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KHAN

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Khan biography
KHAN's bio reads like a who's who of former and future celebs from EGG, GONG, HATFIELD & THE NORTH and NATIONAL HEALTH. The initial line-up of this early 70's Canterbury outfit consisted of keyboard player Dave Stewart, guitarist Steve Hillage, bassist Nick Greenwood and drummer Pip Pyle. Before recording their one and only album, Pyle moved on to GONG and was replaced by Eric Peachy (ex-DR. K's BLUES BAND). The group disbanded after the release of the album in 1972.

"Space Shanty" is made up of six ambitious tracks composed almost entirely by Hillage. All four musicians are in fine form but the album is particularly dominated by Hillage's spacey/bluesy guitar and Stewart's effervescent Hammond play. Although much of the material is based on a repetitive verse/chorus/verse cycle and has recurrent musical themes, the band frequently breaks out into extended instrumental freak outs, either soloing or engaging in formidable guitar/organ interplay. This album is a fine sample of early Canterbury/bluesy space rock.

A must-have for Canterbury fans, and not merely for its historical value.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Note an album called "Who never rests" by Khan has no connection with this band.

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KHAN discography


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4.28 | 587 ratings
Space Shanty
1972

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KHAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars This is the very best Canterbury album there is. A little bold? Perhaps, but what Khan manages to accomplish on their sole disc is something really special, that sets it apart from a flood of other incredible albums.

First off, I'd just like to give major kudos to all the musicians involved. Dave Stewart and Steve Hillage need no introduction, and their interplay throughout all of the album's many instrumental passages is top notch. The chemistry within the band is unparalleled, with all of the album's complex arrangements sounding very natural and organically flowing. Lately I've also been paying particular attention to the bass playing of Nick Greenwood; what an underrated musician! Even though the organ and guitar steal the show, Nick manages to keep up really well, and plays all sorts of interesting and unconventional licks throughout. From a technical standpoint, it's pretty hard to beat how well all four members of Khan play.

Of course, well-played albums are a dime a dozen in the prog world, so that alone can't define a masterpiece. So what else does "Space Shanty" have going for it? What really resonates with this album for me is the atmosphere it creates. There are a whole lot of influences on display here, from smooth jazz fusion, to hallucinatory space rock, to heavy psychedelic blowouts, to soulful blues passages. And, miraculously, all of these different genres are so well balanced in every track that a unified sort of nocturnal atmosphere comes into fruition. Often melancholy, meandering, inviting, there's a definite coherence of mood throughout the whole affair. I think it can be best described as a very nostalgic, "coming-of-age" type of feeling. I highly recommend putting this on as a night driving album, it seems almost like it was made for it!

Now just because "Space Shanty" is well-played and engulfed in a beautiful atmosphere, does that really quantify it as the "best Canterbury album there is"? I think that those criteria alone are enough to push me to a 5 star rating, but what really makes Khan's album the shining star of the Canterbury Scene is in its approach. Canterbury, lighthearted as it is, is one of those genres that seems to be very conducive to abstract silliness, and, quite frankly, a whole lot of noodling. Khan's greatest strength is their ability to take all of the typical Canterbury aesthetic and to channel all those absurd ideas and influences into something so structured, tangible, and ultimately very emotive. Call it Canterbury for those who don't really like Canterbury if you like, but what I believe really sets Khan ahead of Soft Machine or Hatfield and The North is that, as splendid as the musicianship on those records is, there's a bit too much of a niche appeal to their style. But with Khan, even if you take the "Canterbury" descriptor away, "Space Shanty" is still a masterpiece. 5 solid stars for this beauty.

 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Khan was a short-lived project formed by Steve Hillage, who had just completed his studies and was now ready to participate in musical projects. After a few line-up changes, he teamed up with a bassist Nick Greenwood, previously of Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, a drummer Eric Preachy, and his old friend, the keyboardist Dave Stewart, whose band Egg had just disbanded the same year. The quartet's only album, Space Shanty, was released in June 1972.

What really sets Space Shanty apart from most Canterbury scene works is the emphasis put on songwriting. In result, what we get are organized jazzy ballads with phenomenal improvisational parts. The musicians draw some of the most beautiful and moving soundscapes in the sub-genre. There is something really soporiphic about Space Shanty. Usually, it would not be a compliment, but in this case, the factor gives it a really unique flavor. It's not heavy on one's thoughts, without sacrificing the sophisticated factor. The band often finds itself in scenarios including odd time signatures. Improvisation does not play a crucial role and solo instrumental parts are only one of the elements contributing to Khan's distinctive musical extract.

