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Simon Steensland - Kamikaze United: Live Gang-Gang CD (album) cover

KAMIKAZE UNITED: LIVE GANG-GANG

Simon Steensland

RIO/Avant-Prog


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TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Simon Steensland's Kamikaze United is the name of the live band that Steensland assembled to actually perform some of the music he had created over the last ten plus years. It features a lot of his regular cast of collaborators, including as ever Morgan Agren (of Mats/Morgan) on drums.

Included on this album is at least one track from almost all of Simon's previous albums, including his collaboration with Sten Sandell (Ganggang) and the album of his theater pieces (Kaspar's Theme). From Led Circus we have The Return of Instant Jesus, which has been shortened by removing the vocal part. This reduces the weirdness a bit and makes the track a bit more accessible, and it works rather well (although I do still tend to prefer the Led Circus version). The stellar opening Track, Parade, hails from The Zombie Hunter. Interestingly, the only album that does not have a track featured here is his debut, The Simon Lonesome Combat Ensemble.

What is fascinating is that everything beyond those four tracks have not been featured on any of Simon's other albums, so for a fan of Simons music, there is more interest here than just seeing if he could pull off the music live.

Fans of rhythm sections will love this music, because it is very rhythmic and hypnotic. The crux of the band (to me at least) really is Simon on bass and Morgan on the drums. As with Zeuhl, there is a certain amount of repetition to the rhythms. The overall feel of the album is propulsive and challenging, and it's easy just to get lost in the layers built on top of the dominant rhythm sections. The energy is high and the band are all in top notch shape. Even the guests give stellar performances; take Pelle's trumpet part at the end of "Parade" as an example of this.

A great live album of one of the music worlds great, under-sung artists, showing now only that he and his bands have the chops to perform the music, but that there is a great passion behind them as well. The only complaint I do have is that the set list does not make use of much of Simons tracks with vocals, possibly due to the difficulty of finding a singer or of performing these tracks live.

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Posted Monday, May 09, 2011 | Review Permalink

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