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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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Messages From Afar: First ContactMessages From Afar: First Contact
Caerllysi Music
$14.96 (used)
The Space Between UsThe Space Between Us
Unicorn Digital Inc. 2007
$26.90 (used)
Caerllysi Music 2016
$10.48 (used)
Magicians TheaterMagicians Theater
JFK 2014
$33.31 (used)
Caerllysi 2015
$13.48 (used)
Solitary Sandpiper JourneySolitary Sandpiper Journey
$9.14 (used)
Unicorn Digital 2006
$13.99 (used)
Magicians Theater by KarfagenMagicians Theater by Karfagen
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KARFAGEN - Continium - CD - Import - **Excellent Condition** USD $35.49 Buy It Now 1 day
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Seven Karfagen Audio CD USD $27.12 Buy It Now 28 days
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KARFAGEN discography

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

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

3.72 | 62 ratings
3.14 | 58 ratings
The Space Between Us
3.90 | 101 ratings
Solitary Sandpiper Journey
4.01 | 237 ratings
Lost Symphony
3.86 | 111 ratings
3.81 | 106 ratings
Magician's Theater
3.87 | 122 ratings
4.03 | 75 ratings
3.98 | 116 ratings
Messages From Afar - First Contact

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

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

4.71 | 8 ratings
Breaking Free Tour Live by AKP (Karfagen / Sunchild)

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

3.95 | 57 ratings
The Key to Perception

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

4.50 | 6 ratings
Seven Gates


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Messages From Afar - First Contact by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 116 ratings

Messages From Afar - First Contact
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Booba Kastorsky

4 stars I heard about this band from Ukraine, but never listened to them. Apparently, they are not newbies in the world of prog music. They sell their latest opus on Bandcamp, and I really liked samples and art work of their CD, so I ordered it. I wan't disappointed!

If you are missing Camel (Moonmadness/ Rain Dance era), Happy The Man or Finch, you should check Karfagen! It mostly consists of lush, keyboard/guitar based instrumental symphonic prog, but also has tasteful parts of woodwinds that add jazzy flavor to their musical stew.

The album is instrumental, except of the first and last tracks. They sound similar to Learning To Fly from Momentary Lapse of reason.

Overall, this album was a very nice surprise, and I'm sure will check their past catalog, and also their future releases.

 The Key to Perception by KARFAGEN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
3.95 | 57 ratings

The Key to Perception
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter


Karfagen is a musical project by Antony Kalugin (1981, Ukraine), in 1994 he gathered some friends and created Karfagen, although it was a school band that played mainly their own music. In 1997 Antony entered architectural university (he is an architect by profession) but continued to walk the musical road. And in 1998 he recorded his first album in a studio, looking back it was very raw and unprofessional but Antony was only 17 and what knew hardly anything about mixing and mastering. Until 2001 lots of the vocals were written in Russian, later in 2001 Antony completed his first fully electronic album entitled The Water (new age, ambient, Art-rock). From 2003 until 2006 he composed and recorded lots of new age and enigmatic stuff. This was a commercial step but this gave him an opportunity to be a musician, in late 2005 the first Karfagen album Continium was recorded, it was released on Unicorn Digital (Canada), followed by MANY studio-albums, the latest is Message From Afar - First Contact FROM 2017. But this review is about a double compilation CD, released in 2009, after his first two Karfagen albums.

This 2-CD contains material that spans the time between 1997 and 2007. In the booklet Antony explains "that he likes to scout the boundaries of Art-rock, jazz, ethnic and new age music with Pat Metheny, Focus and Camel as brilliant examples".

