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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Another one of those albums that is a prime example of one of the facets of Canterbury- style prog . Khan started much sooner than this release and came after Egg , Arzachel/Uriel (early Egg plus Hillage ) and was the first album after Hillage came back from university. They made one album and then he went on to GonG and the solo carreer we are all familiar with.

As for the music , this is solid prog rock with slight jazz influences ( Canterbury , right?) with a very solid line-up . The vocals are parsimonious but present , leaving the music do the talking . Strictly from memory , one number is relatively weaker than the rest ( on an otherwise very even album ) , I think it is Mountains , but cannot be sure because my album is on loan.

Report this review (#31552)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now here is an album you have to track down for sure ! KHAN's "Space Shanty" is a scrumptious album full of Steve HILLAGE's vintage psychy-blues guitar playing with perhaps Dave Stewart's best Hammond work ever ! Overall the music really covers the Canterbury prog psych genre with some wicked tones and instrumental interplay. "Space Shanty" is really 6 interrelated songs giving the listener a very conceptual feel throughout the album. Musically this guys hit dimensions of YES, DRUID, CARAVAN and even CAMEL. For those familiar with HILLAGE's ARZACHEL will simple drool over "Space Shanty" and in many ways takes ARZACHEL and pulls it out of the psych into the centerbury.. of course ARZACHEL is another classic as well.This is simply a must-have mind-blowing recording with some great expressionism.
Report this review (#31553)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart made this English/Dutch-styled remarkable album. The music corresponds to the progressive Canterbury style; you listen to it from the beginning to the end with a great satisfaction. Hillage is very structured on this record: he plays a coherent electric guitar that participates to the music, although he sometimes add some psychedelic & spacey guitar sounds, a bit like on his solo albums. Hillage sometimes uses acoustic guitars, which soothes the already mellow music. The tracks sound a bit like Hatfield & the North and Caravan, since the keyboards are quite similar: one can recognize the typical lagged wah-wah organ of the Canterbury style and some electric piano notes. Dave Stewart gives some effects to his basic keyboards, and I must admit the result is quite impressive. The lead & backing vocals are a STRONG point here: the male vocals are rather highly pitched, perfectly suited for the Canterbury style. I'm sure the album is not very well known, but it should!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#31554)
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is one of the first prog albums I ever heard, and I fell in love with it from the start. My interest was engaged at the time by the advert for it in Melody Maker, which consisted of a cartoon story showing Steve Hillage being booted out of Kent University for spending his time fishing rather than studying (this meant I wasn't too confused when the theme was revived in Fish Rising). On reflection, it probably isn't quite as good as I thought it was all those (30+!) years ago, but it's still worth a listen for anyone interested in prog, Canterbury, jazz fusion or (particularly) Hillage. Khan was very much Hillage's vehicle, and the album was largely composed by him, so it is of interest to any fan of his.

What's most noticeable to anyone familiar with his later work is how all the trademark elements of Hillage's sound (echo, gracefully beautiful melody lines, blistering solos etc.) are already in place on this, the first record he ever made. There is more variety here than later, where he came to concentrate entirely on either the mixolydian mode or Arabic scales - there are also minor, blues and diminished passages here, most of which disappeared after Fish Rising, of which more anon. Indeed, variety (possibly too much of it) is the keynote here.

To get the downside out of the way first - the lyrics are terrible (the first two lines on the album are "I need you and you need me, also I need to be free" - and it doesn't get much better after that) and the vocals are awful as well. Anyone familiar with Hillage knows that he's got a silly little voice, but it's a joy to listen to compared with the operatic bellow of bassist Nick Greenwood, who takes most of the lead vocals. He's technically a "proper" singer, but sounds grating, which just goes to show how unimportant having a classically "good" voice is. However, he's a fine and tasteful bass player, and luckily most of the time the instrumental side of the band is to the fore.

The music itself is a breathless kaleidoscope of contrasts, time-signature changes, mood switches from tinkling jazzy phrases to full-on hard rock and all points in between. The band itself negotiates the complex material with amazing aplomb for such young musicians, the rhythm section of Greenwood and drummer Eric Peachey (whatever happened to them?) marking the changes coolly and precisely, and Hillage and guest keyboard player Dave Stewart trading licks, written melodies and improvised passages over them. Yes, it's overdone - sometimes you just want to hear the band groove for a while - but that should be put down to youthful ambition rather than criticised too severely. There are many moments of great beauty, some silly bits (this is Canterbury after all!) and some fine rocking passages as well. My favourite tracks are "Driving to Amsterdam", which alternates jazzy 13/8 instrumental passages with slow dreamy 4/4 verses (thankfully sung by Hillage!) and heavy rock choruses, and "Mixed Up Man of the Mountains", which segues from the previous track via a beautiful key change and then starts with a fast picking pattern that is a clear precursor to the intro to Fish Rising's "Solar Musick Suite".

Indeed, "Solar Musick Suite" and Fish Rising in general are the nearest reference points for anyone who hasn't heard this album before. The interplay between Hillage and Stewart, the complex writing and time-signatures, the contrasts between heavy and spacey passages and the fluid guitar work are all present here. The later album is superior in almost all respects, and also benefits from Tim Blake's wonderful synth colourings, but that doesn't mean that this is a bad album at all (particularly when considered as a historical document). In conclusion, this is highly recommended to anyone who likes Fish Rising, the Canterbury sound or just hearing complex and ambitious music well played - and it's surprisingly accessible too. Oh, and it should also appeal to anyone who likes Focus, particularly "Eruption" from Moving Waves: the guitar/organ interplay is very similar at times.

As this is my first contribution on here, I'd also like to say - Great Website!

Report this review (#31555)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Canterbury Progressive Rock album that you should not miss!

What prog music would look like if Khan is still alive? That's really a very tough question to answer because as we know it later that the band is actually a "one album" band and short lived. The history of the band is centered around Steve Hillage (guitar player, vocals, and songwriter / composer), Canterbury alumnae who invited Nick Greenwood (bass, vocals co-writer of one song "Mixed Up man of The Mountain"), Pip Pyle (drums) and Dick Henningham (organ). Pip Pyle then decided to join GONG and was later replaced by Eric Peachey. Just before the band entered studio to record the first album (that it turned out to be the only one), organist Henningham left the band. Hillage summoned his old mate Dave Stewart and asked him to play on the album, which Stewart of course did on the spot. That's why there is a special note on the back cover of the LP that says: "Our special thanks to DAVE STEWART who fitted in our sessions in between commitments with his band Egg". As a matter of fact we knew it later that Dave Stewart plays wonderful organ work in this album that has become his sound trademark. No one would argue with it if s/he listens to this record!

The term "Canterbury" has made an automatic reference to a heavy jazz-influence music, while the music of KHAN was composed in the structure of rock music actually (my view). That's why I categorized KHAN music as Canterbury Progressive Rock. Sounds weird, doesn't it? But, look at its structure and compositions, you might agree with me. Historically, I knew the band in its early year of release, 1972, through two songs only "Space Shanty" and "Mixed Up Man of The Mountain". The songs were recorded at the leftover space of C60 cassette of Uriah Heep "Demons and Wizards". But at the time I knew nothing about jazz or Canterbury, therefore I associate KHAN music as typical hard rock music (in the vein of Heep, Purple, etc) with some flavors of improvisation. It's in the direction of bands like Hatfield and The North, National Health, Egg. Only couple years later, I knew the full album of the band from friend's LP. I was amazed by the wonderful composition and performance of the band through this debut album.

Let's have a look at track level .

Space Shanty (Hillage)

The song starts with a music that sounds like an ending part of a song but it continues with a quieter passage when the vocal sings "I need you and you need me ." in a punctuated, low register notes style. It's a very classic rock style and memorable. The intertwining work of organ and guitar at approx min 1:27 (not exact, as I'm refering it through an LP) is really fantastic here - after the opening vocal line. The bassline is also wonderful. The music then enters a smooth transition that later brings the music into a faster tempo style demonstrating great organ solo augmented with stunning guitar solo and dynamic bass line. The drum helps accentuate the song especially in filling in the in between spots. It turns then to a beautiful guitar solo that serves as a transition to next style of organ work that later brings the music back to the original tagline melody. I observe the bass guitar has gone really crazy in this part as it sounds very dynamic in forming the solid composition. The vocal returns back to the music at the ending part - in quieter mood, augmented with soft organ, guitar fills and great bassline and drumming. I'm fully satisfied with this superb track!

Stranded (Hillage)

It opens with a simple acoustic guitar rhythm with a soft background of organ. The vocal line enters in a slow tempo style. Again, I observe an excellent bass guitar and powerful voice quality. At approx min 2:55 the music turns louder and quieter again to let the organ enters for a short solo. The bassline plays important role during transition and set the atmosphere for double guitar solo work followed with acoustic guitar solo. The vocal returns back to the music with the same opening melody. It's a nice mellow track, packed with an excellent music. It ends up with a transition piece in atmospheric mood to set the tone for next beautiful track.

Mixed Up Man of The Mountain (Hillage, Greenwood)

The opening nuances of this song is really fantastic: a repeated guitar fills with wonderful organ played softly and great singing. The music then enters in its full swing in medium tempo with an obvious dynamic bass guitar. At approx min 2:00 the music turns quieter that features voice line and soft organ and guitar work. At the end of singing, the music turns into faster tempo with improvisation works of bass, guitar, and organ. It's a wonderful interlude, I would say! This is the part where the influence of jazz is so obvious. The vocal choir is also excellent. The guitar solo during the ending passage is stunning!

Driving to Amsterdam (Hillage)

The opening part of this track is truly a Canterbury outfit with great organ work augmented with guitar fills. Sometimes the two instruments play together with the same notes. Fantastic opening! The vocal line then enters to the music and makes an excellent composition harmony. "We look ahead for miles down our avenues of lights ." is a very nice lyrical passage that brings me to a full enjoyment listening to this track. Again, guitar and organ harmony augmented with dynamic bass guitar has made an excellent music passage. Another lyrical passage that I used to emulate is "Staring at the ground for I knew not what to do .." Uuughhh .. Mannnn ..!!! That's really wonderful passage that is very hard to forget. It's damn memorable! (especially if you also observe the soft organ work that plays at background).

Stargazers (Hillage)

It starts Canterbury style with a complex composition combining organ work, drumming, bass and guitar that turns quieter when the vocal sings "Open your eyes if you dare ..". Yes, I can sell a heavy influence of jazz music in this song, but its' not any typical kind of jazz you may encounter in the market. It's probably the kind like Egg, Hatfield and the North, National Health, etc. I like the music has a very strong punctuation in many segments of the album.

Hollow Stone (Hillage)

It a mellow track with a nice vocal line. Instead of jazz and rock influence, I can smell the influence of blues as well. This time the guitar and organ are played in a soft way but still maintain wonderful solos. It's a great track to conclude this masterpiece album.

OVERALL: Highly Recommended!

This is a true masterpiece of prog rock album that you should not miss. Oh by the way, I forget to mention that all songs in this album have a very nice and strong melody on top of tight musical composition and immaculate performance by the four members of the band. As I'm aware the standard CD version is currently out of print. If you are lucky, there is a replica version printed in Japan. The enhanced CD version is currently being released internationally. You may check your local store or internet shop. But seriously, this is a great album. After release of this album, the band tried to make an effort for the follow-up record but it failed to do so and ended up with a Steve Hillage solo album "Fish Rising". Keep on Progging!

Progressively yours,

GW - Indonesia.

Report this review (#31558)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is perhaps the one Canterbury album that's is most strictly progressive rock, without the fusion elements or the whimsical nature many of their brethren (HATFIELD & THE NORTH, CARAVAN). Certainly there are some jazz elements in some of the passages, but not fusion. Dave Stewart (not of the Eurythmics fame) had already been a member of EGG, and Steve HILLAGE was in an early version of that band when they were known as URIEL and ARZACHEL. This early lineup did record as ARZACHEL (with the famous contractual difficulties that forced the band to record under pseudonymns). HIKKAGE left and then came EGG as we know them with two albums under their belt. HILLAGE went to study at Kent University. EGG broke up by 1971 following the release of "The Polite Force", and came KHAN. HILLAGE intended to form the band with bassist Nick Greenwood (ex-CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN), drummer Eric Peachy and keyboardist Dick Henningham, but then Dave Stewart came around and Henningham was out of the picture, which established KHAN as we know them.

