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KAYAK

Crossover Prog • Netherlands


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Kayak biography
KAYAK is a Dutch band, originating from the early seventies. The band began as a symphonic progressive rock act with an emphasis in songwriting, but from 1977 on KAYAK changed direction moving into crossover territories. KAYAK revived in the 21st century, recording new albums and touring again.

The original line-up of KAYAK was quite strange. Most members were trained musicians at the conservatoriums of Holland. Max WERNER was a professional drummer that had to sing and Pim KOOPMAN was a professional piano-player that had to play the drums (which actually was his true love). Luckily Ton SCHERPZEEL was able to play on the keyboards, which was his profession. Later on, from 1977, Pim KOOPMAN left the band and Max WERNER became the drummer. A long-time fan, Edward REEKERS became the new vocalist.

Their debut "See See The Sun" (1973) is often seen as their biggest contribution to the symphonic prog genre. Their mix of naļve, but very melodic symphonic songs is attractive and evokes early GENESIS, YES and some have mentioned SUPERTRAMP (which I never fully understood). KAYAK has two main composers, Ton SCHERPENZEEL and Pim KOOPMAN. The typical classical influenced style of SCHERPENZEEL remained recognizable throughout KAYAK's long career. The vocals of Max WERNER ('73-'77) are very distinctive because of his high-pitched voice that has a powerful strength-through-weakness appeal. KAYAK used many of the recognizable symphonic prog key-instruments, such as Moog and Mellotron. KAYAK's second album in 1974 was a good continuation of KAYAK's melodic/symphonic prog style, but it had a bigger focus on long compositions which was profitable for the music. "Royal Bed Bouncer" (1975) continued this course, whilst "The Last Encore" (1976) has a distinctive atmosphere with lots of great progressive songs that were perhaps the most original the band created in their progressive period. The first four albums of KAYAK are recommended to fans of the symphonic progressive rock genre.

After this the band wanted to have better sales and changed direction in to pop-territories with "Starlight Dancer" (1977), which only had the title track as a progressive song. The 1979 album "Phantom of the Night" became the biggest hit in the charts, but in the beginning of the eighties they disbanded after making their last progressive effort; the 1981 semi-prog/semi-pop "Merlin". Though KAYAK had made seven albums at this point, it's members had never seen a penny earne...
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See See the SunSee See the Sun
Remastered · Import
Esoteric 2012
Audio CD$11.23
$9.99 (used)
KayakKayak
Remastered · Import
Esoteric 2012
Audio CD$11.29
$9.95 (used)
Royal Bed BouncerRoyal Bed Bouncer
Remastered · Import
Esoteric 2012
Audio CD$11.17
$10.11 (used)
Anywhere But HereAnywhere But Here
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$12.64
$9.97 (used)
ClassicsClassics
Renaissance 1999
Audio CD$12.99
$2.44 (used)
Last EncoreLast Encore
Import
Universal Int'l 2002
Audio CD$15.89
$24.00 (used)
Starlight DancerStarlight Dancer
Import
Universal Uk/Zoom 2010
Audio CD$24.49
$26.13 (used)
EyewitnessEyewitness
Extra tracks · Import
Pidm 1999
Audio CD$29.99
$7.65 (used)
Anniversary BoxAnniversary Box
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$40.42
$37.16 (used)
KayakKayak
Import
1997
Audio CD$49.98 (used)
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KAYAK shows & tickets


  • Kayak at Iduna, Drachten on 1 Nov 2014
  • Kayak at Boerderij, Zoetermeer on 28 Dec 2014

KAYAK discography


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

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

3.82 | 88 ratings
See See The Sun
1973
4.03 | 78 ratings
Kayak II
1974
3.77 | 70 ratings
Royal Bed Bouncer
1975
3.41 | 50 ratings
The Last Encore
1976
3.08 | 40 ratings
Starlight Dancer
1977
3.44 | 55 ratings
Phantom of the Night
1979
3.11 | 42 ratings
Periscope Life
1980
3.34 | 53 ratings
Merlin
1981
3.87 | 57 ratings
Close To The Fire
2000
2.73 | 34 ratings
Night Vision
2001
3.86 | 88 ratings
Merlin - Bard of the Unseen
2003
3.80 | 50 ratings
Nostradamus - The Fate Of Man
2005
2.55 | 49 ratings
Coming Up For Air
2008
3.22 | 39 ratings
Letters from Utopia
2009
3.47 | 21 ratings
Anywhere But Here
2011

