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Karnataka Delicate Flame of Desire album cover
3.40 | 91 ratings | 18 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Karnataka (2:54)
2. Time Stands Still (6:17)
3. Delicate Flame of Desire (7:34)
4. After the Rain (7:52)
5. Strange Behaviour (6:10)
6. The Right Time (7:06)
7. One Breath Away (5:13)
8. Out of Reach (7:48)
9. Heart of Stone (10:31)

Total Time 61:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Rachel Jones / lead vocals, percussion, vocal arrangements
- Anne-Marie Helder / vocals, flute, percussion
- Paul Davies / lead & rhythm guitars
- Jonathan Edwards / keyboards, vocals
- Ian Jones / bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals
- Gavin Griffiths / drums & percussion

- Heather Findlay / vocals (2,6,9)
- Steve Evans / co-arranger, programming, production & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Inner Vision

CD Immrama Records ‎- KTK CD003 (2003, UK)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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KARNATAKA Delicate Flame of Desire ratings distribution

(91 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KARNATAKA Delicate Flame of Desire reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars KARNATAKA's "Delicate Flame Of Desire" is a beautiful album with showcases some of their best work so far. Once again they are fronted with the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Rachel Jones. Jones' voice is absolutely stunning and whose style is tonal and deep with conviction in a sensual and evocative style not unlike that of Joanne Hogg of IONA and Mary Fahl of OCTOBER PROJECT. Musically KARNATAKA actually remind me very much of OCTOBER PROJECT and IONA with their celtic-like inspired sounds and song writing style. KARNATAKA don't really break any new musical boundaries here but do deliver an album full of dramatic, multi-layered arrangements and emotional beauty. For those who love celtic-like prog will definitely love this album.
Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars After I read the many good reviews about this album, I decided to put an ear to it. The least I can say is that I was very disappointed. From the descriptions I read, I was expecting some celtic traditional instrumentation blended with prog elements (something in the style of Clannad's 'Fuaim'), but what I heard is some insipid radio-friendly pop music. I don't even understand how such a band can be regarded as prog, as it is not very far from artists such as Lene Marlin or The Corrs. The same remark could apply to Mostly Autumn's music. Even the vocals, which are the only good point here, don't rescue the overall feeling I have about this record. I have nothing against pop : I like pop-prog (or art-pop if you prefer) artists such as Kevin Gilbert, Kate Bush, Rupert Hine, Tony Banks but here, the music doesn't make anything to me. As a prog album, I can't give any star and as a pop album, it doesn't even deserve more stars. I wouldn't advise anyone to purchase this album : this is IMHO a strictly commercial affair and if you want a sincere marriage of art- rock with celtic folk music, check out Clannad, Alan Stivell's 'Before landing' or Sally Oldfield's 'Water bearer', all three artists/bands proposing far more superior releases, both in terms of instrumentations and vocal harmonies.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I really liked their first album which was seriously "Mostly Autumn" - oriented while their second one was a little less inspired. This one is probably more personal altough "Time Stands Still" seriously reminds me of ...Genesis ("And Then There Were Three" period).

"Delicate Flame" will please all the "MA" fans. Typical stucture : very pleasant ballad to start and the the beat catches up and turns towards a more rocking number featuring a superb guitar solo which remings Gilmour. You know the story I guess. But the charm always works (either with "MA" or Karnataka"). One of the highlight. The next song "After The Rain" is almost of the same, less melodic but enjoyable as well.

The only reproach maybe is that most of the songs sound a bit alike. Still, the compositions are of high quality, the band playing very well and of course the sublime voice from Rachel is always a pleasure for the ear. Maybe that the impression of déjà vu is too invading. But if like me you like the filiation, you can live with it. This feeling applies definitely to "Strange Behaviour". Performant guitar solo in the second half (would you believe !). Get your carbon for "The Right Time" : mellow ballad, nice melody, guitar break and tutti quanti. Sounds familiar, right ?

