Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

KARFAGEN

Symphonic Prog • Ukraine


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Karfagen picture
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...
read more

KARFAGEN forum topics / tours, shows & news


KARFAGEN forum topics Create a topic now
KARFAGEN tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "karfagen"
Post an entries now

KARFAGEN Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all KARFAGEN videos (1) | Search and add more videos to KARFAGEN

Buy KARFAGEN Music


Birds Of PassageBirds Of Passage
Caerllysi Music 2020
$15.43
$17.55 (used)
SevenSeven
Caerllysi 2015
$17.98
Messages From Afar: First ContactMessages From Afar: First Contact
Caerllysi Music
$19.99
SpektraSpektra
Caerllysi Music 2016
$47.06
$45.38 (used)
The Key To Perception - Early Days 1997-2007The Key To Perception - Early Days 1997-2007
Double CD
Caerllysi Music
$48.28
Magicians TheaterMagicians Theater
JFK 2014
$19.93
Solitary Sandpiper JourneySolitary Sandpiper Journey
Imports 2010
$25.08
$34.98 (used)

More places to buy KARFAGEN music online Buy KARFAGEN & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

KARFAGEN discography


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

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

3.77 | 73 ratings
Continium
2006
3.15 | 67 ratings
The Space Between Us
2007
3.90 | 110 ratings
Solitary Sandpiper Journey
2010
3.93 | 254 ratings
Lost Symphony
2011
3.87 | 123 ratings
Aleatorica
2013
3.82 | 117 ratings
Magician's Theater
2014
3.88 | 138 ratings
7
2015
3.97 | 99 ratings
Spektra
2016
3.96 | 151 ratings
Messages From Afar - First Contact
2017
4.15 | 206 ratings
Echoes From Within Dragon Island
2019
4.23 | 51 ratings
Birds Of Passage
2020

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

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

4.75 | 15 ratings
Breaking Free Tour Live by AKP (Karfagen / Sunchild)
2017

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

3.97 | 58 ratings
The Key to Perception
2009

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

4.63 | 8 ratings
Seven Gates
2015

KARFAGEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Birds Of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.23 | 51 ratings

BUY
Birds Of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Yeshead58

5 stars What a way to start the New Year - a brand new album by Karfagen! This is fantastic news and an amazing new album!

First, lets get any negative stuff out the way - I looked at the credits and saw that Max Velychko was not on guitars, as I've grown very fond of his guitar playing, but instead 2 other players are here and they do an outstanding job blending in with all the other instruments going on around them! And there is a grand assortment going on here; some very nice bassoon work, some violin, and sweet sounds from the flute. Just like an orchestra has plenty of instruments playing together, each shining in its own light but never dominating the rest, that is exactly what is happening here. Just lovely pure Prog that washes the soul with such fine melodies. Some very intricate vocal arrangements too, everyone sounding happy to be part of creating this masterpiece. And once again, we have Antony Kalugin proving once more why he's the best keyboard player that Yes never had!

Love the cover as well! Reminds me of the sort of cover so popular with Yes, Genesis (70's style), Jethro Tull, early Marillion. I love the artwork on this and I'm going to say that I think this is the best cover yet for Karfagen. But its the music that counts, and on here it truly is what real classy Prog is all about. Well done Karfagen!

 Birds Of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.23 | 51 ratings

BUY
Birds Of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars It was only last autumn I truly found the bands of composer, keyboardist and vocalist Antony Kalugin from Ukraine. Of the several KARFAGEN albums I've listened to this far, my favourite has become the latest, Echoes Within Dragon Island (2019) which also happened to be my introduction to this band. Now we have the brand new album at hand, and I'm very glad to declare that Birds of Passage is a prog masterpiece that goes right up there at the level, or the heels to say the least, of its predecessor. I tend to regard these two albums as a harmonic pair, basically sharing the similar melodic, easily enjoyed symphonic nature, plus both drawing the lyrics from classic English or American poetry. Last year it was Robert Louis Stevenson, now Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Blake. Both albums are wonderfully portioning the vocal sections into the very dynamic, instrumentally oriented symphonic prog. The obvious classic prog influences (Yes, Genesis, Camel, ELP and so on) are all absorbed and melted into the tradition-friendly and yet distinctive style of Karfagen. Maybe in time, we might as well start using Karfagen as a reference of this kind of contemporary grandiose symphonic prog, like we have used the big names such as The Flower Kings.

