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KARDA ESTRA

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Karda Estra biography
The older I get, the more easily I'm surprised with new bands, KARDA ESTRA is an very competent group of British musicians who from from the late 90's to the date, create music that combines the dark spirit of the Eastern Europe ethnic sound (present in the use of Bazouki and Rastrophone) with the skills of the most pristine Symphonic Prog you can imagine expressed in complex and well developed orchestral arrangements that create an atmosphere of mystery and obscurity enhanced by the haunting chorals.

KARDA ESTRA is the brainchild of the multi instrumentalist and composer Richard Willeman who is obviously obsessed with the 1800's Gothic Revival and created this Neo Classical - Progressive project to exploit that dark mood that most Progressive Rock followers love so much.

Their main inspiration is so wide that goes from Romanian music from the Carpathian Mountains to Steve Hackett with who he shares that obsession for obscurity.

Since their debut, KARDA ESTRA constant members are Richard Willeman (classical, electric and bass guitars, keyboards, percussion, bouzouki, rastrophone and other exotic instruments), the weird and sometimes scary voice of Illesha Bailey, Rachel Larkins (viola, violin) and Zoe King (flute, alto saxophone and oboe) but always has counted with other excellent musicians to complete the band like Caron Hansford who plays oboe, cor anglais and bassoon, a luxury team.

The main theme in his albums is terror and reaches it's peak with "Eve" based in The Future Eve, written in 1886 by Villiers de L'Isle Adam about a scientist who creates a fiancée for his fiend Lord Ewald (2001) and Voivode Dracula of course based in the novel by Bram Stocker.

Didn't had the chance to listen their latest album "The Age Of Science And Enlightenment" released a few months ago but it0's one of the first thing I'm going to do in the next few days.

Symphonic nuts will love this band.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

Karda Estra official website

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Buy KARDA ESTRA Music


Weird TalesWeird Tales
Cyclops Records
Audio CD$14.00
$7.28 (used)
ConstellationsConstellations
Import
Cyclops Records 2003
Audio CD$14.00
$18.76 (used)
Voivode DraculaVoivode Dracula
Import
Cyclops Records 2008
Audio CD$14.00
$12.50 (used)
Mondo Profondo / New WorldsMondo Profondo / New Worlds
Import
Believers Roast
Audio CD$13.99
Age of Science & EnlightenmentAge of Science & Enlightenment
Import
Cyclops 2008
Audio CD$14.00
$22.46 (used)
The Last of the LibertineThe Last of the Libertine
Import
Cyclops Records 2008
Audio CD$14.00
$11.31 (used)
Alternate HistoryAlternate History
Import
Cyclops Records 2008
Audio CD$7.00
$5.34 (used)
Thirteen From The Twenty FirstThirteen From The Twenty First
Import
No Image
Audio CD$14.00
$39.95 (used)
A Winter In SummertimeA Winter In Summertime
Import
No Image
Audio CD$10.00
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
1 CENT CD The Last of the Libertine by Karda Estra PROG ROCK/UK IMPORT/CYCLOPS USD $1.25 [2 bids]
2 days
KARDA ESTRA A Winter In Summertime (No Image NICD12) CD; Symphonic Rock USD $10.87 Buy It Now 3 days
KARDA ESTRA Thirteen From The Twenty First (No Image NICD13) CD; Symphonic Rock USD $10.87 Buy It Now 3 days
KARDA ESTRA A Winter In Summertime (No Image NICD12) CD/Symphonic rock USD $10.87 Buy It Now 5 days
KARDA ESTRA Thirteen From The Twenty First (No Image NICD13) CD/Symphonic rock USD $10.87 Buy It Now 5 days
KARDA ESTRA Thirteen From The Twenty First UK CD PROG on No Image 2000 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8 days
KARDA ESTRA Alternate History CD PROG PSYCH UK on CYCLOPS SEALED USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8 days
KARDA ESTRA Eve UK CD on CYCLOPS CYCL 104 PROGRESSIVE SEALED USD $7.99 Buy It Now 10 days
KARDA ESTRA A Winter In Summertime CD UK NO IMAGE 1998 PROGRESSIVE EXP USD $7.99 Buy It Now 11 days
KARDA ESTRA Constellations UK CD PROGRESSIVE on CYCLOPS CYCL 130 SEALED USD $7.99 Buy It Now 13 days
KARDA ESTRA Voivode Dracula UK 2004 CD DARK PROGRESSIVE on CYCLOPS USD $7.99 Buy It Now 13 days
Karda Estra : Alternate History CD (2004) USD $13.19 Buy It Now 22 days
KARDA ESTRA A Winter In Summertime (No Image NICD12) CD/Symphonic rock . USD $10.87 Buy It Now 22 days
KARDA ESTRA Alternate History (Cyclops Records CYCL 146) CD USD $10.87 Buy It Now 22 days
KARDA ESTRA Constellations (Cyclops Records CYCL 130) CD USD $13.98 Buy It Now 22 days
KARDA ESTRA The Last Of The Libertine (Cyclops Records CYCL 163) CD USD $13.98 Buy It Now 22 days
KARDA ESTRA Thirteen From The Twenty First (No Image NICD13) CD/Symphonic rock . USD $10.87 Buy It Now 22 days
KARDA ESTRA Voivode Dracula (Cyclops Records CYCL 143) CD USD $13.98 Buy It Now 22 days