"Space Shanty" was released in 1972 on Deram, which was the same label Egg was recording for. It was their only album. And even if you're not fond of bands like GONG or HATFIELD & THE NORTH, no problem here as the music is straight-up progressive rock, dominated by the organ of Dave Stewart and guitar of Steve HILLAGE. HILLAGE at this point had yet to develop his trademark lead guitar like you hear on the GONG albums (or his solo albums, of course), although there is a guitar solo on the title track that points to the style he would perfect with GONG. The album starts off with the title track, which goes through several changes. I especially like the guitar solo that I already mentioned. There are some jazzy passages as well, not of the HATFILD & THE NORTH or NATIONAL HEATH variety of fusion. "Stranded" features some use of electric piano, it's more or less a ballad, but then there's a heavy guitar and organ solo in the middle. It segues in to "Effervescent Psychonovelty No. 5" which is some bizarre messing about with Stewart's Wurlitzer electric piano, which then segues in the the next actual piece, "Mixed Up Man of the Mountains". This piece is quite '70s sounding, especially the vocals and organ. The band gets in to a jazzy passage in the middle. The rest of the album more or less is the same, you're not exactly sure what to expect. While the whole album is pretty much early '70s progressive rock, there is still that Canterbury element of fuzz organ (of the David Sinclair and Mike Ratledge variety), that Dave Stewart uses throughout the album, although there's some occasional use of the heavy fuzz organ that's more typical of a DEEP PURPLE or ATOMIC ROOSTER album. Plus he also uses the normal Hammond organ sound as well. Unlike HATFIELD & THE NORTH, he pretty much kept the electric piano to only one cut, letting his organ dominate the rest of the album.

We all know what happened to KHAN after this: they broke up, HILLAGE teamed up briefly with Kevin Ayers, before joining GONG (then leaving by 1975 to pursue a solo career), and Dave Stewart forming HATFIELD & THE NORTH with two albums under their belt, a brief Egg reunion in 1974 (with the album "The Polite Force"), then playing on HILLAGE's own "Fish Rising", playing with Bill BRUFORD's band (no one could have ever imagined Bill BRUFORD being associated with the Canterbury scene when he was still a member of YES and then KING CRIMSON, but he did when he formed his own band that had Dave Stewart in it) and with NATIONAL HEATH (which BRUFORD was in briefly, before PIP PYLE stepped in).

By the way, while the original version of "Space Shanty" was released on Deram in 1972, in 1978 it received an American release on the PVC label (which was related to Passport Records, some Passport titles ended up on PVC, like the later version of Anthony PHILLIPS' "The Geese & the Ghost"). This American version describes the history of the band on the back cover, and the front cover now said "Featuring Steve HILLAGE and Dave Stewart" (but still with the original artwork intact), which the original did not have. They did that to advertise who was in this band probably to sell a few copies to the American audience (since HILLAGE had by this point been an established solo artist, his album "Green" being his then-latest effort).

Regardless how you feel of the Canterbury scene, this is the one Canterbury album I most highly recommend for the more traditionally prog-minded out there. And of course, those who are fans of GONG, EGG, and HATFIELD & THE NORTH, because of the musicians involved.

Report this review (#31561)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just picked up a copy of this prog classic masterpiece that was reissued in 2002 on Ecelitic Records of the U.K.The newer cd version contains two unreleased tracks as bonus cuts and the entire SPACE SHANTY sessions were remastered from the original acetates.The quality of the sound is flawless! The repackaging is beautiful! This 1972 release has been next to impossible to find on vinyl (the last one I heard of was at a record show and 300 U.S. dollars was the asking price.)The cd version is under 20$ and well worth it! As for the sound of KHAN : well it is a STEVE HILLAGE project, so it does have his trademark guitar sound. But, also DAVE STEWART (later of EGG) is on keys with his distictive sound. Much like so much of the prog of that time period KHAN'S sound is Canterbury,fusion,space pop,pyschedelica.The music here fits in nicely with collections containing works by KING CRIMSON,GENTLE GIANT,JETHRO TULL,YES and CARAVAN. But the sound is unquestionabley KHAN. I wish there had been a second release by this super group! Standout cuts include two versions of the fantastic cut MIXED UP MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS! With the two additional cuts the running time of this cd release is just over 55 min. This is the very first 5 star rating I have ever given anything and I cannot recommend this recording more highly!
Report this review (#35442)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars This re-release (2 bonustracks, running time 55 minutes) CD is originally an album from 1972 with 6 songs. It featured two 'Canterbury legends' named Steve Hillage (Gong) and Dave Stewart (Hatfield And The North and National Health) and both played together in the great bands Arzachel and Egg. The dynamic rhythm-section on this CD consists of Nick Greenwood (bass and vocals) and Eric Peachey (drums) but the focus is on mr. Hillage and Stweart, they are colouring the compositions with their distinctive play, loaded with breaks, soli and shifting moods. Steve Hillage his guitarplay alternates from lues and rock to spacey, from dreamy twanging guitar to moving soli and fiery and biting licks. Dave Stewart is a master on the Hammond organ along other keyboards, skyceleste and marimba. The vocals are good and the compositions are elaborated. EXCITING PROGROCK!!
Report this review (#38891)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Space Shanty was a one-off shot by a little-known group led by soon-to be Gong star Steve Hillage. This inspired work is almost certainly the rockiest and least jazzy album to emerge from the vibrant Canterbury scene, thus rendering it among the most accessible. Khan's lyrics and vocals may be passable at best, but there are some incredible exchanges from two Canterbury icons Hillage and keyboardist Dave Stewart (who also starred in Egg, Hatfield And The North and National Health) and that alone makes this record indispensible.

Khan is not as typically quirky as the likes of Hatfield, no does it have quite the trippy vibes of Gong or indeed the Hillage masterpiece Fish Rising, but my goodness when our heroes get going, this is truly compelling stuff (I must say that the rhythm section of bassist Nick Greenwood, who also handles most lead vocals, and Eric Peachy aren't outstanding, but they are far from weak either).

My favourite pieces are the free-flowing (and occassionally hard-rocking!) title track, Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains (which starts off with a great blues-rock riff before launching into a kick-ass exchange of solos between our two heroes, with some great basswork from Greenwood thrown in as well) and Driving To Amsterdam (which alternately rages and reflects) but they are all good. Stranded is a dreamier, laid-back electric piano dominated piece that curiously evokes an image of a ragged-sounding America, also features a rare acoustic guitar solo from Hillage. Hollow Stone Escape Of The Space Pirates is a charming Caravanesque psych epic that includes a mesmerizing multi-tracked solo from Hillage and Stargazer also has some dizzying moments.

Even though it's a hard album to track down, I'm going to have to insist that you do. I seriously doubt you'll regret it. ... 84% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#41043)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The label Deram (remember the works of Caravan but also the early Camel in the period of "The Snow Goose"...) could deserve a major attention as for this Canterburian work, only by means of the modern compact discs, which make us re-discover another very interesting work like this, along with others...well the contribution of Dave Stewart (already mastermind of the ensemble called "Egg" and afterwards such a great composer with Bill Bruford and National Health), with the collaboration of Steve Hilage, at that time a rising star of such light experimental progressive, are important examples of the old 70's Canterburian style. Their remarkable approach can be appreciated in a few but remarkable epic numbers such as "Stargazers", "Space shanty" or "Escape of the space pirets".All the typical features, regarding the famous school that was developed afterwards by Hatfield and the North and Gong (without forgetting the ensemble of Soft Machine), are present here, especially the well structured and simple harmonic solutions at the guitar, except on the psychedelic elements...check it out anyway!!

Update: March, 15 2010: re-mastered version

Such a remarkable cult band, coming from the Canterburian scene, above all much "remarkable" and more clearly notable in the present re-issue: often in the vein of Hatfield and the North- as well as of the most experimental side concerning the versatile guitarist Steve Hillage (without regarding the interesting bassist Nick Greenwood-former Crazy World of A. Brown- and Dave stewart at his first turning point of his career as a keyboard player), this British line-up was important for the whole experimental scene in the UK...well not only for the long instrumental passages, but also regarding of the intelligent improvisation (do you remember the album "Rotter's club", by H.& the North?), Khan reached his peek of imagination and creativity as well, with "Space Shanty"...ok perhaps there are better albums within the Canterburian scene (witouth thinking of bands like Gong), but unlike these latter, here the features regarding the progressive rock style or the fusion rock music genre are much more present in comparison to their jazzy and psychedelic the end the re-mastered version is well worth checking out at least for every prog listener and a must-have for all the Hillage's fans!

Report this review (#43536)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the collaborations of Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart. There is something strange about this album: It really is not anything special, good melodious prog with lots of soloing from both Hillage and Stewart, supported by a very solid rhythm section, and yet...

For some reason this album haunts me, and I return to it again and again. Is it the excellent interplay of Hillage and Stewart? Is it the huge variety of meters on the album (about every meter up to 13/8 is present on it)? It is an eerie quality I can't quite grasp. The rational half of my mind tells me I should give this album 3 stars, but it is too close to my heart for that. On the other hand the 5 stars my heart would not be justified, as my brain tells me, so I will give it 4.

Report this review (#48329)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Make the time investment and this one pays dividends

The opening few minutes would have you believe that "Space Shanty" is, in fact, a Deep Purple tribute album: The opening crashing chord echoing, in a small way, the beginning of "In Rock" (U.K. Release), and the slightly cheesey riff that follows, topped off with cheesey lyrics makes you wonder if you're about to suffer a somewhat sub- par Purple outing.

But there's something happening in the percussion dept; the drum licks twist and turn around the riff. Then, at 1:20 or so, we are told that we can "Stop feeling confused", as the vocal melody takes an unexpected turn, and the music steps down in what we can now recognise as a Hillage trademark - this motif appears later on Fish Rising, L and Green.

Now the music enters into a more unique proggy atmosphere, and more Hillage trademarks ease themselves out of the background, the bass and keyboards winding around creating an organically developing sonic soundscape. Around 3:00, the bass presents a riff with some urgency, building up nicely into a development from some other world! A minute later, there is an unexpected twist and we enter some kind of bizarre fairground before soaring off into a sublime HIllage solo. The music snakes and twists through more moods than it should really be possible to twist through, showcasing Hillage's inventiveness to the max. When the vocals are reprised, however, it feels a bit of a let-down.

I'm put in mind of Gentle Giant in the sheer inventiveness of it all, the "soft" harmonies and the consistently strong and tight musicianship. There are almost too many ideas in this track - anyone looking for simple, repetitive riffs will not find anything to latch on to and may feel somewhat lost.

"Stranded" begins gently, and again, Hillage's style is stamped all over the music, and his vocals shine well, without being ambitious. Dave Stewarts keyboards are sublime, although I'd really like to hear more. Nick Greenwood's bass ambles around, keeping everything moving. Around 3:00, my prayers are kind of answered, with a complete change and all-too-brief keyboard solo, but it's the jazzy double guitar solo around 4:00 that really captivates... then Hillage picks up the acoustic... I wonder how this was carried off live.

At 6:00, I am assuming that we are hearing "Effervescent Psycho Novelty No. 5" - a most sublime and spacey little afterthought to the piece.

"Mixed Up Man of the Mountains" picks up from the sublime spacey feel, kicking into a rather basic riff - it is apparent that vocal sections are not really a strength of this band, although there's nothing desparately wrong with them, they're not particularly progressive as a rule. It's the instrumental textures and sonic soundscapes that really stand out here.

Around 2:40 we get a great instrumental section - I am reminded of Camel quite strongly (a year or so before the release of the debut by the latter). However, Dave Stewart's style is very different to Bardens, and we soon move into more "way out" and experimental territory.

The vocal harmony section at 4:30 is quite brilliant, and the guitar solo section that follows is amazing, not just for the solo, but also for the instrumental backing, and the impressive way that it is woven into a single complex texture. Around 6:20 we are treated to a really hard-rockin' driving section that I would have liked to have heard MUCH more of.

The truly amazing thing about all of this is that, like Gentle Giant, it all feels improvised, but is quite clearly not just a jam. Real prog, ladies and gentlemen!

There is so much happening in the music that I really don't want to spoil any more surprises. "Driving to Amsterdam" is more of the same, "Stargazers" has a phenomenal intro, and a wonderful jazz-flavoured instrumental section, and "Hollow Stone" has the fantastic "Escape of the Space Pilots" burn-out.

The main thing that drags this album down from masterpiece status is that despite the myriad ideas, the perfection in execution the masterful developments and wonderful sudden changes, somehow it ends up sounding rather samey, overall, as the exploration is within a fairly narrow musical field, and a single style is stamped all over the music.

That is not necessarily a bad thing, as more of the same of this kind of stuff is exactly what I want from this album, and it is a masterpiece in itself. However, in the broader field of Prog Rock, it is not, as it does end up a little predictable (for prog!) - and the vocal sections, on the whole, let the whole thing down. Blemishes too big to go unnoticed, sadly.

The instrumental sections are so good that it's worth sitting through the vocal sections for them, and lead me to recommend this album to ANYONE exploring progressive music - despite the fact that I can't bring myself to call it a masterpiece of the genre. A purchase that you will not regret.

Prog Rating (Is it progressive): 9.5/10

Rock Rating (Does it rock?): 9/10

Creativity Rating (Are the artists pushing their style to the limits?): 7/10 (10/10 for Steve Hillage).

Musicianship Rating (Do the artists execute the music well?): 8/10 (10/10 for Steve!)

Enjoyment Rating (Do I like it?): 9/10

Total : 42.5/50 = 85%. Technically 5 stars, but dragged down by the vocal sections.