Like another reviewer mentions, it is also true that at times this band sounds as "The Coors" and that some songs are on the poppish side but it is so pleasant... Only one blunder IMO : "One Breath Away". A folky funk song ...Rather disturbing and useless. The best thing is to skip this one. "Out Of Reach" is a swooth acoustic ballad whose highlight is again the marvelous Rachel's voice.

The closing number starts on a spacey mood : crystal voice and aerial keys and such a sweet melody as well as a pleasant guitar break (it has been a while actually, but this time we won't need to wait for the last part of the song to get it. What a change !).But the last part is very much world-music orientation is taken; not truely my cup of tea. It should have deserved a more vibrant finale. Melancholical vocals throughout but a bit invading actually. I would have preferred some more instrumental breaks

This is good album, not much diversified and not so brilliant as their first one. If you are a purist, this album is not really for you. This is prog (a little) pop-folk (a lot). Still, three stars for this pleasant moment.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars For all the beauty of its singers and folk inspired melodies, Karnataka has a thick sound that wears thin before the halfway point of the CD. Overproduced and over-arranged to the point where every pure element is compressed into something grotesque, "Delicate Flame of Desire" collapses under its own obesity. The group has studied with the masters, be they Renaissance, Barclay James Harvest, Clannad, or Mostly Autumn, but they have failed to reference some of the high end characteristics of those bands - subtlety, variety and, yes, delicacy. Every part of the mix is jacked up all the time to the point where nothing can really be appreciated on its own, like a choir with everyone beautifully singing solo all the time, and not necessarily the same song. Nonetheless, "Time Stands Still", the title track, and "After the Rain" all sound just great, but they ultimately rushed this listener into a burnout that could only be cured by differentiated instrumentation and production, hence I turned to my copy of Renaissance "Turn of the Cards" or even Clannad's relative misstep "Sirius" in haste, lack of delicacy having extinguished my flame of desire cold.
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This swan-song of the classic lineup of Karnataka is a study in overproduction and musicianship overshadowed by sterile studio perfection. Another reviewer compared the sound of this album to October Project, and while I’m surprised someone besides me even owns a CD from that band, the reference is entirely accurate.

The other inevitable comparison is also overwhelmingly obvious, that is to Mostly Autumn. The musical arrangements are almost identical to the latter Mostly Autumn albums, with loads of wailing guitar and delicate yet powerful female vocals courtesy of the lovely Rachel Jones (who seems to have every bit of the range and vocal strength of Heather Findlay); not to mention also having Mostly Autumn’s current flautist as well (Anne-Marie Helder). The only difference I suppose is that Mostly Autumn seems to have better promotional management and a deeper catalog.

There are no poor tracks here, nor are there any great ones. The album is actually surprisingly even, and maybe that’s part of the problem. At least with Mostly Autumn there was always one standout, powerfully distinctive track on every album (or at least the first several). “Heroes Never Die”, “Evergreen”, “Never the Rainbow”, “Riders of Rohan”… you get the idea. Nothing like that here though. “Strange Behaviour” is the closest the band comes to something memorable, but mostly just because this was developed as a melodic, poppish number with simple riffs and an easy-going rhythm that long- haired young girls can sway to in the crowd at concerts. Not exactly a prog music epic, but definitely radio-friendly.

In other places the band almost seems to be intentionally parroting other artists, like the lead-in for “The Right Time” which sounds exactly like Mostly Autumn’s “We Come and We Go”; or “Out of Reach” which sounds like most of Enya’s catalog, complete with the choir-like backing vocals on the chorus.

The lengthy “Heart of Stone” starts off promising, but unfortunately the gratuitous synth noises cheapen the song, and in the end it comes off as not much more than another showcase for Paul Davies screaming guitar highlights.

I’m curious to hear how Jones sounds now that she’s in the Reasoning; hopefully that band has songwriters with the necessary creativity to challenge her and showcase that voice. For Karnataka this goes down as a decent album, but not as a classic and not very highly recommended. Four stars for the quality of the musicianship, but only two for the writing and arrangements.


