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Kebnekajse - Kebnekaise II CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.95 | 82 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Quickly abandoning their pure hard prog leanings of their first album, Kebnekaise drastically changed direction by heading towards Swedish folk and making a stunning album that can be considered a masterpiece of progressive folk of Continental Europe. This group alternated between nine and eleven musos at the time (nine in this album), allowing for much diversity in their given directions. The amazing thing is that none of the tracks on this album (and the next one for that matter) are original material: every single track is traditional folk adapted, reprised, deconstructed and rebuilt to give a superbly modern progressive folk.

If the opening track (you'll allow me not to write its name, because I can only butcher it) is rather traditional jig-type track, right from the second Horgalaten (there goes my integrity ;-) track, the album plunges you into a transient state where the dramatic tensions of the psych folk starts on a very gradual crescendo, slowly heading for the climax with that "oh, so subtle!" change from acoustic to electric instruments. The following Skanklat (I maybe just end up with a Swedish fatwah against me) is yet another slowly developing crescendo track with highly communicative tension (much like Fairport Convention did on their longer tracks early in their career), and slowly building up to some really orgasmic guitar lines (actually they are two collaborating like Betts and Allman) and a delicious end. The following Bradbrodslaten (I've just gotten a life insurance and my will is in the envelope below the buffet, honey ;-) is a relatively well-known theme that is obviously common to a few cultures and although quite nice, does not raise your enthusiasm quite the same way as the previous tracks.

But nothing was to prepare you for the 16-min+ Comanche Spring, the only non-trad track written by guitarist Ingmar Bocker (dying at the hand of a Viking, there is a glorious death ;-), which is simply superb, with its lengthy musical interplay between violin, guitars, the whole thing underlined by a double percussion attack, sometimes getting close to Santana or Allman Bros. The comparison to Allman is not innocent here, as in some weird kind of way they (Kebnekaise) would resemble a Swedish folky equivalent of the great Brothers Band. Even if it is fully accomplished, the track is calling for more of the same and unfortunatelmy the record is over. What a shame.

Truly one of the best examples of what folk prog has to offer, this album is a unique blend of folk, rock, psych and improvisation including Latin-beats, Kebnekaise's second album is a must hear for all progheads. To be ranked along with algarnas Tradgard's debut album as Sweden's most obscure lost gems.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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