Report this review (#50060)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Khan is quite important one-record british Canterbury prog band. Space Shanty is good historic document of earlier works of two Canterbury prog legends Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart as band's guest. I cannot prefer any compositions available in this record but all in all - Dave Stewart's juicy and atmospheric keyboard playing makes this album quite enjoyable.
Report this review (#50428)
Posted Friday, October 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Album of KHAN released in 1972 "Space Shanty". Dave Stewart who is the sworn friend is received in the guest. It is an album with which a romantic rock that the imagination is filled is fully blocked. It is a work of the best. It is one of the great boards in Canterbury of a mellow tasting though is technical.

Report this review (#54859)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Space Shanty is a godd work of a group of musicians such as steve hillage (Gong) and Greenwood..The title track and "Hollow Stone"are very appreciable, above all giutar and keyboard solos. The sound of Canterbury and also a contamination of space rock make unique and imponent the sound of this album..Rare but good..
Report this review (#61494)
Posted Saturday, December 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was searching for this album for months...when, one day, I went to the same "cd and long playing festival" in my town (bologna) and, thinking I was just wasting my time, I found this great album... ...At first I realize the Canterbury sound that is typical of Hillage's works, but also the spacelike elements went out, due to Greenwood, a magician of the keyboard. This album, the only one of Khan, made their name a rare legend of the prog world. I have also listened to Arzachel and Gong (obviously), but I think that Hillage has never played his guitar as well as in this album...the real skills of Steve comes out in these tracks... Musicians' skills 8 Songwriting 7 Originality 7,5 How I like it 8,5 31:4 = 7,75 9:5 = 7,75:4,3 so: 4,3
Report this review (#65512)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The problem for me with this record is the division there is between the Stewart composed parts and the Hillage ones. It's like mixing Uriah heep, Deep purple and Rainbow with Hatfield, National Health and Egg....Ughhhh!! As you can imagine it's a bit of a shock. For me the style of the singer is totally dated and horrible, with a vibrato that's sure to please heavy metal fans. The Stewart writen parts and his solos are the only thing that for me saves this record from going to the trash can...for completist!
Report this review (#79471)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
5 stars The time has come for me to submit my thoughts on this album. Personally I have a strong obsession with this album so I couldn't rate it less than 6 stars - heck, it is one of my top 10 prog albums I've ever heard, period !!! The mix is perfect ; awesome Bass playing from Nick Greenwood (whose rare solo album 'Cold Cuts' should be included on the Archives - superb, bluesy proto-prog with symphonic and psych touches - 5 star for sure), Eric Peachy's precise Drumming, Hillage's out-of-this-world spacey guitaring and my favourite, or let that be OUR favourite, keyboard player Dave Stewart, with his trademark Fuzz- Organ taking equal lead with Hillage's guitar. I can't add more to what has been already said about this album - Hillage is GOD, and anything with Stewart's buzz-saw organ rates highly for me. For those music lovers who go for super spacey guitar work and outrageous organ playing with a tight, busy rhythm section - this is THE ONE. Half Space- Rock and half Canterbury - I guess I could go on.....and on.....
Report this review (#89234)
Posted Friday, September 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars How great is this to hear Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart so early in their careers, before Steve's solo stuff and GONG, and Dave before he was with HATFIELD AND THE NORTH and NATIONAL HEALTH.This was Steve's project and he needed a keyboard player so he asked Dave who was in the band EGG at the time. Great to hear Nick Greenwood as well on bass and vocals. Nick's solo album "Cold Cuts" which would be recorded after this album is fantastic. "Space Shanty" is one of those albums that I keep coming back to. I love how it sounds. It's one of those very special records that I have in my collection. The vocals, guitar and organ are all just right.

The first song "Space Shanty" is surprisingly heavy early, almost like a blend of HAWKWIND and BLACK SABBATH. That changes after a minute then keys and guitar follow as drums continue with bass. It picks up before 3 1/2 minutes in with some fuzz organ then again a minute later with aggressive guitar. Nice. It's psychedelic after 5 minutes then back to the earlier theme with keys and guitar after 6 1/2 minutes. Vocals are back after 8 minutes with acoustic guitar, then we get a big finish. What a song ! "Stranded" opens with keys and strummed guitar. It picks up before a minute with bass, distorted organ and drums.The vocals and piano melodies are a joy here. A feel good song if there ever was one. It picks up 3 minutes in with fuzz organ in tow. Tasteful guitar 4 minutes in as themes are repeated. A pastoral ending.

"Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains" opens beautifully with gentle guitar melodies as reserved vocals come in.This reminds me of BLIND FAITH. It then kicks in with organ and guitar. A calm 2 minutes in before it kicks back in before 3 minutes in a jazzy way. Some great guitar after 5 minutes. "Driving To Amsterdam" is a jazzy tune with a good tempo until it settles 2 minutes in with vocals. Some ripping guitar after 3 minutes. Contrasts continue. I like the drumming and fuzz organ around 5 minutes. It turns jazzy again then the fuzz returns.Themes are repeated. "Stargazers" has this guitar / organ / drum melody early that sounds great. Vocals follow. Pulsating organ comes in.The tempo keeps shifting, some lazy guitar 2 minutes in then the organ returns. Fuzz before 4 1/2 minutes then it kicks in with some killer guitar. "Hollow Stone" is laid back to open as fragile vocals come in. It gets fuller as drums and organ join in. Fuzz organ after 3 1/2 minutes. It's heavier 6 minutes in as Steve comes in to light it up to then end.

The singing on this record is terrific and fits the music very well, as a matter of fact I can't find anything that I don't like about this album. A classic !

Report this review (#96035)
Posted Saturday, October 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars There are several albums that I consider as a truly masterpieces of progressive rock and music in general. All of them are flawless, challenging, and you will discover something new every time you put it in your CD player. However, there are as many tastes as individuals themselves and every masterpiece is not for everyone. There is no point to convince someone that some symphonic progressive album is a masterpiece, if that person prefers, let's say, fusion, or progressive metal or something else. You have to be careful every time and to check even the albums of highest rank.

However, KHAN's "Space Shanty" is maybe the only album that I could easily recommend to literally anyone. It's got the artistic value, the history value, the methodology value. It is undoubtedly a masterpiece and I can't imagine anyone disliking this one, with all the respect for the differences.

The most difficult thing is to explain why it is so good. Well, I'm not sure how to explain, but there is no absolutely one single second of filler time on the record, all the songs are perfectly floating into into another (although this is not a concept album), and all the tracks are well-balanced instrument-wise, representing the perfect, homogenic blend of styles at the same time. Musicians are the top class, providing us enjoyable moments all the time without any unnecessary virtuoso extravaganza. Hillage's solos are unique and gorgeous, and again so unmistakeably his very own. Stewart gave us here the fines Hammond sound in rock history, with palette with chosen timbres which are fitting perfectly into the story. Incredible.

Report this review (#98471)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Psych-Canterbury with hard rock punch.

This is a hard rocking bit from one album band Khan. I find it much closer to other hard rocking acts of the time than the rest from the Canterbury scene (Caravan in particular). The album goes through a variety of themes inter-weaved with one another throughout the entirety of the album.

The vocals are well, terrible. The lyrics are poor (I could tell what the next line would be before it was "sung") and their's little variation in the voices which basically have maybe an octave range. Another key problem is how, despite that some of this can be very interesting, it appears that Hillage and Stewart are in competition at who can solo better than the other throughout almost all the songs, with no real concern for the basic premise of the song until a definite rhythm section can be found again. The rhythm sections are really quite good, but only last a short while before some less than inspiring vocals come in.

Mixed Up Man of the Mountains is my favorite track here, but parts of it I can't stand, especially the "doodle doodle doo doo" section in the middle. The otherwise uplifting and powerful beginning is completely erased by the dismal vocal performance and a muddy background. It ends well though, and the "racing" keyboard finally fits well somewhere with by far the best vocal performance "Don't you know I can fly"; the only powerful and moving piece I found in the album.

I think this could very well be a much better "project". The rhythm sections and melodies are quite intriguing, but the musical masturbation (soloing leading to nowhere) just screams why? Find an intriguing voice, and key in on the powerful rhythm sections, and I could find myself listening to this quite often.

Report this review (#102309)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've to admit I wasn't aware of this wonderful album before one or two years ago but I just can confirm what other reviewers wrote already about it. This one and only release by short-living formation Khan featuring Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart had been one of the most pleasant but as well very sophisticated records in the Canterbury style. The six tracks on here are offering a highly versatile and interesting style mix between jazz and hard progressive rock with some classical leanings and a very slight space touch mainly due to Hillage's echoed guitar solos. There are plenty sudden rhythm breaks and frequent shifts from mellow to hard rocking sections. Dave Stewart presented here one of his most energetic and powerful organ work, especially in his solos. What else can I say that hadn't been told yet elsewhere? Actually it's hard to name any highlights since all tracks are equally excellent and I don't see any reason for not giving a full-score rating for this work. I think this unique gem fully deserves to be called a masterpiece of progressive music!!
Report this review (#102926)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Khan was a remarkable coming together of talent that topped-off a period in English rock never to be recaptured again, a pinnacle of Canterbury sounds, tough Sabbatic hard rock, and fugue organ flash-- no surprise with Dave Stewart and Steve Hillage working together, supported by the more than capable rhythm section of Nick Greenwood and Eric Peachey.

The band was an offspring of the Stewart-Hillage relationship going back to Uriel in 1968 (an outfit that mainly played Cream, Nice, and Hendrix covers) which re-emerged as Egg in '69 and the short-lived Arzachel that same year. In Khan we hear one of a handfull of keystone groups that filled-in the gaps in Prog's evolutionary history, taking from psychedelic blues but adding a more musically educated sensibility. Though a winning combination, these elements would soon disappear from popular music and 'Space Shanty' remains an axial link in the bubbling but doomed progressive/psych milieu. Hillage had formed the original band in 1971 with bassist Greenwood, keyboardist Dick Henningham (both with Arthur Brown), and Pip Pyle drumming. But it was the second line up - a product of the small and incestuous art scene - of Greenwood and Peachey with Dave Stewart's helping hands (while still with Egg) that birthed this album. The set is a complete spectrum of British rock, Canterbury, psych, post-modern classical and hippie-dippy hints of patchouli, risen to the surface and affixed in time, a bit too late for its own good but compelling just the same. There may have been superior bands; Caravan, and Stewart's own Egg and National Health, but this session has a singular, unified quality and is less pretentious than others of its ilk. A graveyard vocal opens the 9-minute title but quickly becomes prog as we know it with winding organ-guitar harmonies, jazzy motifs and Stewart's circus tent play. 'Stranded' starts pastoral and drags a bit with whiney sentiment but picks up by the middle, building nicely, and 'Mixed Up Man of the Mountains' is a pretty reflection with Hillage's searing axe and an organ/guitar/voice scat. And nine minutes of 'Driving to Amsterdam' peaks this album out in classic English jazz-rock form. 'Stargazers' is angled and adventurous with a bit of theater and many tempo shifts, a great piece, and the soft and sundrenched 'Hollowstone' concludes. The Eclectic Discs reissue has two bonus tracks; the Caravan-esque 'Break the Chains' and a preliminary version of 'Mixed Up Man of the Mountains'. A vital if tiny amuse-bouche in the progressive first course, not to be missed.

Report this review (#136101)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amazingly great one-shot band, featuring talents of Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart. Imagine DEEP PURPLE or any other Heavy Prog 70s band going Canterbury! Intense musicianship, wonderful melodies, long and varied tracks showing band members’ outstanding level of maturity but without falling into pointless show-up. If you’re into Classic Prog and don’t care much for labels (Art, Symphonic, Canterbury etc), this is definitely a Must. This is simply one of those albums that make you believe all best Prog things had been played in 70s, and any contemporary Retro Prog band fails short to achieve the Classics’ knees. Almost flawless, and the only complaint is that it gets a bit samey to the end – it would sound better as a plate, when you can have a break turning it from one side to another ;) Highly recommended and not to be missed!!!
Report this review (#136852)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Canterbury space rock

What an album! one of my pesonal all time favourites..

Ridiculously good! each and every song is a orgasma to the ears.

It is one of the albums which each song was my favourite at one point, right now they're just all my favourites..

Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart I guess were just one of the best teams in music history.. the interplay between the two is just splendid.

Even the bonus track is amazing! (Break The Chains).

This album leaves me speechless, I just cannot put my love to it in words..


Report this review (#145781)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a nice surprise this album is to me. I´ve never heard of this band before I read a review in Prog Archives. This means that I had never heard of Steve Hillage before either. BIG MISTAKE. What a fantastic guitarist he is and a great singer too. Steve sounds a lot like Rob Halford ( Judas Priest) when he sings in mid-range ( Not his high pitched screams) and sometimes like Ozzy. Actually the whole band is bloddy magnificent. There are other hints to early Judas Priest ( Rocka rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny) along the way, but these are only hints. Don´t expect Heavy metal on Space Shanty though only some really mean hard rock riffs.

The compositions on Space Shanty are 6-10 minutes, and in these minutes much happens. There are both some of the meanest hard rock riffs I have ever heard, great rock/ jazzy instrumental passages, nice vocal melodies and an overall feel that these musicians are having fun. Too bad they only made this one album.

