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Kaipa - Kaipa CD (album) cover

KAIPA

Kaipa

 

Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 238 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Floating freely above temples in the jungle

For most of the world, Kaipa was a band to discover retrospectively. In fact, it is doubtful whether they would ever have become widely known outwith their native Sweden, had Roine Stolt not gone on to find fame with the Flower Kings. The band started life as a trio named URA KAIPA, shortening their name when they recruited a young guitarist, the aforementioned Stolt, and started work on their first album.

While Stolt has gone on to become a legendary figure in modern prog, it was Hans Lundin who was initially the dominant force in Kaipa, both in terms of song-writing and performance. He was not however the leader as such, the band being very much a democratic gathering of equals.

This, their debut album, was originally only released in Scandinavia in 1975. For their albums not to have eventually reached foreign shores would however have been a crime, as what we have here is excellent symphonic prog.

Kaipa can be seen as a link between the early classic prog bands such as Yes and ELP, and the neo-prog of Spock's Beard, Arena, and of course the Flower Kings. The music includes traditional Swedish folk influences which are seamlessly blended with complex progressive rock themes.

The opening track, "Musiken är ljuset (Music is light)" is a bold, seven minute, statement of intent by the band. There are shades of Camel in the keyboards and guitar work, complemented by some fine vocals. These vocals are of the higher pitched variety, although not in the realms of Jon Anderson. The lyrics are in Swedish, which I find to be slightly distracting, as my ignorance of foreign languages renders them meaningless to me. I found at times the Eurovision song contest came to mind during vocal passages, but such a comparison is admittedly grossly unfair!

"Ankaret (The anchor)" has one of those frustratingly familiar melodies, possibly from a piece of classical music, before developing the theme and moving into a Focus like instrumental.

"Skogspromenad" is interesting, as the majority of the band were against its inclusion on the album. The track has an almost Celtic feel, opening with a loudening bagpipes type sound, before adopting a bolero like repetitive theme. The track makes for a pleasant deviation from the rest of the album, and good sense clearly prevailed by including it.

The album is completed by a striking sleeve bearing a painting by Stolt. which "depicts an astral traveller floating freely above temples in the jungle".

2005 promises to be a good year for Kaipa. According to the bands official website, a box set is being prepared for release which will include the band's first three albums, plus 2 CDs of unreleased and live recordings. The band themselves have recently reformed, including Stolt, and a new album is imminent.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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