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Karfagen Principles and Theory of Spektra album cover
3.99 | 115 ratings | 7 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Phase 1:
1. Levitation (9:45)
2. Hunter (6:02)
3. Phantasmagoria (12:58)
- Phase 2:
4. Birth of a Star (7:04)
5. Calypso (10:57)
6. Gravitation (7:26)

Total Time 54:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / keyboards, vocals, percussion

- Ivan Goritski / drums
- Max Velychko / acoustic & electric guitars
- Oleg Prokhorov / bass
- Maria Baranovska / violin (1,4,6)
- Elena Kushiy / flute (1,4,6)
- Alexandr Pastuchov / bassoon (1,4,6)
- Lesya Kofanova / flute (5)
- Helen Bour / oboe (5)
- Sergii Kovalov / knob accordion (5)
- Kostya Ionenko / additional bass (5)
- Eddie Mulder / nylon, electric & bass guitars (3)

Releases information

Composed, arranged, programmed, mixed and co-produced by Antony Kalugin

Label: Caerllysi Music
Format: CD, Digital
December 4, 2020

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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KARFAGEN Principles and Theory of Spektra ratings distribution

(115 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KARFAGEN Principles and Theory of Spektra reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yet another full-length and fully-packed prog release from Ukrainian prog workhorse Antony Kalugin--one in which he has surrounded himself with some very talented musicians (and, thus, the Karfagen moniker).

- Phase 1: 1. "Levitation" (9:45) feels so stiff and formulaic--as well as an obvious lift of a couple STEVE HACKETT themes (I think from "Carry on Up a Vicarage" or "The Steppes"). Also rated down from feeling incomplete--as if it could have/should have had vocals and lyrics. (17/20)

2. "Hunter" (6:02) sounds dated in both style and sound--as if it came from the 1980s or perhaps 1990s. Nice instrumental performances but nothing new or refreshing here. More 1980s TONY BANKS/STEVE HACKETT sounds and themes in the fourth minute. Still, not a bad song. Cool ADIEMUS final minute. (8.75/10)

3. "Phantasmagoria" (12:58) opens with New Age GOBI-like nylon string guitar for the first minute. Then keys take over in teh second minute: very sparse, slow, and protracted soundscape. At the two-minute mark the guitar returns--with flute and electric guitar. The sound palette and chord progressions here are borrowed from GENESIS: "Can-Utility and the Coastliners" and "I Know What I like (In Your Wardrobe)," mostly. Out of the pause at the three-minute mark we enter into a Mellotron-washed soundscape in which bubbling synths, electric piano, repetitive bass, and other keyboards and sliding guitar echo-effects (reminding me of ROBIN GUTHRIE) turn into a texturized AL DI MEOLA world (think "Calliope" from Scenario) taking us to 7:23 where everything drops away to give us a return to the reflective GOBI-like guitar and synth washed background from the opening. At 8:35 we then launch into a faster, broadened soundscape in which electric guitar solos for several seconds before everything reverts to open space for some more classical guitar fiddling. At 10:15 we expand again as synth and then electric guitar take turns soloing over the gentle pastoral landscape. A pleasant song that falls very closely into the Marshmallow Moondust category of soothing background music. Again, no vocals or lyrics. (21/25)

- Phase 2: 4. "Birth of a Star" (7:04) gentle Fender Rhodes play opens this before full complement of rock band instruments bursts forth around 0:30. In the second minute the sound morphs into a Ska-based FOCUS-like ballad with flutes and melodic electric guitar soloing like Thijs and Jan, respectively. The presence of violin and a variety of keys and a second flute and bassoon make it even more beautiful. Things get a little quirky Steve-Hackett-like in the fifth minute before almost turning Weather Report but, instead, are steered into a very proggy multiple-guitar peak, topped off by nylon string guitar entrance and then taking things over, bringing us back down to Earth. (13.75/15) 5. "Calypso" (10:57) another song that is tailored in a quirky fashion that is most similar to (and perhaps even imitative of) the long-standing habits of Mr. Steve Hackett. Turning once again to principle collaborator guitarist Max Velychko and his gentle-yet-bold classical guitar in the long middle section results in my favorite passage of the album--which we eventually clomb out of in a brilliant way around the 8:30 mark. Great broad prog rock sound palette uspports some wonderful keyboard synthesiser and then electric guitar soloing though to the eleventh minute when things drop off for a pause but then return with the same wonderful palette and themes for a quick but satisfying finish. By far the best song on the album. (19/20)

6. "Gravitation" (7:26) opens with a long 90 second intro which seems to ramble and flounder before being rescued by the entrance of the full band and the song's two main themes--both of which could easily have been joined by vocals (but are not). There is beauty and satisfaction in this instrumental version of the song, but something in me wants Antony to "prove" his symphonic prog "mettle" by injecting lyrics/libretto into his operatic tunes. (No easy task, I know.) Another tune that occasionally feels as if previously-discarded "prog-by-numbers" themes have been somewhat unnaturally spliced together. However, Antony has here done one of his better jobs of synthesis and integration. (13.25/15)

Total Time 54:12

Though often derivative, Antony's creativity and preponderance of energy is to be admired. I just hope he's not thinking that it's his sole job to keep Prog World afloat in these stark and barren times--like a prog super hero.

B+/four stars; a strong submission to the prog lexicon and my favorite release of 2020 from indefatigable prog professional Antony Kalugin (& Co.) In fact, it is my opinion that Principles and Theory of Spektra is far superior to either Birds of Passage or Marshmallow Moondust. A very nice finish to the year!

Review by Matti
4 stars Antony Kalugin has been extremely productive recently. In 2020 came out two Karfagen albums, Birds of Passage in January and this one in December. Not long ago I was deeply charmed by his solo -- literally solo, ie. multi- instrumentalist's one-man performance -- album Marshmallow Moondust, absolutely one of my favourite releases of 2020. It is instrumental, melodic and easy-to-enjoy symphonic prog comparable most of all to WILLOWGLASS. We're in the familiar Karfagen/Kalugin territory with this one too.

Principles and Theory of Spektra was composed and recorded mainly in 2015-16, during the sessions of the albums 7 and Spektra, and finished last year. In advance I was wondering what the relation to Spektra really meant in practice. If these compositions are any sort of leftovers, it's definitely not to be figured out from the artistic level. I think I'll have a mental struggle ahead with the rating. Half of me is ready to name this among Kalugin's finest works (and so five stars would be a natural choice), and the other half of me is slightly more reserved, thinking that his style is by now getting too familiar and cosy for its own good. In other words, that the fast pace of putting out new releases is too much too soon to be fully cherished.

As opposed to Birds of Passage and Marshmallow Moondust that both feature two long pieces, this album contains six compositions roughly of ten minutes' average length, forming two 3-track "Phases". Antony plays only keyboards this time and adds wordless vocals, just a little, while guitars are played by Max Velychko, bass by Oleg Prokhorov and drums by Ivan Goritski. In the classic Karfagen style there are also guest appearances for violin, flute, bassoon and oboe.

I agree with the previous reviewer that 'Levitation' has some connotations to Steve Hackett and perhaps feels slightly stiff here and there (the cynical phrase "prog by numbers" could be used), on the other hand it contains gorgeous soloing and soaring melodies, and the flute adds freshness. Undeniably an enjoyable piece, if not one to blow your hat off. 'Hunter' sounds more old-school neo prog than Karfagen usually does, with its fast and muscular synth work, and I would have preferred it without the voice in the background. 13-minute 'Phantasmagoria' is mostly very mellow. The electro-acoustic soundscape has a lot of space and variety, featuring Dutch guitarist Eddie Mulder (Leap Day, Trion) as a special guest. The calm acoustic sections are very beautiful.

Gentle electric piano opens 'Birth of a Star' that contains relaxed joyfulness indeed reminiscent of Focus. Flute sounds lovely, and also violin and bassoon add nice colour. As the composition also progresses dynamically, this is Karfagen at its most enjoyable! 'Calypso' is not flowing quite as naturally, but contains fine details such as Lesya Kofanova's impressive flute parts. I agree, 'Gravitation' could have included vocals & lyrics, and that would have given the whole album some extra depth and spine.

This is another highly enjoyable album from Antony Kalugen (and his co-musicians). Since I wasn't quite as charmed by the album whole as with Marshmallow Moondust in particular -- I think it's too early to estimate how much the fast pace of releases affects to the initial reception -- I don't give a full rating this time, but I do give my warmest recommendation for those who enjoy mellow, melodic and slightly fusiony instrumental prog in the vein of Willowglass, Camel and Focus.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Good Album through and through 3/5. The album is solid, music always lovely but in places becomes forgettable. Particularly I find myself losing interest midway through track 1 and for the entirety of track 2. Fortunately track 3 is a great calming piece of music, lots of acoustic guitar. The s ... (read more)

Report this review (#2577955) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Saturday, July 10, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is quite astonishing to hear from contemporary progressive rock band that it is capable to produce more than good album per year (in fact, it would be perfect to have at least one per year). So when Antony Kalugin announced the third album of him in 2020 it became quite questionable if someone ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#2500467) | Posted by GarfunkelSi | Sunday, January 31, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a lousy year 2020 has been! Makes you wonder if anything good came out of it! So did any good come? Yes it did! Apart from a lot of people showing much community spirit, there were 3 CDs that really made you feel good! Karfagen's CD at start of year, then a solo album by Antony Kalugin, an ... (read more)

Report this review (#2490523) | Posted by Yeshead58 | Tuesday, January 5, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars KARFAGEN is the group of multi-instrumentalist Antony KALUGIN who released at the end of last year one of the best prog albums for a long time, at the beginning of the year a very good album, a superb personal album a few weeks ago and therefore there this new album, his 12th, composed-recorded ... (read more)

Report this review (#2487211) | Posted by alainPP | Wednesday, December 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Principles and Theory of Spektra is a sequel to Spektra from Karfagen in 2016. What is amazing about this release is that it was mainly recorded around the same time. Antony took this off his shelf, gave it some tweaks and we have a splendid new album. I cannot believe this was shelved way back. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2485551) | Posted by Drmick1971 | Wednesday, December 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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