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K2

Neo-Prog • United States


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K2 biography
A prog fan's dream album and the first REAL prog supergroup since UK!!! Line up includes Ken Jaquess, bassist for LA based Atlantis, multi-instrumentalist and Peter Gabriel sound-a-like Shaun Guerin, ex-UK guitarist Allan Holdsworth, drummer extraordinaire Doug Sanborn, keyboardist/synths player Ryo Okumoto and violinist Yvette Devereaux on a magnificent sounding album of pure progressive rock at its absolute best. K2 sound similar to and as good as anything UK ever did and not that far from classic GENESIS either, with a feel that's firmly rooted in the 70's, while at the same time sounding just incredible. With 5 tracks over forty-six minutes, the band get more than their fair chance to shine, yet the sum of the parts makes a whole that is breathtakingly spectacular. The songs are the best you'll have heard since any number of vintage and classic British 70's prog albums, with a vocal that is pure GABRIEL-esque in terms of its sound, its passion, even its phrasing, and on compositions as amazingly written and arranged as this, it's as close to prog heaven as you'll get.

But that's by no means the whole story - we're talking Holdsworth's guitar work at its most prog-sounding and expressive best, melodic, fluid, flowing and it's like UK all over again. The drumming is every bit as good too, as Bruford or Bozzio, even a mix of the two, while Okumoto & Devereaux provide a sea of synthesizers, Mellotrons and violin, just soaring and flying in ways that will leave you jaw-dropped in admiration and stunned as to the brilliance of it all! The album itself is, in the fine traditions of the best 70's releases, a "concept album", written and arranged by Ken Jaquess. The opening track is a staggeringly fine twenty-three minute epic that will occupy a place by your player for years to come with its fantastic symphonic keyboards intro and many twists and turns along the way, sheer flowing construction and impassioned delivery, making it the 'Supper's Ready' of the new millennium. Everything about this track oozes pure class and quality, but, more than that, the sheer spectacle of hearing the synths, vocals, rhythm section, electric guitar and violin played like THIS, is nothing short of spine-tingling stuff! The 2nd track has an intro that will leave you swearing you've been transported back to the heady days of the 70's, while the main body of the song has a similar effect. The sound swirls all around you and it's like having classic Genesis playing in your l...
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Book of the DeadBook of the Dead
Umbrello Records 2008
Audio CD$14.99
Black GardenBlack Garden
Import
MAGNA CARTA RECORDS 2014
Audio CD$13.46
$5.96 (used)
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K2 discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

K2 top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.51 | 82 ratings
Book Of The Dead
2004
3.15 | 46 ratings
Black Garden
2010

K2 Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

K2 Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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K2 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Black Garden by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.15 | 46 ratings

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Black Garden
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 130

K2 is a project of the bassist Ken Jaquess of the L.A. based band Atlantis, formed during the 90's. He wanted to recreate the classic 70's symphonic sound, by which he is passionate. To achieve that objective Ken searched for musicians who could recreate the sound of the instruments of those times. His choice was Shaun Guerin (vocals), Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Ryo Okumoto (keyboards), Yvette Devereaux (violin), John Miner (guitar) and Doug Sanborn (drums), and thus came their debut album 'Book Of The Dead', in 2005. The album is based on 'The Book Of The Dead', the ancient Egyptian book and which tells us the rules of the ultimate journey of the souls to the afterlife.

As Jacquess has a huge fascination with the ancient world and with all their civilizations, which was instilled by his mother, he returns in 2010 with his second album 'Black Garden'. This is another conceptual album. But this time, the concept is based around ancient Oceania, whose islands were populated by the Polynesians over 2000 years ago. The concept of the story is about the journey that the ancient Polynesians undertook sailing over a third of the world before they settled on the South Pacific islands. So, this entire story took place 2000 years before Christopher Columbus set sail. This is quite another amazing story and Ken thought it would be a great subject for the music on 'Black Garden'.