Review by aapatsos
3 stars My first experience with Karnataka is this - beautifully named - third, and last with the original line-up, album. While listed under prog-folk, the listener will instantly realise that the musical orientation of this band is not quite as described here.

There is some small truth in the term prog-folk, as the band tries to mix traditional Celtic tunes with prog (related) arrangements. The result probably leans towards the first direction; folk elements appear in a relatively ''soft'' atmosphere and mostly in the vocal melodies of Rachel Jones and the scarce flute phrases and guitar solos. Progressive music is not really embedded in the music as the few neo-prog elements (in the vein of 90's Marillion, Arena) never take the lead.

The whole album flows in a charming ethereal atmosphere and the highpoint is clearly Rachel's voice which creates an emotional aura. While resembling to bands and artists like Enya or Mostly Autumn, whatever Karnataka chose to deliver, they deliver well. ''Pop'' is probably not the appropriate word to describe the approach, but definitely there is a ''commercial'' or, in other words, simplistic tendency. The tracks are attractive pieces of melodic soft rock coloured with neo-folk harmonies that work very well but do not create a memorable outcome.

The first part of the record is much more interesting with some magic moments; the title track is the one that in my opinion stands out. As the album progresses, the composing ideas are not developing at the extent that someone would expect and the tracks feel somewhat weaker approaching the end. Melodies seem to be repeated or remain static, without necessarily being uninteresting. Also, the length of the album (~62 mins) does not justify the number of novel ideas.

The potential problem of this flame of desire is that it is way too delicate, but this would not prevent me from enjoying it from time to time, being in the right mood - not looking for challenging tunes, but rather some well-formed melodies sung by the appropriate voice...

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Of course, as I hoped, this is beautiful album. I wasn't expecting nothing less. But what's the problem ? People here consider these melodies too poppy. This is not pop album. You don't even have to listen to this album and see first sign - track lengths, 5-10 minutes, lasting fine total time over 61 minutes. Singing is also far from being pop, these two ladies has beautiful voices, deep and strong. This only supports entire beautifulness. So far so good.

And songs ? Atmospheric, sometimes ballads, even some of The Corrs element, but it's like enhanced, doped, so called Progified version, that it sounds so good. Of course, the more melodic certain album sound, the more pop it will sound to certain people.

4(+), the only thing this album lacks is pop.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This band is often compared to MOSTLY AUTUMN and IONA, I suppose because it's Folky with a female vocalist. No Celtic flavour here but like IONA there is some good atmosphere on this album, just not nearly enough. For me this is a little too sweet if you know what I mean.

"Karnataka" is the opening instrumental with lots of atmosphere early and some vocal melodies 2 minutes in. Drums late. "Time Stands Still" features some guest vocals from Heather Findlay (MOSTLY AUTUMN). I like the bass in this one more than anything else. "Delicate Flame Of Desire" has laid back vocals early with bass and drums. Guitar before 3 minutes and even better guitar 4 minutes in that goes on and on. "After The Rain" is more of the same really but brighter.

"Strange Behaviour" opens with atmosphere and wind as vocals join in. This is fairly mellow with a beat and vocals. "The Right Time" opens with vocals and a beat. It's fuller before 1 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue. Not a fan. "One Breath Away" opens with samples followed by a catchy beat (gasp) with vocals. "Out Of Reach" features strummed guitar and vocals. Not a fan. "Heart Of Stone" opens with atmosphere as vocals join in. Guitar 3 minutes in. Not a fan of the sound after 5 minutes. Vocals and a fuller sound before 7 1/2 minutes.

