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K2 - Book Of The Dead CD (album) cover





3.51 | 83 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 35

When I first read about the existence of this musical project, in Progarchives, I became very curious about it. But, what most amazed me was that the whole work was written, arranged and produced by Ken Jaquess, a musician who I had never heard about before. As I became curious about this project, I tried to buy this album as soon as possible.

K2 is the first project of the bassist Ken Jaquess of the L.A. based band Atlantis, formed during the 90's. They recorded two CD's, 'Atlantis' in 1997 and 'Pray For Rain' in 2003. For those who don't know anything about this band and are interested to know something more about them, you can consult the biography of the group in this site.

Wanting to recreate the 70's classic symphonic rock sound and to help fulfil his musical vision, Ken Jaquess (bass, keyboards and 10 string acoustic guitar), searched for the musicians who could master the vintage sound of the instruments, of that musical period. His choice was Shaun Guerin (vocals), Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Ryo Okumoto (piano and moog), Yvette Devereaux (violin), John Miner (guitar) and Doug Sanborn (drums).

About the musicians who participated on this project, I really had only heard of Devereaux and Guerin, and sincerely, I only really knew Holdsworth and Okumoto. Holdsworth is a guitar virtuoso artist, who performed many different styles of music. He is best known for his work in the jazz fusion style. He became well known because of his cooperation in bands like Soft Machine and Gong. He also performed most of the guitar work on the Bill Bruford's debut solo album 'Feels Good To Me', before both have joined to the new progressive super-group, UK. Okumoto is the keyboardist of Spock's Beard. Deveraux was the first African American woman conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and was also the first African American woman to obtain a conductor's degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She explores the progressive rock and founded the Progressive Symphony in Los Angeles. Guerin was best known as the lead vocalist, but he also played drums, in the American Genesis' tribute band, called Cinema Show. As its name indicates, the group played Genesis' music of the Gabriel's era. Guerin's vocals are very similar to Peter Gabriel's vocals. As a premonition, Guerin sadly passed away, shortly after the completion of 'Book Of The Dead'.

From his youth, Ken has a huge fascination with the ancient world and with all their civilizations. It was instilled by his mother. Ken always had love and fascination with ancient Egypt, particularly with 'The Book Of The Dead' which is the name given to the ancient Egyptian funerary text that comprises a collection of hymns, spells and instructions, to allow the dead pass through all the obstacles, in the afterlife. With ideas and stories taken directly from the original book, Ken has weaved an intricate and an ornate tale of rules, about death and the ultimate journey to the afterlife.

'Book Of The Dead' is the debut studio album of K2 and was released in 2005. It's a conceptual musical work of five songs presented as chapters, with a total time of 46 minutes. It was started in 2001 and took four years to finish. The opening track 'Chapter 1: Infinite Voyage' is the lengthiest track on the album. It's a grandiose and epic theme in the neo-prog vein. As the name indicates, it's a fantastic voyage in time and sounds, which carries us to the times of the ancient Egyptians. The second track 'Chapter 2: Mirror To The Spirits' is a track with a dramatic opening and continues the grandeur of the previous track, with plenty of great remarkable instrumental work, provided by all musicians. The third track 'Chapter 3: The Edge Of Light' is a great track in the same vein of the previous two. It's a very tasteful song with great violin work and with plenty keyboard sounds. The fourth track 'Chapter 4: Aten (Window Of Appearances)' is an instrumental track very beautiful. It's a song that explores the ambient music through the keyboards and the bass guitar, what makes it seems a bit mysterious. The fifth track 'Chapter 5: Cloak Of Antiquity' concludes the album with a very good composition, with great violin work, floating keyboards, good drums, and is well accompanied by emotional vocals. This atmosphere is a nice epilogue for the end of this very good conceptual project.

Conclusion: This is a very interesting project served by a handful of fine musicians. The final result is an excellent debut album. In almost 47 minutes, you are taken along a journey that features all the elements of the era in which progressive rock music was invented. It means that you are listening to many musical traces of great progressive 70's groups, especially Genesis, UK and Yes. The musical traces of Genesis are particularly evident, mainly due the similitude between the voices of Guerin and Gabriel. However, you can also enjoy of modern jazz rock influences. With the release of 'Book Of The Dead', K2 have been touted as the new super group that descended to our progressive musical world. Undoubtedly, I really salute this splendid album and I recommend it, very strongly, to everybody.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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