The quality of the 37 tracks on the two CD's (both around 80 minutes) alternates between 'nice studio ideas' to good compositions'. The music is very melodic featuring lots of mellow and atmospheric climates in which the keyboards sounds varied: from tender or sparkling Grand piano (strong solo piece in the Emerson-like The Dream Master) or soaring strings to lush violin- and choir-Mellotron, powerful organ and Larry Fast-like synthesizer work. At some moments the songs contain more fluent or swinging rhythms with powerful electric guitar (like the jazz rock inspired The Other Side) and a dynamic rhythm-section. The colouring with the instruments is often wonderfully and ranges from violin or classical guitar to accordion, sitar (in the experimental Masks And Illusions) and flutes. This gives the music a special flavour. My favourites are

the alternating A Winter Tale - Part 1 (wonderful work on keyboards and electric guitar),

Silent Anger (beautiful interplay between Mellotron and acoustic guitar),

Let Go (Floydian guitar, impressive choir-Mellotron sound and fat synthesizer flights),

The Space Between Us (from dreamy with piano and sensitive guitar/synthesizer duel and a fiery guitar solo, accompanied by majestic choir-Mellotron)

and Night Flight Jam (swinging organ and drums and strong solos on violin and electric guitar).

A pleasant 2-CD that will please those progheads who appreciate the work of Antony in Karfagen and other projects (Hoggwash and Sunchild).

My rating: 3,5 star.

 Messages From Afar - First Contact by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 116 ratings

Messages From Afar - First Contact
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Ukranian keyboardist Antony Kalugin and his Karfagen project have been delivering superb retro-flavoured progressive rock music for well over a decade now, and through the sheer quality of both his vocal and purely instrumental works, it has seen the band step up to become one of the most consistently strong and notable modern Symphonic-Progressive acts currently going. Their latest, 2017's `Messages from Afar: First Contact', a (mostly) instrumental concept tale, is an interesting one - it's proudly in the symphonic mould, but surprisingly very far removed from Seventies sounds this time around. Instead, it more frequently calls to mind the late Eighties/early Nineties `A Momentary Lapse of Reason/The Division Bell' era of Pink Floyd and `The Masquerade Overture/Not of this Earth' period of British Neo-Proggers Pendragon, even down to the icy cool production. For `Messages...', plentiful prominence is given to longtime Karfagen contributor Max Velychko's majestic and fluid electric guitar soloing that effortlessly invokes those two above-mention groups, as well as other recognisable acts such as Camel, Steve Hackett and the Flower Kings. So if any combination of those bands sounds enticing, read on (or better yet, skip this long-winded ramble and just buy the disc!)...

Oddly for a primarily instrumental disc, things start off with a sole vocal piece, and the laid-back and easy-to-enjoy title track `First Contact' instantly calls to mind Pink Floyd's 1987 song `Learning to Fly' (some of the melodies drift awfully close too), with both Antony's smooth lead voice capturing David Gilmour's dulcet tone with uncanny precision, and his leading lady, keyboardist Olha Rostovska's sighing harmonies also reminding of the female backing singers from that stage of the band. Programmed beats also clip through the track, bubbling washes of Antony's keyboards coat the background, Oleg Prokhorov's bass grumbles sweetly, and Velychko offers the first signs of his tastefully chiming and searing heroic guitar runs.

Then it's onto the instrumental home-run of the rest of the disc. The sophisticated `Foreign Land's slinking synths, sweetly murmuring bass and Michail Sidorenko's hazy polished saxophone float together, and Max's guitars effortlessly glide between mellow strums and fiery histrionic wailing. `Curious Talk's dreamy jangling guitars, sparkling electric piano and wispy Mellotrons are spiced with a light eastern flavoured mystery (and it's a little bit funky too!), `Volcano Rabbit & the Frog' is a brash and delirious up-tempo sprint of reprising heavy blasting guitar, Kostya Shepelenko's bashing drums and whirring keyboard themes, and `Faces in the Clouds' is a blissful dreamy Floydian come-down of ringing guitar shimmers with some restrained soaring bursts.

The almost nine-minute `Vale of Dreams' is especially given flight by lengthy, crisp and joyful guitar heroics and uplifting sax, the piece home to so much momentum and positivity, and it's easy to imagine the band with big smiles on their faces dashing through this one! `Golden Fields of Rye's creaky Mellotron flutes and sparkling piano bring a touch of New Age prettiness, and `Riding on a Rainbow' is a synth n' guitar-heavy reinterpretation of the same musical themes that compares nicely to the music found on those older romantic Pendragon albums. But then it's all down to the sixteen minute closer, and `Constant Flow' achieves a near orchestral grandness through diverse range of sounds and styles, some heavier bursts and a welcome balance of differing tempos. It frequently reminds of the eclecticism of Steve Hackett's solo works, and there's no shortage of a smorgasbord of tasty soloing from all the band.

