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Kaipa - Children Of The Sounds CD (album) cover



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4 stars The fest continues. The genuine dawn of Kaipa, a veteran Swedish prog band, occurred in 2002, twenty years after the band went to history. What was before that? Their sickly-sweet debut in 1975, their creative peak in 1978 with Solo, their shameful decline in 1982 with Nattdjurstid - and finally, their glorious return with Notes From The Past, an album that brought notes from the future in fact. Old Kaipa was mostly Roine Stolt and Hans Lundin (as usual I speak only of those who wrote the music, not about 'guitar riffs', 'driving rhythms', 'keyboard layers' and other things of low importance). And it was musically rather pan-European than Swedish. New Kaipa is almost exclusively Hans Lundin. And musically it's completely Swedish. (I'm especially happy to underline this moment because Russian and Scandinavian traditional music exerted massive mutual influence throughout centuries.) Apart from that, as the band leader grows older, his music becomes younger. Today it's heavier, more complex, inventive and fresh than forty years ago.

Since 2002, one album followed another, all brilliant, all somewhat uniform but refined and sophisticated, all full of magnificent musical ideas. Perhaps the peak was reached with In The Wake Of Evolution and Vittjar. Sattyg was sustained overall at the same level as Vittjar, with no progress and no decline. And now, the new Kaipa album seems to show some relaxation from really dramatic tension of the previous releases. Yes it's still Kaipa at their best, yes the music is still sunny and shiny, very romantic and very progressive (sic!), but... The opening self-titled track is rather imitating complexity than really complex. As for On The Edge Of New Horizons, Like A Serpentine and What's Behind The Fields, their complexity and sophistication are not of the same nature as before.

More precisely, it's typical not for Kaipa only. The prog music of 2000s-2010s in its entirety moved in the same direction since the very beginning. I think the foundation was laid by Spock's Beard and Dream Theater in mid and late 1990s. The complexity and virtuosity of 1970s prog had a 'visceral', natural, spontaneous origin. The complexity and virtuosity of modern prog often takes its root in the musicians' craft and skill. Nowadays, prog music is ceasing to be a living being, a sort of a tree that grows by itself, and preparing to become an 'academic' (if not 'museum') area, just like so-called classical music. Soon we'll see portraits of Tony Banks, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Ian Anderson, Jon Anderson etc in conservatories and music colleges, alternately with portraits of Bach, Mozart, Mussorgsky etc, and theory of 20th-21st century progressive rock will be taught at Royal Academy of Music and Moscow Conservatory on par with harmony and counterpoint.

On the one hand, this is fine. This means that prog music is ready to take the place in hierarchy of human culture it really deserves. On the other hand, this may also mean that progressive music is becoming senile and slowly moving from 'actual' to 'archived' status. So, the academic perfection of Kaipa's Children Of The Sounds, as well as some other new releases, especially from young prog bands, has a dark side. In The Court Of The Crimson King and Trespass were new springs - if not geysers - in music. Now, in late 2010s, we see widened streams but no new geyser. A crowd of honours pupils playing musical instruments better than their teachers, but no pioneer. Hailstorms of idioadaptations but no aromorphosis. And the progsters of old generation only aggravate the tendency. We've got used to bronze Beethoven - is the time really right for getting used to bronze Lundin?

Report this review (#1785669)
Posted Friday, September 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars Children of the Sounds is the brand new album of the Swedish band Kaipa, which was released a few weeks ago. It is their 13th studio album, and the 8th since the band was re-formed in 2000. It comes 3 years after the release of ? the very good ? Sattyg, but I'm afraid that is a weaker album. I have the band's latest four releases in my collection, and I believe that "Children" is the weakest album of all four. The style of the album is the usual style of Kaipa, with the familiar Folk Rock influences, the beautiful guitar passages, the nice female vocals on most occasions, and the long complicated compositions. But there is something missing, and I can't realize what. Maybe the fact that many songs remind me of other songs from the band's previous albums, but this time they are not so inspired. The album includes five songs, and has a total running time of almost an hour. There are three songs more than ten minutes in length, and the remaining two songs are seven and nine minutes long. I must also mention the wonderful cover, that continues the line of the beautiful album covers of Kaipa. Speaking for myself, I listened to the album 4-5 times so far, but almost every time I stop and turn back to their previous works. That surely means something, don't you think? Favourite songs: Like a Serpentine and What's Behind the Fields. Children of the Sounds is a decent album, but I wouldn't recommend it easily to people who are not fond of the music of Kaipa. I'm afraid I cannot give more than 3.0 (out of 5.0) stars.
Report this review (#1790982)
Posted Friday, October 6, 2017 | Review Permalink

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