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Kaipa - Solo CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.02 | 230 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Except for the vocalist who sounds like a Swedish Thomas Dolby at times, I think this is a very, very good album. I wasn’t at all familiar with Kaipa before hearing this, but after playing it a few times it becomes pretty apparent where a lot of the sounds from The Flower Kings, the Tangent, and even Transatlantic came from. Apparently Roine Stolt cut his teeth with this band before going on to heavily influence the sound of the rest of the groups he became a part of. I can hear big chunks of the Tangent in tracks like “En Igelkotts Död”, and Stolt’s guitar work here sounds like a slightly tamer version of what he would do with Transatlantic several years later.

There were some pretty apparent influences on this band as well though. These guys definitely played a bit of Camel from time to time judging from the understated keyboards, probably Van der Graaf Generator just in the overall arrangements (“Frog Funk”, “Respektera Min Värld”, “Sist På Plan”), and definitely some Yes (check out the opening bars of “Den Skrattande Grevinnan” or “En Igelkotts Död”).

My favorite track comes near the end. “Total Förvirring” has a bit more energy in it than most of the rest of this laid-back album, and the synthesized guitar tracks make this sound a lot closer to eighties neo-prog than I would have expected of a late seventies band. Stolt’s command of guitar and his presence in this band is never more apparent than it is in this song.

With the extra tracks on the CD version the influence of Stolt and Kapia’s sound on the Tangent is even more apparent. I’m pretty sure “Sist På Plan” is a Tangent track, I just can’t remember which album. And if not, it’s close enough that anyone could make an easy comparison.

Overall the thing that strikes me most is that this is a progressive band in the late seventies, young presumably savvy enough to recognize the coming commercial shift in popular tastes to much more sanitized, cheesy and ready-for-MTV music. But for some reason they go out and deliver an unquestionably progressive album that manages to not sound like a throwback or Genesis tribute album or something. Bravo!

‘Solo’ didn’t make any inroads into the U.S. market that I’m aware of and too bad, because that meant I would have to discover these guys many years after this album released. Kind of makes you wonder what the progressive music landscape would have looked like if we’d had the World Wide Web in the seventies instead of having to rely on stoned ex-hippies who ran head-shop/record stores in dingy little store-fronts to import albums like this so we could discover them.

So, a very good album with some obvious influences but also a snapshot of a band in the process of spawning a number of bigger and more dynamic other bands. And the fact that the guitar is often more prominent than the keyboards leads me to the opinion that this is one of the very first bands that would develop the neo-prog sound.

I would say this is a well-recommended album. Four stars don’t seem to be an exaggeration. Worth picking up.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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