I don´t know if I would catagorize this as canterbury prog rock, but genres don´t matter when you are dealing with music like this. It´s really good. I´m not sure if this is a 5 or a 4, but on second thought it will be a 4, as it lacks the last things to be a complete masterpiece. This is a very worthy purchase though and a great surprise for me.

Report this review (#153881)
Posted Monday, December 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Don't you know that I can fly?

Khan is a band that could've been big. They never got the recognition they deserve, maybe because they just released one album. This canterbury band mixed psychedelia with intrincate playing, and great solos by the awesome guitarist Hillage and keyboardist Stewart. There are two reasons why I love this album: one is the emotive choruses and great vocal lines from bassist/vocalist Greenwod (who sounds surprisingly similar to Ozzy at the beginning of the opener track), often accompained by awesome backing vocals; the best aspect of the album are the instrumental breaks, when the band goes technical and shows incredible composition habilities. The solos, as I said before, are breathtaking, sometimes bluesy, mellow, neo classical... The base is very solid, and I appreciate a lot the bass work from the vocalist. Hillage's feeling is great and his playing is different from what he did with Gong (btw, I prefer his playing with Khan). The music, despite its high technicality, it never sounds forced or unnatural. They're very progressive in that sense, and you can even hear some hard rock riffs into the music. All tracks are excellent, but if I had to choose my favorites that'd be the opener Space Shanty (which led me to buy the album), the soft Stranded, the spacy Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains and the extremely catchy Stargazer.

Overall, this is a gem. Very enjoyable masterpiece I recommend to every prog music lover. Sadly, they disbanded after recording this album.

Rating: 4.7/5

Report this review (#160587)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars really! I think Steve Hillage´s group, Khan, just made a very clear psychedelic disc with progresive arrangements. The music is not progresive rock ( sinfonic side) is psychedelia but just much better than the average sound of the style. All the disc is interesting, beatifull , mesmeraizing. Some of the people talk about the lyrics..( they are great poems or just rubbish) but i dont think you have to go to far once you know what the disc is about: Hippes friends going to a deserted beach to take mushrooms and having a wonderfully mystic experience.... then you know what you going to find: exaltation of friendship , nature , and god-like heartbending feelings. The lyrics are not great poems ( whatever does that mean) but they show clearly sometimes beatifully, always naively expresed ( without much more pretension than making the hippie in the trance just understand them and get in tune) the core of the experience of a good trip...better spacy lyrics than Yes one,s anyway X). Sincerily. Anyway as in Yes case is the music what its nearlly perfection, in its psychedelic beatifullnes. For me, the begining song is a kind a progresive harder introduction to the disc , that has very interesting changes but.......... has not the sunfilled aerial delightfull feeling of the hippie laydown that beggins with Stranded effervescent.. and follows in the wonderfull Mixed up with mountains and Driving to Amsterdam. The songs are beatifull in each self but the arrangements specialy of organ are like nothing in these world. These psychedelic pianos... they really deserve five stars!!

Well the first time i here these album i didnt know what i had on my mp3 ( just a lot of things a friend passed to me), i just arrived at a beatifull beach in Ibiza ( im from spain), i didnt see the sea for maybe amost two years, i was alone and althought i was not in any psychedelic, the psychedelic suit just taked my breath, as it seems to mingle aesthetically with the precious beach marvelling beauty. It almost made me cry watching the seagulls , the fantastic blues of the seas and the shinny golden of the sun reflections on the water melting with these music wich is full of light (and is quite different from other discs of steve Hillage in tone and musically totally different from Gong albums). Hope you enjoy it just the half of what i enjoyed it these time. Believe me it will be too much anyway.

Report this review (#163739)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I fell in love with this album. The calm atmosphere is absolutely harmonious between the organ, the guitar and the voice. The duets between the guitar and the keyboards and even between two guitars they are fantastic, doing so that the musicians bring us near to heart. Very good musicians who touched these album and who surprised me. If Egg they are very good, I think that this album, in spite of being a little more commercial, is superior. He is one of my favorite albums
Report this review (#168287)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Steve Hillage is an amazing guitarist, but I would prefer his work with GONG and his later solo work to this album. The classic Hillage and Canterbury sounds are present here, but I can't help but being bored by this album; it's not really provacative, and it doesn't really invoke anything at all for me. I find myself just waiting for it to be over. I've tried numerous occassions to get into this album, but each time I yearn for Fish Rising or Trilogy-era GONG.
Report this review (#170813)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was a big surprise album for me, looking at the title i was expecting the usual space rock stuff, but insted i got one of the best Symphonic rock albums i have ever heard, this album is almost like Hillage and Stewart wanted to show the prog world they master the melodic symphonic rock thing with ease before they moved on to space rock and more avant gard stuff yust like a painter paint a tradional masterpice before doing some wierd salvador dali stuff. This is a true Canterbury gem, sure it dont realy sound like your typical canterbury band, but who ceares its realy brilliant probobly some of the best songs Hillage has ever writen, if your looking for the avantgard of Egg or the space sillines of Gong dont look here this is pure symphonic rock brilliance that any prog nutt shuld be abel to understand and love. 5 big stars, to bad this amazing group only did 1 album, but what an album!

my 2008 remastered edition of the album allso got 2 nice bonus tracks one previously unrelesed short but very good song Break the chain and the first orginal version of Mixed up man of the Mountains, very good, the sound ofcourse of the whole album is realy superb.

Report this review (#172348)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is a crying shame that Khan only released this album.

The music on this album is full of intricate, but still melodic and jazzy keyboard and spacy guitar driven compositions in the classic Canterbury style. Some of the music is superb. Most notably the opening title track. The rest is also very good.

The best parts of this album is the typical Canterbury parts with intricate jazzy spacy parts. That's when this album become really interesting. There are as I stated some less interesting parts here too. But most of the album is the Canterbury scene at it's best. The album is also a crossover between SuperSister and Hatfield & The North. Maybe this is the first album anyone interested in the Canterbury scene should try.

The musicians (including Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart) later went on to their solo careers and bands like Hatfield & The North, National Health and Gong. All of these bands are good. But Khan and their only album deserves a lot of praise.

4 stars from me to one of the best Canterbury scene albums.

Report this review (#188140)
Posted Thursday, November 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Khan is listed under Canterbury Scene, but this seems to have been more due to geography and the members involved than with the actual music. The sound of Khan is often close to the Psychedelic/Space rock of Nektar, and sometimes it is close to some bands in Symphonic Prog and Heavy Prog. So this is not at all your typical Canterbury album and it is all the better for it (Canterbury is not my favoured sub-genre of Prog). However, there are many jazzy passages that often creep up in Canterbury music, but happily the Jazz influences are never allowed to dominate the music. The result is a very interesting and quite unique piece of music.

The guitars and keyboards are very well played and the vocals are surprisingly strong. Indeed, the vocals are very different from what we would expect from a Canterbury band. And the music rocks harder than any other Canterbury band I have heard. The lyrics are quite "spacy" and bit "trippy" at times but there is thankfully no silly attempt at being humorous.

As far as I am concerned this is the best album Steve Hillage has ever made and also the best of the whole Canterbury sub-genre.


Report this review (#196987)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best albums from Canterbury, if not the best

Khan is yet another case of a one album band in progressive rock that made an incredible album and then disappeared, what is always disappointment, since good music is never enough.

The main thing that made this album click in me was the strange dialectic with King crimson that this album has: its music is considerably alike the In the Court of the Crimson King album from King Crimson / it has the same mood, but yet it does not sound like King Crimson. I know, i know, but it is pretty hard for me to explain also, so let's just move along. . .

Their music can be described, very shortly, as a blend between hard rock, space rock, psychedelia and jazz. The guitars are the most prominent instrument here, being responsible for most of the solos through the album. The organ is, however, pretty important because it is used as the second voice or secondary soloist instrument. The bass and the drums, although doing an excellent job, only have a background spot here in Space Shanty. One very interesting thing about this albums is that, by having two competent vocalists, the band have a great versatile vocal department.

The songs, despite being quite complex, have the traditional rock structure of theme - chorus - theme used in may different ways, since they have a significant number of different musical themes throughout each song.

Another thing that deserves to be mentioned are the lyrics. Although english is not my first language, it is not hard for me to appreciate the lyrics of Space Shanty, which fit quite well with the band's music in general. The vocals also help the lyrics considerably, since each vocal sings the lyrics that, in my opinion, fit better for it.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Space Shanty is definitely a memorable album for me. It was my first Canterbury album and it one of the best albums I have ever listened in my life. All songs are great, just like the instrumentation and the vocalization. Besides that, Khan managed to avoid a big part of the Canterbury clichés, making this album quite different from the others from this genre.

A great album such as this one deserves a great grade, so 5 stars.

Report this review (#208726)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review (yay) and I figured I might as well start with my favourite album of all time. I'm going to break this down to reviewing each song on it's own, and then giving a final verdict.

1. Space Shanty: The cacophonous opening of the album makes for a very interesting first listen. "Who would begin a album with this?" was my first thought as soon as the intro to Space Shanty started streaming through my headphones, and I prepared myself for the worst in terms of excessively pretentious and hard-to-grasp rock. But it doesn't long before the song calms down and changes into a great break-laden riff which in mere seconds made me realize that I was going to love this album. The song then continues with as many turns and twists as is advisable for a prog-rock song, and none of the twists feel forced or annoying, not even the circus-like Hammond interlude in the middle.

2. Stranded: The album goes from the majestic and sweeping ending of Space Shanty to this song. It is a mellow, yet hopeful song which features some absolutely gorgeous bass-lines and haunting vocals. This is the first song where the lyrics really come forth properly, and wow, are they good or what. Throughout the whole album, the lyrics straddle on the line of pretentious and awesome, but never quite fall too much to any of these sides and thus keep an amazing balance. Of course, this is prog rock, and the whole song can't be calm. Around the middle of the song, the guitar breaks into an absolutely awesome riff which creates some real contrasts with the previous theme of the song. This twist is just as smooth as the others on this album, and I can't understand how they managed to make everything so smooth and... awesome.

3. Mixed Up Man of the Mountains: This song starts out in a dubious way, but quickly removes any doubt from your mind when the first riff gets going. It's a (as usual) shifting song that is very hard to place on any kind of a spectrum. It features some of this albums most psychedelic parts, like the strange vocal performances that follow the complex guitar and Hammond melodies now and then.

4. Driving to Amsterdam: Best song on the album. It starts of with a strange and jumpy riff and then goes on an incredible journey featuring sweeping moments of beauty, fast, happy riffs and some of the best lyrics I have ever heard.

5. Stargazers: Another strange opening riff, which this time stretches a bit further than just a few seconds into the song. Once the song really starts, you can say that it's the most "normal" song on the album. It's a happy-sounding song with lots of breaks here and there, but the breaks are never quite as strange as in the other songs on the album.

6. Hollow Stone: A long and sweeping song with some really beautiful and atmospheric Hammond-playing throughout it's entirety. At many points you can say it's really spiritual-sounding and "swishy", and of course this song is, just like the others, perfectly executed throughout all the twists and turns it takes.

Conclusion: This is a masterpiece. This is probably the only album in which I can't find a single negative word to say. The instruments are perfectly played, the vocals are dynamic, and the feel of the whole album is constantly awe-inspiring. It's a shame they didn't keep at it and released a few more albums. This album is just too good to be so overlooked by "non-prog-fanatics".

