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Karda Estra - New Worlds CD (album) cover

NEW WORLDS

Karda Estra

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars Karda Estra is a totally new band and sounds to me. I did the interview with Richard, but nothing could prepare me for these sounds and this album which was a free download when I got it.

Wow, words almost fails me when trying to describe this music because this band is pretty unique. Wow........ This is not an easy review to write.

Karda Estra is building soundscapes and sound sculptures on this album. That by the means of both acoustic and electric instruments. I get some Aranis vibes here and that is a good start point for me. But Karda Estra is a lot more symphonic than Aranis. Hence, they are in the Symph Prog genre. But they have a lot of avant-garde and some new-age elements in the sound sculptures they have created on this album. The mood is sometimes dark, but always mellow and pastoral. It is like Genesis at their most pastoral. That and mellow, pastoral Rock Progressivo Italiano. Add a lot of classical music too. Karda Estra is in essence a chamber orchestra with a wide variety of instruments. Oh, that does not make them a chamber orchestra then. OK, replace that with a baroque orchestra playing a gig in one of the great French cathedrals. But don't believe this album is an easy listening album. It is not.

The quality of the music is great throughout and this album has become a firm favorite in my office and in my home during the last week. I love their sound and I love their sound sculptures. The music is also as challenging as a vertical rockface. A nice workout for anyone's brain, that is. This is definate an album you should get.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#465680)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A prog lullaby.

Okay, so that's not an entirely fair description of the music contained on this album. Richard and his band have created more here than just something to go to sleep to - the lovely acoustic guitars, the haunting vocals, the gorgeous strings, and so forth - they all combine here to create some truly beautiful instrumental music. Texture is the name of the game, melody rears its head with fair frequency, and this album starts pleasing from the first moment until the very last.

This is my fourth Karda Estra album, and it combines the soothing aspects of Constellations and Eve with the otherworldly aspects of Weird Tales to create something that's not quite as haunting as the latter, but still beautiful in an eerie, fragile way.

There is nothing on this album to really shock or offend, in fact this album, despite the above description will not really surprise the listener at all, especially if you have listened to the works of this project before. This is not a bad thing, the band has mixed things up a bit but remains completely recognisable as themselves and nobody else.

Ultimately this is an album that is very relaxing. The kind of album that, when you want a bit of music to accompany you on your journey to dreamland, you might think of. Not quite a lullaby, per se, and definitely good for more than just falling asleep to - but peaceful.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#487344)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars An album of peaceful orchestral progressive music, Karda Estra has created another magical journey. With so many intriguing ideas, I would have liked to have seen some of the pieces explored further. The music makes one feel lost, sometimes in a chilly forest, sometimes in a crowded city at twilight. Midway through, the album always becomes background music, even if the first half is enchanting. Karda Estra impresses me with their soft, appealing textures and compositional movements- a wonderful album for cold days.

'Chronoclasm I' Light washes of acoustic guitar and vocals contrast with melancholic oboe and dark bass.

'Transmissions' A slightly heavier piece due to the presence of electric guitar, the second track offers typically lovely and engaging music.

'Fifty Below Zero' Lively yet low, this third bit of music has beautiful female vocals with astute compositional twists.

'Eternity Station' Keeping the expressive, opiate nature of what has come before, Karda Estra adds gnarling electric guitar heaviness, juxtaposing that with fairy-like beauty.

'Girl in a Spaceship' Taking a jazzier countenance, 'Girl in a Spaceship' is akin to the bossa nova greatness of Antonio Carlos Jobim.

'Sea of Tranquility' This piece is more nebulous and lacks the captivating nature of the previous tracks- still, a nice tune.

'The Sky Below' The dream is interrupted here- something about this doesn't appeal to me. I'm not sure if it's the tones (which sound unnatural) or the lack of flow. A few brief sections are, as usual, exquisite, but as a whole, the piece lacks flair and cohesiveness.

'Radiance' This chord progression is not attractive to me, and I feel this track could have been better off without the minimalistic drumming. Admittedly, the album has begun to lose my attention at this point.

'The Doll's House' Languid piano leads into more airy melodies. The abrupt harpsichord section seems tacked on without reason.

'The Celestial Lounge' Using harsher guitar tones in the beginning, this piece suddenly becomes reliant on acoustic guitar and the usual wind instruments. The transitions remain difficult to follow. It reminds one of the folky side of Gentle Giant or Mike Oldfield.

'Invaders from Venus' The album returns to easygoing, upbeat jazz.

'Chronoclasm II' The final piece is a spacey conclusion.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#571012)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another great KE album! Karda Estra has such a refreshing way of leading the listener down unexpected yet beautiful paths with their odd and unexpected chord and key shifts. I hope they keep putting out new music forever! This one finds Richard et co. working with a few more outsiders, which renders this collection of songs a bit more outside of the 'typical' KE Gothic-medieval sound (e.g. Eve, Vovoid Dracula, Weird Tales) and more like their 2005 release, The Last of the Libertine. The result, however, is a much more catchy, melodious and even 'poppy' KE album. There are songs that feel jazzy like KOOP, complex pop like Burt Bacharach, several straight out of the Steve Hackett school of prog snippets ("snippets" because most of these songs are less than 4 minutes in length--with several less than two!), along with a few from the more 'classic' KE sound repertoire. All in all, it's a lighter side of Richard and the gang--one that makes for very pleasant background music as you cook or read. Favorites: "Transmissions" (9/10), "Girl in a Spaceship" (9/10), "Sea of Tranquility" (9/10), "Invaders from Venus" (9/10)--heck! I like them all! A great album to play straight through. Four plus stars!