But on 'Black Garden', the line up is a bit different from their previous debut album, 'Book Of The Dead'. Shaun Guerin, unfortunately passed away soon before the debut album, Allan Holdsworth, Yvette Devereaux and John Miner left the project and don't participate on this new album. Holdsworth was replaced by Ken's friend Johnson and the vocals of the late Guerin are perfectly sung by Gleason, a vocalist who had worked in a Genesis' tribute band too, like happened with Guerin. Therefore the references to Gabriel are still intact. Together with the original drummer Sanborn, Jaquess started to work on a second studio album, but it took a long while before we could finally enjoy this second recording of K2. So, about five years later, that same quintet have finally released K2's second album, 'Black Garden'.

So, the line up on 'Black Garden' is Josh Gleason (vocals), Ken Jaquess (bass and keyboards), Karl Johnson (guitar), Ryo Okumoto (piano, moog, Hammond and synthesizer) and Doug Sanborn (drums and percussion).

The album has seven tracks. The first track 'Black Garden' which gave its name to the album is a very powerful and a great song to open the album. It's a song that reminds me their previous album with a touch of an oriental Arabic music with a touch of progressive metal, as if we were in a bazaar of any North African or Eastern medina. This is really a nice exotic track. The second track 'Passage To The Deep' is one of the two lengthiest songs on the album. Despite it's a song clearly influenced by Genesis in Gabriel's era, but in a modern way, in the beginning I think we can clearly feel the influence of IQ on it. I also want to highlight the keyboard work of Okumoto which is completely amazing and that it will be maintained throughout the album. What a nice piece of music we have here, indeed. The third track 'Windows Watch' is a very simple and beautiful ballad basically sung by Gleason and perfectly well accompanied by the piano of Okumoto, with a nice keyboard solo section. This is really a very interesting song. The fourth track 'Encounter Or Absence' is one of the songs on the album with more Genesis' influences because all its elements are there. It's a song with a mysterious and dramatic cinematic sound and it has also a great keyboard work. This is a good and melodic song. The fifth track 'Storm At Sunset' is one of the other lengthiest tracks on the album. It's another song where we can see the clear influence of Genesis in Gabriel's era, probably even more pronounced than in the previous track. This is a good and powerful song. The sixth track 'Summer's Fall' is the smallest song on the album. It's a brief piece of music only with vocals and keyboards, but it's still a good track. The seventh track 'Path Of The Warrior' is a nice ending for the album. It's the epic track on the album and the guitar sound reminds me Yes. This is a song where Ken and Okumoto perform very good keyboard solos and it has some Johnson's simple and beautiful guitar solos too.

Conclusion: I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw that K2 had a new album, because as had passed five years from their debut, I was convinced that they wouldn't release another new album. In the second place, despite the departure of great musicians, the new elements complied with that replacement. Johnson brings a reasonably work with his guitar in the traditional neo-prog leanings with a touch of prog metal and Gleason, beyond the clear resemblance with Gabriel's voice, seems the perfect reincarnation of Guerin. In the third place, and despite the clear and main influence of Genesis, Yes and Marillion, with a touch of IQ, and due to their taste for recreating the classic 70's symphonic sound, with this album K2 proved they have a very own and inimitable modern sound. However, the absence of Alan Holdsworth can be felt. His unique and intricate guitar work isn't present anymore. We may say, the super group lost its 'super'. So, despite 'Black Garden' be not as good as the previous one, it still is a good album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Book Of The Dead by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.51 | 82 ratings

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Book Of The Dead
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 35

When I first read about the existence of this musical project, in Progarchives, I became very curious about it. But, what most amazed me was that the whole work was written, arranged and produced by Ken Jaquess, a musician who I had never heard about before. As I became curious about this project, I tried to buy this album as soon as possible.

K2 is the first project of the bassist Ken Jaquess of the L.A. based band Atlantis, formed during the 90's. They recorded two CD's, 'Atlantis' in 1997 and 'Pray For Rain' in 2003. For those who don't know anything about this band and are interested to know something more about them, you can consult the biography of the group in this site.

Wanting to recreate the 70's classic symphonic rock sound and to help fulfil his musical vision, Ken Jaquess (bass, keyboards and 10 string acoustic guitar), searched for the musicians who could master the vintage sound of the instruments, of that musical period. His choice was Shaun Guerin (vocals), Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Ryo Okumoto (piano and moog), Yvette Devereaux (violin), John Miner (guitar) and Doug Sanborn (drums).