Report this review (#215147)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Have I been waiting to review this incredible testament to very early 70s prog and admitedly one of its crown jewels! It remains one of the highest rated prog albums ever, peculiar only in that this band had only one album and what a recording it was! Khan captures two immense talents at the burgeoning of their erudite careers in Steve Hillage (part of the great "Steve from the UK" bloc along with Hackett and Howe) and the irascible organist Dave Stewart, back in 1972 when the grass was very green and some girls embarked on their path towards becoming future porn-queens. The title track "Space Shanty" has both gents ripping through their instruments in their so very original style, Steve letting his axe fly into the darkest depths of space, echoing manically with Stewart's whimsically fuzzy organ runs. Bassist Mick Greenwood keeps the pot boiling (no pun intended!) and the drums shuffle intensely along for the cosmic ride. This is the nascent birth of space-prog along with Gong and Hawkwind, a testimonial to the future yearning of creative musical geniuses that sprouted everywhere. There is an obvious Canterbury connection in the spirited jazzy excursions (especially when vocals are called to perform) and the breezy organ fills that litter the recording. The gentler, more ambient "Stranded" intervenes with Stewart's rolling organ sweeping masterfully and aided by some sparkling piano, giving Hillage a platform to sing in his usual über-hippy style. The piece includes the humorously sub-titled inclusion "Effervescent Psycho Novelty No.5" (something I wish I wrote!) , a guitar flexout where Stevie lets fly on both stereo channels, always at odds with the crystalline piano sprinklings. Psychedelic music at it's definitely most pristine. The bluesy guitar rant on "Mixed Up Man?" is as intense and fiery as Hillage can be, a cosmic blizzard that starts off nice and soft, suddenly exploding like a supernova when the main lead riff enters the space, in complete agreement with Mick Greenwood taking over the mike. The mid-part scat voice/guitar duet is grand, the organ raging comfortably intricate and sparked by some cool bass runs. The sheer depth and power of the outro/finale is spellbinding! A great track! "Driving to Amsterdam" seems to be a fan favorite (if one judges by a recent PA poll), purely typical Canterbury escapade, a ripping opportunity to create incredible soundscapes where both slippery electric guitar and whomping keys duel intensely. Not even the slightest discredit to Alan Holdsworth or Phil Miller, but Soft Machine and/or National Health with Hillage's scintillating guitar would have been sooooo kick-ass! Here his series of two-channel solos is a true classic, hard , brief and deadly each time. Once again Stewart keeps hard on the fretboard magician's heels, splashing intrinsically glorious passages with shimmering ivory runs. "Stargazers" is a highly hippy affair where love, peace and space vie for attention, all liberally flavored with tongue in cheek humor, the super-cool guitar illuminating the prog fire (Steve was blisteringly fast, incredible fluid and a complete sonic star trekker) with a plethora of dizzying notes. Yes, it's quite dated in terms of sound but the creativity, the bold ambition and the sublime musicianship combine to make this a thoroughly exhilarating audio exercise. The closer "Hollow Stone" includes the "Escape of the Space Pilots" (perhaps inspiring Robert Calvert of Hawkwind fame), bids farewell forever with an outrageous intergalactic voyage that hypnotizes in silken mists, a long organ tirade that is a true classic and explains the universal high esteem Stewart is held on this site and many others, as a consummate (Hall of Fame) keyboardist. The somber guitar riffing weaves through cordons of electro effects, searching, grasping, enraged and outré, a collapsing sea of sounds kills this one off brilliantly. Shape of things to come. Very good things! 5 Mongols
Report this review (#237468)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply My Favorite Canterbury Album

The Canterbury scene was famous for the various mixing and matching that happened between top artists. Keyboard / organist Dave Stewart and Guitarist / Vocalist Steve Hillage were among those rolling stones with major roles in several of the main bands of the genre. In fact, they played together in several different groups, and their comfort with each other was instrumental in several great records. But the peak of their interaction, to my ear, is Khan's Space Shanty. Both musicians had achieved master-level skills but were still developing their artistry. Clearly still excited and hungry, they were far from the rawness of their early work in Arzachel / Uriel. Space Shanty really is a nearly equal balance between the two, where several of their other works are dominated by one or the other.

While the album first comes off as a very good bluesy space jam, closer listening reveals just how intricately composed many of the pieces are. Intertwining lines, call and response, multiple time signatures, all appear in a deceptively complex music. Many of the instrumental passages remind me of the Allman Brothers in tonality, with the organ / lead guitar combo often in unison or complimentary lines. Yet there is so much more going on here. Some sections are classic symphonic prog, some space jam (some of the best ever, I might add), a little blues rock. Despite spanning across the entire prog genre, the sound is remarkably focused and consistent.

Steve Hillage's vocals aren't beautiful, but they are as good as many hard rock singers, and the vocal interactions with bassist Nick Greenwood are sometimes heavenly. His guitar work is simultaneously free and precise, exploratory and skilled. From bluesy psychedelia to crazy space noises, Hillage's sound changed quite a bit over the course of his career. But on Space Shanty all of these elements are present in tasty helpings. Virtually nothing is over the top here. For an artist whose later signature was wild exploration, this is the album where his superb musicianship (which brought Daevid Allen a little nearer to earth in Gong) really gets to shine.

Dave Stewart's effected organ was a staple on many Canterbury records, and his work here is beautiful. Fans of Hatfield and National Health will certainly recognize the tones he uses. But never has he had such a perfect foil. The organ sounds blend so well with the guitar. Stewart's moves from background layering to lead solos are so seamless. His skills are quite strong, but his musicianship is so far ahead of some of the other prog showoffs both historical and current. His ability to compliment a song brings this music from good to phenomenal.

If you like Deep Purple, Allman Brothers, this album is going to appeal to you even if you've never listened to a prog album in your life. If you love Gentle Giant, RPI, or Jazz Fusion, you're going to find plenty to admire here too. I liked this album the first time I heard it, but it just keeps getting better on multiple listens. It combines so many things so well?.

If you can get this album, buy it, you won't regret having this in your collection. While not all will rate it masterpiece as I do, I think any rock fan, prog or not, can enjoy many many listens with this great album.

Report this review (#239492)
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars As soon as I laid eye on this cover I knew it: when I see a vinyl version of this I just have to have it! Reading about it on progarchives got me pretty interested. And then - A new limited vinyl print of Khan - Space Shanty at my local record store! And I liked it instantly.

Only the first four sentences of the lyrics are not perfect, the rest of the album is masterfull Canterbury progressive rock with some nice space guitar by the hippi from space; Steve Hillage, who would join Gong after this project. I greatly admire his playing, but the keys of Egg's Dave Stewart are great as well. The grand price is however for drummer Eric Peachy. Every riff is played with different fills, always playing like he is the inventer of the instrument! No silly eighties drumlines here, but the finest of seventies drumplaying!

The concept of this album is backed-up by it's great cover that is one of my favourites of the Canterbury scene, along with Gong's You and Flying Teapot.

All songs are great, with nice melodies and great instrumental passages. Both vocalists don't have a perfect voice, but the managed to sing it in two voices. The result is great! All tracks have their progressive moments and their great touchy vocal parts.

I also like the 'Driving to Amsterdam' song, for I'm a Dutchmen and I like the idea of an English band singing about my small country about it's freedom (softdrug's are legal here) and it's problems (The dyke of worry).

I greatly enjoy this album and it will stay that way. This is essential canterbury and should be listened to by everyone active in this community. Five stars.

Report this review (#239541)
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Space Shanty must be one of the most unknown masterpieces of progressive rock music in general! Appeared in 1972 as a low profile effort of the one-shot group KHAN of the burgeoning Canterbury scene, it showcased enormous talents of the two main composers and instrumentalists - Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart. It marks a transition in Hillage's career between his early ARZACHEL/URIEL days and his most successful and popular works with GONG and solo albums to come. And what a transition it was...

The music is a breathtaking fusion of different elements common to the prog era: lenghty instrumental passages, beautiful solo parts of organ and guitar, multi-structured compositions, emotional singing by Hillage, changes of tempo and jazz-rock experimental ambitions. Symphonic prog dramatics meets jazz fusion improvisation meets space rock atmosphere as suggested in the title and the cover image. Tracks flow nicely into one another, without any sense of pretentiousness, mere technicality or empty experimentalism that were quite often then among many prog-inclined bands.

Simply put, Space Shanty does not contain a second of excessive material or dubious fillers - it is a wonderfully composed music piece in its entirety, which you can listen to many many times and always hear something new. In short: a true masterpiece!


P.A. RATING: 5/5

Report this review (#256665)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
5 stars It's Heavy, it's Symphonic, it's Quirky, it's Beautiful, it's KHAN!

This relatively unknown supergroup with it's one and only album released in 1972(!!) is probably one of the finest albums ever made by a supergroup in terms of clear genius on the song-writing department with a complete eclecticism in terms of playing a wide array of various styles all in a Prog-fashioned way.

To begin with oddities for the Canterbury fan, Khan opens up the album in a Atomic Rooster kind of way with a blasting organ/guitar riff and daring vocals. However don't let this fool you, the title track also goes through some wonderful symphonic-esque interludes with Dave's classical organ plus a completely spacey passage with Steve's guitar. As a whole, a very engaging introduction with the exception of the vocal duties that can put someone off, fortunately in the rest of the songs the vocal duties are by no means a flaw if not a special feature.

Next song is Stranded which is quite the opposite to the title track, meaning that the heaviness barely shows and as a replacement to that(the heaviness) there's a completely peaceful mood played with lots of delicacy. While of course the instruments are responsbile of this beautiful tranquility, the main feature of this mood actually is Steve Hillage's lovely voice singing with a lot of care and gentleness, totally adore his voice in this tune.

Mixed Up Man of the Mountains, on the other hand, brings back the rock-mood of the opener. But like Khan showed us on the opener, they're not used to staying in one style for too long, so expect a lot of variation in this song too. This time with greater effect, since the vocals are not a flaw and the instrumental passages are extremely memorable wtih Steve being the highlight with his rockin' guitar .

Driving to Amsterdam, while it opens in a rather fast paced manner with intricating organ and guitar, later it completely cools down giving space to Steve to liberate his splendid vocals. However, Steve is not the main feature like he was in Stranded, if not Dave Stewart with his mind-blowing hammond organ that reminds me of Dave Sinclair. This song is the perfect mix of Stranded's beauty and Mixed Up Man of the Mountain's excellent variety and musicianship.

Stargazers is next and it introduces itself in a very quirky way very alike Gentle Giant. However, the rest of the song barely has anything to do with that quirkiness of Gentle Giant. Steve Hillage delivers a magnificent guitar solo in the middle before the quirky intro reprises. The song finalises with a marvellous solo by Dave.

The album concludes, unfortunately, with one forgettable tune, Hollow Stone. Indeed, it's a ''hollow'' song; it's 8 minutes long and yet there's barely anything that the musicians do other than playing the same thing over and over again, the only exception being when the solos arise. If it were only 4 minutes, I wouldn't consider it repetetive and boring.

As a conclusion to my review, I'll just add that this is something that all fans of the classic 70's Prog should check this out since the music, while placed in the Canterbury sub-genre here, it has a lot to do with the classic 70's Prog music, yet it's totally unique played by one-of-a-kind musicians thus making an essential masterpiece.

Report this review (#261189)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pre-Gong Steve Hillage project 's ( with Dave Stewart and other great musicians) only album. And the great one!

Being one of the greatest examples of early Canterbury sound, the music there is a bit different from what we all are expecting from classic Canterbury sound. Still based on heavy blues psychedelic sound, quite strongly structurized, but with some instrumental breaks and slightly jazzy. In fact, much more Uriah Heep, than Gong. But - melodic, excellently arranged, with great musicianship and vocals. For me, this album is classical sound of progressive rock of early 70-s!

Later re-release contains two bonus tracks and good sound, so better go for it. Excellent entrance point for every newcomer to Canterbury sound: accessible, but complex, this album could be a bridge from hard rock or heavy prog to more jazzy/psychedelic sound.

Overall, this album is must have one for each serious progressive rock fan.

Report this review (#270334)
Posted Monday, March 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thanks to Prog Archives and the high rating this gets I sought it out, and am certainly not disappointed. What a terrific masterwork. I was already of a big fan of Steve Hillage's work with Gong and some of his solo work is terrific. Some of my favorite Prog is the jazzy side of the Canterbury scene stuff. But I also love Space Rock. This album is like a dream come true for a fan of fusion, Canterbury and Space Rock all blended together. Frankly I like it more than Gong's Flying Teapot Trilogy, because unlike with Gong, here, Hillage is allowed to cut loose with his amazing and inspired guitar excursions with the goal to clearly take your mind further into/out to inner/outer space.

I don't find this to be typical of early Canterbury at all. Sure you can hear that wonderful Canterbury quirkiness running through it, but there's a more menacing and even macho thing going on as they try to expand a little on the weighty sounds and notions that a King Crimson or Pink Floyd brought to their music. A stunning success and true milestone in Prog Rock.

Report this review (#275854)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This album to my ears marks one of the high points in the Canterbury scene. Not only does it feature two of my favorite musicians of the genre, Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart (no, not that forgotten poseur from The Eurythmics, the real Dave Stewart), but it also contains some of the most exciting music to come from said scene. Complex and powerful from start to finish, Space Shanty contains little of the lightness and airiness that often limits my enjoyment of other Canterbury artists and groups.

Hillage is, as usual, an exemplary guitar wizard throughout the album, but Stewart, from song to song, steals the show. He plays each song with a fiery intensity that I've only heard in this consistancy on the Bruford albums.

My copy, is the early nineties Deram release, which was in dire need of remastering. The sound is a bit muddy throughout, with the bass and drums often getting pushed too far into the background. But still, it's better sounding than the completely worn out LP I also own.

Report this review (#281644)
Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've been interested in hearing this album for quite some time now but the opportunity just never seemed to arrive until I one day took a spontaneous trip to Kulturhuset's Library, here in central Stockholm, and started scrolling through their CD-collection. To my surprise their collection has expanded quite a bit since my last visit a few month ago and I manage to leave the library with Space Shanty and a few other titles that I never expected to find there!

The first time I glanced at the cover I recognized that this was one of those top rated prog albums but I really didn't know much about the lineup behind it even though this particular cover read specifically "featuring Dave Stewart" on its front. For some strange reason I initially confused Stewart for, a fellow Canterbury artist, Dave Sinclair but at least I almost nailed the origin of this album! This was of course not of much help considering the huge differences in the Canterbury Scene which features everything from the soft vocals of Richard Sinclair to psychedelic experiments by Daevid Allan!