Steve Hillage's soft, pastel guitar passages combined with Dave Stewart's lush, smooth keyboards are what mainly contributes to the effect of the album. Hillage is also capable of some phenomenal rock solos, which remind me a bit of Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash. His singing is gentle, light, and almost angel-like in places. Dave Stewart's playing is as always close to perfection. Not only does he proficiently draw affecting ambient-like textures, but he is also capable of great rhythm play and rapid solo parts. The rhythm section of Nick Greenwood and Eric Preachy lays down some great grooves and keeps up with Khan's dynamic and lively style.

All in all, Khan's only release is one of the most emotion-filled progressive rock albums. What would Khan have been able to do if they continued as a band? We can only imagine. Space Shanty is a truly unique masterpiece and is a must-listen for every progressive rock fan. Five stars!

 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by JPaulo

5 stars I'm in love with this album. The calm atmosphere is absolutely harmonious between the organ, the guitar and the voice. The duets between the guitar and the keyboards and even between two guitars are fantastic. A litle bit of Camel but in my opinion, it's a masterpiece of Canterbury Scene. A great music construction inspiration, and we must listen with a good stereo material, because the studio engeneering sound, was made the duets in two different record pists. A beautiful record with songs and music, that we follin in love and whant listen one more time. Beutiful keiboards and beautiful guitar arrangements. The only record of this band that I now and one of my favourites ever. I give 5 stars because it's really a masterpiece and in my opinion, one of the most canterbury Scene beautiful album's ever made.
 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Steve Hillage is unarguably THE guitarist in the Canterbury scene, and among the most gifted ones in the whole prog history. After making the Arzachel album with his fellows from EGG, Hillage returned to his studies at Kent University, Canterbury. In April 1971 he formed KHAN, which at first featured drummer Pip Pyle, bassist Nick Greenwood and keyboardist Dick Henningham. Caravan's manager Terry King got them a record deal, but before the sessions began, Pyle was replaced by Eric Peachey and Henningham's departure was replaced at the last minute by none other than Dave Stewart (of Egg and numerous, at the time future Canterbury bands), one of Hillage's old playing mates.

Space Shanty gives some foretaste of Hillage's later work as the GONG guitarist and a solo artist. Especially the echoey guitar sound - for example in the title track which is loaded with heavy psychedelia - was to become his trademark. The album is tight prog rock. Several tempo changes, soli and variations in the dynamics work brilliantly on long tracks such as 'Mixed Up Man of the Mountain' and 'Driving to Amsterdam'. Hendrix-influenced guitar is the central element in this melodic and lively prog. On one moment it may sound a bit like Genesis, on the next moment like Camel, and on the next one... Well, it's better to say that Khan had a full-blown style of their own. On the Canterbury scene it represents its rockier side, and also slightly more vocal-oriented than Canterbury on the average.

Stewart's organ and electric piano are best heard on the calmer track 'Stranded'. The album fully deserves the classic status. During the summer and autumn after the release, Khan toured with an unstable line-up and practiced for new material (some of which was to appear on Hillage's solo debut Fish Rising, 1975), but the band came to its end in October when Hillage joined briefly Kevin Ayers' band. From then on he continued his colourful career as the Gong member.

 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

BUY
Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars REVIEW N' 200 - Khan: Space Shanty (featuring Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart).

Ready for a space adventure? So... Don't forget your towel!

Khan's only shot is the treasure of the Canterbury scene. Flawless. A perfect album, filled with everything that I ever wanted: SCI-FI theme, a cover art that seems to be the ruins of the Space Battleship Yamato, progressive tracks, organ and guitar amazing interplay, Canterbury Jazz + a little bit of psychedelia, cool lyricis, space pirates, a bearded manly drummer, catchy bass lines... Everybody needs a Space Shanty's copy. The latest CD version includes two bonus tracks and a very interesting booklet, featuring the story of the band and members, curiosities from the Canterbury scene and funny comics. It's symphonic. It's heavy. It's an essential album for any classic rock or progressive collector. Unfortunattely, Khan had a short lifetime, and a short time to record their songs, so you will find a lot of trippy, jams, and Canterbury fusion passages, but no fillers. I think I already said: Space Shanty is perfect!

