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KARFAGEN

Symphonic Prog • Ukraine


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Karfagen biography
Founded in Ukraine in 1997

KARFAGEN (meaning Carthago) is a symbol of glory and wisdom, a never-ending journey into the world of the forgotten past and unpredictable future.

KARFAGEN is the brainchild of multi-talented musician and composer, Antony Kalugin. The name was first used in 1997, when Antony formed a band at school. While he was studying at the architectural university a year later, he began to record the first Karfagen compositions in one of the local studios, and a few tracks from this period can be found on the `Key to Perception' compilation from 2009.

In 2005 Antony Kalugin with his assembled musicians went into the studio to record `Continium', the first Karfagen album, which led the band to sign with Unicorn Digital (Canada) the following year. It was highly acclaimed by listeners, which inspired Antony to continue his work and release a second album `The Space Between Us' in early 2007. Later that year he signed with Caerllysi Music (UK).

In order to expand the boundaries of the musical landscape, Antony often collaborated with many different unique musicians. Therefore, in 2011 on the `Lost Symphony' album, Roberto Diaz (Cuba) from ANIMA MUNDI took part as an additional guitarist; in 2013 on `Aleatorica', Tomek Mucha provided electric violin and Sergey Klevenskiy added clarinet, whistles and flutes. In 2014 Mathieu Spaeter appeared as a main guitarist on `Magicians Theatre' as well as Pascal Gutman playing some stick-bass on the `Yuletide' track.

Karfagen is mainly an instrumental band that shows imaginative use of keyboards and guitars, classical and ethnic instruments. Their style can be described as symphonic art-rock with a hint of new-age, folk, jazz-rock and neo-prog in places. Their influences are CAMEL, FOCUS, HAPPY THE MAN, GREENSLADE, THE FLOWER KINGS, UK and KAYAK.

Also inspired by the composers Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Prokofiev, Edward Grig and Pyotr Chaikovskiy, Antony's compositions are always well-constructed and thoughtful. The sound is enhanced by such instruments as oboe, bassoon, accordion, violin, cello, flutes, saxophone and pipes.

In addition to imaginative music, every Karfagen album cover is picturesque and charismatic in the tradition of the classic progressive rock era.

Antony doesn't stand still. On one hand, the sound of Karfagen is unique and recognisable, but on the other hand, with each consecutive album Antony brings something new and specia...
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KARFAGEN discography


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

3.73 | 83 ratings
Continium
2006
3.20 | 76 ratings
The Space Between Us
2007
3.93 | 121 ratings
Solitary Sandpiper Journey
2010
3.92 | 267 ratings
Lost Symphony
2011
3.89 | 131 ratings
Aleatorica
2013
3.83 | 124 ratings
Magician's Theater
2014
3.86 | 148 ratings
7
2015
3.99 | 113 ratings
Spektra
2016
3.97 | 164 ratings
Messages From Afar - First Contact
2017
4.07 | 288 ratings
Echoes From Within Dragon Island
2019
4.00 | 203 ratings
Birds of Passage
2020

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

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

4.74 | 18 ratings
Breaking Free Tour Live by AKP (Karfagen / Sunchild)
2017

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

3.96 | 59 ratings
The Key to Perception
2009
4.67 | 9 ratings
The Sandpipers Symphony
2020

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

4.73 | 11 ratings
Seven Gates
2015
4.67 | 6 ratings
The Day is Done
2020
4.43 | 7 ratings
Phantasmagoria
2020
4.63 | 8 ratings
Hunter
2020
4.60 | 5 ratings
Levitation
2020

KARFAGEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Echoes From Within Dragon Island by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.07 | 288 ratings

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Echoes From Within Dragon Island
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by BlazingProg

5 stars After listening to this album I can definitely say that Antony Kalugin is one of the modern progressive rock geniuses. This album just blew me away. The atmosphere on this album is fantastic. Along with the keyboards, guitars, vocals, drums and bass. There are some moments on this album that just gave me goosebumps. All 3 parts of the album are well done and ( in my opinion ) are equally as great! The array of music here on this album is truly incredible. If you haven't heard this album yet I would definitely recommend it. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!
 Birds of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 203 ratings