About the musicians who participated on this project, I really had only heard of Devereaux and Guerin, and sincerely, I only really knew Holdsworth and Okumoto. Holdsworth is a guitar virtuoso artist, who performed many different styles of music. He is best known for his work in the jazz fusion style. He became well known because of his cooperation in bands like Soft Machine and Gong. He also performed most of the guitar work on the Bill Bruford's debut solo album 'Feels Good To Me', before both have joined to the new progressive super-group, UK. Okumoto is the keyboardist of Spock's Beard. Deveraux was the first African American woman conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and was also the first African American woman to obtain a conductor's degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She explores the progressive rock and founded the Progressive Symphony in Los Angeles. Guerin was best known as the lead vocalist, but he also played drums, in the American Genesis' tribute band, called Cinema Show. As its name indicates, the group played Genesis' music of the Gabriel's era. Guerin's vocals are very similar to Peter Gabriel's vocals. As a premonition, Guerin sadly passed away, shortly after the completion of 'Book Of The Dead'.

From his youth, Ken has a huge fascination with the ancient world and with all their civilizations. It was instilled by his mother. Ken always had love and fascination with ancient Egypt, particularly with 'The Book Of The Dead' which is the name given to the ancient Egyptian funerary text that comprises a collection of hymns, spells and instructions, to allow the dead pass through all the obstacles, in the afterlife. With ideas and stories taken directly from the original book, Ken has weaved an intricate and an ornate tale of rules, about death and the ultimate journey to the afterlife.

'Book Of The Dead' is the debut studio album of K2 and was released in 2005. It's a conceptual musical work of five songs presented as chapters, with a total time of 46 minutes. It was started in 2001 and took four years to finish. The opening track 'Chapter 1: Infinite Voyage' is the lengthiest track on the album. It's a grandiose and epic theme in the neo-prog vein. As the name indicates, it's a fantastic voyage in time and sounds, which carries us to the times of the ancient Egyptians. The second track 'Chapter 2: Mirror To The Spirits' is a track with a dramatic opening and continues the grandeur of the previous track, with plenty of great remarkable instrumental work, provided by all musicians. The third track 'Chapter 3: The Edge Of Light' is a great track in the same vein of the previous two. It's a very tasteful song with great violin work and with plenty keyboard sounds. The fourth track 'Chapter 4: Aten (Window Of Appearances)' is an instrumental track very beautiful. It's a song that explores the ambient music through the keyboards and the bass guitar, what makes it seems a bit mysterious. The fifth track 'Chapter 5: Cloak Of Antiquity' concludes the album with a very good composition, with great violin work, floating keyboards, good drums, and is well accompanied by emotional vocals. This atmosphere is a nice epilogue for the end of this very good conceptual project.

Conclusion: This is a very interesting project served by a handful of fine musicians. The final result is an excellent debut album. In almost 47 minutes, you are taken along a journey that features all the elements of the era in which progressive rock music was invented. It means that you are listening to many musical traces of great progressive 70's groups, especially Genesis, UK and Yes. The musical traces of Genesis are particularly evident, mainly due the similitude between the voices of Guerin and Gabriel. However, you can also enjoy of modern jazz rock influences. With the release of 'Book Of The Dead', K2 have been touted as the new super group that descended to our progressive musical world. Undoubtedly, I really salute this splendid album and I recommend it, very strongly, to everybody.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Black Garden by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.15 | 46 ratings

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Black Garden
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars The super group that lost its "super"

Black Garden is the second album from K2. Their first album featured none other than the great Allan Holdsworth on guitars, but he is no longer in the band on this follow up album (just as he left the super group UK after their first album). The vocals are still highly Peter Gabriel-like, but the music is somewhat darker and heavier this time around. I don't mind this, but the songs are not particularly memorable and without Holdsworth's distinctive and classic guitar sound, K2 have slipped down a whole dimension on my scale of interest. In fact, I was slightly reluctant to even give the album a chance. But since I very much enjoyed K2's first album, I though why not. It would perhaps be too much to say that it is a disappointment. Rather, it is just as expected - a decent album, but one that falls far short of the high quality of the debut.

Possibly the music can be described as a darker, heavier and less theatrical version of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. This does not sound bad at all on paper, but if we also remove the "star quality" and originality of that classic Prog group and keep in mind also the rather unmemorable material, the situation begins to looks worse. Another downside is that the album is rather long and whatever excitement they managed to build up on the first few tracks starts to wear off towards the middle and it almost becomes a challenge to stay with them all the way trough to the end.

I can warmly recommend K2's debut Book Of The Dead, but this follow up is primarily for fans

 Black Garden by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.15 | 46 ratings

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Black Garden
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by lor68
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well, this time I can not completely "forgive" them for their replacement of A. Holdsworth, by means of a good guitarist like Karl Johnson, cause the original project should have been remarked as the re-birth of the UK famous superband (in spite of E.Jobson and J. Wetton lacking), in the main concept at least; but now, by going back to their beginning once again, the band has been obliged to reset everything, even though They are well driven by the mastermind Ken Jacquess here and their flawless playing is unequivocal.

In fact his plot develops the beautiful story of the first inhabitants who colonized the wild islands, cut-off from the civilization of the modern world; so, by using some fine lyrics and capturing the emotion of the first adventures, Ken has performed a good job...ok some music passages are mellow and the album plot predictable as well, but it's not so much derivative and in vein of such a classic prog rock of the seventies, after all!!

I don't like the discontinuity of the composition (unlike "Book of the Dead"), but the vocalism is very good, even tough the melodic lines are quite uneven!!

Make your personal choice as usual but- in spite of being inferior than their debut work- this new album is not bad; and- even though K2 stand still in search of a precise identity, remaining "in the average" like many other prog bands from the USA, I hope to see them live on stage, before evaluating their performance definitivelyl!

 Black Garden by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.15 | 46 ratings

BUY
Black Garden
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars K2 is back again with their second album. If my memories serves me right, I liked their second album. This one though is a bit of a different beast.

First of all; they have got the album title spot on. The songs here are pretty blackened, but still not without organic life. The reason for much of the darkness is Josh Gleason's darkened vocals. His vocals are excellent, but still on the sombre, dark side of the spectrum. The music too is reflective and moody neo-prog. A good reference is off course Marillion. But also the likes of Discipline is in the same ballpark. The songs are pretty epic and long. The main instruments are the usual tangents and electric guitars in addition to bass and drums. The tangents mostly equal synths, with some piano and Hammonds included too. The electric guitars are both chugging and soaring.

The quality of the songs are good throughout. I am a big fan of the vocals here and they are the main positives from this album. My gripes is the rather anonymous songs. They are trying their best, but does not succeed. But nevertheless; this is a good neo prog album well worth checking out.

3 stars

 Black Garden by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.15 | 46 ratings

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Black Garden
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by idlero

3 stars After six years , with a new guitarist(Karl Johnson) and a new vocalist (Josh Gleason) the K2 are back with a new studio album called Black Garden. For those who are interested(I rarely listen to the lyrics these days) , apparently this is a concept album about ancient Oceania and the journey of ancient Polynesians. The music is kind of 70's prog with traces of Genesis, Yes, ELP and whatever... but sounds fresh and original enough. The opening track "Black Garden" is also the best in my opinion. Seven melodic tracks out which six are six to eleven minutes long, filled with great vocals, soaring keyboards,and superb guitars. The problem is with the slower songs which fail to hold your atention until the end. 3.5 stars rounded down to 3, because it's less good than some 4stars albums released this year.
 Black Garden by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.15 | 46 ratings

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Black Garden
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by robbob

4 stars I had a promo copy i heard 4 times and then deleted. I m sure i ll get one original.

Excellent return of K2.

Not so good things in this album: a)The first song : I presume it will be the single they hope to become a hit,but in prog matters this is a bad pop prog metal song.

b)The absence of Allan Holdsworth .Allan H gave to the music of the group the touch of jazz fusion ,with his incredible riffs.

Very good things in this album.

Excellent songs. The music in this one is a little different from Book Of The Dead because that one was a fusion of symphonic prog with jazz rock(mainly because of A.Holdsworth participation) and this one (in my opinion) is a fusion between neo prog and space rock.

New singer but with very good voice very similar to the older one.

