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Proto-Kaw - Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 54 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars First of all, I'd like to thank all previous reviewers to help people (including me) to know better PROTO-KAW's history, in special my good fellow ClemofNazareth for his splendid panel about the band - I saved a lot of time in researching and also in typing and page filling. That said, I will try to imprint my own impressions of "Early Recording from Kansas 1971-1973" compilation.

Here we have a cluster of songs emerging from the shadows of early 70s with a poignant nostalgic feeling but flaring intensely as they were made to conform with the 21st Century. Some British prog or some classical and folk influences may be heard but in the end of the day they produce a sound of their own, very USonian (from the US), clearly unique. Obviously, a slight comparison should be made with KANSAS, but I assure you that they run in a proper lane, even when recording the same songs.

'Hegemonium' is an interesting starting point, PK show doubtlessly their claws: wild passages alternating with mild excerpts, backed by fine singing and playing. The atmosphere seems a bit raw but under the skin some sophisticated notes may be perceived. The pace varies smoothly from symphonic to fusion with melancholic intermezzos, where instruments fade only to explode suddenly. However, certain sound effects annoy me a bit.

'Reunion in the Mountains of Sarne' continues the covenant between band and hearer, now the interaction grows intensely. The sweet and simple flute accompaniment tells the track story - we know what it means even not catching promptly the lyrics. Solo part is truly sad and touching - a sorrowl song full of emotion.

'Nactolos 21' begins dark and severe but the sound is replaced by some happier moments, decorated with beautiful jazzy tunes. Vocals do a majestic wrapping here. Guitar solo is nice and strong. The lengthy track looks like a vigorous epic-like. 'Belexes', a song already known due to a previous KANSAS recording, gets a nice rock treatment where EL&P-like keyboards are adorned by DEEP PURPLE's vocals and rhythm section.

The two previous tracks do a fine preparation for another great song, 'Totus Nemesis', one of the album's highest points. The song is impregnated with an amount of fusion and symphonic variations, very congruent and catchy. The band even explores the dominions of space-rock with absorbing weird effects. The retaking of song mainline is admirable.

'Greek structure sunbeam' is soft and appeasing, in fact just a brief stop before other emotions come. These emotions respond by the name of 'Incomudro', the best track in the album. Again, we have a track previously nested into KANSAS list but PROTO- KAW's approach is completely different and better, in my opinion. It goes from sweet touches to raw and complex tunes, leaving an astonishing sensation. Later, as long as the song flows we hear the solo part, with its almost choking crescendo movement. Drumming climax adds a comma not a final stop to the track, having the adequate time for the song.

The two live tracks that end the album, 'Cyclopy' and 'Skont' are pleasant and attractive although they seem included much more to show band members' skills.

Overall, a great debut, with all good stuff that may please any music admirer, be them progger or not. A unequivocal addition to complete one's musical collection. Total: 4.

Atkingani | 4/5 |


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