One thing that makes it a bit tricky to decide which album is more unquestionably perfect to me, is that Echoes -- consisting of eight tracks, when speaking of the 1-CD edition -- contains music for a double vinyl's measure, whereas Birds of Passage would make a single vinyl LP with side-filling parts of the title suite, both of approx. 21-22 minutes long and with seamlessly running subtitled sections. (Yes, there are two more tracks of roughly 5 minutes long, but it's plain to see that they are meant to be taken as "bonus tracks", just as they are marked.) This gives the Dragon Island album a headstart which is very challenging to beat. Anyway, by now I have been listening to this album round and round for multiple times -- actually more than I listened to Dragon Island at the time of reviewing -- and I'm already pretty convinced that in a year's time this album will be VERY high, probably Number One, on my 2020 prog list!

The two parts are quite equal in the rich and uplifting listening experience. The occurring main theme with Kalugin's own lyrics ("This time, this place...") appears three times (in the beginning, in the middle and in the end) in Part 1, and only once in Part Two. I'm not saying I wouldn't like it, or that any of the appearances would be totally unnecessary, but it is one of the factors I'd probably choose Part 2 as my favourite. Its first section starts instrumentally, starring at first just an acoustic guitar in the vein of Steve Hackett or Steve Howe, joined by other instruments, and the vocals enter no sooner than around the fifth minute. As I have said in my other Karfagen reviews, I sincerely like Kalugin's voice. It can be tender like Kerry Minnear's in Gentle Giant or intimate like Roger Waters at his softest, but it's not wimpy. When the music rocks harder, so does Antony's voice if necessary. But indeed it's the perfect balance between sung and instrumental moments which makes Karfagen so enjoyable. The mostly serene instrumental final sections of Part 2 are very beautiful.

Now the bonus tracks. 'Spring', based on Blake's lyrics like Part 2, pales a little after the glorious title epic, as it proceeds in a relatively restricted manner. The vocals are shared by Kalugin, Olha Rostovska and Tim Sobolev. The rhythm slightly reminds me of 'State of Mind' on the FISH debut. A nice, unspectacular track with a happy feeling. 'Sunrise' is a delicate and sensitive instrumental, comparable to peaceful IONA or CAMEL instrumentals. I like it very much for its introspective emotion. The cover painting of Igor Sokolskiy really fits the music: lovely, adventurous but mostly gentle symphonic prog to caress your ears like a favourite fairy tale from your childhood. Five stars, definitely.

 Birds Of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.23 | 51 ratings

BUY
Birds Of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Trinity S

5 stars It is the album that deserve to be heard for sure! Antony told me that it`ll be special but I didn`t even realize how much! From the very beginning it`s like a bit of fresh air. Of course the artwork is fabulous , like always and i`ll agree, this time it`s even "warmer" , you may think about "Alice in Wonderland" looking on it and it`s true - it`s really magical album, that has powerful, melodic main theme... "This Time, This Place"... So catchy! I don`t think you should compare this album to the "Echoes from within Dragon Island" - they are two different stories. With "Birds of Passage" Antony and his team did an album worth of being released on Vinyl - No "long" passages and fillers... Two Parts of Suite , like a 2 sides of a Vinyl.. How I wish they can bring it on a Vinyl one day... This Time , Antonys good friend Mathieu Speater has recorded guitars and they are awsome. Don`t get me wrong, I`m a huge fan of Max Velychko guitars ,but Mat did his job as good as he did on " Magicians Theater" in 2014. What a gorgeous Nylon guitar by Alex Pavlov in the beginning of the second part - breath taking - fantastic sound without any doubts! I like the format of LP where there`s no place for some sound filler that just ruins the conception of the "Message". What an emotional ending of both parts.. Wow.. "Camel", "Manfred Mann" in it`s best and I`ll agree with Matti, soon there`ll be the time when no comparison will needed, as Karfagen with it`s 11th! album stands bright in Symphonic Prog liague. As for bonus tracks - Lovely flute in "Sunrise" and almost Peter Gabriel - Weather Report "Birds Delight" - both tracks are pleasent to the ear and just compliment the album. 5 stars for sure!
 Birds Of Passage by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.23 | 51 ratings

