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Karfagen - Lost Symphony CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 241 ratings

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Life Line Project
5 stars Lost Symphony is a huge step forward for the Ukrainian project Karfagen, led by the brilliant Antony Kalugin. The album is completely instrumental and practically every composition on the album is a highlight. You might expect a bombastic and heavy symphonic sound with a title like this, but what you get is a symphony of subtleties.

You will have to listen to the album a couple of times carefully before you get to the structure of it. All compositions flow into each other. But once you have acquired the taste, you just can't stop listening to it. Every time you listen, you will discover new things, new sounds in the background, or little details you hadn't noticed before in the arrangements, which are all meticulously worked out.

To achieve this varied sound, mister Kalugin has once more surrounded himself with a small orchestra of excellent musicians. Apart from the standard band line up, consisting of guitars, keyboards, bass & drums, there can be a enjoyed a small string section and a lavish woodwind section, consisting of a flute, a oboe and a bassoon. As an extra folk element, a bayan, a Russian/Ukrainian sort of accordion is added to the line up. As mentioned, there are no vocals on this album, or it should be the sporadic text less vocal interventions in some of the compositions. I don't think words would have been necessary on this album. The eloquence is in the music.

The sound of Karfagen has always been firmly rooted in Ukrainian folk music, which gives the band a very characteristic sound. The music is very melodious and mixes in a beautiful way jazz, classic, folk and symphonic rock into a beautiful fairy tale-like musical landscape.

Practically all compositions on Lost Symphony are written by keyboard-player Antony Kalugin, with the exception of an acoustic guitar gem by guitarist Alexandr Pavlov, who may be held responsible for most guitar parts on the album and another one by Roman Gorielov, who makes a guest appearance only in that particular piece.

After a short keyboard introduction the music evolves in the up tempo and solid "Salvatore", a very attractive composition, displaying right away the many musical aspects Karfagen has to offer.

The short organ intermezzo "Orgaria" leads to the beautiful symphonic "Cosmic Frog & The Beast". Both the electric and acoustic guitar parts by Alexandr Pavlov are worth mentioning. The gentle melodies played by the bassoon made me unconsciously think of "Papillon" by the Italian band Latte e Miele. It's a miracle that so many fluent and attractive melodies fit in such a short time space. The well chosen keyboard sounds are never intrusive and connect all sections of this modern classical composition, that ends with a smooth chord played by the winds.

I liked a lot the "Journey Through The Looking Glass", a huge musical adventure with lots of tempo and character changes. The subtle acoustic melodies are often alternated by solid band interventions, supported by a very effective rhythm section. The excellent flute playing by Vasya Ivanov reminded me a lot of the Hungarian band Solaris on "The Martian Chronicles" and I certainly think that fans of that band will be pleased with this Karfagen album as well. The bayan carefully placed in the arrangements gives this composition just its necessary uniqueness. Again the subtle keyboard sounds of Antony Kalugin are closely intertwined with the several woodwinds, violins & cello.

The Symphony Of Sound (a bit of a pleonasm there), added as a bonus track (I wonder why) is another great composition, that according to the story in the booklet almost was lost, because the bulk of the arrangement had been erased, but luckily the track could be reconstructed thanks to a raw audio mix. It's a solid piece of music with some remarkable keyboard playing.

The recording is well done, the sound has a great transparency, thus highlighting all details of the arrangements. The beautiful paintings in the booklet by Alla Navrotskaya add a lot to the folk character of the album and fit in with the music perfectly.

I think that mister Kalugin has achieved with his "Lost Symphony" an album that will appeal to everyone who takes the time to listen to details and I would recommend this album in particular to fans of artists like Pekka Pohjola, Solaris, Mike Oldfield and Latte & Miele or simply to those who really love great music.

An album with so many highlights, which provided me with so many happy hours, can only be rewarded with five stars !

Erik de Beer.

Life Line Project | 5/5 |


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