Some will perhaps find the album too guitar heavy, and admittedly it's happy to invoke comfortable memories of some well-loved prog bands of old as opposed to really standing out like many of the best Karfagen albums such as `Lost Symphony' and perhaps `Spektra', meaning some will instantly dismiss it as mere imitation or simple `hero worship'. But if lavish arrangements, impeccable technical ability (and it's admirable that, despite Karfagen being his baby, Antony refuses to hog the attention and is happy for his fellow band-members to take plenty of the spotlight), skilfully reprising musical motifs and colourful grandiosity that isn't afraid to labelled `Prog' with a giant capital P is your thing, then `Messages from Afar: First Contact' is a cracking modern Symphonic disc and a standout instrumental prog-rock album of 2017.

Four and a half stars - and watch out for a second part/continuation of the concepts of this disc in Antony's song-based crossover prog band Sunchild in the coming months.

PS - Just look at Igor Sokolskiy's sublime fantasy art...nice of the band to include it as a smaller fold out poster in the CD booklet, but how about some full-sized posters Antony?! ;)

 Breaking Free Tour Live by AKP (Karfagen / Sunchild) by KARFAGEN album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.71 | 8 ratings

Breaking Free Tour Live by AKP (Karfagen / Sunchild)
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Yeshead58

5 stars Spending my teenage years listening to a new genre that became known as Prog-Rock and a regular diet of Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull etc. and being proud of us Brits producing the best of it IMHO I was very curious at what this band from Ukraine could do. I already had 3 of their albums and was impressed - but then I saw this and was staggered at such incredible music played brilliantly!

Keyboard player Anthony Kalugin really "tinkles the ivories" with a slick style that reminds me of the great Keith Emerson. And he has a very melodic voice that carry the songs just right. And then there's guitar man Max; with so many guitar heroes from UK, USA and Germany its so nice to hear one from Eastern Europe for a change! I hear touches of John Petrucci and Alex Lifeson. Solid bass holds the entire set together and the drums drive things perfectly. And 2 lovely ladies who add more delicious keys and some sweet vocals; on Mirrors Olga sounds a bit like Kate Bush.

I absolutely LOVE this DVD and it was my fave DVD of last year! So please give this a watch, and although they haven't the light show of Pink Floyd, the music really stands up for itself. Excellent musicians!

 Messages From Afar - First Contact by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 116 ratings

Messages From Afar - First Contact
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars What a great suprise. I stumbled upon this release because it was on the frontpage of this website and the albumcover looked great.

To me, this mostly symphonic space prog is exactly what I adore. Adventurous, upbeat, and mostly instrumental. The band combines heavy prog with spacerock and oldschool symphonic rock. So we have influences ranging from Yes, Camel and Ozric Tentacles, Qantuam Fantay and even some Al diMeola/Return to Forever.

With such an eclectic mix of styles/influences you would say it's rather chaotic, but it's not. The music really flows and never bores. I would almost give this five stars, but I'll stick with four stars, because the production is sometimes a little dull.

 Messages From Afar - First Contact by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 116 ratings

Messages From Afar - First Contact
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by Yeshead58

5 stars This is my first time to write a review on here as I have just joined, so for my first ever review it has to be this exciting new album by KARFAGEN. And what a wonderful album this is!

I first heard this band 2 years ago. I was watching EUROVISION (someone has to!) when Ukraine won it and I got curious as to what Ukraine had to offer with Prog, so I googled and Karfagen came up! I listened to a couple of songs on YouTube and was stunned by the sheer quality of their music! My fave band is YES but I wanted some competition and this band is awesome! I bought 3 of their CDs and their last album Spektra was brilliant! So what is the new album like?

Once again they've really delivered some excellent music with Anthony showing how he's the best keyboard player that Yes never had. When I heard their Magician's Theatre album he sounded like Keith Emerson but here he definitely more like Mr. Wakeman. And then there's Max the guitar player; great licks on his guitar with some tasteful touches of wah-wah in places which really add some "extra texture" to the music. Max has all the credentials of being the next in the line of guitar heroes, and it really makes a refreshing change to have this talent from eastern Europe!