BUY
Birds Of Passage
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars After releasing the acclaimed album 'Echoes from Within Dragon Island' last year, Karfagen was quick to release their 11th full length studio album in January of 2020 called 'Birds of Passage'. Their 'Dragon Island' album was well-loved by many reviewers here in the Archives, and many are excited to hear this new album. So the question is, does it live up to the previous album?

Karfagen was conceived by Antony Kalugin in 1997 and even now he continues to head this project performing most of the instruments on the album. However, he has continued to recruit many regulars who have become part of the band line-up over the years. On this album, Antony performs on keyboards, vocals, percussion, penny flute, and does arranging and programming of the tracks. Joining him are Mathieu Spaeter on electric guitars, Konstantin Ionenko on bass, Viktor Syrotin on drums, Tim Soloblev on vocals, Olha Rostovska on vocals, Aleksandr Pavlov on nylon guitar, Alexandr Pastuchov on bassoon, Maria Baranovska on violin, and Elena Kushiy on flute.

The album consists on a single suite called 'Birds of Passage' in 2 parts. Each part is in turn divided up into several sub- sections, in the same way that their previous master work was organized. The sound of this suite is much the same style as 'Dragon Island' suite from last year; complex, symphonic prog with a lot of nice textures among the instrumental and vocal sections. There does seem to be a bit more dissonance on this particular suite, but that also goes hand in hand with the sections that show more intensity. Also, as in the previous album, there is a nice mix of folk sounds and instrumentation and everything flows together wonderfully.

Each part of the suite is over 20 minutes in length, and, as expected from Karfagen, the themes and sections are all well developed. The music flows well and there is a nice balance between the instruments and the dynamics of the music is superb. The overall vibe is quite bright and positive even though the overall thematic element deals with the natural world and using symbolism from that to portray a very neo-prog element of the fight between good and evil. That neo-prog element lies mostly in the theme as the music itself is much more similar to the dynamic of symphonic prog. Each instrument is clear and polished with many keyboard and guitar interaction with nice vocals that utilize both male and female singing and harmonization.

The poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (in part 1) and William Blake (in part 2) is used in the suite. The poetry makes up most of the lyrical content of these parts of the suite, and the additional lyric is composed by Antony. All of the lyrics are sung, and the placement of the words into song has been done quite well, and is probably one of the most impressive things about Karfagen's music. One would almost expect the sound to be a bit choppy between the extended instrumental sections and the lyrical sections, but everything flows seamlessly. This is the main thing that makes me come back to the band's music, the fact that the poetry can be so beautifully integrated into a suite. Everything else just flows along with this, and the more complex compositional parts of the suites start to become more apparent with continued listening. This makes this music more likeable, even from the first listen. The first part of the suite is much more lyric heavy, while the 2nd part concentrates more on longer instrumental sections.