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#598468)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars There is no doubt in my mind that Richard Wileman is one of the finest composers working in his field, and it is criminal that his work isn't more widely known. The reason for that is he firmly straddles the two camps of progressive rock and modern classical probably more than anyone else I have had the pleasure of listening to. Sure, Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips have made steps in this direction but they have yet to go as fully down the classical path as Richard. As ever he has been joined on this project by Ileesha Bailey's whose ethereal vocals add a haunting beauty to this work. Here he has created twelve futurist nostalgia instrumental tracks and has collaborated with some external sources such as Kavus Torabi (Cardiacs/Knifeworld), Don Falcone & Bridget Wishart (Spirits Burning/Hawkwind) and Stuart Rowe (Lighterthief/Andy Partridge).

This album hasn't been released on CD, but instead has been made available at www.bandcamp.com where the purchaser can pay as little as ₤1 to download the album in whatever format they wish. Richard has also provided details there of who plays on what song, who assisted in the composition etc. It is the perfect accompaniment to a darkened room and a large glass of malt, or do as I did which was listen to this at night on the deck looking at the stars with the moreporks (our local owl) adding their own eerie voices to proceedings.

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#811044)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I often criticize reviewers who write about genres and styles they donīt like or understand. So Iīm warning anyone who reads this text that I didnīt know this band and I simply decided to get this CD out of curiosity after reading a couple of reviews. What I write here is simply my personal opinion and nothing else. While highly regarded by some people here on PA and with the tag of "symphonic prog" (my fave prog style), I found nothing here that I do see as that. This is not to say that the musicians are not good or the songs are bad. I believe if you like soundtracks youīll enjoy this album very much, because thatīs exactly what it sounds to me: incidental music for a film I didnīt see. Some parts are quite nice and even quite familiar, like the obvious bossa nova traits of Girl In A Spaceship, but the impression it gives me is that the music goes nowhere. Nothing excited my imagination, nor pleased me much. The production is top notch.

So donīt get fooled by the label of symphonic prog. There is very little prog in here, few symphonic parts and no rock at all. But again, the music itself is not bad. Like I said before, if you like suave, delicate instrumental soundtracks you should check this out. But donīt expect anything more than that.

Rating: definitly this one ois for the fans and collectors. 2 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#834766)
Posted Monday, October 08, 2012 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars Karda Estra is an unusual band. In fact, they're not really a band. Karda Estra is the brainchild of Richard Wileman and their music is pretty much based on Chamber music and Soundtrack music.

Last month they released their last effort, Mondo Pronfondo (2013) (that will be reviewed soon too) and as a big bonus their previous album New Worlds (2011) was added to the CD. So I decided to review both albums separately.

New Worlds (2011) starts and if you have never heard Karda Estra before, you will notice from the very beginning that they're different. Their music is all about emotion and atmospheres. The intro to the album 'Chronoclasm I' and the follow up track 'Transmissions' are here to show that. Don't expect any regular Prog band. The great thing in this 'double' CD is the notes in the booklet by Wileman himself where he explains each track in detail. 'Fifty Below Zero' follows and you start to notice that New Worlds (2011) is all about Sci-fi. On this track you can hear many vocals and more unusual instruments such as the clarinet. But for Karda Estra this is one of the most normal instruments.

The album is carried by 'Eternity Station' that seems to be a little short or cut in half, exactly as in the previous one. Here we have some weird keyboards and a heavy atmosphere, a space feeling.It could easily be used in any documentary about the Space. Changing a bit the pace and showing Bossa Nova influences we have 'Girls In A Spaceship'. Then we have a track with vocals by Ileesha Bailey, called 'Sea Of Tranquility'. 'The Sky Below' is gothic and by this time you have noticed for sure that New Worlds (2011), as the name suggests, is all about the Space.

'Radiance' is Bossa Nova once again and 'The Doll's House' is a bit more classical with vocals and led by a clever piano. 'The Celestial Lounge' has unusual instruments once again with e-bow guitar, violin, oboe and a? toy piano. 'Invaders From Venus' has a saxophone as the main voice of the track and it's a bit more upbeat. A very good track. The album closes as it began with 'Chronoclasm II'. A good ending.

Karda Estra is not for every moment and certainly not for everybody. Richard Wileman is a big soundtrack fan and his music shows it. Sometimes tracks seem to be cut in half, like unfinished works, which is weird. New Worlds (2011) is like a soundtrack. And I would say that it has a concept, although the album is not really conceptual.

If you're a fan of soundtracks and bands like Goblin you should jump in on Karda Estra's music.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1025244)
Posted Thursday, August 29, 2013 | Review Permalink

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