The only thing I'm not too keen on is saxophones! And there's some sax on here! But even the sax is very pleasant to listen to as its not overplayed and sounds quite smooth. And the drumming will get your feet tapping as well. In short, this album is FANTASTIC! and I recommend it to anyone who really appreciates Prog that's mostly instrumental. I so want to see this band live!!!

 Spektra by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.03 | 75 ratings

Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Although I reviewed the debut album from Antony Kalugin under the Karfagen name a few years ago, I hadn't heard anything since, and this 2016 album was his eighth studio release. Over the last few years I have been listening to a great deal of Camel, especially 'Snow Goose' which has become one of my "go to" albums, and my initial reaction was that this had a great deal of similarities in some ways. Then add in some classical guitar, which in style is very reminiscent of Antony Phillips and early Steve Hackett, and one is starting to get incredibly interested in what is going on musically. There are some incredibly delicate sections in the album, with beautiful violin, and it feels very much as if this is a band as opposed to one musician then employing another 15 to help him complete his vision.

The tempos mix and change, the arrangements are complex and layered, yet one never feels stifled in what is going on. There is still light and space within the music, enough room to move without becoming suffocated. Although Antony has some obvious influences, he has definitely just taken these as a starting point and then moved on, definitely making the style his own. Heavily Seventies influenced in both sounds and styles (love the Mellotrons and Moogs), this is an incredibly easy album to listen to and enjoy as it is so accessible. Well worth investigation.

 Messages From Afar - First Contact by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 116 ratings

Messages From Afar - First Contact
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by ale73

4 stars I knew this band (and the other project named "Sunchild" by the mastermind Antony Kalugin) only recently at a festival in Italy. So I cannot say I have followed their evolution so far. Anyway I listened to almost all their music now and I must say that what strikes most is their eclecticism: even though their sound is perfectly recognizable, you can find in it classic prog with many shades of folk, jazz, even some new wave...p In this record I would say the bearing structure is made of symphonic prog. The album begins with "First contact" and both the voice and the guitar sound remind me of David Gilmour (I dare to say Pink Floyd 90's era). But it is only the first section of the song, that soon developes into something different: a long instrumental part and then again some great guitar moments. This emotional rollercoaster will be a constant throughout all the album.p Other strong dish is the trio "Faces in the clouds"/"Vale of dreams"/"Golden fields of rye". The three songs flow as they were one single piece of music (at least it is my feeling) but in this streaming I can find several moods and emotions: everything is in its right place, from an astonishing guitar work to some delicate piano and sax interludes.p The record ends up with the longest track, the 15-minute long "Constant flow". Despite its name, the song is not so "constant", but it is an intricacy of different melodies, among which stand out some Genesis influences (or again it is my feeling). The closure is a sort of reprise of the Pinkfloydesque initial tunes.p I think in this record they focused mainly on the richness, warmth and complexity of the music, more than on some musical research like in other Karfagen works, and from this point of view the result has been perfectly achieved. Everything sounds very warm and emotional, and it is not always common when you play this kind of music. Special mentions for the guitar musicianship, with a lot of different and intricate tunes but always focused on the feelings, and for the wonderful cover art. I know there will be a continuation of this concept in the new Sunchild opus; I am looking forward to listening to it.p
 Messages From Afar - First Contact by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 116 ratings

Messages From Afar - First Contact
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One of Antony Kalugin's 2017 releases. Apparently it's a companion to a soon-to-be-released SUNCHILD album.

