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Karfagen Spektra album cover
4.02 | 140 ratings | 4 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Phase 1:
1. Spektra (7:11)
2. Troy (3:33)
3. Transaleatorica II (2:34)
4. Terra Incognita (3:14)
5. Celebration (3:50)
6. Homonymous (Part 1) (2:30)
7. Angel Tears (1:27)
- Phase 2:
OLYMPIA (Quadrology) (21:30) :
8. i. Zeus (6:13)
9. ii. Dionis (4:41)
10. iii. Poseidon (5:15)
11. iv. Aurora (5:21)
12. Homonymous (Part 2) (2:35)
- Phase 3:
13. Dios Pyros (2:56)
14. Natural Charm (5:36)
15. Eye Witness (1:38)
16. Juggler and the Cloud (studio live) (4:31)

Total Time 63:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / keyboards, voсals, percussion, arrangements, co-producer

- Max Velychko / electric, acoustic & 12-string guitars
- Olha Rostovska / keyboards, vocals (2,11), Latin vocals (4)
- Oleg Pashkovskiy / grand piano (14)
- Sergii Kovalov / accordion (4,8-11,13), Latin vocals (4)
- Maria Baranovska / violin (1,2,4,8-10,14)
- Alexandr Pastuchov / bassoon (8,9,11)
- Lesya Kofanova / flute (14)
- Michail Sidorenko / alto saxophone (14)
- Oleg Prokhorov / bass (1,2,4,5,16)
- Kostya Ionenko / bass (8-11,14)
- Sergiy Balalayev / drums (1,4,5)
- Ivan Rubanchuk / drums (8-11,14)
- Kostya Shepelenko / drums (2,16)
- Olga Vodolazhska / rainstick, shakers, triangle (16)
- Roman Gorielov / Latin vocals tenor (4)

Releases information

CD Caerllysi Music ‎- CM16017 (2016, UK)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KARFAGEN Spektra ratings distribution

(140 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KARFAGEN Spektra reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ukranian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin is one of the proud modern flagbearers of the symphonic prog sound, and his Karfagen project has delivered a string of eclectic and colourful works in that style that mix vocals and luxurious instrumentation for many years now. But every once in a while, Antony and his musical collaborators deliver a purely instrumental grand work, with 2011's `Lost Symphony' being particularly special, and 2014's `Magician's Theater' a heavier one, but here he returns to that initial approach for late 2016's `Spektra', and it is without question their most wondrous artistic achievement under the Karfagen banner to date.

`Spektra' is keyboard-dominated symphonic music often accompanied by exotic instruments such as accordion, flute and violin, and it calls to mind everything from The Enid, `Snow Goose'-era Camel, the early Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips solo albums, Gryphon and Pink Floyd, as well as modern influences like the Flower Kings and the Ayreon project in its occasional heavier bursts. Running just over an hour, the album is split into three multi-part suites each running between fourteen and twenty-four minutes, the whole resembling a continuous concept piece, although the sparse CD packaging doesn't state implicitly that it is (and there's no CD booklet either) in this instance.

The opening title track of `Phase 1' introduces the disc with a massive fanfare of alternating guitar and keyboard grand themes - some mysterious, some darker and dramatic, but all truly magical. It's peppered with David Gilmour-esque guitar strains, a touch of E.L.P-like vigour, sparkling piano and some drowsy guitar strums in the opening minutes that almost sound like they're right off Porcupine Tree's `Sky Moves Sideways'. The suite proceeds to dash through a series of shorter interludes, which finds `Troy' starting as a warmer acoustic reflection flecked with the lightest of unease before rising in power with some snarling bluster, and `Transaleatorica II' adds a touch of classical piano, spooky Mellotron choirs and Moog bubbliness that could have popped up on Bo Hansson's `Lord of the Rings' album alongside some dashing harpsichord. The closest the album comes to a vocal piece is the booming Latin choir around swooning violins of `Terra Incognita', `Celebration' is a victorious electric guitar and shimmering Hammond organ theme, `Homonymous (Part 1)' offers Genesis/Steve Hackett-like classical guitar prettiness, and `Angel Tears' closes the first set on a spooky Mellotron lament.

`Phase 2' encompasses the four part, twenty-one minute `Olympia' movement. `Zeus' is a brash, up-tempo and bombastic heavy symphonic blast frequently in the E.L.P tradition with plentiful aggressive keyboard soloing, while the quirky and gently dangerous `Dionis' lovingly recaptures that breezy and rollicking seafaring sound that permeated Roine Stolt's underappreciated water-themed `Hydrophonia' solo disc from 1998 in between bouts of electronic weirdness. `Poseidon' brings relentless guitar bursts, fluid bass leaps and bashing drums, `Aurora' offers plenty of reprising electric guitar themes, sighing female wordless harmonies and some Flower Kings-like unexpected psychedelic touches, and the section closes on a delicate Steve Hackett-like acoustic reprise of `Homonymous' from earlier in the disc.