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KARDA ESTRA discography


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

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

3.09 | 8 ratings
A Winter In Summertime
1998
3.02 | 7 ratings
Thirteen From The Twenty First
2000
4.03 | 23 ratings
Eve
2001
1.54 | 7 ratings
Equilibrium (with Artemiy Artemiev)
2002
4.58 | 25 ratings
Constellations
2003
3.95 | 13 ratings
Voivode Dracula
2004
3.95 | 16 ratings
The Age Of Science And Enlightenment
2006
3.97 | 18 ratings
The Last Of The Libertine
2007
3.98 | 20 ratings
Weird Tales
2009
3.23 | 20 ratings
New Worlds
2011
3.65 | 11 ratings
Mondo Profondo
2013

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

KARDA ESTRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Land Of Ghosts Vol. 1
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Land Of Ghosts Vol. 2
2002
4.04 | 5 ratings
Alternate History
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Download
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
An Introduction to Karda Estra
2012

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
The Land Of Ghosts 3
2012

KARDA ESTRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Equilibrium (with Artemiy Artemiev) by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2002
1.54 | 7 ratings

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Equilibrium (with Artemiy Artemiev)
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

1 stars Next work for Karda Estra would to work with young Russian composer Artemiy Artemiev, who focused on the fields of Experimental Music and Ambient.Richard Wileman recruited Ileesha Bailey on vocals and Caron Hansford on oboe and cor anglais for this work, recording his parts at the band's Twenty First Studio.Artemiev, who was responsible for the various effects and electronics on the album, recorded his own music sections at the studio of the Electroshock label in Moscow.All recordings took place during the second half of 2001.As Artemiev was under contract with Electroshock Records, the album, titled ''Equilibrium'', was released on the Russian label in 2002.

Karda Estra's music has been always dark and cinematic, but we are talking about a different thing here.This should be regarded more of an Artemiy Artemiev solo effort with Karda Estra executing on the musical background of the Russian composer, because ''Equilibrium'' is quite close to the fundamentals of Electronic/Ambient Music than any releases of Karda Estra.Extremely hypnotic and at times experimental stuff, which often escapes from the principles of music to become an odd palette of obscure noises and sound effects.Consider this closer to an ambient Minimalism, suitable only for background music or Film Scores.Music structures are rather absent and the album is based on electronic soundscapes and isolated instrumental beats, lacking any kind of energy or even decent executions, only PINK FLOYD have performed in such a manner in the past and moreover the British group only used splashes of Ambient Music in its releases.Try to get through these 10+ min. experimental textures and if you succeeed, you will definitely win the prize of the most patient listener.I can hear echoes of Industrial and Classical Music as well, but the result is very boring, abstract and narcotic to my ears.

This is not a Progressive Rock album.Both words are absent from this release.It's a work filled with experimental, highly ambiental soundscapes, that tend to be extremely monotonous.Skip this one, unless you liked any of the above descriptions you've just read.

