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CHAMELEON SHAPESHIFTER

Antony Kalugin

Symphonic Prog


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Antony Kalugin Chameleon Shapeshifter album cover
4.15 | 48 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Chameleon (19:41)
2. Shapeshifter (6:06)
3. Exceptional Chamel Ballard (7:49)
4. House on the Hill (4:04)
5. Wonderous Glory (4:50)
6. Key (4:16)

Total Time 46:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / keyboards, vocals, percussion, guitars, arrangement, programming

With:
- Max Velychko / acoustic & electric guitars
- Ivan Goritski / drums
- Oleg Prokhorov / bass
- Yan Vedaman / tenor & soprano saxophones
- Elena Kushiy / flute
- Olha Rostovska / vocals
- Sergii Kovalov / knob accordion, vocals

Releases information

Cover: Igor Sokolskiy
Label: Caerllysi Music
Format: CD, Digital
September 24, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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ANTONY KALUGIN Chameleon Shapeshifter ratings distribution


4.15
(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
30%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
28%
Good, but non-essential (23%)
23%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)
11%

ANTONY KALUGIN Chameleon Shapeshifter reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A "live" in the studio full-band recording as opposed to the mostly multi-track solo compositions Antony has been doing so much of since the advent of the Coronavirus protocols. Very tightly rendered performances (though the very melody-oriented music is not so very demanding).

1. "Chameleon" (19:41) nice TONY BANKS like foundation to the first five and a half minutes. Then there is a sudden shift to rolling jazz lounge music for a brief minute before moving back into previously exposed symphonic themes. Still, for anyone familiar with Narada Michael Walden's solo work in the late 1970 and early 1980s or Camel and Mike Oldfield's work from the early 80s, this is music bordering on full-on Prog Lite. At 9:15 we burst out of the bucolic country roads onto a high speed autobahn into a near-Techno Disco passage until the end of the twelfth minute. When it comes back to symphonic in the fourteenth minute the music is just so slow, syrupy, and plodding as to almost be nauseating--like a cheap Harry Potter rip off. At the end of the sixteenth minute some nice symphonic orchestral sounds are ruined by some cheezy bluesy ones, but then things return to soporific cheese before a nice guitar solo starts up over an almost exciting rhythm passage. Alan Parsons would love this! All in all this is a highly chameleonic song--what could have been good but ends up being too scattered and distressing. Big piano finish. Still, it is impressive that Antony was able to get a full band to perform this 20-minute song "live" in a studio! (Or, at least, so he says.) (34/40)

2. "Shapeshifter" (6:06) pretty good, evocative instrumental song until the Mike Oldfield-like sax and choral vocals join in. Also, weird mood & stylistic shift at 4:25. The sax, as smooth as it is, turns me off. (8.5/10)

3. "Exceptional Chamel Ballard" (7:49) a very spacey, Blade Runner-like opening that shifts into second and third gears with some solid multi-keyboard work before smooth electric guitar and organ take over. It's amazing how Antony has discovered the bare-bones secrets to the power essences to the classic Genesis and Yes passages of the 1970s and now been able to build a solo career making perfect yet familiar instrumental prog. Nice Eef Albers-like guitar play in the middle before the funked up Narada Michael Walden like stuff takes over. Very melodic and accessible throughout--exactly what the best Neo Prog does. I'm sure the Hammond-heavy music at the 6:20 mark will make many progheads happy, but not me, I like the more melodic, classically-based stuff like then end. (13.5/15)

4. "House on the Hill" (4:04) so synth drenched from the opening that I'm gonna have to call a spade a spade: this is Prog Lite bordering on New Age. Paul Speer and David Lantz come to mind. Flutes, acoustic guitars, female vocalise, and hand percussions entering upon a Celtic motif only seals the deal. Nice set up for some Satriani-like pseudo-jazz New age guitar. (8.25/10)

5. "Wonderous Glory" (4:50) more Adult Smooth Jazz bordering on New Age elevator music. Synth horns, female vocalise, slow, methodic lead guitar soli and slow background arpeggi, lazy/sleepy fretless bass play, all trying to pull at our heart-strings. (8.25/10)

6. "Key" (4:16) a pleasant, nearer-to-Steve Hackett song with nice lyrics and peaceful music to engage and placate the listener for a good night's sleep. Very high quality Neo Prog. (9.5/10)

Total Time 46:46

It's all pretty, very saccharine, though perhaps a bit too formulaic and "by the numbers"--lacking much creative innovation. And then there's the question: How does this album, this music, this sequence of songs, fulfill the promise of the "Magical AKP Trilogy"? Plus, the overall reverberating impact of this album has left me thinking, Is this even prog? Is Prog Lite even prog? Isn't this just easy listening background music?

B-/3.5 stars; a nice addition to any lover of melodic Neo Prog or Prog Lite. Upgraded for exceptional sound quality and production as well as Antony's successful assemblage and coordination of a studio band.