Listening to this album for the first time was somewhat of a surprise even though I really didn't know what to expect in the first place. The opening title track starts off almost like a Heavy Prog tune from that era, reminiscent of Captain Beyond, Quatermass and Atomic Rooster jamming with their gear tuned all the way to 11... all at once! This setting proved to be very temporary and soon the music shifted to groovy space jam lead by Hillage's guitar. Talking about turning 180 on the audience! Stranded is where things finally settle into a mellow atmosphere with spacy landscapes finally taking over the music thanks to Steve Hillage loose guitar play and underlying keyboard support from Dave Stewart. Things continue this way all the way until the first sounds of Driving To Amsterdam where we finally get something resembling the more familiar soft Canterbury atmosphere coined by bands like Caravan and Soft Machine, but the explosive intro is once again misleading since the song that follows it is another pretty groovy and loose atmospheric jam. The section right after each chorus section reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd's song Pigs, especially the part where Roger Waters uses tape effects on his vocals. My guess is that there has to be some similarity in the chord pattern that makes me think of this connection between the tunes.

Stargazers is a surprising rhythmic shift to an upbeat performance, although even this one slows down on a few occasions just to remind us of how great Hillage can be with his guitar fills. Hollow Stone is a nice conclusion to an otherwise already impressive album. This is probably the mellowest moment on the whole release with prominent sounds of acoustic guitar and keyboards that make this already moody tune even more special.

There's really no use denying that supergroups can be quite exceptional if all the members actually make an effort instead of just playing prog-by-numbers that mosts of the later supergroup formations tend to achieve with their gatherings. Granted that Steve Hillage is responsible for writing most of this material on his own, the rest of the band really do their best to accompany him on this spacy journey and not once do I get the feeling that someone was underplaying their part. A great treasure of the early prog scene that should definitely be heard by all fans of progressive rock music!

***** star songs: Stranded (6:36) Stargazers (5:34)

**** star songs: Space Shanty (9:02) Driving To Amsterdam (9:23) Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains (7:14) Hollow Stone (8:20)

Report this review (#293001)
Posted Sunday, August 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars So called 'Supergroup' Khan's one and only release. Thank God, that's all I can say.

From the opening lines "I need you and you need me, also I need to be free!" I knew I was heading into choppy waters on a ramshackle boat which was about to spring leaks all over the place.

The phrase 'too many cooks spoil the broth' springs to mind. We've got Hillage, Hatfield, Egg and National Health all vying for supremacy and kicking lumps out of each other on this weak recording.

I've liked all these individual bands, but as Khan they don't appear to know where or what they're doing or what they want - falling back on horrible Sabbath/Deep purple riffs every five minutes or so. As individual musicians they're competent - but this album is as rough as a badgers ass. The vocals are rotten too, sounding like the clichéd early 70's from which they emerged.

Far too 'Rock' with little sense of adventure. A very disappointing album.

Only the mighty 'Egg's' Dave Sinclair prevents this plumbing the depths.

Report this review (#298322)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Khan is a Canterbury supergroup of sorts, uniting past and future members of prominent bands like Egg, Gong, Hatfield & the North and National Health. The sound is exemplary for its style and age, with a warm woolly sound, melodious vocals, jazzy improvisations, spacey guitars and plenty of deliciously dusty Hammond organs.

The opening title is a real winner, a surging 9 minutes of musical creativity and vigor, with catchy vocal lines and plenty of gorgeous improvisations. Heavier and less poppy then Caravan and a true masterpiece in the style. This opener puts me in a benevolent mood. Normally the poppy ballad style of Stranded would stir my usual skepticism, but the instrumental jam in the middle saves the party. As usual with Canterbury style Prog, the vocals can get a bit too poppy and mellow for my taste. Luckily Greenwood is a powerhouse, reminding me a bit of Hammill on the earliest VDGG releases.

Mixed up Man is very different again, quite heavy and even anthemic in its opening and closing sections, but before you know, the capricious creativity of these guys make them veer off in another gorgeous smooth jazzy-psychedelic improvisation. More 70ties ballad influences on Driving To Amsterdam, the chorus with the "Now the morning opens slowly" line is tacky at least, and hard to bare for a Beatles/hippy skeptic like myself. Stargazers continues with delicious jazzy psych rock. Hollow Stone starts hesitatingly but explodes in pure heavy space-rock orgasm.

A more then excellent album with great heavy space-rock done in a delicate Canterbury jazzy style. If you also like the Beatles-inspired ballads on this album, this may be a perfect masterpiece for you. Recommended.

Report this review (#338939)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars Khan only released this album and is most notable for having a pre-Gong Steve Hillage and a post-Egg/Pre-Hatfield Dave Stewart on board. Generally, Space Sahnty is only slightly Canterbury sounding and more early 1970s hard rock sounding most of the time. Hillage and Stewart had of course already worked together in the band Arzachel previously. It's a good album but nothing special and is not representative of what the Canterbury Scene was.

I don't like some of the cliche bone-headed hard rock vocals in the title track. Generally a good rocker but nothing here truly original or memorable. I like when Hillage and Stewart do their call-and-response thing on guitar and organ, respectively. Around 3 minutes switches to a jazzier and harder rocking part. Gets even more jazzy but not so rocking until the guitar solo. Later on some guitar noodling with a bit of wordless vocals. Jazzy and classical at once before it goes back to the the call-and-response part again. Ends with a nice mix of guitar, organ and bass. Vocals join in and it goes back to the beginning vocal section.

"Stranded" is mostly a nice early '70s laid-back mellow rock song. Some nice piano playing from Stewart. Almost halfway gets more typically Canterbury sounding. I like Hillage's playing after 4 minutes, followed by some good acoustic guitar playing. Goes back to the main song. Some guitar and organ segues into... "Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains" which starts off as more early '70s rock. It mellows out later with some altered vocals. Hillage and bassist Nick Greenwood share vocal duties but I generally don't know who is who here. Later gets more jazzy with some guitar/organ interplay. I like the harmonized scat vocals after 4 minutes. Afterwards gets almost symphonic prog sounding before a riff takes the song back to hard rock territory. Goes back to the main song, getting more intense as it ends.

"Driving To Amsterdam" starts off very Canterbury sounding. After 1 1/2 minutes changes to a ballad with great wah-organ. Turns into more of a blues-rocker at times. Love the drumming and organ playing in the middle. The band jams out for awhile, eventually going back to ballad mode. Gets slightly funky near the end. "Stargazers" starts off sounding very much like later Hatfield & The North for the first 30 seconds. Then it changes to more typical early '70s rock. Goes almost Floyd style before 2 minutes. Then back to Hatfield style. Then the main song again. More Floyd style with an organ solo. Almost classical rock towards the end.

"Hollow Stone" is another ballad type song. Organ and guitar generally dominate. Some harmony vocals. Nice fuzz-organ solo. This song sounds like an influence on Judas Priest's ballads. Gets more rockin' yet still slow paced near the end. Finishes off in a cacaphonous way with tape speed altering. No single song stands out for me: I only enjoy parts of each song but not the whole thing. The most interesting and enjoyable aspects of the album are obviously Hillage and Stewart. I'm glad Khan never made another album, or else the world may have been robbed of albums like You and Rotter's Club. Good but not essential Canterbury. 3 stars.

Report this review (#440717)
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My slow and gradual testing of the waters of Canterbury Scene of 1970s progressive rock music is now up to nine records: Caravan's "Grey and Pink" and "Girls Who Plump," Soft Machine's "Third," Steve Hillage's "Fish Rising," Hatfield and the North's "Rotter's Club," Robert Wyatt's "Rock Bottom," Gong's "You," and Zyma's "Thoughts" (though I might also ask to include Camel's "Mirage"). Overall, I am very much enjoying the sub-genre's light, upbeat, happy-go-lucky feel?it makes me wish I'd been in the thick of the 60s' psychedlic hippie generation. Of the above albums I must say that "Space Shanty" is my favorite. Why? It's the vocals! There is something very special in the vocals of both Steve Hillage and Nick Greenwood. "Stranded" (10/10), "Mixed Up Man of the Mountains" (10/10), and "Driving to Amsterdam" (10/10), and "Hollow Stone" (10/10) are all/each absolutely gorgeous masterpieces. The vocals in "Stranded" and "Stargazers" remind me so much of why I love MOTH VELLUM, while "Mixed Up Man" reminds me of my friend MARK FARNER's "I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home/" from his GRAND FUNK RAILROAD days. Absolutely beautiful works!

My only reservation in giving this album five stars is that I never like it when an album is so reliant on a guitarist's use of multiple tracks (ŕ la "Thick as a Brick"). At times I found myself thinking (wishing) it was two guitarists that I was listening to. And the compositions are not perfectly polished but, again, these amazing vocals and melodies make it such a transendent listening experience I cannot really rate it anything less than a masterpiece. I am in awe. And in love.

Report this review (#459471)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Heavy Canterbury !

Actually this album caused the same experience for me as Atlas' Bla Vardag. A lesser known prog gem that I got hooked on immediately and never disliked for one second. Some albums simply have that impact on you (fortunately) and in the end there will be no other outcome than the full five.

Through the years I get stronger and stronger appealed to the Canterbury music thanks to their delicious organ and (when Steve plays it) guitar sound. I simply can't get enough of it and the longer the solos the better for me. Khan decided to produce these features with a heavy (and also spacey at times) sound to create this unique album. Like several other reviewers already stated: what a shame they did this only once !

Because I would have liked a couple of more experiences like this. But as so often a masterpiece is created only once in a while and even brilliant composers like these guys are no machines and maybe had this one time inspiration when they produced this. Too bad but at least I will always cherish this one and consider it a highlight in my collection. Many thanks to PA for helping me discover it and I can only recommend it strongly to all other proggers at least those who already have a soft spot for Canterbury.

Report this review (#471217)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Khan project heralded Steve Hillage's return to the music industry (after leaving Uriel to go to university, coming back only to cut the Arzachel album with his former bandmates for a lark). Lyrically speaking, the album is hilariously dated - right from the opening couplet ("I need you and you need me/Also I need to be free!") we can tell that, for all his other qualities, Steve Hillage was never much of a lyricist - he wouldn't get much better over the course of his post- Gong solo career. But then again, whilst the words are rubbish, the sheer earnestness with which Steve delivers them elevates them from mere dross into a sort of platonic form of New Age nonsense - and I'll take unintentionally hilarious over boring any day of the week.

Of course, prog fans by and large aren't here for the lyrics - they're all about the instrumental performance, and in that regard the album is pretty damn good. It's essentially a fairly middle- of-the-road Canterbury album made special by Steve's spacey guitar style, though the inclusion of Dave Stewart's always entertaining keyboard talents certainly doesn't hurt. Nonetheless, I wouldn't go so far as to call it an outright masterpiece - I feel that I have to look past the album's obscurity and the fact it's the band's sole recorded output to look at the quality of the music, and whilst it is good, the fact is that you can tell more than one album or so of this material would get tired-out quickly. Still, it gave him the extra exposure he needed to get the post in Gong, so the album is both important to the development of the psychedelic, spacey end of the Canterbury scene and Steve's career as a whole. If you're already a Hillage fan or a Canterbury fan, this comes heartily recommended, but otherwise both Hillage and Dave Stewart would appear in superior (and much more significant) albums across their careers, and you'd be well advise to explore those first.

Report this review (#488287)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars A wonderful masterpiece of Canterbury prog that all respective fans will appreciate, but will not be an unknown venture to fans of classic rock.

Just the names of Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart should be the immediate bright spots here. Any good fan of prog will recognize those names and interest should immediately be gained, and why not? Even though this is the only album this group produced, it's worth every penny. I was stuck on the title track for about a month or two before I even listened to the rest of the album. That's how good it is.

Now the songwriting on that particular track wasn't exactly the best in the world (especially not before "Stranded", which contains some wonderful songwriting), but once the main chorus is over and done, the instrumental sections come in and it's all uphill from there. It's a great example of typical Canterbury jazz/rock mixing with striking guitar solos and that typical heavy rock sound made popular in the early 70's thanks to bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen. The magic continues when Hillage gets the spotlight all to himself, and the solo just echoes like magic and really pulls the song together.

As aformentioned, "Stranded" is the complete opposite of "Space Shanty". Vocals are more abundant (and it took a lot longer to write this song's lyrics than "Space Shanty's"). It's more atmospheric and light as the lyrics are the only thing that can pull you into the song. But by "Mixed Man Of The Mountains" both the instrumentation and songwriting from the previous songs come together in another fantastic demonstration of Canterbury prog.

"Driving In Amsterdam" starts off as another typical instrumental prog song, but then Hillage and Greenwood sing in harmony, and it sounds like another song. This proves the point that any band can play a Canterbury style of prog while maintaining the melody and harmony that many rock bands at that time normally played. Without a doubt, if you selected a number of Canterbury prog albums like Soft Machine's "Third", National Health's "Of Queues And Cures", Hatfield And The North's 1973 self-titled debut and even Caravan's "In The Land Of Grey And Pink", and played samples of them to someone stone-cold, without any prior knowledge or listening history of Canterbury prog, chances are, Khan's "Space Shanty" would be the nicest to their ears, simply because of the presence of hard rock elements common in early 70's rock bands on songs like "Driving In Amsterdam".

