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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 637 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A wonderful masterpiece of Canterbury prog that all respective fans will appreciate, but will not be an unknown venture to fans of classic rock.

Just the names of Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart should be the immediate bright spots here. Any good fan of prog will recognize those names and interest should immediately be gained, and why not? Even though this is the only album this group produced, it's worth every penny. I was stuck on the title track for about a month or two before I even listened to the rest of the album. That's how good it is.

Now the songwriting on that particular track wasn't exactly the best in the world (especially not before "Stranded", which contains some wonderful songwriting), but once the main chorus is over and done, the instrumental sections come in and it's all uphill from there. It's a great example of typical Canterbury jazz/rock mixing with striking guitar solos and that typical heavy rock sound made popular in the early 70's thanks to bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen. The magic continues when Hillage gets the spotlight all to himself, and the solo just echoes like magic and really pulls the song together.

As aformentioned, "Stranded" is the complete opposite of "Space Shanty". Vocals are more abundant (and it took a lot longer to write this song's lyrics than "Space Shanty's"). It's more atmospheric and light as the lyrics are the only thing that can pull you into the song. But by "Mixed Man Of The Mountains" both the instrumentation and songwriting from the previous songs come together in another fantastic demonstration of Canterbury prog.

"Driving In Amsterdam" starts off as another typical instrumental prog song, but then Hillage and Greenwood sing in harmony, and it sounds like another song. This proves the point that any band can play a Canterbury style of prog while maintaining the melody and harmony that many rock bands at that time normally played. Without a doubt, if you selected a number of Canterbury prog albums like Soft Machine's "Third", National Health's "Of Queues And Cures", Hatfield And The North's 1973 self-titled debut and even Caravan's "In The Land Of Grey And Pink", and played samples of them to someone stone-cold, without any prior knowledge or listening history of Canterbury prog, chances are, Khan's "Space Shanty" would be the nicest to their ears, simply because of the presence of hard rock elements common in early 70's rock bands on songs like "Driving In Amsterdam".

"Stargazers" clearly comes off from the beginning as a Canterbury prog fan's dream. It seems like that for the entire ride, until the chords lighten up and the vocals come in. Midway through, it even develops into a bluesy segment there. An absolutely wonderful track and a technical masterpiece. The album concludes with the phenomenal "Hollow Stone (Escape Of The Space Pirates)", which could easily have been "Driving To Amsterdam, Pt. 2".

Overall, it's a phenomenal disc and a shame that this is the only release by this collection of musicians, but at least they made one, and this will be a perfect addition for any Canterbury prog fan. Excellent mix of prog and hard rock.

Wicket | 5/5 |


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