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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 658 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've been interested in hearing this album for quite some time now but the opportunity just never seemed to arrive until I one day took a spontaneous trip to Kulturhuset's Library, here in central Stockholm, and started scrolling through their CD-collection. To my surprise their collection has expanded quite a bit since my last visit a few month ago and I manage to leave the library with Space Shanty and a few other titles that I never expected to find there!

The first time I glanced at the cover I recognized that this was one of those top rated prog albums but I really didn't know much about the lineup behind it even though this particular cover read specifically "featuring Dave Stewart" on its front. For some strange reason I initially confused Stewart for, a fellow Canterbury artist, Dave Sinclair but at least I almost nailed the origin of this album! This was of course not of much help considering the huge differences in the Canterbury Scene which features everything from the soft vocals of Richard Sinclair to psychedelic experiments by Daevid Allan!

Listening to this album for the first time was somewhat of a surprise even though I really didn't know what to expect in the first place. The opening title track starts off almost like a Heavy Prog tune from that era, reminiscent of Captain Beyond, Quatermass and Atomic Rooster jamming with their gear tuned all the way to 11... all at once! This setting proved to be very temporary and soon the music shifted to groovy space jam lead by Hillage's guitar. Talking about turning 180 on the audience! Stranded is where things finally settle into a mellow atmosphere with spacy landscapes finally taking over the music thanks to Steve Hillage loose guitar play and underlying keyboard support from Dave Stewart. Things continue this way all the way until the first sounds of Driving To Amsterdam where we finally get something resembling the more familiar soft Canterbury atmosphere coined by bands like Caravan and Soft Machine, but the explosive intro is once again misleading since the song that follows it is another pretty groovy and loose atmospheric jam. The section right after each chorus section reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd's song Pigs, especially the part where Roger Waters uses tape effects on his vocals. My guess is that there has to be some similarity in the chord pattern that makes me think of this connection between the tunes.

Stargazers is a surprising rhythmic shift to an upbeat performance, although even this one slows down on a few occasions just to remind us of how great Hillage can be with his guitar fills. Hollow Stone is a nice conclusion to an otherwise already impressive album. This is probably the mellowest moment on the whole release with prominent sounds of acoustic guitar and keyboards that make this already moody tune even more special.

There's really no use denying that supergroups can be quite exceptional if all the members actually make an effort instead of just playing prog-by-numbers that mosts of the later supergroup formations tend to achieve with their gatherings. Granted that Steve Hillage is responsible for writing most of this material on his own, the rest of the band really do their best to accompany him on this spacy journey and not once do I get the feeling that someone was underplaying their part. A great treasure of the early prog scene that should definitely be heard by all fans of progressive rock music!

***** star songs: Stranded (6:36) Stargazers (5:34)

**** star songs: Space Shanty (9:02) Driving To Amsterdam (9:23) Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains (7:14) Hollow Stone (8:20)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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