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Kaprekar's Constant

Crossover Prog

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Kaprekar's Constant The Murder Wall album cover
3.88 | 39 ratings | 3 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prologue (4:57)
2. Theme - Hall of Mirrors (2:23)
3. Tall Tales by Firelight (5:00)
4. Failure Takes Care of Its Own (4:21)
5. Another Man's Smile (6:02)
6. Years to Perfect (2:30)
7. Hope in Hell (3:00)
8. Victorious (6:13)
9. The Rain Shadow (2:07)
10. Third Man Down (7:20)
11. A Silent Drum (5:00)
12. The Stormkeeper's Daughter (3:28)
13. A World Beyond Man (3:44)
14. The Stormkeeper's Reprise (3:48)
15. Endeavour (3:43)
16. Mountaineers (4:58)
17. Hall of Mirrors (6:15)

Total Time 74:49

Line-up / Musicians

- David Jackson / saxophones, flutes, whistles
- Mark Walker / drums & percussion
- Bill Jefferson / vocals, backing vocals
- Dorie Jackson / vocals, backing vocals, vocal arrangements
- Mike Westergaard / piano, keyboards, backing vocals
- Al Nicholson / guitars, piano, keyboards
- Nick Jefferson / basses, keyboards

- Judie Tzuke / vocals (6)

Releases information

Label: Talking Elephant Records (TECD472) (CD), Plane Groovy (Vinyl)
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
March 25, 2022 (CD, Digital)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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Buy KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT The Murder Wall Music

KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT The Murder Wall ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT The Murder Wall reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
5 stars As far as the mass media are concerned, prog died in 1976 and by ignoring the current scene they can pretend that is indeed the case. However, for those of us in the know, we continue to be blessed by new bands coming up and releasing material which is simply incredible. Kaprekar's Constant are a case in point, as their 2017 debut 'Fate Outsmarts Desire' just blew me away, and I felt an incredibly close affinity to the band due to the song "Hallsands", which is about a village falling into the sea where I used to have family. When they followed it up with 2019's 'Depth of Field' I knew here was a very special outfit indeed, and now they are back with their third. As soon as it arrived this was straight on my player, and I sat there with my headphones on, falling into yet another magical world.

We have the same line-up as on the last release, namely David Jackson (VDGG, saxes, flutes, whistles), Mark Walker (drums, percussion), Bill Jefferson (vocals), Dorie Jackson (vocals, BTW, Dorie is David's daughter and can also be found performing with him on the latest Judge Smith release), Mike Westergaard (piano, keyboards, backing vocals), Al Nicholson (guitars, piano, keyboards) and Nick Jefferson (bass, keyboards). Here we have a concept album, telling stories of climbers attempting the North Face of the Eiger, set between the years of 1935 and 2007, telling the stories of those who attempted one of the most dangerous ascents in mountaineering. Since 1935, at least sixty-four climbers have died, earning it the German nickname Mordwand, literally "murder(ous) wall".

There is so much which makes Kaprekar's Constant one of the most vibrant and interesting bands around, from the vocal arrangements (and the use of male/female singers), the high use of acoustic instruments, different wind instruments, fretless bass, the complexity of the musical arrangements which can also be delicately simple, the use of space (Mark has time to go for a beer at times as there is no need for percussion throughout, and his not playing is just as important as his playing). On top of that the songs are always wonderful, with so much in them, yet they are always easy to follow with plenty of threads for the listener to pull on. It often feels far more like orchestration than a band, but then we can drop into piano such as on "Third Man Down" or acoustic guitar on "The Rain Shadow" and everything changes.

They are a band which have been welcomed by both the folk and prog crowds, as their music has a great deal in common with both, and rightly so as it is simply beautiful, and at times beautifully simple while at others massively complex yet always with purpose and passion, wrapped up in emotion. It has been a while since I gave the first three albums from any band maximum marks (Spock's Beard or Galahad perhaps?), and here I am doing it again.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1. "Prologue" (4:57) melodic and dramatic, but so simplistic. NeoProg-by-the-numbers. (8.5/10)

2. "Theme - Hall of Mirrors" (2:23) the music here opens with a processional that sounds like it comes from a children's television show--until the soprano saxophone enters. Embarrassingly simplistic. (4/5)

3. "Tall Tales by Firelight" (5:00) like a story recitation with a live soundtrack from a band of minstrels from a Renaissance faire. Turns into an AL STEWART song as piano and, later, sax and electric guitar soli are added. (8.25/10)

4. "Failure Takes Care of Its Own" (4:21) piano continuing its play and theme from the previous song over which the soothing voice of Dorie Jackson tells another story. As the rest of the band joins, they form a decent tapestry of sound. (8.25/10)

5. "Another Man's Smile" (6:02) a simplistic early-Genesis/Strawbs/Gentle Giant NeoProg soundscape supports a story about a man with a broken tooth in his smile. While I enjoy the mix of instruments used to create the musical weave, the songs is just so simple and dull. Nice background vocal work/arrangements. (8.5/10)