`Dios Pyros' opens the third `Phase' as a whirring accordion and synth fanfare, then `Natural Charm' is a classy symphonic piece highlighted by lightly jazzy and beautifully romantic piano runs and gorgeous flute playing in the winning Camel tradition. `Eye Witness' is a wistful and ghostly interlude, and the contemplative and deeply moving album closer `Juggler And The Cloud' (which the CD proudly boasts as being recorded in the studio live!) casually comes to life with swooning prettiness yet great dignified restraint, and it might be one of the most truly beautiful moments to ever appear on a Karfagen disc - what a way to end such a wonderful disc!

So there you go, folks - modern symphonic prog works don't get much more exquisite, rich and impeccably performed than `Spektra', a disc that would make for the perfect introduction to Antony Kalugin's works for newcomers to look into. It sits alongside Monarch Trail's `Sand', Cellar Noise's `Alight' and Barock Project's `Detachment' as one of the finest symphonic works of the last twelve months, and also serves as one of the greatest discs under the Karfagen name to date.

Five stars - symphonic listeners are in for a real treat!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Although I reviewed the debut album from Antony Kalugin under the Karfagen name a few years ago, I hadn't heard anything since, and this 2016 album was his eighth studio release. Over the last few years I have been listening to a great deal of Camel, especially 'Snow Goose' which has become one of my "go to" albums, and my initial reaction was that this had a great deal of similarities in some ways. Then add in some classical guitar, which in style is very reminiscent of Antony Phillips and early Steve Hackett, and one is starting to get incredibly interested in what is going on musically. There are some incredibly delicate sections in the album, with beautiful violin, and it feels very much as if this is a band as opposed to one musician then employing another 15 to help him complete his vision.

The tempos mix and change, the arrangements are complex and layered, yet one never feels stifled in what is going on. There is still light and space within the music, enough room to move without becoming suffocated. Although Antony has some obvious influences, he has definitely just taken these as a starting point and then moved on, definitely making the style his own. Heavily Seventies influenced in both sounds and styles (love the Mellotrons and Moogs), this is an incredibly easy album to listen to and enjoy as it is so accessible. Well worth investigation.

Review by Matti
4 stars Karfagen from Ukraine is a great symphonic prog band sovereignly led by composer and keyboard player Antony Kalugin. His latest works have made a very positive (5-star) impression on me, but this 8th Karfagen album has a different approach which is less up to my prog taste.

Whereas e.g. Echoes from Within Dragon Island (2019) is full of accessible, lush melodies, has mostly a mellow, romantic symph prog atmosphere reminiscent of Camel, and is a poetry-inspired album alternating between sung and instrumental parts, Spektra is basically (almost entirely) instrumental and much more muscular prock rock as a whole. In its extravagant and energetic playfulness it comes closer to ELP than Camel -- I don't mean Kalugin's composing style would notably remind me of Keith Emerson's, but you get the point, right?

The 63-minute album has 16 tracks, only the opening title track being over six minutes, but they form three entities, or "Phases", with a sense of an epic approach. The majority of Phase 1 is frankly too much of a rollercoaster ride for me. The intense Latin chanting on 'Terra Incognita' doesn't help in that matter. But the sixth track 'Homonymous Pt. 1' is a pleasant, Steve Hackett/ Anthony Phillips reminding little piece starring acoustic guitar, as is Pt. 2 later on the album. Also even shorter 'Angel Tears' is a calm and moody oasis amidst faster stuff.

Phase 2 is loaded with various keyboards. 'Aurora' is a nice piece with soaring melodies and some female vocalise. The first part of Phase 3 contains accordion and is followed by beautifully melodic 'Natural Charm'. So, after all Spektra does have also the softer side of Kalugin's musical expression, if in rather small doses. I round my 3,5 stars upwards for the good-looking cover art and the presumption that many progheads probably find this album more interesting than the slightly mellower later works.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I totally agree: "Spektra" is "Well worth investigation". It`s bit havier and raw (in sound) but it is nice , with charming atmosphere. It`s like proper Dry Wine - no extra suggar added! ) It`s almost like being played live without lots of overdubs. And in case with this album , it works really wel ... (read more)

Report this review (#1669519) | Posted by MalenaRoss | Sunday, December 18, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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