I feel like this deserves 3 stars but must admit i'm disappointed overall.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Karnataka is a progressive folk/celtic band from UK with 4 albums released so far. Delicate flame of desire is their third album and I think , at least for me their best. Also this is their final album with original line-up, the female vocalist Rachel Jones will join The Reasoning on the first album, the rest of the musicians minus Ian Jones - the keyboardist Jonathan Edwards and the drumer Gavin Griffiths will form later on the band Panic Room. As the title implies the album is very delicate, gentle with many melodic lines, the voice of Rachel Jones being quite intresing and catchy specially on Time Stands Still. The music is moderatly complicated with celtic and folk passages, remind me of Iona or Mostly Autumn. A pleasent album with enough memorable arrangements to be intrsting for most of the prog listners. Nice instrumental sections combined with dreamy vocal lines Delicate flame of desire is a good album for sure. 3-3.5 stars for this one.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 467

Formed in the late of the 90's, Karnataka has released two studio albums, "Karnataka" in 1998 and "The Storm" in 2000, previous to their third one, this "Delicate Flame Of Desire". With this album, Karnataka continued to presenting their uniquely British ethereal progressive rock without ever resorting to empty flash or needless instrumental noodling. Their music is different. Ethereal is the term I usually use to describe Karnataka's music. But, this is simply Karnataka.

So, "Delicate Flame Of Desire" is the third studio album of Karnataka and was released in 2003. It was the first album to feature the new member, Anne-Marie Helder. It was the final album by the classic line up. The band was disbanded in 2004 due to unforeseen circumstances. Rachel Jones decided to take time out from the music business and Jonathan Edwards, Anne-Marie Helder, Paul Davies and Gavin Griffiths formed Panic Room in 2006. Thus, only Ian Jones stayed.

So, the line up on the album is Rachel Jones (lead and backing vocals and percussion), Anne-Marie Helder (backing vocals, flutes and percussion), Paul Davies (lead and rhythm guitars), Jonathan Edwards (backing vocals and keyboards), Ian Jones (backing vocals, bass guitars, acoustic guitars and percussion) and Gavin Griffiths (drums and percussion). "Delicate Flame Of Desire" had also the participation of Heather Findlay of Mostly Autumn (baking vocals) and Steve Evans (programming).

"Delicate Flame Of Desire" has nine tracks. The first track "Karnataka" written by J. Edwards and I. Jones is a short instrumental track, a very interesting choice to begin the album. Decidedly, it has a Celtic musical influence, as much of the music of the band has, and acts beautifully as a prelude to the rest of the album. The second track "Time Stands Still" written by R. Jones, P. Davies, J. Edwards and I. Jones is a very beautiful track, and in my humble opinion, it's one of the best tracks on the album. It's a track that features some guest vocal participation of Heather Findlay of Mostly Autumn. This is undoubtedly a track with great harmony and where Ian Jones with his bass line does a very interesting work. The third track is the title track "Delicate Flame Of Desire" and was written by R. Jones, J. Edwards and I. Jones. It's a very melodic track with simple riffs and a very easy rhythm. It's very nice and beautiful to hear. This isn't properly a progressive music epic, but it's definitely a very nice and good song. The fourth track "After The Rain" written by R. Jones, J. Edwards and I. Jones is a very nice and simple song that sounds just great. It's a song that remains, for me, very close to the music of Renaissance. This is simply a very beautiful and pleasant song to hear, indeed. The fifth track "Strange Behaviour" written by R. Jones, J. Edwards and I. Jones is a track that opens with a very beautiful musical atmosphere. This is a very mellow and beautiful track, once more with a marvellous vocal performance by Rachel Jones. It has also a great guitar solo by Paul Davies in the second half of the song. The sixth track "The Right Time" written by R. Jones, P. Davies, J. Edwards and I. Jones represents another beautiful and mellow ballad with a very nice melody and an interesting guitar break. This is a song that reminds me Mostly Autumn, and this is probably one of the reasons that justify why Karnataka is sometimes compared with that group. The seventh track "One Breath Away" written by R. Jones and I. Jones is a track that opens with samples followed by a catchy and nice beat very well supported by the voice of Rachel Jones. Despite it's a nice track to hear, it represents, for me, the only weak musical moment on the album. The eighth track "Out Of Reach" written by R. Jones and I. Jones is another very beautiful and nice track that features some very interesting strummed guitar performance and a nice vocal performance. Despite be a very simple song it's very pleasant to hear too. The ninth and last track "Heart Of Stone" written by written by R. Jones, J. Edwards and I. Jones opens with a great musical atmosphere before the vocals join it. This is also a song with great work by all band's members and where the entire band shines very high. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the best tracks on the album and represents also the finest and most progressive moment on it. This is a nice end to the album.