6. "Years to Perfect" (2:30) nice long intro slowly builds. This is gorgeous. Guest vocalist Judie Tzuke has a great, wispy-raspy voice. A top three song for me. (4.5/5)

7. "Hope in Hell" (3:00) more NeoProg pseudo folk, this is a lot like or Heather Findlay and Dave Kerzner's MANTRA VEGA project in 2016. (4.25/5)

8. "Victorious" (6:13) more simplistic soft pop rock to support another story. Bill Jefferson sounds exactly like Spirogyra's Martin Cockerham. The song is so straightforward three- and four-chord pop prog. Nice chorus and pipes. Earworm memorable. (8.5/10)

9. "The Rain Shadow" (2:07) another SPIROGYRA-like song that does nothing if you don't hear the lyrics. (4/5)

10. "Third Man Down" (7:20) long, dull intro turns to electric piano to lead into the Strawbs-like melody and story. Bill's voice here sounds like a cross between Roger Waters and Dave Cousins (or Guy Manning and Andy Tillison). The all-in following of the melody line wouldn't be so if it weren't being so insistently drummed into our heads. I do admit that I prefer this style of song construction and presentation with the smooth vocals, but at times this causes the effect of losing it's progginess. Wonderful final 90 seconds. A top three song for me. (13.25/15)

11. "A Silent Drum" (5:00) built on the melody of the previous song, anachronistic Prog Folk instrumentation establishes the structure and soundscape before rhythm section and singer Dorie Jackson join in. The chorus vocals switch over to Bill's Martin Cockerham styling. A slightly more interesting/complex song than what one might have heard trying to enter the Top of the Pops back in the late 1960s. (Think music from the Broadway musical Godspell.) (8.25/10)

12. "The Stormkeeper's Daughter" (3:28) over strummed 12-string and piano accompaniment, Dorie's multi-tracked voice establishes a pleasant melody that, unfortunately, sounds quite familiar (from one of this album's previous songs). Wind instruments, simple drums & bass, and, later, orchestra strings embellish and fill as does Dorie's melodic and harmonic journey. One of the better constructed songs here. (8.5/10)

13. "A World Beyond Man" (3:44) folk guitars woven together to set up another saccharine Prog Folk story presentations. As the soundscape fills and expands, a bombast is on display unlike any of the album's previous songs. But then it returns to the simple folk weave for Dorie and Bill's beautifully performed twin-voiced performance. I don't like the bombast, but I love the sensitive, well-synchronized vocal performance. A top three song for me. (8.5/10)

14. "The Stormkeeper's Reprise" (3:48) just as it says, but this version has a bit of a MOSTLY AUTUMN country twang to it. It does nothing to expand the story--but fulfills a predictable format if one were building a full musical for stage performance. Gives the musicians a chance to unwind before the dénouement and big finish. (8/10)

15. "Endeavour" (3:43) opens sounding like a 1980s Bruce Springsteen or Bruce Hornsby song. After a minute of waiting for development and further exposition, one begins to get the feeling that this is going to be an instrumental. Bruce Hornsby songs are far more interesting and developed than this. (7.75/10)

16. "Mountaineers" (4:58) so simple and straighforward! One would think that the storytellers/ composers would be much more enthusiastic and persuasive about their subject matter as we get to the end. The pipe play and background vocal arrangements and performances are great, but, overall, this feels so lackluster! (8/10)

17. "Hall of Mirrors" (6:15) Starts out with the same tired, lackluster performances and construction of the previous song before gradually (finally) building to a crescendo of enthusiasm--but then it all gets so muddled! (You'd think the world would have learned one thing from Big Big Train!) (8/10)

Total Time 74:49

The length and density of this album has kept me busy trying to get to know it so that I can write a proper review. Obviously inspired by the success of fellow Brits, Big Big Train, this collection of tribute songs about some of the undersung heroes of human history--people that might be in danger of being lost--begs the question: Do we really need a bunch of songs about the failed attempts to climb the north face of the Eiger? Melodic but so simplistic. Despite the thematic intent, at times I found such cheesie music/songs making me feel embarrassed for the musicians. (Don't worry: I've had the same sensation for songs by BBT, Mostly Autumn, Mantra Vega, and Magenta, as well.) Were I more attuned to lyrical content, perhaps I would like and appreciate this more. Also, I don't quite understand how the band allowed the final four to flatten out the mood and enthusiasm for their subject matter.

C+/3.5 stars; as an offering of pleasant Prog Folk music, this is nice. As a tribute to some forgotten or overlooked era or event in history, it can probably be ignored. As a demonstration of the potential and actualization of the artist expression of progressive rock music, I consider this is rather prosaic.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Wow! What an unexpected fantastic gem of an album. This is the 3rd album from Kaprekar's Constant, a 'musical collective' from the UK started by childhood friends and multi-instrumentalists Al Nicholson and Nick Jefferson in 2017 that specializes in their own brand of 'symphonic melodic progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#2872199) | Posted by BBKron | Sunday, January 1, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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