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

2.75 | 19 ratings
Eyewitness
1981
3.62 | 17 ratings
Chance For A Live Time
2001
4.11 | 9 ratings
KAYAKoustc live
2007

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

4.81 | 19 ratings
In Concert - Merlin, Bard Of The Unseen
2003
2.46 | 7 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
2006

KAYAK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 18 ratings
Starlight Dancer (US)
1978
1.62 | 4 ratings
The best of Kayak
1978
3.00 | 4 ratings
Phantom Of The Night (Italian Production)
1978
4.04 | 6 ratings
Original Tapes
1988
3.33 | 6 ratings
Kayak
1988
3.08 | 10 ratings
The Best Of Kayak
1988
3.12 | 6 ratings
Original Hits
1995
3.62 | 7 ratings
3 Originals
1998
3.97 | 6 ratings
The Singles
1999
4.08 | 5 ratings
See See The Sun / Kayak
2000

KAYAK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

KAYAK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Starlight Dancer (US) by KAYAK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1978
3.33 | 18 ratings

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Starlight Dancer (US)
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I always enjoy compilation of early albums like this one with KAYAK which basically after they released five studio albums: See See The Sun (1973), Kayak II (1974), Royal Bed Bouncer (1975), The Last Encore (1976) and Starlight Dancer (1977). My first listen of Kayak happened with Kayak II especially with its Woe and Alas track. To be honest I love this track very much since the first time I heard it even until now. I really don't know why this compilation does not include this beuatiful song Kayak has ever made.

However, I like the inclusion of Nothingness right here in this compilation. This song has a very solid composition combining nice piano work and very good vocal harmony. The poppy song I. I Want you to be Mine (4:46) is actually good as well. Still my Heart cries for you (4:34) is very melodic and melancholic. While Starlight Dancer (5:03) is an excellent song with brilliant composition starting with something melodic at intro part followed with a blast of music that moves nicely from start to end. Irene (4:22) is a very good instrumental.

Overall it's a good compilation. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Coming Up For Air by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.55 | 49 ratings

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Coming Up For Air
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by progbaby

3 stars 3.5 stars ... Really!

I see this album has a low rating. I respect the opinions / ratings of others. We all hear different things and have different tastes. The same album(s)/song(s) speak differently to many of us. What makes the world interesting is people can see different things in the same "object".

this particular "object" is this album. Yes it's modern pop (with very little progressive tendancies) and different from Kayak's older period. To my ears, that does not make it worse. I consider Kayak similar to King Crimson and Camel. 1 or 2 key members remain over multiple transitions/personal changes so it's really hard for me to judge the 70's Kayak over the current Kayak. Because whenever I think the 70's Kayak is so great (and I do feel that way), there's some major gems with the modern phase of Kayak (2000-present) as well.

One of my all time favorite Kayak songs (and maybe in my top 10 favorite song of all time) is on this album. "Broken White". I can't describe what makes the song so great in my head. All I know is when I'm listening to it, I'm on the verge of breaking down (and I'm not really an emotional guy). Something about the melody/lyrics and the way it's sung along with the musical (sounds like an accordion or something) break in the middle just says to me "this is one of those songs that I have been searching for a long long time".

Just for that one song, the whole album is worth it. But there's some other gems on this album. Freezing, Medea, Daughter of the Moon, Sad State of Affairs and the Mask and the Mirror... Wow!!! Some really nice melancholy/catchy melodies there. Yes there's some filler songs too (skip them) to make this album a little uneven. But for the most part, aren't most modern pop albums "uneven"? Who can expect a modern pop masterpiece? So I feel we have a pretty good album here with several strong songs mixed in with a few forgettable songs.

But "Broken White".... Holy darn. This may be the best song Kayak ever did.