Also similar to the previous album, there are other tracks that are 'supplemental' to the main suite, but in this case they are considered all bonus tracks, and there are only 3 of them. 'Spring (Birds Delight)' is a shorter work also based on a Blake poem 'Spring'. This one has a catchy sound and also has some scat going on that almost sounds tribal, and this sound mixes well with the other influences that are usually at work in the band's music. 'Sunrise' is a nice, pastoral and peaceful instrumental mostly featuring some lovely flute backed by atmospheric synths and percussion. 'Birds (short introduction)' is not available on the CD release. It is another short instrumental that does sound like an introduction to something, but this closes the album.

Overall, the suite is the best thing about the album and the other tracks are just okay, but they only make up a small part of the overall picture. The band continues to work off its strengths, most of which are in Kalugin's compositional skills. The album seems almost like a continuation of last year's 'Dragon Island' and not really a progression of it, per se. However, it is still quite excellent. If I was to choose, I would definitely place 'Dragon Island' the better of the two, but that's not saying that this album is not worthwhile. The only thing I would have hoped for in this album was something that made it stand out more on its own from the previous album. However, it is still a great sound and lovers of 2019's album will probably enjoy it just as much. 4 stars.

 Magician's Theater by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 117 ratings

BUY
Magician's Theater
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On waiting for the new, soon-to-be-released KARFAGEN album, here's a look at one of the earlier works of this Ukraine band led by keyboardist and composer Antony Kalugin. It's almost entirely instrumental, and seems to be conceptual, the key words being magic, magician, imagination etc. "Magician's Theater is my interpretation of the reality... so step into the Figment of the imagination of a man, who loves fairytales and believes in miracles?", Kalugin writes.

'Overture' opens with fanfare-like synths slightly reminding of ELP, but the electric guitar has a heavier tone than on Karfagen's music averagely. I'm not very fond this bombastic track. 'The Birth of Mankind' has interesting synths and some use of voice in the background. Enjoyable presence of mellotron-like sounds and flute. There's a melodic and delicate CAMEL-like approach on the brief and beautiful 'Turret', while 'Yuletide' uses the flute as a folky ingredient. I like the way the tracks follow each other seamlessly. The next brief instrumental has an orchestra-imitating sound, and 'The Fibber's Diary' has great, fusionesque moments.

The album as a whole is a bit too bombastic for my taste, instead of focusing on the more airy melodicism heard especially on some later Karfagen albums. Undoubtedly the most ambitious track is 21-minute 'Magician's Spell' in seven movements, although the rest of the album follows the similar, suite-like formula with plenty of sonic variation between the tracks/movements. Some parts are better than others... The one with some vocals is quite heavy. 'Final' sounds similar to the overture.

I think I can safely say that personally this album is not among my favourites from Karfagen, but if you enjoy bombastic, keyboard keyboard-oriented instrumental prog (in the vein of Rick Wakeman, ELP and such, but with occasionally heavier guitars) more than delicate melodicism, this would certainly serve as a good introduction to Karfagen. 3 stars.

 Echoes From Within Dragon Island by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.15 | 206 ratings

BUY
Echoes From Within Dragon Island
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Antony Kalugin from Ukraine is without a doubt among the best progband leaders and composers whose music I've found recently. Be it Hoggwash, Sunchild or Karfagen, I seem to enjoy them all. This album is the latest one by Karfagen that offers marvelous 24-carat symphonic prog. I'm having the 1-CD edition, which probably doesn't lose much compared to the limited (and now sold out) 2-disc version of 94 minutes in total. The disc consists of three 'Dragon Island Suites' between 16 and 19 minutes in length plus five shorter pieces. All the lyrics are drawn from a poetry work "Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of The Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. These slightly naiive, narrative verses praising the children's flights of imagination form a charming entity together with the lively symphonic -- and, definitely in a good sense, romantic -- progressive rock.