Conclusion: Everything on this album is very well done. "Delicate Flame Of Desire" is a collection of wonderful and well crafted songs. The work of all band's members is great. It sounds magically driven by the beautiful, dynamic and evocative voice of Rachel Jones. Paul Davies supplies a beautiful and powerful guitar work that provides a tasteful and emotional guitar solos or folk acoustic guitar textures. Jonathan Edwards does a marvellous job creating the pastoral sonic landscape to the rest of the band. Ian Jones plays his bass, functioning in a perfect synchronization with the solid and precise drums of Gavin Griffiths. Add the mix back voice of the backing vocalist and flutist Anne-Marie Helder and we have the complete picture. Karnataka is an original prog band with their sound oscillating between the symphonic and folk. I'm convinced that "Delicate Flame Of Desire" is a great album and represents something they can be proud.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars There is also a time to enjoy this kind of music. One of those rare gems that I initially heard without much enthusiasm some years ago and grew in importance to go appreciating the compositions and performances, good taste, and the distinctive, warm voice of Rachel Jones, perhaps the main prota ... (read more)

Report this review (#1447355) | Posted by sinslice | Thursday, July 30, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After quite some listens (between 5 and 10) this album had finally taken me away: it is so beautiful!! The songs are simply good, maybe not very surprising but simply good. Rachel Jones' voice fits the music perfectly. Her somewhat hoarse voice, most of the times also mellow (and, in my opinion, ... (read more)

Report this review (#189634) | Posted by Theo Verstrael | Monday, November 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars More prog-lite than prog, but I don't mean that in a negative sense. With so much manufactured rubbish around these days, it truly is a tragedy (in a strictly musical sense) that Karnataka are no more just when they seemed to be on the verge of achieving a level of success their music deserved. ... (read more)

Report this review (#17234) | Posted by Meng | Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rachel Jones WOW!!!!!! She have one of most beatifull voice in a world.The arrangement of baking vocals is so malodic and pure.I Listen this album for my relaxation. is very slow i think we have many prog asprct in a guitar and keys , but in general little pop(radio) music. There's why a recom ... (read more)

Report this review (#17231) | Posted by | Tuesday, September 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Really 4 1/2 stars. Rachel Jones has the best female voice I have heard since the heyday of Anne Haslam and Renaissance. More of a prog-classic rock cross, with folk-Celtic influences, but not as much as Mostly Autumn. The entire CD is very good, with no weak songs to bring it down. The be ... (read more)

Report this review (#17229) | Posted by rjeffreyr | Tuesday, June 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Beautifully crafted melodic rock. The vocals are haunting and the the musicianship top class. This band deserves to be huge. The production is lush and song constructed. A worthy addition to the collection of fans of Mostly Autumn etc. ... (read more)

Report this review (#17226) | Posted by | Wednesday, May 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The perfectl cd to listen to before going to bed or after a hard day. The voices are sublime, the guitars and keyboards so pure and the melodies so natural yet you can find some complexity after several hearings. Perfect in its style. ... (read more)

Report this review (#17223) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My favourite album of 2004 by a long way, though it did take me about 20 hearings to really appreciate its subtlety. Rachel's singing gets better and better and the songs are well composed with engaging, intelligent lyrics. Karnataka are also fabulous on-stage entertainers! BTW they are from Wales ... (read more)

Report this review (#17227) | Posted by | Thursday, January 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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