The title track, Space Shanty (Inc. The Cobalt Sequence and March of The Sine Squadrons) start as a mix of ELP and Deep Purple, following jazzy chords and riffs, connecting the heavy rock with the smooth, beautiful feeling which is a trademark from the Canterbury tunes. Steve Hillage and Dave Steward playing together sounds like soul mates. The track development really works, passing through many different sections, and some of them, makes me feel like a space pirate tripping around the seven corners of the universe. The electronic experience of the keys and organ sometimes fits perfectly with any space crusade for me. The solo times, full of reverb/delay, work as a key unlocking an early unknown door into the deepest side of my mind. I can clearly feel the drums and bass echoing inside of my body. But, that's not enough, the next track brings me back to outer space, I just felt like I have been there before, a distant illusionary nostalgia...

... This is called Stranded (Effervescent Psychonovelty No. 5). A beautiful melody. Leaving the earth behind, I can feel the lull of the space. When the vocal part begins, you will notice that great bass riff. That's Nick Greenwood. He came from the final incarnation of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The chorus is brilliant, harmonious and I love it. Good chills! The smooth jazz touch with that gorgeous keyboard playing hits the right nerve, provoking a pleasent listen, everytime. You will find some notes within the album pack, saying: "Our very special thanks to DAVE STEWART who fitted in our sessions in between heavy commitments with his band EGG". I have to agree, that is an admirable effort, for sure. Stranded is the meaning of Canterbury style. A good job at Hillage's solo, living up to his nickname, the "hippie from outer space". He was very influenced by musicians like John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, but his way of thinking and feeling music makes him one of the best and unique guitarists of the entire psychedelic rock scene. The instrumental variations are great passages. Hillage's voice is just the way it should be. It fits the music like your favorite socks in your feet during the coldest night of winter. I like when the whole band are singing together too. Some bands and duets are not able to do this in a pleasent way. The ending atmosphere of the track rides to the next step of this awesome album. The Space Shanty moves on, accelerating and reaching the third track.

The last track of the first side. Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains. The song begins with an atmospheric background and Hillage's catchy vocal line. The song suddenly explodes with a heavy psych guitar riff, and goes on. Catchy drum/bass. My interpretation for the lyrics are multiple. It could be a follow up for the previous track. It could be just about flying. Maybe about freedom, or even suicide. I don't know, but that's a pretty hot track. The random section after the phrase "But soon as I am here I have to go" is strangely fine. I like that guitar solo accompanied by the 'vocal solo' (or the vocals accompanied by the guitar?). A trippy song, and a perfect ending for Space Shanty's first side.

The second part of the Space Shanty's journey through the universe and beyond start with Driving To Amsterdam, a song initially insane. The Canterbury jazz fusion intro is highly special for me. It's time for Dave Stewart to shine! This guy knows how to work and move your feeling to the right place. Steve Hillage proves to be a blues master with his riffs, solos and improvisations. The musical friendship of Steve and Dave is far beyond expectations! Driving to Amsterdam has a soulful songwriting and performance. It's the B Side track equivalent for Stranded (A Side), and the longer track from the album.

Stargazers intro sounds like the Canterbury intro for Tarkus. Freak as hell. It's outstanding. Steve Hillage dissonant and schizophrenic solo in the middle of the opening is sorely inspired. The whole album was filled with unexpected moments, and this track has a list of good moments, during only five minutes and a half! Maybe the most adventurous song from the Space Shanty timeline, here is where you will put your foot down on moon! It is the most happier song from their repertoire too. This song brings me the sensation of find the unexplored. The symphonic organ and the melodic chant are summoning the unknown before my eyes through my ears! Can you believe it? Just open your mind, listen to the track and see.

So, the last song of the original recording: Hollow Stone (Escape of The Space Pirates). This is the properly ending track, with an ending atmosphere, playing riffs ending passages that makes you think "hey, this is the ending theme". Almost there. The band returns to the calm and quiet stream, and if you have been enjoying the whole album, you will probably like this track like any other one. So profound. The final minutes are full of technological noises and experiments, and you will clearly imagine that Steve Hillage's solo like Steve Hillage's waving goodbye, and jumping inside his Space Shanty calling for a hot burrito after traveling the whole space hungry and playing prog for you guys.

The bonus tracks works pretty good, and sounds like a continuation of the album. Break The Chains rules. Wonderful surprises are waiting for you. Long live KHANnterbury!

 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by Mr. Mustard

4 stars If there was ever an album that completely epitomized a one hit wonder, than this would be it. The first and only release from Canterbury Scene band Khan works off the ever distinguishable sound of the genre while retaining its own unique flair. Like most Canterbury Scene bands, the sound is graced with tons of keyboards and jazzy and melodic moments a like. Therefore, fans of the genre, especially Caravan, will find no surprises here. In fact, dare I say that this album is better than anything Caravan has ever done, including the magnificent 'In the Land of Gray and Pink.' Perhaps it is the album's superior focus on melody, in addition to some very atmospheric passages and heavier edge which make this quite the listening excursion. Case in point is the song 'Stranded,' a seemingly simple, yet melodically powerful song.