The vast list of guesting musicians includes several vocalists as well, but if I'm not mistaken it's Anton Kalugin himself who handles most of the vocals. He has a pretty pleasant voice, something that would suit to CAMEL, and the softness of his voicing reminds me a bit of Roger Waters's half-spoken intimacy (think of e.g. the beginning of The Final Cut track 'Southampton Dock'). The album's music never gets very vocal-oriented: there are lengthy instrumental sections, and the vocals always function as a natural part of the music's emotional impact and the overall architecture. The other vocalists, both male and female, ensure the dynamic variety in the vocal department too. And the pure instrumental approach dominates the final quarter of the album.

The two suites that start the album are simply superb, as is the third one as well. Melodic and easily digested and yet highly adventurous in their full-blown symphonic approach. I love the way additional acoustic instruments such as violin, bassoon, flute, English horn and alto saxophone enrich the sound here and there. The production is faultless. In between the massive suites comes a charming little song 'My Bed Is a Boat' starring acoustic guitar and flute, joined by other reeds and tender vocals. A perfect way to balance things down in order to avoid being too pompous -- not that you'd get any ELP-like over-the-top carnivalism within the long pieces either.

The remaining tracks -- placed on the second disc of the 2-CD editions -- are instrumentals. On 'Flowing Brooks' the reed instruments (especially alto sax), synths and electric guitar carry the soaring melodies beautifully. Fully comparable to FOCUS on their prime time. 'Winter Rooks' is a more modest piece centered around acoustic guitar and delicately played synths. And finally the two 'Incantation' instrumentals combine spacey melodicism -- at times slightly PINK FLOYD-like -- and some dynamic changes. Excellent arrangements. Sonically this music is a bliss to me. No hesitations: five stars!

 Aleatorica by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.87 | 123 ratings

BUY
Aleatorica
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Yo-yo

4 stars Each album Karfagen released by far tells its own, brand new story. Perhaps that's why the discography of this Ukrainian symphonic prog band is so diverse, and always surprising. In this respect, Aleatorica has been rather under-discussed so far, despite marking yet another experimental venture in Karfagen's styles and influences. Do not expect this album to take itself too seriously. Located somewhere between fantasy-Middle Ages-Balkan-like folk, a jazz jam session, and a prog record, Aleatorica is primarily playful, just like its cover art anticipates: full of (musical) color, bright, all-over-the-place. It's clear that the band had fun making this one. Which is perhaps why I am having such fun listening to it as well, even if not all tracks are of equal quality.

The album opens with "Aleatorica (Shuffler's Riddle)", a distinctly folk-prog piece with a catchy melody, and a carnivalesque atmosphere only tastefully disturbed with occasional strange harmonies and cacophonies. The following "Mad Gods of Destiny" continues the folk atmosphere with additional ethnic instrumentation. The vocals (rare for this band!) are executed well, creating a good blend with the backing vocals of other involved musicians (perhaps Olga Koganyuk's voice comes most to the forefront here) and as always, flawless instrumental arrangements. "Shadoof" is a brief string intermezzo, where playful atmosphere turns into nostalgia. It is a much- needed break, which allows to continue listening to the rest of folkish tracks without it becoming excessive. "D'Ale" impresses with its layering of instrumentation on a similar melody with changing pitches which ultimately creates a nearly hypnotic, danceable folk tune. "Gnome in the Bathroom" is rather simple and entertaining, but "Solar Cycles" right after it satisfies the craving for a more experimental, unique blend of a folkish beginning, a following high energy, jazzy tune, and even some electric guitar plus spacey keys towards the end. "Transaleatorica" is a less somber predecessor of "Transaleatorica 2" (from Spektra). While I prefer "Transaleatorica 2", both represent a special, unsettling feeling that's not easy to shake off (sublime?), and weave together two distinct phases in Karfagen's composition.

