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Kultivator - Barndomens Stigar CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.85 | 91 ratings

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Dr. Judkins
4 stars Though listed as Eclectic Prog, and slightly influenced by the Zeuhl style, Kultivator's Barndomens Stigar has quite a lot to offer to fans of Jazz fusion and Avant-prog, amongst others. The record also occasionally delves into folk territory, particularly in the intro to the title track.

As a "mixed bag" album, Kultivator fuses styles and bridges genre gaps quite well, carrying an ever-constant traditional keyboard-heavy prog feel throughout most of these cross-style excursions. Predominantly an instrumental album, the occasional vocals, mostly female, are very tastefully employed to give the album a very well-rounded feel, never staying too long in one territory or another before taking off somewhere else. The band had an excellent talent for switching styles on a dime without hesitation, but keeping a constant, flowing sort of feeling throughout, as opposed to more well-known style-shifters such as Naked City who were more known for abruptly and unexpectedly changing at the slightest moment's notice.

While this is thought of as a Zeuhl-inspired album, I only detect a hint of the style, particularly on the track Grottekvarnen, but even there the band's tendency to go back to other styles keeps it from being straight Zeuhl. Often times, their excursions into the Zeuhl style break into heavier or more experimental sounding jams or breakdowns, frequently putting me in mind of Red-era King Crimson. Mallet percussion and the free-swinging female vocals remind me of groups such as Bondage Fruit.

There are occasional glimpses of circus music, helped along by the wide range of keyboard and organ tones and voices used liberally throughout the record, and the guitarist's propensity for playing dissonant, jazz-influenced riffs, and occasionally improvising solos in non-traditional keys. These combine with a hundred other little oddities across the span of the record that serve to keep it fresh and exciting to the ears: occasional droning chants, keyboard riffs reminiscent of alien landings, juxtaposition of softer, slower sections, followed with harder and heavier sections, an appearance of a music-box like section, and liberal use of eclectic key changes are just a few of the many examples.

I have to say the strongest instrument here is the drums, played proficiently and consistently by Johan Sv√?¬§rd. He extensively uses offbeats, bebop-tinged rhythms, unorthodox fills, and typically just a fresh approach to the instrument in general, which is fantastic for this record, as it is heavily rhythmically based.

I highly recommend this record to a wide range of listeners as it's got a little something for lots of different kinds of prog fans, although it does typically border on the fringe styles.

Dr. Judkins | 4/5 |


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