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Birds of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by BlazingProg

5 stars With every Karfagen release comes new and great music. I can say that this album follows this trend. Birds of Passage part 1 starts off with some great atmosphere. Throughout the song you will get some great keyboard playing, some dark parts, some light hearted parts and overall, just a mix of emotions in this song! This song is just fantastic! Birds of Passage part 2 follows the same trend of Birds of Passage part 1 with the mix of emotions throughout the song. The song does not disappoint. Part 1 and part 2 are similar but very different at the same time. Part 2 is just as great as part 1. The bonus songs are also both very good. This is another impressive karfagen release. Definitely check this album out!
 Spektra by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.99 | 113 ratings

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Spektra
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Karfagen from Ukraine is a great symphonic prog band sovereignly led by composer and keyboard player Antony Kalugin. His latest works have made a very positive (5-star) impression on me, but this 8th Karfagen album has a different approach which is less up to my prog taste.

Whereas e.g. Echoes from Within Dragon Island (2019) is full of accessible, lush melodies, has mostly a mellow, romantic symph prog atmosphere reminiscent of Camel, and is a poetry-inspired album alternating between sung and instrumental parts, Spektra is basically (almost entirely) instrumental and much more muscular prock rock as a whole. In its extravagant and energetic playfulness it comes closer to ELP than Camel -- I don't mean Kalugin's composing style would notably remind me of Keith Emerson's, but you get the point, right?

The 63-minute album has 16 tracks, only the opening title track being over six minutes, but they form three entities, or "Phases", with a sense of an epic approach. The majority of Phase 1 is frankly too much of a rollercoaster ride for me. The intense Latin chanting on 'Terra Incognita' doesn't help in that matter. But the sixth track 'Homonymous Pt. 1' is a pleasant, Steve Hackett/ Anthony Phillips reminding little piece starring acoustic guitar, as is Pt. 2 later on the album. Also even shorter 'Angel Tears' is a calm and moody oasis amidst faster stuff.

Phase 2 is loaded with various keyboards. 'Aurora' is a nice piece with soaring melodies and some female vocalise. The first part of Phase 3 contains accordion and is followed by beautifully melodic 'Natural Charm'. So, after all Spektra does have also the softer side of Kalugin's musical expression, if in rather small doses. I round my 3,5 stars upwards for the good-looking cover art and the presumption that many progheads probably find this album more interesting than the slightly mellower later works.

 Birds of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 203 ratings

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Birds of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars KARFAGEN is the group of prolific and multi-instrumentalist Antony KALUGIN who also worked on HOGGWASH. This album was released barely a year after the highly acclaimed "Echoes From Within Dragon Island", an immense CD for its ingenuity. Here, Antony takes up a story of Henry Wadsworth and William Blake for a sound story eyeing YES, GENESIS just for the sounds of the synths. A little more CAMEL and TRANSATLANTIC, ROINE STOLT, a little QUIDAM at the start, even a touch of PENDRAGON for the flights and also MOODY BLUES came to my ear. More than anything, it's guaranteed immersion for 2 long spool tracks followed by 2 other normal titles and one extra available on digital. In short, real symphonic progressive rock as we dare not dream of. Music with many more musicians including the fabulous Mathieu SPAETER. Convoluted arrangements, mixtures of all the bands as if they were actually coming to make their own musical beef.

"Birds Of Passage p.1" and its five well-linked parts (don't go looking for the cuts, the 22 minutes go by in one go) leads the listener on a "Supper's ready" track that you will have to dissect in wire tapping. More vocals than in the previous CD, but also more solo moments with synths and rhythm guitar then solo. It's cheerful, playful, melodic and also a bit repetitive. It's beautiful, complex and also a bit overplayed, a bit too predictable; touch of MOODY BLUES, TRANSATLANTIC and GENESIS forward, a bit of FLOWER KINGS, then CAMEL, folk, medieval, vintage drawers especially also, the real melting pot in fact. Only one element, the rises of the first notes are an invitation to travel, then it goes off without a false note with breaks and other transitions in a limpid way.

"Birds Of Passage p.2" and its bucolic entry, a little bit on the "Horizons" of which you know, brings a monument with start-up on notes of YES revisited, a little on the tune of "Machine Messiah" , then an explosion of symphonic notes. Return by more recent GENESIS, after the separation with GABRIEL, and then the tune resumes with an incisive chorus interspersed with solos of synths and guitars. It even becomes punchy rock at times. Then Olfieldian breaks appear (bells and guitar from "Tubular Bells"), others a little jazzy, others a little to ENO itself. There are also sounds of the great KING CRIMSON, in short, the well- organized tote. An almost hard passage also gives a little more power to this long title. It all ends with a long, predictable, somewhat ethereal finish.

"Spring (Birds Delight)", one of 3 bonus tracks, to a tune by White Zulu Johnny Clegg; it's dancing, tribal. The violin and especially the guitar give the melody for a relaxed atmosphere, with percussions and well targeted vocals, which remind me a little of the MANFRED MANN'S EB of "Somewhere In Africa". "Sunrise" starts directly with a new-age sound with a little "Sonner Les Mâtines", the flute, a progressive, latent atmosphere, enough to rest your ears after the two master titles. On the verge of spleen too and a return to more Celtic tribal voices. Title which reminds me a little of certain tunes of "Plains Music" still of MMEB. Finally, only available in digital version, "Birds Short Introduction" comes here to take on the air of the first title, nothing more in the end.

KARFAGEN with his mentor Antony took up the challenge of the too close opus. This album is just prodigious, mixing closely and further all the sounds recorded in our musical subconscious. This album is distinguished by the use of sung melodies. However, in my opinion, it is less successful than its predecessor which I told you about at the beginning of this column. Well, you got it, a drawback given the grandiose production of "Echoes From Within Dragon Island" that I finally undercut! Ah, the columnists are not what they used to be, but it allows me to dive back into "Echoes" again.

 Birds of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 203 ratings

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Birds of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but this album makes Antony sound tired--as if he's running out of fresh ideas, scraping the bottom of his vast and formerly-full barrel--as well as if he's tired of being Mr. Perfectionist in the engineering room and tired of being Mr. Perfectionist with every performance on every track. There are a lot of nice ideas here, a lot of nice performances, but they sound hodge-podged together, spliced together instead of worked out and re-worked out.

1. "Birds of Passage" (Part 1): (22:40) Antony is starting to sound tired. (38/45) - a) Your Grace - b) Against the Southern Sky - c) Sounds That Flow - d) Chanticleer - e) Tears from the Eyelids Start (Part 1) 2. "Birds of Passage" (Part 2): (21:11) (35.33/40) - a) Eternity's Sun Rise - nice little acoustic guitar rant (4.75/5) - b) Echoing Green - an exercise in experimental chord progressions? Nice second half--especially when the contributions of other musicians & vocalists join in. (17.33/20) - c) Showers from the Clouds of Summer - nice feeling set up by piano and treated incidentals. Easily the best, most emotionally evocative section on the album--even the PAUL SPEER-like electric guitar solo. (9.5/10) - d) Tears from the Eyelids Start (Part 2) - ambient outro. (4.25/5) - bonus tracks: 3. "Spring (Birds Delight)" (4:34) a wonderful African-influenced song. (9.25/10) 4. "Sunrise" (5:23) New Age-like flute-led instrumental. Pleasant but nothing exceptional or ground-breaking. (8.67/10)

Total Time: 53:56

B/four stars; a nice addition to any prog addict's music collection that I recommend you try for yourself even though what I hear here is mostly a flimsy prog-by-numbers rehash of old ideas from a tired master.

 Birds of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 203 ratings

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Birds of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

5 stars Review #11 (Karfagen - Birds of Passage)

Antony Kalugin along with a cast of excellent musicians have done it yet again with Karfagen's eleventh studio release! After releasing Echoes From Within Dragon Island in 2019, they had a lot to live up to. Nonetheless, I was yet again blown away. From the excellent drumming from Viktor Syrotin, to the impressive guitar work from both Mathieu Spaeter and Aleksandr Pavlov this album's musicianship never falls into question. The poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Blake are used in the suite with additional lyrics are composed by Antony. Also, I just have to point out the jaw dropping artwork coming from Igor Sokolskiy, he has really become the Roger Dean of Karfagen! When listening to the album, you are able to notice influences from multiple classic prog bands, but the band never fails to capture their own identity. They are able to captivate the essence of what modern symphonic prog should be.

When first viewing the album, you will notice that it consists of Birds of Passage, divided into two parts. In addition to a couple of bonus tracks. Birds of Passage Parts 1 & 2 reminds me of what Jethro Tull did in their album, Thick As A Brick, by splitting one consecutive piece into two parts. These two parts are both excellent in their own right. The occurring main theme of Birds of Passage "This time, this place..." appears four times throughout the album. However, you will notice repeated themes all throughout the album that help tie it all together. There is such a beauty found here that it is mesmerizing. Similar to the previous album, there are few other songs that are laid out as bonus tracks to the main Birds of Passage suite. Unfortunately, none of those tracks stand up when compared the masterpiece that came before it, but they are still an enjoyable listen. I could go on about the excellent music found all over this album. From the synth playing or the beautiful yet intense guitar work I would honestly just check out this album yourself!

This has to be one of my highlights that has come out so far this year, and I definitely don't see that changing. I am very interested to hear how Antony will follow up yet another masterpiece but I won't be surprised if he is able to do it. For any fan of symphonic prog, or prog in general, I would highly recommend Birds of Passage!

Birds of Passage - 5/5 (Prime)

 The Space Between Us by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.20 | 76 ratings

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The Space Between Us
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

4 stars Review - #9 (Karfagen - The Space Between Us)

Karfagen's second release, The Space Between Us, continues the sound displayed in the bands debut while expanding it into something new. The Space Between Us was released a year after their first album, Continium, and is purely instrumental with occasional vocal harmonies. The creative genius behind the music is Antony Kalugin and is accompanied with a plethora of other excellent musicians throughout the album. The album contains some light jazz tunes, a new-age feel, with a strong symphonic influence that clocks in at an hour and five minutes. Now, let's discuss some of the music found on this album.

The album begins with Entering the Gates, which begins to immediately establishes the sound found throughout the album. The next song, The Great Circus, is probably the weakest song found on the album. The mood set throughout the song doesn't fit with the tone found with rest of the album. However, the rest of the songs are great. Some standout tracks are, The Temple of Light which most accurately displays the new age feel found throughout this album. A beautiful track! Also, Masks and Illusions is a really interesting track that shows the band at their most progressive up to this point. In addition, Kingfisher & Dragonflies is a playful track that sounds like something I'd hear when turning on my Nintendo 64 many years ago. Which is definitely not a bad thing. All throughout the album there is great music to be heard and as much as I would like to list more fantastic songs found here I believe my thoughts on those few songs listed above can be shared to the album as a whole.

As Antony Kalugin continues to create new music his sound continues to expand into a more progressive sound. It's shocking to see this album have such a low score on progarchives. Hopefully as more people listen to this album, the more it will be recognized. An excellent instrumental album that is criminally underrated!

The Space Between Us - 4/5

 Continium by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.73 | 83 ratings

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Continium
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

3 stars Review - #7 (Karfagen - Continium)

Recently I've decided to to review all of Karfagen's albums starting with their debut, Continium. Karfagen was founded in 1997 in Ukraine by multi-instrumentalist and composer Antony Kalugin. This album was released in 2006 nearly ten years after their founding. Antony Kalugin and the other excellent musicians found on the album were able to create a very interesting genre blending sound that is enjoyable from beginning to end. Now, let's talk about some of the songs found on the album.

The album begins with Part 1 of A Winter Tale which is a great start to the album. The song builds into a great climax that sticks to me, even when writing this review. The other part(s) (Depending on which version you listen to Parts 2 & 3 may be combined) are also excellent. In the beginning of Part 2, I can't help myself from hearing some Solaris - Nostradamus Book of Prophecies. I don't know if their was some intent behind that... but it's definitely there. The rest of the songs found on the album, including Silent Anger and Old Legends really have a folk like atmosphere to them. One of my favorites has to be The Amused Fair which takes you through many different sounds and emotions. In addition, the song transfers perfectly into Stone Talk which is must listen after hearing The Amused Fair. The last song, Close to Heaven is the only song on the album to have real vocals in it. I don't know if I'd classify this song as Prog, but it's great nonetheless.

Karfagen was able to accomplish what I believe they intended to accomplish. Create a good (mostly) instrumental album which debuts their music to the world. The band combined genres into a sound that is truly unique.

Continium - 3.5/5

 Birds of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 203 ratings

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Birds of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Booba Kastorsky

5 stars Antony and his team did it again! This time the new album is less symphonic, except of some moments from the first song that to me sounds similar to The Revealing Science of God from Yes' Topographic Ocean. The rest of the album has strong folk and world music flavor. Some moments reminiscent MIke Oldfield,and some... Pat Metheny: guitar sound, "exotic percussions", wordless vocals. I like them both, so I like the new Karfagen's opus as well. in comparison to previous albums, the mood of the album is on the calmer side. As on most Karfagen albums, there are a number of strong melodies, nice vocal parts, and more emphasis on guitar sound, both electric and acoustic. The keyboards are also there, but they mostly add color than solos. And, us usual, great artwork!
 Birds of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 203 ratings

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Birds of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Drmick1971

5 stars Birds of Passage is Antony Kalugin's follow up to Échoes from within Dragon Island'. With returning musicians from the previous album, Alexandr Pavlov (Bassoon), Maria Baranovska (Violin) and Elena Kushiy (Flute) and the welcome return of guitarist Mathieu Spaeter from Magicians Theater. I believe Viktor Syrotin's drumming is articulate, I think this kind of music must be hard for a drummer. After Dragon Isle, it worried me how could the following album stand up to that great opus. I have now listened to Birds of Passage three times and I find it stands up very well. I think it is up to the listener to determine if it is better or not. Birds of Passage contains two lengthy tracks both surpassing the 20 minute mark along with two bonus shorter tracks. Again Antony has used the poetry of literary greats, this time being Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Blake for the basis of the subject for this album. Birds of Passage Part 1 we have the chorus of singers, Antony himself along with his wife Olga and Tim Sobolev. They sing the main theme that echoes throughout both parts. The music itself interweaves all instruments in a bright manner that reflects the subject matter of the poetry. I find Antony has the ability to make the singing as another instrument. Even though there is singing, it still feels as if it is fully instrumental.

Part 2 starts with a very nice calm section of acoustic guitar, soon to be accompanied by piano. This leads up to the punch of the electric guitar. This of course lends itself to the great playing from both Antony and Mathieu. About two thirds into this part is some keyboard which makes me feel I could float on those notes. Then as all great music, it pulls back to a quiet essence hinting to the climax that is coming. When that climax comes, it stirs you, makes your hairs stand up, and with the last notes satisfaction ensues. Then you breathe, let out a sigh and you know you want to listen to it again.

The first of the bonus tracks, 'Spring', has a tropical beat to it. A very happy feeling song with what I can only describe as a relaxing ghostly guitar sound which works really well. The second bonus track 'Sunrise'is perfectly named. The piano hints at the first rays of the sun coming over the horizon. This is a beautiful soothing track. This is a track you listen to when you soak up the scenery. This ends the album in a lovely, reflective mood.

I found this album more subtle and delicate than Dragon Isle. I mean this in a good way. It challenges the listener to listen more carefully. To listen to every instrument and it's journey, to listen to every nuance of every note played. To me this album will be a 'Passage' well worn with many listens.

Thanks to chopper for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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