Besides this, the album truly doesn't have any real standout, if only for the strength of every song on the album, making this a very solid and consistent listen from beginning to end. Each track is a small adventure, as the structures are diverse, but don't meander too much to lose excitement.

Space Shanty, simply said, is a must have for Canterbury fans, and general proggers alike. The balance between melody, intensity, and atmosphere is hard to achieve, but these guys nail it.

8/10

 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

5 stars There is something quite untouchable about vintage british prog. Something that the genre from every other part of the world can't touch, no matter how good it is. I believe that all countries and continents possess a certain tone, some notes unique for just that particular origin. I love prog, whatever their origin but for me it is british prog that strikes the best chord and I believe it to be so by way of three reasons. Firstly I came to love prog through King Crimson and that set the blueprint for everything else. Secondly, I adore all things british and third there is that tone, that chord or sound that just makes me shiver with delight.

Khan's only album epitomizes everything I love about prog in general, not just british (though I am delighted that it is). The album is a perfect mix of accessibility, complexity, melody, strange chord progressions, beauty, anger, mellowness, joy and every other emotion known to man. All this is coupled with divine inspiration and hard rock, amidst all the jazzy, classical elements held within. The gentleness, by the way, is of a certain kind only found in prog, I believe. How to explain that to someone not initiated? I guess you have to take my word for it or listen to some of the music. Simple as that.

The title track kicks in with a blast and is a tremendous piece of multilayered prog. The next track, Stranded, is so beautiful and has to be one of the best follow-up songs on an album ever. I love it! The following tracks, I won't review every track in any detail, are simply outstanding and brilliant. The blasts of distorted guitar, alongside stabs of organ and powerful rhythm section, intermediated by flowing, gentle episodes and discords are simply out of this world. The genius behind this album is flawless and it is a shame they did not record another record, though (as I have been told) Hillage's first solo album Fish rising (another slab of brilliance) contains songs intended for Khan's second offering.

The song Hollow stone holds a special magic. I believe ther is an old magical hollow stone in Cornwall (?) and I see it before me, though only visited in books. The lyrics paint images making me tremble with delight. Actually, all the songs hold a special magic. The album is magical. The cover, Hillage's guitar, Stewart's trademark organ and the great rhythm section, the songs, the ambiance, the vocals, the everything spells magical brilliance.

Though at first reluctant giving the album five stars I am now compelled to do just that. It is an amazing record worthy every praise and hallelujah there is.

 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by IneitaBongtoke

5 stars I haven't stopped listening to this album everyday since i discovered it through this website. In fact, I wish to extend my gratitude to this website for making music like this accessible to the public.

I must admit I'm a little biased towards Steve Hillage. Something about his hippie-esque sound/lyrics with the roaring passion of his guitar solos sets me off. And I personally find this album to be the best of his work. The beginning track opens up like any other heavy 70's rock anthem, but quickly travels through several voices that I have yet to hear in much music. Just as you'd expect a simple turn around or a simple I-IV-V progression (basic chord progression) the music takes a turn and just extends the phrase, channeling through Key changes and fantastic resolution. In other words, I love the way this man writes his music. Maybe I don't know exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to the technical aspect of this music, but what I do know is that your ears are treated to a great symphony of beautiful guitars, pianos, and vocals. The sound of this album alternates between heavy, "badass" riffs that reflect the heavy arena rock that was so prevalent at that time; but the music just goes so much further displaying an array of different voices stretching between somber and passionate to eclectic and upbeat. A good example of this is Space Shanty: a strong riff based intro that leads into a very moving keyboard line echoed by the guitar. The Vocals make great additions to the already melodic heavy instrumentals, making every instrument in this ensemble equally important. Not to mention, the cover for this album is just so cool. It's really like a nice cherry on top of a banana split.

