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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover

SPACE SHANTY

Khan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 441 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VOTOMS
5 stars REVIEW N' 200 - Khan: Space Shanty (featuring Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart).

Ready for a space adventure? So... Don't forget your towel!

Khan's only shot is the treasure of the Canterbury scene. Flawless. A perfect album, filled with everything that I ever wanted: SCI-FI theme, a cover art that seems to be the ruins of the Space Battleship Yamato, progressive tracks, organ and guitar amazing interplay, Canterbury Jazz + a little bit of psychedelia, cool lyricis, space pirates, a bearded manly drummer, catchy bass lines... Everybody needs a Space Shanty's copy. The latest CD version includes two bonus tracks and a very interesting booklet, featuring the story of the band and members, curiosities from the Canterbury scene and funny comics. It's symphonic. It's heavy. It's an essential album for any classic rock or progressive collector. Unfortunattely, Khan had a short lifetime, and a short time to record their songs, so you will find a lot of trippy, jams, and Canterbury fusion passages, but no fillers. I think I already said: Space Shanty is perfect!

The title track, Space Shanty (Inc. The Cobalt Sequence and March of The Sine Squadrons) start as a mix of ELP and Deep Purple, following jazzy chords and riffs, connecting the heavy rock with the smooth, beautiful feeling which is a trademark from the Canterbury tunes. Steve Hillage and Dave Steward playing together sounds like soul mates. The track development really works, passing through many different sections, and some of them, makes me feel like a space pirate tripping around the seven corners of the universe. The electronic experience of the keys and organ sometimes fits perfectly with any space crusade for me. The solo times, full of reverb/delay, work as a key unlocking an early unknown door into the deepest side of my mind. I can clearly feel the drums and bass echoing inside of my body. But, that's not enough, the next track brings me back to outer space, I just felt like I have been there before, a distant illusionary nostalgia...

... This is called Stranded (Effervescent Psychonovelty No. 5). A beautiful melody. Leaving the earth behind, I can feel the lull of the space. When the vocal part begins, you will notice that great bass riff. That's Nick Greenwood. He came from the final incarnation of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The chorus is brilliant, harmonious and I love it. Good chills! The smooth jazz touch with that gorgeous keyboard playing hits the right nerve, provoking a pleasent listen, everytime. You will find some notes within the album pack, saying: "Our very special thanks to DAVE STEWART who fitted in our sessions in between heavy commitments with his band EGG". I have to agree, that is an admirable effort, for sure. Stranded is the meaning of Canterbury style. A good job at Hillage's solo, living up to his nickname, the "hippie from outer space". He was very influenced by musicians like John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, but his way of thinking and feeling music makes him one of the best and unique guitarists of the entire psychedelic rock scene. The instrumental variations are great passages. Hillage's voice is just the way it should be. It fits the music like your favorite socks in your feet during the coldest night of winter. I like when the whole band are singing together too. Some bands and duets are not able to do this in a pleasent way. The ending atmosphere of the track rides to the next step of this awesome album. The Space Shanty moves on, accelerating and reaching the third track.

The last track of the first side. Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains. The song begins with an atmospheric background and Hillage's catchy vocal line. The song suddenly explodes with a heavy psych guitar riff, and goes on. Catchy drum/bass. My interpretation for the lyrics are multiple. It could be a follow up for the previous track. It could be just about flying. Maybe about freedom, or even suicide. I don't know, but that's a pretty hot track. The random section after the phrase "But soon as I am here I have to go" is strangely fine. I like that guitar solo accompanied by the 'vocal solo' (or the vocals accompanied by the guitar?). A trippy song, and a perfect ending for Space Shanty's first side.

The second part of the Space Shanty's journey through the universe and beyond start with Driving To Amsterdam, a song initially insane. The Canterbury jazz fusion intro is highly special for me. It's time for Dave Stewart to shine! This guy knows how to work and move your feeling to the right place. Steve Hillage proves to be a blues master with his riffs, solos and improvisations. The musical friendship of Steve and Dave is far beyond expectations! Driving to Amsterdam has a soulful songwriting and performance. It's the B Side track equivalent for Stranded (A Side), and the longer track from the album.

Stargazers intro sounds like the Canterbury intro for Tarkus. Freak as hell. It's outstanding. Steve Hillage dissonant and schizophrenic solo in the middle of the opening is sorely inspired. The whole album was filled with unexpected moments, and this track has a list of good moments, during only five minutes and a half! Maybe the most adventurous song from the Space Shanty timeline, here is where you will put your foot down on moon! It is the most happier song from their repertoire too. This song brings me the sensation of find the unexplored. The symphonic organ and the melodic chant are summoning the unknown before my eyes through my ears! Can you believe it? Just open your mind, listen to the track and see.

So, the last song of the original recording: Hollow Stone (Escape of The Space Pirates). This is the properly ending track, with an ending atmosphere, playing riffs ending passages that makes you think "hey, this is the ending theme". Almost there. The band returns to the calm and quiet stream, and if you have been enjoying the whole album, you will probably like this track like any other one. So profound. The final minutes are full of technological noises and experiments, and you will clearly imagine that Steve Hillage's solo like Steve Hillage's waving goodbye, and jumping inside his Space Shanty calling for a hot burrito after traveling the whole space hungry and playing prog for you guys.

The bonus tracks works pretty good, and sounds like a continuation of the album. Break The Chains rules. Wonderful surprises are waiting for you. Long live KHANnterbury!

VOTOMS | 5/5 |

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