1. "First Contact" (7:14) a trip-hoppy David Gilmour song?! That's exactly what the opening music and vocal sound like. After the vocals have played out and the vast instrumental mid-section takes over, it sounds a little more original with some nice non-Gilmourian guitar work from Max Velychko. The chunky fretless-sounding bass throughout is nice. (8.5/10)

2. "Foreign Land" (7:23) bass and sax are the featured instruments over the first ninety seconds of this one as the rest of the band supports by helping to create a kind of spacey, jazzy PINK FLOYD sound. This is even more strongly developed as the song goes on, as the electric guitar solo screams and wails. At the end of the fourth minute things quiet down so that a flute can solo. But then the guitar takes over again and everybody amps up their volumes in support. Unfortunately, nothing very special happens here--save for the Pink Floyd reminders. (7.5/10)

3. "Curious Talk" (3:30) nice easy listening lounge adult contemporary jazz music; nothing very proggy or barely even NeoProggy here. (7/10)

4. "Volcano Rabbit & The Frog" (5:33) some cool IQ-like keyboard sounds and synth work here but that's really what the song feels like: a straightforward set up for supporting showy guitar and keyboard solos. (8/10)

5. "Faces In The Clouds (3:08) spacious slow music that helps support some nice synthesizer and guitar work--probably my favorite sounds and feels, both in the solo instrumentation as well as the support tapestry. I haven't heard this wonderful guitar sound since PAUL SPEER was using it in the 1990s. Piano opening with synth "violins" joining in for the intro before drums and bass jump in and the music falls into line like an good World Music/soft jazz/New Age song from the 1990s. The overall weave and sound palette here is actually quite nice, quite workable. (9/10)

6. "Vale Of Dreams (8:34) virtually a continuation of the previous song with synth-created orchestral and vocal instruments joining into the weave. Again, the Paul Speer guitar sound is used--which I can't seem to help enjoying. Max actually does some really nice soloing here in that second minute. Tempo shift and disco bass at the 2:30 mark should derail my enjoyment but it doesn't. The FIXX-like work in the fourth minute is a bit odd but they make it work okay. Frequent returns to the guitar-led, synth-choral supported melody helps keep me engaged, to be sure. Definitely a brain worm of a melody. The sax in the final two minutes is tolerable. (Not a sax fan.) (9/10)

7. "Golden Fields Of Rye (2:15) bleeds over from the previous song, carrying the main melody, but using a piano and more sparsely instrumented base for support. Pretty enough. (8/10)

8. "Riding On A Rainbow (2:53) the same melody of the previous two songs shifted over to a different group of instruments and woven in with harmonizing second and third instrumental tracks. I'm glad Antony realized that he had, in fact, created quite a nice melody--enough so to try it in a variety of settings and soundscapes. I suppose the listener should have been notified of the "suite" nature of the past four songs. (8/10)

9. "Constant Flow (15:45) multiple tracks weaving together variations on a nice melody. At times in the first few minutes there is a very familiar feeling and sound here--like it's from Todd Rundgren's UTOPIA's "The Ikon," but then it switches to more GENESIS territory (despite the heavy use of "horns" sounds). Again, I wish these compositions weren't so familiar sounding, that they had more fresh, innovative energy to them. Pure Neo Prog if only because of the use and imitation of old sounds and styles. Nothing very special here. (7.5/10)

Antony's projects are always pleasant and sophisticated. My biggest complaint is the use of what feels and sounds like 1990s equipment and sound standards and rarely creating songs that sound innovative or boundary-pushing.

3.5 stars; an album that lovers of old sounds and Neo Prog will probably really enjoy.

 Messages From Afar - First Contact by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 116 ratings

Messages From Afar - First Contact
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars To begin with: amazing, fantastic, absolutely superb musicianship of the guitarist. This is the first impression from the album. The music bears a faint resemblance to Space Circus and maybe also another Japanese prog fusion band, Kennedy. Unfortunately, when they sing (what occurs, let's say, not too often), they sing in English. There's nothing to be done, I strongly prefer native languages, my apologies. However their English is good (I asked specialists). Not sure that Karfagen provides a correct idea of Ukrainian prog scene/school as a whole. In other words, not sure that Karfagen is representative enough for Ukrainian prog. But anyway this band is very interesting. Golden Fields of Rye reminds me not of real fields of rye (which, I believe, are indeed as golden in Ukraine as in my home village near Borovsk) but rather of water-flooded green fields of rice in Karakalpakstan (before the shrinking of Aral). The final 16-minute track is expected to be an epic but in actual fact breaks the prog standards for constructing epic suites appearing to be no more than just a very long - and very enjoyable - instrumental piece.
Thanks to chopper for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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