I would personally recommend this album to EVERYONE....but if I had to be unbiased about it, anyone who is interested in King Crimson, Yes, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Caravan, or really anything that has strong emphasis on that "70's sound". I can't get enough of it. 10/10

 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Owner of a pretty impressive ouevre, British guitarist Steve Hillage has really worked his way up over the last forty-or-so years. From obscure psych-group member to mid-level guitar star and modern dance 'n' trance innovator, it seems there is very little Hillage hasn't done, his colourful career taking in stints with his own formative outfits Arzachel and Khan, a lengthier spell with Anglo-French prog-psych purveyors Gong, a highly- successful solo spell and a surprise sonic reboot as 1990's trance pioneers System 7. Most will remember him for his time either with Gong or for his series of excellent solo records from the mid-seventies, albums such as 'You', 'Fish Rising' and 'L', though thanks to the ever-growing reissue market, many are now discovering his early work with Khan. A blink-and-you'll-miss-em' Canterbury-styled outfit who recorded just the one record during 1972, Khan featured Hillage, Nick Greenwood(bass), Eric Peachy(drums) and Canterbury- scene stalwart Dave Stewart(keyboards). Their sole album, 'Space Shanty', was recently remastered for the first time by the excellent Esoteric Recordings imprint, and it has since become a firm favourite amongst the progressive rock crowd, sailing into the esteemed ProgArchives.com top 100 albums list. And rightly so. A scintillating mixture of Gong-style psychedelia and Caravan-edged Canterbury prog, 'Space Shanty' is a wonderful album filled a plethora of swirling instrumental moments and topped off with a collection of top-notch technical displays. Very different from the raw and rough-edged psychedelic sound of Hillage's previous outfit Arzachel, this is a much cleaner-sounding album that also features a highly-symphonic edge. The mixture of differing progressive elements allows the musicians to really stretch out on pieces such as the electric nine- minute psychedelic marathon 'Driving To Amsterdam' and the lysergic flavoured 'Mixed Up Man Of The Mountains'. As a result, you have a genuine Hillage career highlight that should more than please his legion of fans, whilst also appealing to lovers of all things Canterbury-styled. However, although the album's excellence is of course down to the group, the real heroes here are the guys at Esoteric who cleaned-up this superb album for it's 21st century retooling. Why it failed during it's own time is a genuine mystery; second time round its proving a real hit. Great stuff.
 Space Shanty by KHAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 587 ratings

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Space Shanty
Khan Canterbury Scene

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Space Shanty, the sole album of Khan, featuring Gong's Steve Hillage and Egg's Dave Stewart, is a refreshingly consistent record loaded with dreamlike psychedelic vibes, spasmodic jazz leanings, and symphonic splendor. Musically, it is quite similar to Kansas. This album is excellent all around and shows the more symphonic side of the Canterbury scene.

'Space Shanty' Opening with a cacophony, the song quickly takes a Led Zeppelin approach to rock and roll, with vocals over drums followed by a heavy riff. However, the lead guitar and organ tradeoffs over the wandering bass and engaged drumming is the highlight of this piece. Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart are monsters, but so are their companions, who are offering creative rhythms throughout underneath psychedelic mayhem. Eventually Hillage bursts through with a fiery guitar solo over a jazzy upbeat backdrop, soon leaving the rest behind in a delayed dual guitar bit over disembodied vocals. Later, Stewart picks up with a bit of sprightly organ before those tradeoffs return. This is an exciting beginning to a great album.

'Stranded' Lightening up, this has a beautiful acoustic guitar paired with distant synthesizer and the best vocal melody on the album. As it picks up, it has an organ-led Camel feel. It grabs a heavy rock riff abruptly to introduce an organ lead. The fuzzy and acoustic guitars coming through left and right channels work well over the rhythm that reminds me of 'The Pinnacle' by Kansas or King Crimson's Lizard. The ending is rather mystical, leading into the next piece.

'Mixed Up Man of the Mountains' The light guitar and organ lie underneath the vibrato-laden lead singer, but soon give way to rocking lead guitar. The singing soon becomes awash in underwater cloudiness. It leads into something similar to Camel, with vocalizations, semi-clean guitar, keyboards, excellent bass, faithful drums, and plenty of rhythmic creativity. In some ways, it favors passages from Gentle Giant's Acquiring the Taste. Over a relatively simplistic rock rhythm, Hillage provides a very fetching guitar solo.

'Driving to Amsterdam' Jazzy yet accessible, this track opens with nearly clean guitar runs and supporting organ. The song possesses an excellent vocal melody that weaves between dreaminess and uplifting determination. There are several complex musical passages woven together.

'Stargazers' The fifth song is very Styx-like, quite dramatic and somewhat pop. Hillage's lead guitar is all over the place on top of the velvety backdrop. Stewart's organ solo is so thin sounding it could almost be an electric guitar.

'Hollow Stone' This final number has a wash of mysterious guitar and organ. The vocal performance is moving and serves the music extremely well- quite similar in style to Steve Walsh of Kansas. The bass underneath the organ solo is remarkable itself, floating all over the fretboard. The end of the album spirals out of control in spirited psychedelic passion.

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