I honestly feel you owe it to yourself to go on youtube and search for Kayak "Broken White" or some other place. Give it a listen before you skip this album due to its low ratings. And maybe listen to Freezing, Daughter of the Moon, Mask and the Mirror (there's some pretty cool vocal harmonies in this song which reminds me of early Queen ala Bohemian Rhapsody).

Broken White is a "******" song.

Don't expect a progressive album but do expect some really nice pop melodies that are not "too commercial" sounding (ala US modern pop aka Bieber, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, yuck!).

Kayak has nothing to be ashamed of with this album and the low ratings. Some fine melodies here.

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 Periscope Life  by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.11 | 42 ratings

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Periscope Life
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars For sure this seventh album is not the best from Kayak as there are not so many masterpiece songs taken from this one. As far of the way I define Kayak, it's basically a pop rock band with some elements of prog that makes them in the prog scene. The strenght of Kayak music is in most of their melodies as many tracks they have produced have very strong and memorable melodies with great vocal harmony. As for this album there are two masterpiece songs: "Anne" which has a very good vibe and flow, plus - of course - memorable melody. The other one is the ballad "Sad to Say Farewell" which has become my personal favorite of all time. It's great in terms of vocal as well as how the piano blends together in the music. I really consider this album still worth as personal collection especially for those melody-maniac. Keep on proggin' ...! Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Royal Bed Bouncer  by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.77 | 70 ratings

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Royal Bed Bouncer
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by progbaby

5 stars It's been a while since I have given an album this kind of a review. I've had this album for several years and listened to it a few times and shelved it. You know how that goes when you have a bunch of prog and are in a bunch of different moods.

This past 2-3 weeks though, I've returned back to Kayak with a vengance. Gosh darn, their first several albums thru "Last Encore" are classics. And "Starlight dancer" is pretty good too. "Close to the fire" is also a fantastic album.

Back to "Royal Red Bouncer", I personally feel the first 10 tracks from the original album might quite possibly be one of the strongest 10 tracks to occupy a non-concept album. We have excellent short-lived melodies in the perfect 70's vein. The opening track "Royal Red Bouncer" sounds very "Genesis" ala-"Selling England by the Pound" or "Nursery cryme". A little too derivitave and forced. But still good. The album then picks up from tracks 2 thru the end and contains some of the most beautiful ballads put on a prog rock album. Some may debate the "progness" of gems like " Life of gold", "If this is your welcome", "Moments of Joy" and the ever heavenly/haunting closer "My heart has changed" which might be one of the most perfect 2.5 minute melodies to my ear. It's georgeous and sad all at the same time and has shades of melancholy like the incredible must-have Trader Horne album (from 1970). And "Patricia Anglaia" with it's wordless vocals (female it sounds like) would belong perfectly in some Sergio Leone "flashback scene" in one of those classic Spaghetti Westerns.

After the original 10 tracks, the cd has 9 bonus tracks which some have made their way on previous albums which are all gems too.

I think "richardh" above said it perfectly when he said "I don't think there is a better song based prog album in existence".

I totally agree.

This is by far one of the best albums I own in my collection. And that includes a collection of hundreds of the best italian, german, english, swedish, etc.. prog albums out there.

Without exaggeration/hesitation, this is just as strong as any of the best Beatles albums, etc.. If the Beatles (during their Abbey Road/White Album/Let it Be phase) had become a prog group, I'm thinking they would have sounded similar to this. And maybe not as good :-)

Gosh why can't they do music like this here in the USA. It makes me sad when I turn on the radio and hear Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, etc.. It makes even sadder when I see Rolling Stone articles naming the likes of "Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and all the American pop singers" as "The greatest talent in the history of mankind" while never considering to mention the thousands of prog albums/bands from Europe/South America/Asia/etc... Kayak is one of the best bands out there in my opinion.

Beautiful album. I'd give this 6 stars if it would allow me.

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 See See The Sun  by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.82 | 88 ratings

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See See The Sun
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars With his first album snuck Kayak burst onto the music scene. Lyrics obtained only some commercial success, and less Mammoth. But it was evident the great talent of a band made ​​ up of young musicians with good ideas. Hilversum Music Academy proved to be the meeting place.

