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Antony Kalugin

Symphonic Prog

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Antony Kalugin Stellar Gardener album cover
3.98 | 108 ratings | 8 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stellar (20:04)
2. Gardener (20:53)
- Bonus tracks:
3. Stellar Castle (3:52)
4. Stellar Garden (4:38)
5. Stellar Age (3:42)
6. Stellar Heart (2:06)

Total Time 55:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / all instruments, vocals, programming & arrangement
- Olha Rostovska / vocals (2)

Releases information

Cover: Igor Sokolskiy
Label: Caerllysi Music
Format: CD, Digital
February 11, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to mbzr48 & NotAProghead for the last updates
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ANTONY KALUGIN Stellar Gardener ratings distribution

(108 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ANTONY KALUGIN Stellar Gardener reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
4 stars The only previous reviewer this far who didn't give a full rating for this album wrote that "the problem lies in constant release of the new material which don't sound new or enthusiastic. The compositions are done in the same manner, like he is copying himself". I have very similar feelings, sad to say. First off, Marshmallow Moondust (released in autumn 2020) charmed me very deeply. Probably it still does; frankly I would still prefer seeing IT as the latest one. In addition, during 2020 came out TWO albums of Kalugin's primary band KARFAGEN (Birds of Passage also containing two roughly 20-minute suites). Any great album, and especially if it's progressive rock, deserves some time to stay close to your heart and become more familiar (like a lover does) after the honeymoon period, if it was love at first hearing. If new, more or less similar albums keep coming up, the inflation factor is bound to follow. Developing a natural craving for more in the same vein takes time, at least for me.

How big an impression this album would have made on me, had it been in the place of Marshmallow Moondust? Of course that's something I can never truly know, but very likely much, much bigger than it has now done since last Monday when I received the cd. I really can't (at least not yet) evaluate objectively if this album is, in my honest opinion, less succesful than Marshmallow Moondust, or if it's equally excellent -- or perhaps even better like some reviewers say. I only know that the similar absolute charm I experienced last autumn was mostly absent this time. Instead I felt here and there during both 'Stellar" (20:04) and 'Gardener' (20:53) that the epic pieces are slightly forced, constantly going forward ambitiously just for the sake of it. "Prog by numbers".

Antony Kalugin, primarily a keyboard wizard, plays again everything by himself, and he certainly does it wonderfully. A full four-piece band would have every reason to be proud of this music. The mellow, CAMEL- reminding soaring melodies are there as well as the Wakemanesque/Emersonian rollercoaster ride led by keyboards, ie. the whole classic symphonic prog soundscape familiar from artists such as [Hackett-era] Genesis, Camel, ELP, Yes, Rick Wakeman... and later adopted in a more or less retro manner by numerous major prog bands or instrumental artists such as WILLOWGLASS (to whom I gladly compare Kalugin). Some moments are wonderous indeed, but the pompous ride forwards leaves relatively little room to cherish the emotional impressions.

Unlike Marshmallow Moondust, the cd of Stellar Gardener has bonus tracks. I had a wish that they, being relatively short, would expand the listening experience to the "less is more" elegance in opposition to the rollercoaster epic approach (think of the Karfagen album Echoes from Within Dragon Island, another of my favourites), but to my disappointment this is not exactly the case. 'Stellar Castle' and 'Stellar Garden' basically just throw you back into the epics you just left. The same breathtaking rollercoaster ride is there, instead of focussing on one specific direction.

The two-minute 'Stellar Heart' finally offers the calm oasis I was craving for. It's a very peaceful and mellow little piece mainly for keyboards and acoustic guitar, reminiscent at first of ANTHONY PHILLIPS and on the latter minute adding a (software-based) violin sound.

So, it's no five stars from me this time. Nevertheless, this is an excellently produced, composed and played piece of epic instrumental symphonic prog. Perhaps it's trying a bit too hard to be that as much as possible, sticking to the familiar approach. How about trying something different next time?

Latest members reviews

4 stars ANTONY KALUGIN is still the mastermind of KARFAGEN, less of SUNCHILD and HOGGWASH from now on; he composed new age music and then became interested in progressive rock; he delivers here an instrumental opus in the tradition of his last released in November with convolutions of CAMEL and other YE ... (read more)

Report this review (#2540259) | Posted by alainPP | Tuesday, May 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When I reviewed Marshmellow Moondust I said I would like to hear more from Kalugin, but that it was a risk free prog by numbers album, light hearted fluff, and just a bit bland. Well.... he's done it again. I understand why people are giving this five stars because if its in their comfort zone ... (read more)

Report this review (#2529087) | Posted by bartymj | Sunday, March 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another solo album by Antony Kalugin? How does he do it? With his previous album only a few months old, here he is with yet another CD of beautiful progressive rock that we all know and love him for! But this album does have a strange sense of irony to me. I'll explain in a few minutes! Once ... (read more)

Report this review (#2527596) | Posted by Yeshead58 | Wednesday, March 24, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So glad to hear another fabulous chapter! As always i was blown away by the artwork. "Marshmallow Moondust" and "Stellar Garden" both are great, so good to have them in a proper CD format. I don`t mind Spotify and YouTube - but i can not understand how this talanted musician will survive without ... (read more)

Report this review (#2510010) | Posted by MalenaRoss | Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Stellar Gardener" is the second solo album of Ukrainian progressive master Antony Kalugin, while the first one has been released only 4 months ago. Taking into account that Antony is the main and almost the only songwriter for his projects "Sunchild" and "Karfagen" we know well what his style of so ... (read more)

Report this review (#2509355) | Posted by GarfunkelSi | Saturday, February 27, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another great symphonic art rock instrumental album! I do not agree that it's "more of the same " like was written in a previous review. Look at the latest Transatlantic album!! It's exactly the same as previous one - predicted and "safe" , exactly the same "food". Here it's a delicious dish, maybe ... (read more)

Report this review (#2506708) | Posted by Trinity S | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Antony's excellent follow up to Marshmallow Moondust has been released only months after. Amazing and prolific is Antony. This new albums title is 'Stellar Gardener'. I thought Marshmallow Moondust was a masterpiece. My first listen to Stellar Gardener eclipsed that feeling. I feel 'Stellar' ... (read more)

Report this review (#2504044) | Posted by Drmick1971 | Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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