In a summary : very good album ,excellent compositions with virtuous musicians made an excellent dreamy neo prog.

4 stars

 Book Of The Dead by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.51 | 82 ratings

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Book Of The Dead
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

1 stars I've given this album a couple of spins over the course of approximately a year and after listening to it today I've realized that this is the perfect definition of hollow music. Originally I was intrigued by the idea of this supergroup and it's impressive roster of talent. With descriptions like "The Greatest Supergroup Since U.K." what could possibly go wrong?

Ken Jaquess is the mastermind behind this project, the song material and the concept. It becomes obvious early on that Jaquess is no Neal Morse which means that he doesn't know how to compose material or organize a project that would inspire creative collaboration. All the other so called band members are only here to contribute their names to the project since there isn't really a single contribution that is worth mentioning. There are a few instrumental sections that have been strategically placed for Allan Holdsworth/Yvette Devereaux/Ryo Okumoto to fill in with their instrument of choice on the recording. Which means that there is no interplay between these members! So how can this even be considered a group effort?

I realize that it might be harsh to complain about Shaun Guerin's contribution since Shaun passed away shortly after the completion of this album. To be fair there isn't anything wrong with his performance and any criticism I have can only be addressed towards Ken Jaquess' poor judgment and placement of the vocal sections. It feels like the vocal sections have the same purpose as the instrumental guest appearances and the music never feels like a coherent effort.

The only interesting thing about Book Of The Dead is how Ken Jaquess actually got away with calling this a band effort! This is nothing else but his solo album with a few well placed guest appearances and the fact that these appearances happen on every track still don't make it a band effort since a band needs to communicate and play together to achieve a creative collaboration.

I can only imagine that Allan Holdsworth completionists might be interested in this material and even they would be disappointed by this disjoint mess of an album.

*** star songs: Chapter 1 : Infinite Voyage (23:25)

** star songs: Chapter 2 : Mirror To The Spirits (6:54) Chapter 3 : The Edge Of Light (7:03) Chapter 4 : Aten (Window Of Appearences) (3:22) Chapter 5 : Cloak Of Antiquity (5:54)

 Book Of The Dead by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.51 | 82 ratings

BUY
Book Of The Dead
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by M27Barney

5 stars This was bought for me as a xmas prezzie (2009) - and I asked Father chrimbo to deliver it at the same time he was emptying his sacks in my wifes stockings or whatever.....Anyway, I gave it a little spin and THIS IS A GREAT PROGRESSIVE CD. The opening track is impressive, featuring an opening AXE attack from Allan Holdsworth that is just melodic fret picking and yep it's VERY IMPRESSIVE. The singer is very similar to Peter Gabriel and so thats another winner and then we have the very neat and tidy Moog/Organ/Piano work of Ryo Okumoto.The opening epic is majestic and not boring at any point, the production sort of puts it into retro prog feel, I especially get an AS ABOVE SO BELOW sort of composition, it is also reminiscent of many demo tapes that I collected in the eighties. This is the sort of prog I love, loads of mellotron and swirling synths and Guitars - also some nice electric violin.Tracks 2,3 and 5 are all much shorter than the opener (mores the pity) but these are all immensely listenable with nice melodies. The only instrumental track (4) is the weakest on the CD but also the shortest ! I reckon if you know my taste Flower Kings/IQ/Genesis/Yes/Camel then I reckon this CD should be a MUST have for your collection. The opening track alone is FIVE STARS, this is an essential CD for anybody who has a penchant for symphonic prog.
 Book Of The Dead by K2 album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.51 | 82 ratings

BUY
Book Of The Dead
K2 Neo-Prog

Review by robbob

4 stars K2 is a nice romantic symphonic prog rock act.

This music is so poetic and intense.

The jazzy taste is strongly incorporated by A Holdsworth guitar passages, and his particular extended electronic sound (as an electronic violin)

Quite a melancholic music and very well executed .

The instrumentation ,the vocals(nice vocals) in the correct place and time .

Obvious influences of UK prog band . But also a strong influence of mid seventies Yes, particularly Going For The One,and more specific Awaken ... majestuous song.

A remarkable variety of intensity in the songs and all of them with the correct length.

I really pleasure for the ears.

4 or 4,5 stars

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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