sides of a LP. First chapter: "The Frog, the Beast & the Wizard" - starts from lush keyboards - perfect positive intro to a symphonic poem where different characters and landscapes takes you to the fantastic world of adventures. You`ll find eccentric and flashing pieces like "The Cosmic Frog & the Beast" & "Salvatore". Classical Rimsky-Korsakov style "Orgaria" where Antony has painted a wonderful mellow pastoral with the beauty and variety of electric organ and gentle "China Wizard" by talented guitarist Alex Pavlov. "Sylph" has a really catchy tunes - atmospheric and dynamic at the same time. Second chapter: "Mysterious Stories from the Kite Town" (brings me an associations with a Nosov's world-famous child`s book "The Adventures of Dunno and his Friends") centres around epic track "Journey Through the Looking Glass". It`s an art rock jewel - one of my favourite Karfagen tracks - reminds me outstanding epic "Mystery" from the previous album "Solitary Sandpiper Journey". I would like to emphasize the art work and production of the entire cd. So it`s highly recommended symphonic rock statement.
I must be missing something. This is pleasant enough but hardly compares to the seismic shift that the arrival of "Tubular Bells" created. There is nothing here that couldn't be heard at any time in garden centres all over the UK = new age music to soothe the phalanxes of frenzied pensioners armed with fearsome elbows in search of that elusive marigold. No real symphonic touches, with the near 20 minute "Symphony of Sound", especially, proving to be more like the Symphony of Relentless Tedium. This said, "Sylph" and "Daydream" hold together nicely in the middle of the work, and there is a quite haunting (and, sadly, very brief) slice of organ music on "Orgaria (Scene 2), but the noodles and doodles elsewhere are not compelling. A (wholly unlikely) "Best of" compilation of Karfagen's output to date (including "Amused fair" and "Silent anger") might result in a half-decent amount of music to listen to as dusk gathers, but this offering alone doesn't do enough to stand on its own two feet.
Antony Kalugin's impressive portfolio of musical projects threaten to position him as a Ukrainian answer to Steven Wilson - a prolific creative force capable of playing progressive and prog-influenced music in a variety of styles. Here, Kalugin - particularly in his keyboard playing - along with his musical collaborators offers a tribute to the symphonic prog of the past. Alongside Kalugin's delicate playing, Alexandr Pavlov also works in some rather enchanting classical guitar passages which remind me of some of Anthony Phillips' material on his Private Parts and Pieces albums.
If the band has a weakness, it's in editing and trimming the fat off their compositions, often allowing particular musical themes or sections of their compositions drag on somewhat longer than necessary to little useful aesthetic effect. Still, it's a competent job and makes me interested to hear other projects by Kalugin.
The natural follow up Lost symphony issued in 2011 after the top notch Solitary sandpiper journey, is no less awesome then the predecesor. Keeping the same attitude as before, with splendid passages where Antony Kalugin really shines on every tune, as rest of the musicians involved here. Another long album from Karfagen , over an hour, but is not a problem for me, the album is keeping me conected with every piece. This time all album is instrumental, that is for sure quite great, because the musicnship is excellent as the ideas. Divided in 3 parts, each part aswell divided in small little pieces that flows from one to another very well. The mood is great and is a damn fine captivating journey to my ears. I never though that I'll like so much Karfagen, to me is one of the most acomplished and inventive bands around in prog rock realm. Lots of tempo changes, lots of musical styles combined and melted together, but the result is simply said amazing. For instance the opening part The frog, the beast and the wizard with 6 pieces , really kick ass, going from sections that remind me of Gryphon to symphonic prog a la The Flower Kings (but 100 times more intresting then the sweds) , jazzy passages all with good sense , elegant and inventive. Again recommended, Karfagen , is for sure now, I mean in last years a driving force in prog, that every one intrested in style must check this band because they kick ass all the way. 4 stars easy, nice art work on this digipak.
The very very impressive output from keyboard wiz Anthony Kalugin, continues as he goes from one album to the other in his various band disguises ( Hoggwash/ Karfagen/Sunchild) this 2011 release, has some very beautiful themes and interesting musical ideas, as he manages to blend symphonic prog and cinematic themes on most of the album, with almost fusion (Pat Metheny) like ("The China Wizzard") tunes. This album are very varied and it has grown on me over the weeks, I have played it several times, actually more than once a day, talking the last few days! It is quite amazing, he is getting away with blending genres, styles and moods, I can easily hear hints of Pat Metheny, Gryphon, Darryl Ways Wolf, folk, blues and even soundtrack-like sequences. It is very well produced by Kalugin & Will Mackie (founder of the excellent Caerllysi Music) and with an hour of brilliant listening, you cant go wrong, its well spend money. So go buy, why don't you?!! Give yourself that extra holiday gift!! Kudo´s the fine musicians here, the main figure being Kalugin, but the guitarist´ (there are several) also shows brilliance- especially the lead guitars are impressive! It's a keeper !!