"Stargazers" clearly comes off from the beginning as a Canterbury prog fan's dream. It seems like that for the entire ride, until the chords lighten up and the vocals come in. Midway through, it even develops into a bluesy segment there. An absolutely wonderful track and a technical masterpiece. The album concludes with the phenomenal "Hollow Stone (Escape Of The Space Pirates)", which could easily have been "Driving To Amsterdam, Pt. 2".

Overall, it's a phenomenal disc and a shame that this is the only release by this collection of musicians, but at least they made one, and this will be a perfect addition for any Canterbury prog fan. Excellent mix of prog and hard rock.

Report this review (#510921)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Khan's sole album is a mesmirising journey into spacey escapism.

My ears have been gloriously blessed with some of the finest musicianship from some of the finest musicians. Nick Greenwood on bass, vocals, the incomparable spacey Steve Hillage on guitars, vocals, Eric Peachy on drums, and the keyboard wizardry of Dave Stewart on Hammond organ, piano, skyceleste, and marimbas. From the opening title track the album delivers a feast of powerful vocals, lengthy Hammond finesse and scorching lead guitar work. The spacey content is reflected in the lyrics, "flow in its river of light and you'll see, that you have found what you've been searching."

The Canterbury influences are prevalent, especially on the next track, 'Stranded', with escapist lyrics; "we escaped to the city, lying on a deserted beach, out of reach, I could see you much clearer as we strode by the shore, all the peace all around us, seemed impossibly pure". The magical organ solo that follows is a shimmering virtuoso performance accompanied by riffing guitar work and a psychedelic fuzzed lead solo.

'Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains' begins with quiet guitar tones and builds to the Canterbury feel, with loud guitar and organ. Greenwood's bass is relentless and this one is filled with lyrics of the secrets of the mountain man. There is a pronounced time sig shift leading to a fast lead break with golden Hammond arpeggios played Adante over jazz percussion metrics. The lead guitar of Hillage is excellent broken only by some whimsical multilayered vocal intonations. Side one of this album is all killer, no filler.

Side two begins with a riffing guitar lick on 'Driving To Amsterdam'. It sounds a bit like Caravan or Hatfield and the North for a while. The guitars and organ keep a tight rhythm. The balladic quality is prominent with gentler vocals; "can it be that there's so many, that have been through this whole scene before, staring at the ground, I found myself in you, our weary faces smiling with the energy that's left." The harmonies are quite effective. Eventually the song launches into a jamming bluesy rock feel with twin lead guitar embellishments. The Hammond gains pace and some speed key fingering adds to the atmosphere of tension until the jazz improve ending.

'Stargazers' has a quirky time sig a bit like 'Tarkus' at first and then locks into a Canterbury sounding verse; "don't you think you can surely make it now, you don't need anyone to tell you how, king and queen, an extra gene". The lead break following is a solid psych sound and there is a very odd time sig that comes next with organ and improvised style lead. There is an identical verse and then a lengthy break with high pitched organ and fret melting lead guitar work played to perfection.

'Hollow Stone' begins with dreamy organ and soft vocals; "hollow stone, all alone, back a thousand years, and you know there is no answer, they can give you, for the words are there for them to choose, as you fall into space from your lonely shelf, you raise your hand and gaze in wonder." After these types of lyrics a sparkling electric piano leads. More spacey lyrical verses follow until we enter into a grinding distorted fuzzy guitar riff. The sound reverberates from left to right speaker. There is a freak out of chaotic Hammond and guitar, bass and drums that fades into the final section alternating from left to right ear and finally slowing and speeding back to a echoed note.

Overall this album is a sensational musical triumph and sadly a one off. But how many bands can produce music like this, to perfection capturing such incredible atmospheres? This may well be the lighting in a bottle so many bands are searching for. Khan found it and never were able to return to this. For the listeners they have left behind this indelible mark on prog history and it is a pleasurable experience.

Report this review (#550717)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm usually able to give 5 stars only to those albums lasting in my head for long time, bringing memorable impressions and experience, wake the need inside of me to re-play them again - to return to beautiful abstract world they create and where you can escape into. This piece is one of them, which works on emotional level that much.

However spectacular technical side and sound produciton - it is the base for such impression. Another substances are inspriation, creativity and disctinctivness. It is unlike anything, unique entity. There are elements and obivous reminiscences of other canterbury counterparts, jazz/fusion, symphonic prog, space rock, with melodic approach, almost pop sensibility. In the right mood it will cause constant shivers on your spine.

Vintage signature sounds of Hillage's guitar and Stewart's arsenal of keyboards, mainly organ and electric piano never sounded better. Harmonies of Hillage and Greenwood are childish and naive, but in the music context extraordinarily beautiful. Album is experimental but still very tight (on the contrary to Hillage's solo works). Overall combination and constellation form such amazing trippy chemistry.

It's music for shiny days of your life, which makes them unforgettable. Give it a chance, soak its unique raw psychedelic atmosphere, give yourself a favor and start the journey.

Report this review (#751470)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's a shame some fine artistic projects don't get to come into being a reality on which to start a career. Khan seems to have been one of these.

Anyway, due to the fact that Steve Hillage's career was erratic at the time he was beginning and that he used to combine his academic studies and his musical vocation, it is no surprise that one has to look for his oeuvre under a variaty of banners: Uriel, Arzachel, Khan, Gong... until he established his own one with another masterpiece: 'Fish Rising'.

What a mighty musician and guitar player Steve Hillage is you can easily discover in this masterpiece. His compositions are among the best in progressive rock. Their strength and power develop with the support of a tighter than ever band, intended as first as a power trio but, with the addition of David Stewart's keyboards and marimbas, results in a perfect quartet that works as a precision mechanism.

All but one pieces are Hillage's compositions and you notice that instantly when 'Mixed up Man of the Mountains', written both by Hillage and bass guitar player Nich Greenwood, plays. But, guys, one has to have a rest now and then even in the middle of paradise because going from climax to climax can get unbearable sometimes.

The Esoteric Records reedition comes with two extra songs: a novelty in 'Break the Chains', also written in colabloration, and an shorter version of the mentioned 'Mixed up...' which only add extra time duration for the Cd to be fuller.

One cannot deny the influence that the Mahavishnu Orchestra, mainly, and particularly John MacLaughlin, exerted on Steve Hillage's music but this only means that good masters use to have good teachers or previous influence masters, as Michelangelo used to have his Donatello or Beethoven, his Franz J. Haydn.

Five stars for the cohesion, perfection, quality of improvisation and soloing and for its uniqueness.

Report this review (#772884)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#784908)
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Owner of a pretty impressive ouevre, British guitarist Steve Hillage has really worked his way up over the last forty-or-so years. From obscure psych-group member to mid-level guitar star and modern dance 'n' trance innovator, it seems there is very little Hillage hasn't done, his colourful career taking in stints with his own formative outfits Arzachel and Khan, a lengthier spell with Anglo-French prog-psych purveyors Gong, a highly- successful solo spell and a surprise sonic reboot as 1990's trance pioneers System 7. Most will remember him for his time either with Gong or for his series of excellent solo records from the mid-seventies, albums such as 'You', 'Fish Rising' and 'L', though thanks to the ever-growing reissue market, many are now discovering his early work with Khan. A blink-and-you'll-miss-em' Canterbury-styled outfit who recorded just the one record during 1972, Khan featured Hillage, Nick Greenwood(bass), Eric Peachy(drums) and Canterbury- scene stalwart Dave Stewart(keyboards). Their sole album, 'Space Shanty', was recently remastered for the first time by the excellent Esoteric Recordings imprint, and it has since become a firm favourite amongst the progressive rock crowd, sailing into the esteemed top 100 albums list. And rightly so. A scintillating mixture of Gong-style psychedelia and Caravan-edged Canterbury prog, 'Space Shanty' is a wonderful album filled a plethora of swirling instrumental moments and topped off with a collection of top-notch technical displays. Very different from the raw and rough-edged psychedelic sound of Hillage's previous outfit Arzachel, this is a much cleaner-sounding album that also features a highly-symphonic edge. The mixture of differing progressive elements allows the musicians to really stretch out on pieces such as the electric nine- minute psychedelic marathon 'Driving To Amsterdam' and the lysergic flavoured 'Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains'. As a result, you have a genuine Hillage career highlight that should more than please his legion of fans, whilst also appealing to lovers of all things Canterbury-styled. However, although the album's excellence is of course down to the group, the real heroes here are the guys at Esoteric who cleaned-up this superb album for it's 21st century retooling. Why it failed during it's own time is a genuine mystery; second time round its proving a real hit. Great stuff.
Report this review (#877348)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I haven't stopped listening to this album everyday since i discovered it through this website. In fact, I wish to extend my gratitude to this website for making music like this accessible to the public.

I must admit I'm a little biased towards Steve Hillage. Something about his hippie-esque sound/lyrics with the roaring passion of his guitar solos sets me off. And I personally find this album to be the best of his work. The beginning track opens up like any other heavy 70's rock anthem, but quickly travels through several voices that I have yet to hear in much music. Just as you'd expect a simple turn around or a simple I-IV-V progression (basic chord progression) the music takes a turn and just extends the phrase, channeling through Key changes and fantastic resolution. In other words, I love the way this man writes his music. Maybe I don't know exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to the technical aspect of this music, but what I do know is that your ears are treated to a great symphony of beautiful guitars, pianos, and vocals. The sound of this album alternates between heavy, "badass" riffs that reflect the heavy arena rock that was so prevalent at that time; but the music just goes so much further displaying an array of different voices stretching between somber and passionate to eclectic and upbeat. A good example of this is Space Shanty: a strong riff based intro that leads into a very moving keyboard line echoed by the guitar. The Vocals make great additions to the already melodic heavy instrumentals, making every instrument in this ensemble equally important. Not to mention, the cover for this album is just so cool. It's really like a nice cherry on top of a banana split.

I would personally recommend this album to EVERYONE....but if I had to be unbiased about it, anyone who is interested in King Crimson, Yes, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Caravan, or really anything that has strong emphasis on that "70's sound". I can't get enough of it. 10/10

Report this review (#950161)
Posted Friday, April 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is something quite untouchable about vintage british prog. Something that the genre from every other part of the world can't touch, no matter how good it is. I believe that all countries and continents possess a certain tone, some notes unique for just that particular origin. I love prog, whatever their origin but for me it is british prog that strikes the best chord and I believe it to be so by way of three reasons. Firstly I came to love prog through King Crimson and that set the blueprint for everything else. Secondly, I adore all things british and third there is that tone, that chord or sound that just makes me shiver with delight.

Khan's only album epitomizes everything I love about prog in general, not just british (though I am delighted that it is). The album is a perfect mix of accessibility, complexity, melody, strange chord progressions, beauty, anger, mellowness, joy and every other emotion known to man. All this is coupled with divine inspiration and hard rock, amidst all the jazzy, classical elements held within. The gentleness, by the way, is of a certain kind only found in prog, I believe. How to explain that to someone not initiated? I guess you have to take my word for it or listen to some of the music. Simple as that.

The title track kicks in with a blast and is a tremendous piece of multilayered prog. The next track, Stranded, is so beautiful and has to be one of the best follow-up songs on an album ever. I love it! The following tracks, I won't review every track in any detail, are simply outstanding and brilliant. The blasts of distorted guitar, alongside stabs of organ and powerful rhythm section, intermediated by flowing, gentle episodes and discords are simply out of this world. The genius behind this album is flawless and it is a shame they did not record another record, though (as I have been told) Hillage's first solo album Fish rising (another slab of brilliance) contains songs intended for Khan's second offering.

The song Hollow stone holds a special magic. I believe ther is an old magical hollow stone in Cornwall (?) and I see it before me, though only visited in books. The lyrics paint images making me tremble with delight. Actually, all the songs hold a special magic. The album is magical. The cover, Hillage's guitar, Stewart's trademark organ and the great rhythm section, the songs, the ambiance, the vocals, the everything spells magical brilliance.

Though at first reluctant giving the album five stars I am now compelled to do just that. It is an amazing record worthy every praise and hallelujah there is.

Report this review (#955220)
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars If there was ever an album that completely epitomized a one hit wonder, than this would be it. The first and only release from Canterbury Scene band Khan works off the ever distinguishable sound of the genre while retaining its own unique flair. Like most Canterbury Scene bands, the sound is graced with tons of keyboards and jazzy and melodic moments a like. Therefore, fans of the genre, especially Caravan, will find no surprises here. In fact, dare I say that this album is better than anything Caravan has ever done, including the magnificent 'In the Land of Gray and Pink.' Perhaps it is the album's superior focus on melody, in addition to some very atmospheric passages and heavier edge which make this quite the listening excursion. Case in point is the song 'Stranded,' a seemingly simple, yet melodically powerful song.

Besides this, the album truly doesn't have any real standout, if only for the strength of every song on the album, making this a very solid and consistent listen from beginning to end. Each track is a small adventure, as the structures are diverse, but don't meander too much to lose excitement.

Space Shanty, simply said, is a must have for Canterbury fans, and general proggers alike. The balance between melody, intensity, and atmosphere is hard to achieve, but these guys nail it.


Report this review (#1042854)
Posted Monday, September 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars REVIEW N' 200 - Khan: Space Shanty (featuring Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart).

Ready for a space adventure? So... Don't forget your towel!

Khan's only shot is the treasure of the Canterbury scene. Flawless. A perfect album, filled with everything that I ever wanted: SCI-FI theme, a cover art that seems to be the ruins of the Space Battleship Yamato, progressive tracks, organ and guitar amazing interplay, Canterbury Jazz + a little bit of psychedelia, cool lyricis, space pirates, a bearded manly drummer, catchy bass lines... Everybody needs a Space Shanty's copy. The latest CD version includes two bonus tracks and a very interesting booklet, featuring the story of the band and members, curiosities from the Canterbury scene and funny comics. It's symphonic. It's heavy. It's an essential album for any classic rock or progressive collector. Unfortunattely, Khan had a short lifetime, and a short time to record their songs, so you will find a lot of trippy, jams, and Canterbury fusion passages, but no fillers. I think I already said: Space Shanty is perfect!

The title track, Space Shanty (Inc. The Cobalt Sequence and March of The Sine Squadrons) start as a mix of ELP and Deep Purple, following jazzy chords and riffs, connecting the heavy rock with the smooth, beautiful feeling which is a trademark from the Canterbury tunes. Steve Hillage and Dave Steward playing together sounds like soul mates. The track development really works, passing through many different sections, and some of them, makes me feel like a space pirate tripping around the seven corners of the universe. The electronic experience of the keys and organ sometimes fits perfectly with any space crusade for me. The solo times, full of reverb/delay, work as a key unlocking an early unknown door into the deepest side of my mind. I can clearly feel the drums and bass echoing inside of my body. But, that's not enough, the next track brings me back to outer space, I just felt like I have been there before, a distant illusionary nostalgia...

... This is called Stranded (Effervescent Psychonovelty No. 5). A beautiful melody. Leaving the earth behind, I can feel the lull of the space. When the vocal part begins, you will notice that great bass riff. That's Nick Greenwood. He came from the final incarnation of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The chorus is brilliant, harmonious and I love it. Good chills! The smooth jazz touch with that gorgeous keyboard playing hits the right nerve, provoking a pleasent listen, everytime. You will find some notes within the album pack, saying: "Our very special thanks to DAVE STEWART who fitted in our sessions in between heavy commitments with his band EGG". I have to agree, that is an admirable effort, for sure. Stranded is the meaning of Canterbury style. A good job at Hillage's solo, living up to his nickname, the "hippie from outer space". He was very influenced by musicians like John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, but his way of thinking and feeling music makes him one of the best and unique guitarists of the entire psychedelic rock scene. The instrumental variations are great passages. Hillage's voice is just the way it should be. It fits the music like your favorite socks in your feet during the coldest night of winter. I like when the whole band are singing together too. Some bands and duets are not able to do this in a pleasent way. The ending atmosphere of the track rides to the next step of this awesome album. The Space Shanty moves on, accelerating and reaching the third track.

The last track of the first side. Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains. The song begins with an atmospheric background and Hillage's catchy vocal line. The song suddenly explodes with a heavy psych guitar riff, and goes on. Catchy drum/bass. My interpretation for the lyrics are multiple. It could be a follow up for the previous track. It could be just about flying. Maybe about freedom, or even suicide. I don't know, but that's a pretty hot track. The random section after the phrase "But soon as I am here I have to go" is strangely fine. I like that guitar solo accompanied by the 'vocal solo' (or the vocals accompanied by the guitar?). A trippy song, and a perfect ending for Space Shanty's first side.

The second part of the Space Shanty's journey through the universe and beyond start with Driving To Amsterdam, a song initially insane. The Canterbury jazz fusion intro is highly special for me. It's time for Dave Stewart to shine! This guy knows how to work and move your feeling to the right place. Steve Hillage proves to be a blues master with his riffs, solos and improvisations. The musical friendship of Steve and Dave is far beyond expectations! Driving to Amsterdam has a soulful songwriting and performance. It's the B Side track equivalent for Stranded (A Side), and the longer track from the album.

Stargazers intro sounds like the Canterbury intro for Tarkus. Freak as hell. It's outstanding. Steve Hillage dissonant and schizophrenic solo in the middle of the opening is sorely inspired. The whole album was filled with unexpected moments, and this track has a list of good moments, during only five minutes and a half! Maybe the most adventurous song from the Space Shanty timeline, here is where you will put your foot down on moon! It is the most happier song from their repertoire too. This song brings me the sensation of find the unexplored. The symphonic organ and the melodic chant are summoning the unknown before my eyes through my ears! Can you believe it? Just open your mind, listen to the track and see.

So, the last song of the original recording: Hollow Stone (Escape of The Space Pirates). This is the properly ending track, with an ending atmosphere, playing riffs ending passages that makes you think "hey, this is the ending theme". Almost there. The band returns to the calm and quiet stream, and if you have been enjoying the whole album, you will probably like this track like any other one. So profound. The final minutes are full of technological noises and experiments, and you will clearly imagine that Steve Hillage's solo like Steve Hillage's waving goodbye, and jumping inside his Space Shanty calling for a hot burrito after traveling the whole space hungry and playing prog for you guys.

The bonus tracks works pretty good, and sounds like a continuation of the album. Break The Chains rules. Wonderful surprises are waiting for you. Long live KHANnterbury!

Report this review (#1060370)
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Steve Hillage is unarguably THE guitarist in the Canterbury scene, and among the most gifted ones in the whole prog history. After making the Arzachel album with his fellows from EGG, Hillage returned to his studies at Kent University, Canterbury. In April 1971 he formed KHAN, which at first featured drummer Pip Pyle, bassist Nick Greenwood and keyboardist Dick Henningham. Caravan's manager Terry King got them a record deal, but before the sessions began, Pyle was replaced by Eric Peachey and Henningham's departure was replaced at the last minute by none other than Dave Stewart (of Egg and numerous, at the time future Canterbury bands), one of Hillage's old playing mates.

Space Shanty gives some foretaste of Hillage's later work as the GONG guitarist and a solo artist. Especially the echoey guitar sound - for example in the title track which is loaded with heavy psychedelia - was to become his trademark. The album is tight prog rock. Several tempo changes, soli and variations in the dynamics work brilliantly on long tracks such as 'Mixed Up Man of the Mountain' and 'Driving to Amsterdam'. Hendrix-influenced guitar is the central element in this melodic and lively prog. On one moment it may sound a bit like Genesis, on the next moment like Camel, and on the next one... Well, it's better to say that Khan had a full-blown style of their own. On the Canterbury scene it represents its rockier side, and also slightly more vocal-oriented than Canterbury on the average.

Stewart's organ and electric piano are best heard on the calmer track 'Stranded'. The album fully deserves the classic status. During the summer and autumn after the release, Khan toured with an unstable line-up and practiced for new material (some of which was to appear on Hillage's solo debut Fish Rising, 1975), but the band came to its end in October when Hillage joined briefly Kevin Ayers' band. From then on he continued his colourful career as the Gong member.

Report this review (#1115386)
Posted Friday, January 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm in love with this album. The calm atmosphere is absolutely harmonious between the organ, the guitar and the voice. The duets between the guitar and the keyboards and even between two guitars are fantastic. A litle bit of Camel but in my opinion, it's a masterpiece of Canterbury Scene. A great music construction inspiration, and we must listen with a good stereo material, because the studio engeneering sound, was made the duets in two different record pists. A beautiful record with songs and music, that we follin in love and whant listen one more time. Beutiful keiboards and beautiful guitar arrangements. The only record of this band that I now and one of my favourites ever. I give 5 stars because it's really a masterpiece and in my opinion, one of the most canterbury Scene beautiful album's ever made.
Report this review (#1508738)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Khan was a short-lived project formed by Steve Hillage, who had just completed his studies and was now ready to participate in musical projects. After a few line-up changes, he teamed up with a bassist Nick Greenwood, previously of Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, a drummer Eric Preachy, and his old friend, the keyboardist Dave Stewart, whose band Egg had just disbanded the same year. The quartet's only album, Space Shanty, was released in June 1972.

What really sets Space Shanty apart from most Canterbury scene works is the emphasis put on songwriting. In result, what we get are organized jazzy ballads with phenomenal improvisational parts. The musicians draw some of the most beautiful and moving soundscapes in the sub-genre. There is something really soporiphic about Space Shanty. Usually, it would not be a compliment, but in this case, the factor gives it a really unique flavor. It's not heavy on one's thoughts, without sacrificing the sophisticated factor. The band often finds itself in scenarios including odd time signatures. Improvisation does not play a crucial role and solo instrumental parts are only one of the elements contributing to Khan's distinctive musical extract.

Steve Hillage's soft, pastel guitar passages combined with Dave Stewart's lush, smooth keyboards are what mainly contributes to the effect of the album. Hillage is also capable of some phenomenal rock solos, which remind me a bit of Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash. His singing is gentle, light, and almost angel-like in places. Dave Stewart's playing is as always close to perfection. Not only does he proficiently draw affecting ambient-like textures, but he is also capable of great rhythm play and rapid solo parts. The rhythm section of Nick Greenwood and Eric Preachy lays down some great grooves and keeps up with Khan's dynamic and lively style.

All in all, Khan's only release is one of the most emotion-filled progressive rock albums. What would Khan have been able to do if they continued as a band? We can only imagine. Space Shanty is a truly unique masterpiece and is a must-listen for every progressive rock fan. Five stars!

Report this review (#1530179)
Posted Thursday, February 18, 2016 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars This is the very best Canterbury album there is. A little bold? Perhaps, but what Khan manages to accomplish on their sole disc is something really special, that sets it apart from a flood of other incredible albums.

First off, I'd just like to give major kudos to all the musicians involved. Dave Stewart and Steve Hillage need no introduction, and their interplay throughout all of the album's many instrumental passages is top notch. The chemistry within the band is unparalleled, with all of the album's complex arrangements sounding very natural and organically flowing. Lately I've also been paying particular attention to the bass playing of Nick Greenwood; what an underrated musician! Even though the organ and guitar steal the show, Nick manages to keep up really well, and plays all sorts of interesting and unconventional licks throughout. From a technical standpoint, it's pretty hard to beat how well all four members of Khan play.

Of course, well-played albums are a dime a dozen in the prog world, so that alone can't define a masterpiece. So what else does "Space Shanty" have going for it? What really resonates with this album for me is the atmosphere it creates. There are a whole lot of influences on display here, from smooth jazz fusion, to hallucinatory space rock, to heavy psychedelic blowouts, to soulful blues passages. And, miraculously, all of these different genres are so well balanced in every track that a unified sort of nocturnal atmosphere comes into fruition. Often melancholy, meandering, inviting, there's a definite coherence of mood throughout the whole affair. I think it can be best described as a very nostalgic, "coming-of-age" type of feeling. I highly recommend putting this on as a night driving album, it seems almost like it was made for it!

Now just because "Space Shanty" is well-played and engulfed in a beautiful atmosphere, does that really quantify it as the "best Canterbury album there is"? I think that those criteria alone are enough to push me to a 5 star rating, but what really makes Khan's album the shining star of the Canterbury Scene is in its approach. Canterbury, lighthearted as it is, is one of those genres that seems to be very conducive to abstract silliness, and, quite frankly, a whole lot of noodling. Khan's greatest strength is their ability to take all of the typical Canterbury aesthetic and to channel all those absurd ideas and influences into something so structured, tangible, and ultimately very emotive. Call it "Canterbury-for-those-who-don't-really-like-Canterbury" if you like, but what I believe really sets Khan ahead of Soft Machine or Hatfield and The North is that, as splendid as the musicianship on those records is, there's a bit too much of a niche appeal to their style. But with Khan, even if you take the "Canterbury" descriptor away, "Space Shanty" is still a masterpiece. 5 solid stars for this beauty.

Report this review (#1540510)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent start, but loses momentum.

A very interesting and unique one-off Canterbury-scene album, notable for having Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart both present. This band has a lot of energy, and Steve Hillage's guitar playing is great. The album kicks off to an excellent start with the title track, which mixes feel-good vibes with complex time sigs and changes, very interesting melodies and great guitar solos. Although this is the highlight of the album, the first three tunes are all very good (the second-best song on the album is the third track - "Mixed Up Man of the Mountains". Really special. Things slow down on the second side of the album though. Driving to Amsterdam has some good sections, but it also drags a bit, and then Stargazers and Hollow Stone don't (for me) stand the test of time. However, the first side surely does, and one can hear right away Hillage's distinctive guitar playing, reminding the listener of his work on the Gong trilogy albums. On balance, this album is in the low 4 PA stars, with a rating of 8.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale.

Report this review (#1697062)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permalink

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