It is from here on that Aleatorica truly peaks, in my opinion. "Mystic Castles", the longest piece on the album has a consistent build-up, sounding nearly like a peculiar jam session: one that started off with folk, went through more prog influences, towards pure jazz. This track represents the journey of this album in one piece. Personally, I'd recommend anyone to start from this one to check if the rest of the album may be of appeal too. "Radio Beam" is a strange little intermezzo, a simple jingle of which role I am not sure. However, the following "Whirlabout" marks the second peak of Aleatorica, its spirit similar to that of "Mystic Castles". There is an enjoyable nod back at the melody of the opening track in there too, the element firmly pointing to the album being a coherent whole despite its multitude of ventures. "Sweetmeat" is another folk tune, which unfortunately falls a bit flat after the previous two great jams. Perhaps it could do better earlier on in the album. Or perhaps the album's climax has passed, and this is one of the symptoms of building down for a resolve. "A Day Without Rain" tells a dystopian/utopian (?) tale, with another rare occurrence of vocals. This kind of ballad is not necessarily fitting among the rest of the album's tracks, but the break from folk is well appreciated after "Sweetmeat". "Amazing Ananda" feels like a strange piano-centric intermezzo despite being longer than "Radio Beam" and "Shadoof". Finally, "Aleatorica (Back to the Alea)" together with the first "Aleatorica" frames the album with tongue-in ?the cheek modern folk, blending traditional and acoustic instruments with synths and even an electric guitar). This last piece is full of energy, unexpected, and forms a strong, abrupt outro which urges to replay the album once more, from the beginning.

Aleatorica is a lot to process. It is not Karfagen's best release, with a few tracks falling short of brilliant, but nevertheless, the artistic statement it makes is pretty strong. All in all, this is the kind of playful experimentation I signed up for. 4/5 stars.

 Echoes From Within Dragon Island by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.15 | 206 ratings

BUY
Echoes From Within Dragon Island
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars How many people really have the time (not to mention patience and ability to focus) to really get to know a 53-minute piece of music? Though I've owned this for a while, it's taken me a long time to pull together a review. I had begun, in my now-usual style, to put together a minute-by-minute report by keeping notes from various partial listens, when frustration and time brought me to my wits end. So, instead, this is what you get. Impressions and comments.

1. "Dragon Island Suite (Part 1)" (17:17) Nice sound--very nice sound engineering despite the participation of many, many performers, many, many instruments, many, many themes, and, thus, many, many tracks.

Sometimes exotic instruments or nuanced inputs occur so fleetingly or subtly that I am sad to see them go while I keep distracting my attention by looking for their return. Many of the vocal appearances strike me in this way.

What is this story about? There are very few lyrics to give me any leads. Should I have to have a companion guide?

How many themes, motifs, and movements are necessary to tell this story?

The sound is really good! The instruments and voices, in their many, many layers, are recorded and mixed better than any other project that Antony Kalugin has put together. (Has he upped his keyboard selection and/or recording equipment?)

The vocalists have a great command of English! Very little accent--and sounds a bit like young Roger Waters. There is a lot of familiarity in this music to many of the themes published by Colin Tench over the years--and one of the main male vocalists to the narrative voice stylings of one of Colin's main men, Peter Jones. There's even a little of the best of Andy Tillison in the lead male vocalist as well. (31.5/35)

2. "Dragon Island Suite (Part 2)" (18:41) Very symphonic in a Tchaikovsky kind of way rather than Italian operatic (I think I'm being influenced by the strong Nutcracker themes in the second part of the Dragon Suite.

Beautiful lush theme in the 21st minute before going back to Nutcracker/Swan Lake melody themes.

22:00 - Ant Phillips' 1984! Wonderful!

Anton is doing a magnificent job of mixing the modern/electric instrumentation with the acoustic/traditional (like accordion).

26:50 - Genesis with accordion base?! Excellent Tony Banksian section from here into the 29th minute--beautiful--becoming more and more Genesis-like (even with accordion) into and through the 30th.