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 Mondo Profondo by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.65 | 11 ratings

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Mondo Profondo
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Led by the British musician and composer Richard Willeman, Karda Estra is a group who definitely made an impression on me in terms of a first time exposure. Their latest record, Mondo Profondo most certainly isn't something you stumble upon everyday, as it is an album that is dense in layers, ominous in tone, and magical in mood. "On Those Cloudy Days, " the opener, rolls in some haunting mixes of jazz and chamber music, and the record's subsequent dive into the title track, "Mondo Profondo I," is full of analog goodness and some nice chanted vocals that remind me of a mix between Brazilian jazz and English Cantebury; Karda Estra certain is a musical presence to admire. "The Haunter of the Dark" instantly makes me think gothic horror (honestly, the choice of instruments and atmosphere here is frightening enough to make you soil yourself), while "Chronoclasm" had me imagining a sort of nightmarish version of The Snowgoose. It's not all scary though; there seems to be a big tendency towards Brazilian influences seamlessly merged with chamber music (of which "Radiance" would be a prime example) to create a sound that would seem to fit in a plethora of movie soundtracks. While Mondo Profondo, New Worlds has tons to offer, I found that it's an album that I need to take in chunks. Definitely something different, and while it really does just skirt the edges of prog, good music is still good music

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 Eve by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.03 | 23 ratings

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Eve
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Entering the millenium Richard Wileman and Karda Estra would built a long collaboration with the Cyclops label.Moreover in their next album a strengthened string section would be displayed with the addition of Helen Dearnley on violin.''Eve'' would be released in 2001, being a concept work, drawing inspiration from Villiers de L'Isle Adam's novel ''The future Eve'', written in 1886.

Karda Estra's sound would remain laid-back and extremely cinematic like Soundtrack Music, but this time it is definitely more focused, well-composed and bursting some sheer beauty, based on Classical instruments.''Eve'' is characterized by its intense atmospheres, ethereal soundscapes and calm flow, which is based on grandiose piano lines, string arrangements and wind instruments with little contribution from other instruments.Quite often these atmospheric pieces are showered with marvelous wordless female chants and the presence of smooth acoustic guitars.It kind of reminds me of THE ENID during their most Classical nature in abscence of rock instrumentation.Towards the end Wilemann appears to upgrade its style with the display of a church organ and percussions, but nonetheless the music is still led by the grandiose, orchestral arrangements and the acoustic breaks.Extremely atmospheric material, which can be listened on specific occasions.I still insist that this would be even better with the discreet use of electric instruments at moments.Even so, most of the tracks contain an inner power of their own, based on Wilemann's talent to create dreamy, cinematic textures.

For the first time I think that Karda Estra are following the right way.Not really suitable for die-hard Rock fans, but a serious listening for all lovers of cinematic music.Recommended.

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 Mondo Profondo by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.65 | 11 ratings

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Mondo Profondo
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars As I mentioned in my previous Karda Estra review (progarchives.com/Review.asp? id=1025244), last month the band released their last effort Mondo Pronfondo (2013) and as a big bonus their previous album New Worlds (2011) was added to the CD. So I decided to review both albums separately. Here are my thoughts on their Mondo Profondo (2013) album.

Mondo Profondo (2013) began initially as a concept album back in 2006 based on the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. But Richard Wileman, Karda Estra leader, dropped the project due to the movie that was released in 2007.

The album starts with 'On Those Cloudy Days', which is a very atmospheric piece. In Gothic style. Inspired by the novel I Am Legend Karda Estra used many different sounds to make the whole track work, pretty much like a mini symphony. With the follow up, 'Mondo Profondo I', we have clever synths that were well used. Wileman always uses the acoustic guitar in a smart way and this track shows it. Then the song turns to be a Bossa Nova with many vocals. This seems to be one of Wileman's favorite genres. The track keeps changing with weird interludes, Bossa beat and female vocals (by Ileesha Bailey) all the way.

Reading the booklet's notes you can see that pretty much every track in Mondo Profondo (2013) was inspired by a novel. 'The Happy Breed' is not different. This one is based on the novel The Happy Breed by John Sladek. This one has a bit of the New Worlds (2011) album sound. And it's pretty much the sound that defines Karda Estra for me. It's classical, weird, gothic, atmospheric, chamber music, suspense music and soundtrack music. Do the math and try to get the result.

'Mondo Profondo II' is a big collaboration between Wileman and his musical partners Mohader, Stu, Phil, Kavus and Benjamin. Everybody shared credit and added new bits to the song. In the end, we have in its 8'43 a weird and wonderful piece, a 'travelogue', in Wileman's own words. I couldn't agree more. The album follows with 'The Haunter Of The Dark' that was inspired by a H. P. Lovecraft short story. The track has the mood that a Lovecraft tale needs. This track was originally written to the Colossus/Musea album The Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft (2012) and it was reworked for this release. This was a good move cause usually tracks composed for specific collections like this get lost with time. Nothing is better than putting a particular track in a band's own album, especially if it fits with the overall sound in it, and this one does.