Review by Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As a prog-lover whose biggest long-time favourites [of the seventies] include Genesis, Yes, Camel, Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield and Renaissance, I can sincerely declare Antony Kalugin from Ukraine to be one of my favourite prog musicians of recent years. His solo albums and the KARFAGEN albums offer the kind of melodic and soaring instrumentally oriented symphonic prog that I greatly enjoy. I don't see significant differences between the two (except of course for the fact that Marshmallow Moondust and Stellar Gardener were entirely performed by him), and since this album is a band work, it could have as well been a Karfagen album I guess. It also differs from the mentioned Kalugin albums in the structure: no two vinyl-side long epics this time, just one which is followed by five shorter pieces.

'Chameleon' (19:40) is simply marvelous instrumental epic! The fresh and CAMEL-like mellowish soundscape is relatively easy on the ears -- not a bad thing, is it? -- but the symphonic composition is packed with action so to speak. In other words progress, progressivity, in the means of constantly going forward. The melodies are full of emotion and the shifts from one movement to another feel quite natural, although here and there I would have even liked to stay a bit longer in the certain moods. The guitars of Max Velychko and Kalugin's wide cast of keyboards build really beautiful and uplifting arcs of melodies, not forgetting the flute either. Karfagen collaborator Olha Rostovska adds some occasional vocalising. The most romantic moments may approach the sonic world of Vangelis (another of my long-time favourite musicians). Full score for this gorgeous piece.

'Shapeshifter' is also very uplifting from the melodic point of view. Electric guitar solo is excellent, but the soprano sax and the choral-vocals sound a bit too cheesy. Funnily titled 'Exceptional Chamel Ballard' -- something like a Camel Ballad? -- indeed has a Blade Runner reminding beginning as BrufordFreak points out. The often used negative term "prog by numbers" could be used here, to be honest, but most of the sonic details are enjoyable, only some brief ingredients I slightly dislike (such as Antony's freaky voice part).

'House on the Hill' is a very mellow, Celtic flavoured four-minute composition with an important role for the flute. Pretty, sure, but luckily the whole album is not in this direction. The easy-listening music reminding sax returns in 'Wonderous Glory', to an unfavourable effect if you ask me. Also the human voices are frankly quite unnecessary in this piece. Sometimes I get the feeling that Antony Kalugin tries too hard, ie. overproduces his compositions, instead of relying on the essentials of song-writing where less can truly be more.

The vocal song 'Key' (why is it marked as a bonus track?) is an excellent and, most of all, very balancing way to end this album. Comparisons to STEVE HACKETT at his calmest are adequate. Kalugin's own warm voice and the vocal harmonies fit perfectly to the nearly nocturnal soundscape featuring beautiful acoustic guitar. For the little minuses here and there, I feel four stars is the right rating for this album instead of five, which is how I'd rate the long epic. Anyways, fans of Kalugin/Karfagen won't be disappointed! A beautiful work, again.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Fifteen years ago I had my first musical experience with work from the prolific multi-instrumentalist Anthony Kalugin (Ukraine, 1981, known for his work with Hoggwash, Karfagen, Sunchild and AKKO), it was the first Karfagen album, I was delighted about the duo keyboard work. A fellow PA collabo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2605934) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Chameleon Shapeshifter" is the third and final part of a musical trilogy written by Antony Kalugin. A trilogy he completed in one year. The first and second parts are "Marshmallow Moondust" and "Stellar Gardener" respectively. It has been known since 2009 that Kalugin has a very high production. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2605555) | Posted by prog_traveller!! | Tuesday, October 19, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The New Antony Kalugin. This is last part of Trilogy. And his best album of 3. With Addition of guitars and Saxophone. And vocals this is masterpiece. Antony Solo Stuff reminds me of Tomas Bodin. From the Flower kings. This final part of trilogy. You would swear..this was instrumental versi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2597898) | Posted by Tord83 | Thursday, September 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So pleased to see Anthony developing as composer and musician! And I must say this album is 'wiser'. It seems like he's growing up with every following release. Anton is 40 years old and has released 25+ albums already, enough to cross Europe by car listening to the whole discography) I'm proud ... (read more)

Report this review (#2597380) | Posted by Trinity S | Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Antony Kalugin's new album 'Chameleon Shapeshifter' has arrived. It seems too long since the last album which shows how much I desire more music from Antony. Following his previous two solo albums 'Marshmallow Moondust' and 'Stella Gardener'. This album completes his trilogy. Unlike the first t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2596620) | Posted by Drmick1971 | Friday, September 24, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is another masterpiece from Antony Kalugin. All the tracks are made perfectly and show a immense creative talent. It's truly amazing how Antony could create something this incredible. From start to finish the album keeps you interested and impressed. You could tell that Antony truly loves ... (read more)

Report this review (#2596487) | Posted by ProgDrivenFar | Friday, September 24, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars the final chapter of the Magical AKP Trilogy - Chameleon Shapeshifter. The music maestro has used the lengthy periods of isolation to create some of the most exciting and uplifting progressive symphonic art rock of recent times...... Marshmallow Moondust and Stella Gardener have been heralde ... (read more)

Report this review (#2595513) | Posted by CAERLLYSI | Sunday, September 19, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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