The group vocal in the 31st minute sounds so STRAWBS-like! The music builds, helped by the use of full choir, before then dropping off for a brief pianissimo piano part and then exploding back into a full-on whole group denouement with electric guitar solo to help cap off the end of Part 2 of the Suite. (38/40)

3. "My Bed Is A Boat" (2:45) is a beautiful classical guitar-supported flute and oboe piece that serves as a nice interlude before Part 3 of the Suite. (4.5/5)

4. "Dragon Island Suite (Part 3)" (16:32) Here is where we finally get into the syrupy New Age-y stuff that I'm used to hearing in an Anton Kalugin project. The guy could write great soundtrack music for children's television.

In the sixth minute a soloing electric guitar gets cooking before being joined and supplanted by some keys. At 6:50 there is a break as solo synth sets another, more mysterious mood before male voices join in with a chant about ancient stars. This is the beginning of the "Valley of the Kings" section. Eventually the chant is drowned out by a continuously thickening layering of fast-moving instruments. Sounds very, very much like THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE here with many instruments trading the spotlight and many solos overlapping or seeming to "talk" to one another. Silly chase theme in the thirteenth minute is highlighted by brief flourishes of Keith Emerson-like Moog. At 13:52 the pace changes as if some resolution has occurred and the army is collecting itself into a cheering march formation. Two themes are carried forward and echoed off one another until a slow down ushers in a calming outro in the sixteenth minute. (26/30)

Overall, there is very little that I dislike about this album--not even one theme--nor are there many deficiencies in awkward instrumentation choices or sound mix. I only wish I didn't feel that Part 2's main themes and form weren't lifted from Tchaikovsky and that the Part 3 opening and foundation weren't so syrupy.

Total time 55:35

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music and my favorite Antony Kalugin product in a long time.

 Continium by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.77 | 73 ratings

BUY
Continium
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Trinity S

5 stars Continium. Great beginning of an interesting story. This year, 2019, Karfagen has released their 10th effort. 'Continium' has really powerful classy tracks that most of the prog rock fans will enjoy for sure. It starts from 2 parts of 'a Winter Tale'. I saw both this parts live a few times now and can say they are Karfagen classics, always interesting to listen to. Leading Motif from this tracks are on the Sunchild's 'invisible line', bits of it on 'the Wrap' and I think on some more albums , it's like a sort of Antony's message - guiding line. Silent Anger is tasty 5/4 instrumental with knob accordion and lovely chord structure. Mariana Sobol did some cool vocalizing in the apogee of it. 'Old Legend' another, so to say, 'playing art rock ' piece. It has some nice vintage organ sound (Yamaha yc-45d) performed by Oleg Polyanskiy. Piano and guitar 'vivace' riffs and passages, mellotron. Interesting middle section. 'Amused Fair' is the first Karfagen officially released epic. Nice piano based intro with upbeat and uplifting mood. Gentle vocalizing by Tim Sobolev, who has appeared on a few more Antony's projects. (Sunchild 'the Gnomon ' latest Karfagen 'Dragon Island suite' and on 'the Space Between Us'). Mellotron flute solo is like an ice on a cake, love it. 'Marvelous Dance' is the track that Antony fairly thinks is one of his best compositions. I do agree it's so well structured. It's only 3 and a half mins but it's says all. 'Close to Heaven ' is a bonus track that is like a hit acoustic ballad, I think it logically led to the Sunchild, more vocal oriented music. Absolutely great album. Maybe the sound production of it is not so balanced and well crafted like Antony has on his latest works.. but it's ok to me. It's a great start of a band with big potential.
 Echoes From Within Dragon Island by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.15 | 206 ratings

BUY
Echoes From Within Dragon Island
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Kharkiv, Ukraine based Antony Kalugin can be described as nothing less than prolific with scores of albums released with the bands Hoggwash, Sunchild, Antony Kalugin's Kinematics Orchestra and his most productive of all KARFAGEN (which means Karthagoa symbol of glory and wisdom and also it is a never-ending journey into the world of the forgotten past and un-predictable future) which after only having formed in 2006 has just released its tenth album ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND on 11 Febr 2019. Returning with his unique mix of art rock and symphonic prog that evokes the majesty of bands like Camel, Genesis, UK, Pink Floyd and most of all The Flower Kings, KARFAGEN continues to ratchet up the intensity and ambitiousness as if the end of the world was near and cranking out one bloated prog project after another is of the utmost urgency.

ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND is perhaps the most ambitious project yet that tackles a grand concept albums based on the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson and graced by the stunning fantasy cover art of Konstantin Kanskiy. KARFAGEN went the extra mile to craft a pompous slice of modern symphonic prog that finds mainman Antony Kalugin conducting a massive army of 17 musicians with Kalugin himself playing keyboards, percussion, penny flute and handling all arrangements and programming. The album comes in two versions. The single CD which clocks in just under an hour's playing time and a limited deluxe edition that contains an extra CD that contains an extra eight tracks and slightly over 38 minutes playing time. Some are new tracks and others reworked versions of disc one.

Lush and flowing with melodies the primary disc of ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND contains three lengthy 'Dragon Island Suites' each which tells the tale of fairies and thoughtful little creatures in magical forests in a Tolkien-like setting. While the music plays out mostly in wending and winding instrumental technicalities, there are moments where the various vocalists have a turn to both sing and recite the poetic prose but overall the musical constructs are much more geared to a series of progressively delivered jaunts through the medievally tinged universe that seems to be more based on folk than any classic symphonic prog such as Yes, but it's not exactly the Slavic prog one would expect from a band from Eastern Europe and rather a Middle Ages type of folk that's somewhat Mediterranean and perhaps a little Celtic.

Plaudits to the superb production job on this one as every little sound is mixed perfectly in the greater scheme of things and despite the largess of instrumental representation it never feels like there are too many chefs in the kitchen. In fact the overall soundscape is rather sparse with instruments taking their turns in a rather civilized manner. This is dreamy prog, the very kind initiated by Flower Kings and happy bands like Moon Safari but most of all i get a Neal Morse vibe from this album as KARFAGEN take a similar approach of taking melodies to their utmost logical conclusion with plenty of proggy curve balls thrown around in the sprawling breadth of the 16 minute plus trilogy of suites. For the most part this is symphonic overload with more atmospheric counterpoints than actual rock instrumentation. Despite the heavy load of players on board, this one remains rather nonchalant and cruises by like a feather floating in the air.

For such a long album this one seldom really picks up steam as far as dynamics and tempos are concerned as the diversity is expressed through the timbres and tones of the various instruments as well as the time signatures and ambient backdrops. The harder rock segments that do occur are basically power chord moments and truthfully sound a little like progressive AOR even when the radio friendly guitar solos emerge. If you have the desire to go all the way with this one and find yourself with the two disc version then the second installment will bring you a few shorter instrumental pieces such as 'Flowing Brooks' which showcases the nylon guitar in tandem with lush keyboards as well as the single version of 'Dragon Island' and live and alternative versions of tracks from disc one.

If dreamy and airy fairy prog is what you crave then you can't go wrong with ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND as it delivers a crisp clean modern sounding prog sound that evokes the reverberating echoes of the past but clearly brings into context that of the modern era. As much as i try to love this, the album escapes my complete admiration for two main reasons. First is the lack of dynamism displayed throughout the album's run. For a near hour experience that are too few points of contrast as the entire shebang seems to take place in the clouds on a low energy chilled vibe sorta way. The album clearly lacks enough key moments of a energetic crescendoes. Secondly this is the sort of music that demands a talented vocalist or more to really step up to the plate and match the divine wizardry of the music itself and i find the vocalists on display to be a tad limited in their abilities to really weave their vocal magic around the tapestry of instrumentation. There is much to like about ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND as it captures the vibe of another distant reality but certain elements keep me from being reeled in completely and in the end derails my embracing fully its attempted magnificence.

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

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives