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Karda Estra

Symphonic Prog

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Karda Estra Weird Tales album cover
3.99 | 28 ratings | 6 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Whitstable Host (3:48)
2. Skulls In The Stars (7:15)
3. The Eye Of Silence (4:00)
4. Green Dog Trumpet (5:19)
5. The White Rose (4:57)
6. The Atom Age Sense Of Impermanence (5:23)
7. Island Universes (3:51)
8. There Is No Finished World (8:05)

Total Time: 41:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Wileman / classical & electric guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, bouzouki
- Ileesha Bailey / vocals (1,2,6)
- Helen Dearnley / violin (1,2,6,8)
- Caron Hansford / oboe (3-6), cor Anglais (3-5,7)
- Zoe Josey (King) / flute (5,7,8), alto (5) & soprano (8) saxophones

- Any Hedges / clarinet & tenor saxophone (5)
- Jemima Palfreyman / tuba (1,4)
- Bridget Wishart / EWI wind synthesiser (3)
- Don Falcone / organ & synthesizers arpeggios (3)

Releases information

CD Cyclops ‎- CYCL 171 (2009, UK)

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy KARDA ESTRA Weird Tales Music

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Time & StarsTime & Stars
Believers Roast 2016
$27.01 (used)
Infernal SpheresInfernal Spheres
Believers Roast 2017
$14.12 (used)
Cyclops Records 2003
$36.64 (used)
Constellations by Karda EstraConstellations by Karda Estra
Strange Relations by Karda Estra (2015-05-04)Strange Relations by Karda Estra (2015-05-04)
Believers Roast
Alternate History by Karda Estra (2008-01-18)Alternate History by Karda Estra (2008-01-18)
Cyclops Records
Mondo Profondo / New Worlds by Karda Estra (2013-05-04)Mondo Profondo / New Worlds by Karda Estra (2013-05-04)
Believers Roast
Voivode Dracula by Karda Estra (2008-01-18)Voivode Dracula by Karda Estra (2008-01-18)
Cyclops (2008-01-18)
Strange RelationsStrange Relations
Believers Roast 2015
$28.13 (used)
Mondo Profondo / New WorldsMondo Profondo / New Worlds
Believers Roast
$19.15 (used)

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KARDA ESTRA Weird Tales ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KARDA ESTRA Weird Tales reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Epignosis
4 stars Terrifying and strikingly so, Karda Estra weaves a harrowing tapestry of sound throughout- this journey is not for the fainthearted, and amazingly, this mood is achieved compositionally and not through onerous techniques (like growling vocals, for instance). Overall the music is adventurous and generally on the dark side, with bright respites arising from time to time. What also helps is the hearty presence of the clarinet, by far my favorite woodwind instrument. Oftentimes the music evokes the thought of gangsters during prohibition- I am not entirely sure why. The biggest drawback is the absence of any rock element; this album consists of what I could best describe as avant-symphonic music, and extremely good for that.

"The Whitstable Host" Ominous and melodic, the opening piece is almost cinematic in its effect, but eschews rock sensibilities throughout its duration.

"Skulls in the Stars" Spine-chilling disharmonies involving acoustic guitar, strings, organ, and a host of other instruments make for an unsettling listening experience. Haunting violin and vocals shift through from time to time, adding to the uneasiness.

"The Eye of Silence" This one involves a brooding piano and a dissonant accompaniment.

"Green Dog Trumpet" This piece reminds me of certain scenes from old cartoons, like Looney Tunes, during which a villainous character was plotting; one can almost hear the maniacal laughter of some sinister schemer.

"The White Rose" Mild acoustic guitar lays out a foundation for gorgeous woodwind- a stunning piece.

"The Atom Age Sense of Impermanence" The artist juxtaposes delicate choral passages with disquieting fare.

"Island Universes" Gorgeous clarinet and English horn produce a compellingly graceful piece of music.

"There Is No Finished World" The final and lengthiest piece depends heavily on strings, guitar, and piano. It is, unfortunately, my least favorite work on the album, largely due to the dull, monotonous arrangement and the screeching noises that ensure part way in.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Hi Epignosis, I'm glad you liked this album. Strange thing in my understanding of this album is that I know that it's disharmonic & not for faint hearted, yet I find it extremely harmonic (harmony in disharmony?) and I know that I'm not big friend with certain horror genres, like Death Metal, yet I love this silent madness atmosphere of "Weird Tales", so let's say: it is Weird, isn't it ? All these silent, sinister melodies, tender, but somehow strong violin themes in horrors, these sax and accompanied synthesizers instruments creates something ethereal. I heard such "different" sound last when listening to motW 2009 release.

Expect no rocking here, also you have to be extremely concentrated and if possible then fully refreshed to survive through this, because otherwise, you may miss little elements that make it interesting. Headphones listening recommended. However, I sometimes listen this when tired, just because I can't handle anything more "rough", but during these states of mind and body, it's not so full experience. Somehow like demo of what you'll otherwise heard and experience.

4(+), maybe more, depends on your current mood. Could be quite hard to get into for some I suppose, but for me, easy as ... something easy.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars Epignosis' description of this album as avant-symphonic is actually a rather good one. For sure, it strays far from the normal bounds of Symphonic Prog, and from rock in general, with acoustic guitar being the only instrument here that could be considered a rock instrument.

The two words I would pick to describe this album, however, are "hauntingly beautiful". The compositions are all instrumental with the occasional wordless vocals which play the role of just another instrument. They have dark undertones, but they are counteracted by the delicacy and fragility of the music.