'Mondo Profondo III' finishes the album. This track is the original 'Mondo Profondo II' but here it was completely naked down to only the piano chords sequences. It fits well with the rest of the album.

Different from the previous album, New Worlds (2011), Mondo Profondo (2013) seems to be a more polished record when it comes to the compositions and recordings. In the previous one the tracks seemed to be cut in half sometimes. Not here. They seem to be stand-alone compositions with full thick body.

With Mondo Profondo (2013) Karda Estra has a great atmospheric music that should be appreciated with the light off and having thriller/suspense movies in mind.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 New Worlds by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.23 | 20 ratings

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New Worlds
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars Karda Estra is an unusual band. In fact, they're not really a band. Karda Estra is the brainchild of Richard Wileman and their music is pretty much based on Chamber music and Soundtrack music.

Last month they released their last effort, Mondo Pronfondo (2013) (that will be reviewed soon too) and as a big bonus their previous album New Worlds (2011) was added to the CD. So I decided to review both albums separately.

New Worlds (2011) starts and if you have never heard Karda Estra before, you will notice from the very beginning that they're different. Their music is all about emotion and atmospheres. The intro to the album 'Chronoclasm I' and the follow up track 'Transmissions' are here to show that. Don't expect any regular Prog band. The great thing in this 'double' CD is the notes in the booklet by Wileman himself where he explains each track in detail. 'Fifty Below Zero' follows and you start to notice that New Worlds (2011) is all about Sci-fi. On this track you can hear many vocals and more unusual instruments such as the clarinet. But for Karda Estra this is one of the most normal instruments.

The album is carried by 'Eternity Station' that seems to be a little short or cut in half, exactly as in the previous one. Here we have some weird keyboards and a heavy atmosphere, a space feeling.It could easily be used in any documentary about the Space. Changing a bit the pace and showing Bossa Nova influences we have 'Girls In A Spaceship'. Then we have a track with vocals by Ileesha Bailey, called 'Sea Of Tranquility'. 'The Sky Below' is gothic and by this time you have noticed for sure that New Worlds (2011), as the name suggests, is all about the Space.

'Radiance' is Bossa Nova once again and 'The Doll's House' is a bit more classical with vocals and led by a clever piano. 'The Celestial Lounge' has unusual instruments once again with e-bow guitar, violin, oboe and a? toy piano. 'Invaders From Venus' has a saxophone as the main voice of the track and it's a bit more upbeat. A very good track. The album closes as it began with 'Chronoclasm II'. A good ending.

Karda Estra is not for every moment and certainly not for everybody. Richard Wileman is a big soundtrack fan and his music shows it. Sometimes tracks seem to be cut in half, like unfinished works, which is weird. New Worlds (2011) is like a soundtrack. And I would say that it has a concept, although the album is not really conceptual.

If you're a fan of soundtracks and bands like Goblin you should jump in on Karda Estra's music.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 Mondo Profondo by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.65 | 11 ratings

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Mondo Profondo
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars So, Richard is back with his latest album, and as a bonus he has also included his 2011 album 'New Worlds' which was never actually released on CD, but was available only as a download. Now, I gave that one 4 *'s when it came out so what about this one? Well, while the cover of 'New Worlds' was bright and colourful (and is shown as the rear cover of the booklet, a nice touch), this one is much darker and immediately makes one think of 'Voivode Dracula' from 2004. So, are we in for a dark gothic progressive classical soundscape? In some ways a definitely 'yes', while in others not so much. There are times in this album when we are treated to an orchestral version of Goblin, capturing the dark cinematic essence that they are renowned for, while at others it is lighter and not nearly as oppressive and gothic (including what I can only think of as Star Trek meets 70's cinema adverts). What I have always enjoyed about Richard's work is his refusal to conform to what anyone thinks of his music and will not fit inside any particular musical form but instead does whatever he feels is right.

It could be argued that this isn't progressive music, as it has much more in common with modern orchestral, yet he is using many different musical themes, instruments and mediums to create something that is layered, complex and refuses to be pigeonholed. The two albums contained in this one CD work really well together as they show different aspects of his work, and the fact that he brings in musicians to play all of the separate parts, instead of just using a synth to artificially create them, definitely gives his music a layer of class and sophistication often missing. In the past I have compared his work to Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips among others, but really he is in a place of his own design as he melds and moulds his music to be far more visual and cinematic.

