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Karda Estra - Time And Stars CD (album) cover


Karda Estra


Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 53 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neil C
4 stars The music of Karda Estra, the brainchild of composer Richard Wileman, has a unique aesthetic; Dark, gloomy, shadowy and gothic, it is nevertheless also pretty at times, rich in texture and detail, and full of filmic atmosphere.

The new album, "Time and Stars", is slightly unusual for the group as it includes some "songs", and when I say songs I mean instrumental pieces with sung text. That said, the timbral and harmonic approach taken on the album is entirely in keeping with the rest of their impressive and darkly entertaining canon of work and the 'vocals with text' are merely a successful new component, adding to the customary sumptuous textures of acoustic guitars, electric pianos and mallet instruments, unusual uncanny atmospheres/chord progressions, lyrical woodwind passages and spellbinding choral passages.

A longing sadness and sense of foreboding pervades tracks such as the evocative "Lighthouse" and "Andromeda Approaches", the latter's lead vocal and shimmering acoustic/12 string guitar texture sharing something with Steve Hackett's "Shadow of the Heirophant" from his classic "Voyage of the Acolyte" album. (Steve Hackett is, I know, an artist with whom Richard feels a strong affinity).

Elsewhere across the album one hears atonal figures flung like constellations into arrangements with complex tonal harmonic palettes and moments of sinister 'chain-rattling' and crunching earth interspersed with periods of uneasy repose.

"Time and Stars", as with much of the group's work, is hard to classify as 'rock' as there is so little 'rocking out'. Rhythmically, harmonically and melodically more refined than most "Prog" there are only a few drums and heavy electric guitar moments here ? the track "Niall" being an isolated example. In fact to me this music perhaps has more in common with the psychedelic '60's soundtrack worlds of David Axelrod, Ennio Morricone or even the Swedish composer Bo Hansson than it does with say Yes or King Crimson, though in its acoustic moments there is more than a hint of Hackett-era Genesis. On this album I also thought I discerned chord sequences that reminded me of the music of the brilliant French band Magma ? I'd be delighted to find out if there was a connection or influence or if that was just mere coincidence.

All said, it is really difficult to find precedents or clear influences for the band's truly creative music which really does stand alone (across all their albums) as a very singular and very accomplished musical vision. Whilst possibly too 'low-key' for some listener,s the work is composed and produced with supreme musicality, distinctiveness, detail and care.

This album is the latest in a prolific series of impressive musical achievements.

Neil C | 4/5 |


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