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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover

SPACE SHANTY

Khan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 437 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Khan's sole album is a mesmirising journey into spacey escapism.

My ears have been gloriously blessed with some of the finest musicianship from some of the finest musicians. Nick Greenwood on bass, vocals, the incomparable spacey Steve Hillage on guitars, vocals, Eric Peachy on drums, and the keyboard wizardry of Dave Stewart on Hammond organ, piano, skyceleste, and marimbas. From the opening title track the album delivers a feast of powerful vocals, lengthy Hammond finesse and scorching lead guitar work. The spacey content is reflected in the lyrics, "flow in its river of light and you'll see, that you have found what you've been searching."

The Canterbury influences are prevalent, especially on the next track, 'Stranded', with escapist lyrics; "we escaped to the city, lying on a deserted beach, out of reach, I could see you much clearer as we strode by the shore, all the peace all around us, seemed impossibly pure". The magical organ solo that follows is a shimmering virtuoso performance accompanied by riffing guitar work and a psychedelic fuzzed lead solo.

'Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains' begins with quiet guitar tones and builds to the Canterbury feel, with loud guitar and organ. Greenwood's bass is relentless and this one is filled with lyrics of the secrets of the mountain man. There is a pronounced time sig shift leading to a fast lead break with golden Hammond arpeggios played Adante over jazz percussion metrics. The lead guitar of Hillage is excellent broken only by some whimsical multilayered vocal intonations. Side one of this album is all killer, no filler.

Side two begins with a riffing guitar lick on 'Driving To Amsterdam'. It sounds a bit like Caravan or Hatfield and the North for a while. The guitars and organ keep a tight rhythm. The balladic quality is prominent with gentler vocals; "can it be that there's so many, that have been through this whole scene before, staring at the ground, I found myself in you, our weary faces smiling with the energy that's left." The harmonies are quite effective. Eventually the song launches into a jamming bluesy rock feel with twin lead guitar embellishments. The Hammond gains pace and some speed key fingering adds to the atmosphere of tension until the jazz improve ending.

'Stargazers' has a quirky time sig a bit like 'Tarkus' at first and then locks into a Canterbury sounding verse; "don't you think you can surely make it now, you don't need anyone to tell you how, king and queen, an extra gene". The lead break following is a solid psych sound and there is a very odd time sig that comes next with organ and improvised style lead. There is an identical verse and then a lengthy break with high pitched organ and fret melting lead guitar work played to perfection.

'Hollow Stone' begins with dreamy organ and soft vocals; "hollow stone, all alone, back a thousand years, and you know there is no answer, they can give you, for the words are there for them to choose, as you fall into space from your lonely shelf, you raise your hand and gaze in wonder." After these types of lyrics a sparkling electric piano leads. More spacey lyrical verses follow until we enter into a grinding distorted fuzzy guitar riff. The sound reverberates from left to right speaker. There is a freak out of chaotic Hammond and guitar, bass and drums that fades into the final section alternating from left to right ear and finally slowing and speeding back to a echoed note.

Overall this album is a sensational musical triumph and sadly a one off. But how many bands can produce music like this, to perfection capturing such incredible atmospheres? This may well be the lighting in a bottle so many bands are searching for. Khan found it and never were able to return to this. For the listeners they have left behind this indelible mark on prog history and it is a pleasurable experience.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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