This CD definitely benefits from being played on headphones, and in the evening sat on the deck looking at the stars this is definitely the perfect accompaniment. www.kardaestra.co.uk

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 Eve by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.03 | 23 ratings

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Eve
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I am not sure how many years I have been writing about Richard Wileman, more than either he or I would like to admit. From Lives & Times to Karda Estra I have always felt an affinity with his work and this album is no different. As Karda Estra he has brought in much more classical styles and haunting visual imagery, using Ileesha Bailey's vocals as another musical instrument.

The use of woodwind and violins as lead musical instruments is a powerful tool when placed against a sparse background, and while the music can never be said to be over the top he does manage to convey some real menace during "The Pale Ray". Seven songs yet again proves to my mind that Richard is one of our finest prog musicians who has now moved over to 'the other side' and should now be thought of as a classical composer who just happens to use electric instruments from time to time.

A haunting powerful album, that is gentle and background yet also hard and dynamic.

Originally appeared in Feedback #64, Dec 01

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 Thirteen From The Twenty First by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.02 | 7 ratings

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Thirteen From The Twenty First
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars In 2000 Richard Wileman's Karda Estra returned with a new self-produced CD, entitled ''Thirteen From The Twenty First''.Actually this was the first full-length release of the project with an expanded five-piece line-up, featuring also Caron Hansford on oboe, English horn and bassoon.

The album opens with the 5-part 17-min. suite "Surrealisms", which is possibly the best piece of this album.Wilemann insists on producing impressive and dreamy soundscapes, blending light Progressive Rock with Classical and Soundtrack Music and the result is often a cinematic experience full of ethereal female voices and classical instruments.This particular suite contains also hints of Folk music at moments, that sound quite delicate and make it even more complete and balanced.The following short 2-part ''Miniatures'' is an attempt of Wilemann on Chamber Music with the use of classical instruments, propably more of an academic interest.The last piece is the 6-part 30-min. ''Soundtracks'', which unfortunately spoils the album's balance so far.The title characterizes perfectly these six pieces, which sound actually like soundtracks for different films than a complete arrangement and additionally this kind of music is very far from any enviroment related to Progressive Rock.From spacey synthesizers, acoustic crescendos and bombastic Orchestral Music to Gothic and dark moods and an Avant-Garde minimalism, Wileman's talent on producing a variety of atmospheres is undisputed, but as a piece this is very far from an essential listening.

Great addition for anyone tracking down anything close to Soundtrack Music, but not of major interest for a Progressive Rock fan.A few rock elements and tons of atmospheric soundscapes, which are hard to follow through as a whole.

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 New Worlds by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.23 | 20 ratings

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New Worlds
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I often criticize reviewers who write about genres and styles they don´t like or understand. So I´m warning anyone who reads this text that I didn´t know this band and I simply decided to get this CD out of curiosity after reading a couple of reviews. What I write here is simply my personal opinion and nothing else. While highly regarded by some people here on PA and with the tag of "symphonic prog" (my fave prog style), I found nothing here that I do see as that. This is not to say that the musicians are not good or the songs are bad. I believe if you like soundtracks you´ll enjoy this album very much, because that´s exactly what it sounds to me: incidental music for a film I didn´t see. Some parts are quite nice and even quite familiar, like the obvious bossa nova traits of Girl In A Spaceship, but the impression it gives me is that the music goes nowhere. Nothing excited my imagination, nor pleased me much. The production is top notch.

So don´t get fooled by the label of symphonic prog. There is very little prog in here, few symphonic parts and no rock at all. But again, the music itself is not bad. Like I said before, if you like suave, delicate instrumental soundtracks you should check this out. But don´t expect anything more than that.

Rating: definitly this one ois for the fans and collectors. 2 stars.

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 The Land Of Ghosts 3 by KARDA ESTRA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Land Of Ghosts 3
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars This four track collection of rarities has been released as a download through www.bandcamp.com where the purchaser can pay as little as ₤1. It includes two pieces that originally appeared on Cyclops samplers along with one from another compilation and a new live solo acoustic guitar number. Richard is a modern classical composer who knows exactly what he wants to achieve and brings together musicians that act much more as a mini- orchestra than a band. Even through his Lives & Times days he has used the female voice as a an additional instrument and Ileesha is the perfect accompaniment to the music with her wordless arias taking the music to a new level.

It is dreamy, it is atmospheric, as always it is incredible and when one is in the mood to be reflective there is little that hits the mark as perfectly as this. www.kardaestra.com

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