The electric piano, hammond organ and moog are ahead in general, with the addition of Werner's mellotron in certain sections. The vocal harmonies, as in Forever is a Lonely Thought or Hope for a Life, among others, are fabulous.

Lovely Moon and Forever is a Lonely Thought are introspective and distant beauty, the most original and engaging.

The statements, coupled with good initial theme Reason for it All, deserves a high rating.

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 Phantom of the Night  by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.44 | 55 ratings

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Phantom of the Night
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars Kayak is comparable to groups of a more 'enlightened or harmless' sound as Alan Parsons Project, Saga and to a lesser extent with Styx. There were no masterpiece (as it did Supertramp), but I find very nice a lot of songs from their discography.

Especially enjoy their first three albums for the most part, and Merlin (first side).

The case of Phantom of the Night is that, despite having less progressive attitudes to their first two discs or the A side of "Merlin", contains songs very well produced and with the band playing smooth and very accurate. Excellent leadership Scherpenzel, Slager very thoughtful contributions on guitar, and Reekers“s voice at a great time, like the drums of Werner.

 Keep the Change is one of my favorites of the group. Beautiful melody, great vocal harmonies and a great job of keyboards. True, it's more pop than prog, but great quality. I“m not tired of this song. Great way to start.

Daphne, Winning Ways, Phantom of the Night and The Poet and the Man Band are other highlights. Ruthless Queen is an excellent ballad, too popular at the time. The rest is enjoyable and listenable

Kayak has a unique style and, depending on the type of music you want to hear, is appropriate and recommended....

Rating 3,5 to 4.

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 Coming Up For Air by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.55 | 49 ratings

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Coming Up For Air
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Generic and boring. Nothing catchy, nothing prog. Just another band from the 70s trying to return. And it was really bad. Coming Up For Air is something poor, filled with slow pop ballads. The vocalist (male) sounds sad, but that kind of boring sad people, that want to cry to you and you cannot stand it. The first keyboard riff at the album opening Alienation, is not a GREAT riff, but it's fine, just fine. But that was just a joke, the riff will fool you only for a few seconds. The album is ugly, and I don't deserve it to anyone.

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 See See The Sun  by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.82 | 88 ratings

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See See The Sun
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Whilst it is Focus who get all the praise, those who reaLly know their Dutch prog will tell you that the 'Hamburger Concerto' stars ain't the only boys in town. Then, after a quick mention of Trace, Supersister, Finch and Group 1850, they'll recommend the first pair of studio albums by this briefly-brilliant five-piece, which equates to this debut release from 1973 and it's eponymous follow-up(which is often to referred to as 'Kayak II') from a year later. Hailing from the South-Eastern city of Hilversum, Kayak was formed by talented duo of Ton Scherpenzeel(keyboards, vocals) and Pim Koopman(drums) sometime during the latter half of 1972. A search for musicians to fill out the group brought Johan Slager(guitar), Cees van Leeuwen(bass) and Max Werner(vocals, mellotron) on board, and after signing a deal with the British label Harvest found themselves teamed with producer Gerritt-Jan Leenders. Recorded during the winter of 1973 and issued in early 1974, the subsequent 'See See The Sun' marked Kayak out as a truly unique outfit, blending quirky progressive rock riffs with an almost Canterbury-style sensibility and much oddball humour. Listened to now, it sounds as fresh and as vital as ever, the slick production wringing every shade of very note from the group's excellent playing; now, reissued and remastered on the Esoteric imprint, it sounds even better. However, musically it is Scherpenzeel who dominates proceedings, adding thrilling solo displays with a host of instruments - organ, piano, synthesizer, harpsicord, accordion and even harp figure - to the magnificent opening track 'Reason For It All', the jaunty highlight 'Hope For A Life' and many other of the album's quirky pieces. Aided by Slager's wailing guitars and Koopman's battery of drum licks, the bulk of 'See See The Sun' proves fairly addictive, very much an album that, when started, must be finished. 1974's follow-up, the post-titled 'Kayak II', would somehow manage to surpass its predecessor, in the process outlining just what a fearsomely-inventive group Kayak were. Strangely, however, 'Kayak II' would mark something of a peak, as pervading musical trends and other factors - including line-up shifts - saw Kayak producing a more radio-friendly style of rock, their sound gradually softening as the 1970's turned into the 1980's. It is for their first two albums that we remember them for however, and both remain undoubted jewels of the rich Dutch prog-rock scene that flowered during the early- seventies. If pushed, this writer will plump for 'Kayak II' as the better, yet all that really shows is just how good the debut album is. A great little group; check 'em out now. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Royal Bed Bouncer  by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.77 | 70 ratings

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Royal Bed Bouncer
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by the philosopher

4 stars Kayak started in 1973 with a Genesis and Yes inspired "See See the Sun". Their second record (often called "the second") shows more Pink Floyd influences and a more distinctive "Kayak" sound. This "Royal bed Bouncer" may be Kayak's first effort which is only typical Kayak with no obvious links anymore to Yes, Genesis or Pink Floyd, except that it's mostly symphonic based. In my opinion Kayak was growing from their first effort till this Royal bed Bouncer, which is together with the next "Last Encore" the peak of their carreer (or at least their first peak). For fans of Yes and Genesis however I'd rather advise Kayak's first effort, because of the similarities in sound.

On the Royal Bed Bouncer Kayak has perfected their formula of song based sympho prog with a nice balance between up-tempo tracks and prog ballads. Their is a lot of clean piano to be heard and some nice guitar tunes; also some mellotron for the atmosphere. Because of the short track lengths their is no time to mesmorize the listener with the more charming atmospheres, but the continual mood changes and great mixing of the record makes this one long trip. The vocals of Max Werner are as good as ever and some of the tracks are outstanding like the up-tempo opening track "Royal Bed Bouncer" with excellent piano arrangements and "Patricia Anglaia" which is a song based on a female vocal solo by guest musician "Patricia". The record is actually nice troughout and ends with the great "My heart never changes" which is so emotionally filled that I think it will do something to most of the listeners.

In my opinion this record is as best described as a better balanced version of Genesis' "Lamb lies down on Broadway" with less repetition and shorter tracks. Further I'd like to mention that their is a version on the market with a different album cover with a picture of a loyal coach on it which suits the record much better then the cover displayed on progarchives.

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 Merlin by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.34 | 53 ratings

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Merlin
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by the philosopher

3 stars Merlin can be seen as a stolen idea from Rick Wakeman's "The myths and legends of King Arthur..." because of the use of the same legend and even the use of the same songtitle 'Lady of the Lake". Well, it's true, but IMO we deal here with far superior material. Whereby the vocal department of Wakeman's record was at best mediocre, Kayak always had great vocalists. Also the songwriting is far better, although the Merlin concept only takes one side; the other side contains weak pop material. The first side of the record is actually of such high quality that Kayak picked it up again in the 00's and wrote more material besides it to fill a whole record about this legend. The succesfull theatre tour that followed in 2003 was recorded and is highly worthy video material of these Dutch prog veterans.

The concept of "Merlin" begins with the mysterious titletrack which has a very good memorable guitar melodie which introduces the heavy - even bombastic - rockin' part of this song. Later on in this song it turns back to the mystical theme. The earlier catchy guitar melodie is now replaced by a multivocal session, which is quiet intriguing. Then the guitar takes over this melodie and there is some time for a great keyboard solo (the only hardrock solo Scherpenzeel ever recorded?). The keyboard solo flows fluidly over in the guitarsolo which builds up to the climax. This is what I call a good start: this may be the most rockin' composition of Kayak's whole career.

The next songs contain sympho prog ballads ("Tintagel" and "Lady of the Lake") and a medieval influenced rock song ("The King's Enchanter"). The song "The Sword in the Stone" has the same feeling as the opening track, but cannot match that quality. Still a good song. The last track "Lady of the Lake" ends perfectly with great high guitar tunes.

A reason for getting this 80's record aboth the '00 is that this record is more up-tempo/rockin'. In my opinion this semi conceptual record only has one good side, but this side is somewhat better then the average quality of the '00 record. If you can get this one on vinyl you will find a really good quality side. Side one: 4 stars/ Side two: 1 star.

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