Woodwinds are definitely the dominant instrument on this album, which gives it a truly unique texture in the field of Symphonic prog, which is often dominated by keyboards and guitars - so be prepared for something a little bit different. Here the music is measured (not a lot of fast sections), dynamic (it never gets loud in the way rock does, but through clever uses of instruments and contrast it can sound very loud at some points), and atmospheric.

I've listened to a couple other Karda Estra albums, and so far this is my favorite by them, mostly because the darker tones to the music give it a bit more characteristic than the other ones I have heard.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Once again, a brilliant album!

And I said once again because Karda Estra have never let me down, I like all the albums I have listened so far, all are full of beautiful elements that give me worth listening moments. Now I am eagerly waiting for their upcoming album. Meanwhile, I can write some words for Richard Wileman's last child, entitled "Weird Tales" and released a couple of years ago (2009), an album that one who already know Karda Estra's music will love.

The album features eight compositions that make a total time of 42 minutes, all those tracks were inspired by different artistic things (or artists) such as paintings, stories, books, etc., this is explained in the CD booklet. "The Whistable Host" is the one that opens the album, it is also the shortest composition here. It has a beautiful but dramatic sound that put my nerves on. Seconds later the sound is gentler, but don't judge quickly, because it changes and changes, it is awesome how a three-minute piece can offer so many things, so many elements and textures.

"Skulls in the Stars" is a wonderful composition. I really love the omniscient sound of keyboards, as well as all the string elements. What karda Estra does is gathering together a vast amount of sounds, instruments and colors that form a strong front, a pillar, an original, brilliant and complete song, and I would say that they do the same thing for each and every of their songs and albums. If you like this kind of instrumental, symphonic, ethereal music, you will definitely love this band.

"The Eye of Silence" has a beautiful (clarinet or oboe?) sound that accompanies a nice piano and drums here and then. The sound is so delicate, it could work as a film score, I imagine parts of this song making the sound to a mute movie of the 30s. "Green Dog Trumpet" actually does the same to me as the previous track, I mean I can also put some movie images on my mind. I like the beauty and the tranquility that some passages can share, one of the things I enjoy more of Karda Estra is this capacity of making me feel comfortable.

"The White Rose" features a great acoustic guitar that interplays with some wind instruments. (Let me make a parenthesis here, this band does not have the rock element on their music, so don't expect anything loud and rocky, better open your ears for neo- classical and symphonic beauties.) Returning with the song, this is one wonderful composition that can please you since the first seconds, though it is slow, it caughts you and transports you to another place.

"The Atom Age Sense of Permanence" is my favorite track here. The backing female voices are very important in Karda Estra's music, not only in this album, they produce beautiful nuances and help adds an angelical sound, which of course, perfectly works with the instruments and the music composed.

"Island Universes" is a shorter piece, but once again, beautiful. I may be repetitive, but well, when you listen to them you will understand and appreciate its charm and delicate music that make you have a wonderful time. A piece of advice, this is the kind of music that you can listen while reading, literature and sound get on very well.

And last but not least, the longest composition, entitled "There is no Finished World" which is a complex and fully elaborated piece with several changes on mood and music. You can have a trip to several places and eras here, the combination of electronic guitar with acoustic instruments provoke a dark atmosphere, which contrasts with the peaceful and beauty produced in the majority of the moments, but at the same time, complete this wonderful track.

What a great album is Weird Tales, after Eve, this is so far my favorite. Please listen to Karda Estra, you will not regret. My final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A collection of excellent, intricately composed and, as usual, well-performed and recorded songs based upon themes from Gothic literature. Composer and mastermind Richard Wileman has again ping-ponged from the more positive, upbeat moods of his previous album, The Last of the Libertine, to the darker, eerier timbres of this album--a pattern of his that even he recognizes and admits to. (The next studio album in the Karda Estra discography, the excellent New Worlds, is quite light and upbeat--in an unprecedented almost quirky, BURT BACHARACH kind of way.) Still, this is one of the most solid, mature, deep, and alluring albums KE has ever put together. Next to Eve this is the KE album to which I most listen--and a source of many profound listening experiences it has been! (Also a great one to play back-to-back with THE FUTURE KINGS OF ENGLAND's excellent 2011 release, Who Is This Who Is Coming?)

Four stars, highly recommended.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

KE's 2009 album is possibly, to my humble ears, the finest work to come from Richard Wileman. I haven't heard quite all of his CDs, but I have been lucky enough to review most of them, and here is a work of such depth and power to make even the most hardened cynic stand up and take notice. Richard has moved to the dark side and made music that is full of the joy and delight of Hammer House of Horror, yet without the gore and more than enough light to counterbalance the shade. Every track is a delight, with "Skulls In The Stars" potentially my current personal favourite. The orchestration is spot on, the combinations of musicians and Ileesha's wordless vocals combine together to bring together that is light and airy yet ominous and brooding all at the same time. This really is music that belongs on the soundtrack of a major film and I am stunned that he has yet to find a wider audience.

Still, those who have been lucky enough to come across his work before should be searching this album out with urgency ? and if you haven't then this couldn't be a better place to start. And guess what? If you go to Richard's website at he is currently selling all of his CDs for just 5 including worldwide postage!! Richard has been creating some of the most wonderful symphonic/orchestral/cinematic music in the UK for some years now, and if you haven't investigated his work until now then you owe it to your ears to start. This is a joy from start to finish ? depth and simplicity combining with melody and sometimes dischord to create harmony and balance. I can't say too much about this ? it is simple wonderful.

Originally appeared in Amplified #109, 2010

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