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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 637 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Space Shanty, the sole album of Khan, featuring Gong's Steve Hillage and Egg's Dave Stewart, is a refreshingly consistent record loaded with dreamlike psychedelic vibes, spasmodic jazz leanings, and symphonic splendor. Musically, it is quite similar to Kansas. This album is excellent all around and shows the more symphonic side of the Canterbury scene.

'Space Shanty' Opening with a cacophony, the song quickly takes a Led Zeppelin approach to rock and roll, with vocals over drums followed by a heavy riff. However, the lead guitar and organ tradeoffs over the wandering bass and engaged drumming is the highlight of this piece. Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart are monsters, but so are their companions, who are offering creative rhythms throughout underneath psychedelic mayhem. Eventually Hillage bursts through with a fiery guitar solo over a jazzy upbeat backdrop, soon leaving the rest behind in a delayed dual guitar bit over disembodied vocals. Later, Stewart picks up with a bit of sprightly organ before those tradeoffs return. This is an exciting beginning to a great album.

'Stranded' Lightening up, this has a beautiful acoustic guitar paired with distant synthesizer and the best vocal melody on the album. As it picks up, it has an organ-led Camel feel. It grabs a heavy rock riff abruptly to introduce an organ lead. The fuzzy and acoustic guitars coming through left and right channels work well over the rhythm that reminds me of 'The Pinnacle' by Kansas or King Crimson's Lizard. The ending is rather mystical, leading into the next piece.

'Mixed Up Man of the Mountains' The light guitar and organ lie underneath the vibrato-laden lead singer, but soon give way to rocking lead guitar. The singing soon becomes awash in underwater cloudiness. It leads into something similar to Camel, with vocalizations, semi-clean guitar, keyboards, excellent bass, faithful drums, and plenty of rhythmic creativity. In some ways, it favors passages from Gentle Giant's Acquiring the Taste. Over a relatively simplistic rock rhythm, Hillage provides a very fetching guitar solo.

'Driving to Amsterdam' Jazzy yet accessible, this track opens with nearly clean guitar runs and supporting organ. The song possesses an excellent vocal melody that weaves between dreaminess and uplifting determination. There are several complex musical passages woven together.

'Stargazers' The fifth song is very Styx-like, quite dramatic and somewhat pop. Hillage's lead guitar is all over the place on top of the velvety backdrop. Stewart's organ solo is so thin sounding it could almost be an electric guitar.

'Hollow Stone' This final number has a wash of mysterious guitar and organ. The vocal performance is moving and serves the music extremely well- quite similar in style to Steve Walsh of Kansas. The bass underneath the organ solo is remarkable itself, floating all over the fretboard. The end of the album spirals out of control in spirited psychedelic passion.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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