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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover

SPACE SHANTY

Khan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 428 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
4 stars Steve Hillage is unarguably THE guitarist in the Canterbury scene, and among the most gifted ones in the whole prog history. After making the Arzachel album with his fellows from EGG, Hillage returned to his studies at Kent University, Canterbury. In April 1971 he formed KHAN, which at first featured drummer Pip Pyle, bassist Nick Greenwood and keyboardist Dick Henningham. Caravan's manager Terry King got them a record deal, but before the sessions began, Pyle was replaced by Eric Peachey and Henningham's departure was replaced at the last minute by none other than Dave Stewart (of Egg and numerous, at the time future Canterbury bands), one of Hillage's old playing mates.

Space Shanty gives some foretaste of Hillage's later work as the GONG guitarist and a solo artist. Especially the echoey guitar sound - for example in the title track which is loaded with heavy psychedelia - was to become his trademark. The album is tight prog rock. Several tempo changes, soli and variations in the dynamics work brilliantly on long tracks such as 'Mixed Up Man of the Mountain' and 'Driving to Amsterdam'. Hendrix-influenced guitar is the central element in this melodic and lively prog. On one moment it may sound a bit like Genesis, on the next moment like Camel, and on the next one... Well, it's better to say that Khan had a full-blown style of their own. On the Canterbury scene it represents its rockier side, and also slightly more vocal-oriented than Canterbury on the average.

Stewart's organ and electric piano are best heard on the calmer track 'Stranded'. The album fully deserves the classic status. During the summer and autumn after the release, Khan toured with an unstable line-up and practiced for new material (some of which was to appear on Hillage's solo debut Fish Rising, 1975), but the band came to its end in October when Hillage joined briefly Kevin Ayers' band. From then on he continued his colourful career as the Gong member.

Matti | 4/5 |

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