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KNIFEWORLD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Knifeworld biography
KNIFEWORLD exists as a solo project of Kavus Torabi, a British musician and composer of Iranian descent. He's known for his work in the avant-garde rock field, primarily as a guitarist. Torabi was one of the founding members of 'The Monsoon Bassoon', plays with 'Guapo' since 2006 and subsequently joined the 'Cardiacs' as the second guitarist. As for that he appears as a very busy musician who demonstrates excellent song writing skills on top of it.

The KNIFEWORLD debut album 'Buried Alone - Tales Of Crushing Defeat' was released on the Believer's Roast label in August 2009, preceded by a download single one month earlier. Although supported by several fellows Torabi wrote all of the material on the album, sang the majority of lead vocals and played most of the instruments.

His music has always drawn on a wide variety of influences including progressive rock as well as indie/alternative, folk plus various forms of hard rock and heavy metal. All of this ingredients can be found on his new album which consequently guarantees diversity. KNIFEWORLD is recommended to fans of ambitious rock music.

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The UnravellingThe Unravelling
Import
INSIDE OUT MUSIC 2014
Audio CD$15.10
$5.99 (used)
Buried Alone: Tales of Crushing DefeatBuried Alone: Tales of Crushing Defeat
Import
2009
Audio CD$145.76
Pissed Up on Brake Fluid [Vinyl]Pissed Up on Brake Fluid [Vinyl]
Import · Single
2009
Vinyl$11.99
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KNIFEWORLD discography


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

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

3.80 | 18 ratings
Buried Alone - Tales Of Crushing Defeat
2009
3.63 | 36 ratings
The Unravelling
2014

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

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

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Pissed Up On Brake Fluid
2009
3.67 | 6 ratings
Dear Lord, No Deal
2011
3.69 | 4 ratings
Clairvoyant Fortnight
2012

KNIFEWORLD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Unravelling by KNIFEWORLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.63 | 36 ratings

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The Unravelling
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by thedunno

5 stars Knifeworld is the band resulting from a solo project of Cardiacs guitarist Kavus Torabi. Tim Smith always described Cardiacs music as "psychedelic pop'. The same description you could give Knifeworld, yet they do not sounds like Cardiacs at all. In fact they do not sound like any other band currently in my collection.

Surely you can hear a lot of influences. I can hear a bit of Syd Barret, a bit of XTC, a bit of Gentle Giant and, what the hell, even a bit of Cardiacs. The unravelling sounds pretty diverse yet very coherent at the same time.

One of the strongest assets of this band is the wonderrful horn section. The bassoon intro on 'Send him seaworthy' gives me goosebumps everytime. More prog bands need horns and above all bassoon!

This is not a typical 'prog' album and it was never meant to be. Still I think many prog fans would enjoy this. It is colourful, layered and complex psycedelic pop. Kavus has a background in RIO/Avant prog but let this not deter you; The Unravelling is remarkable accesible but with an adventurous nature.

4 1/2 stars but happily rounded off to 5

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 The Unravelling by KNIFEWORLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.63 | 36 ratings

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The Unravelling
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by Nogbad_The_Bad
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

5 stars It's only halfway through the year so far but this may well end up as my album of the year for 2014.

Knifeworld have been around for around 5 years but this is really the first full formed album with a eight piece band bringing Kavus Torabi's (Cardiacs, Guapo, Gong) ideas to life. This is the sort of clever complex psychedelic pop that XTC and Mike Kenneally have specialized in. Beautifully mastered by Bob Drake it can initially sound a little quiet but that's because it sacrifices the current noise wars for full defined sound. You can turn this all the way up and everything is really clear.

While Kavus' guitar is very prominent in everything it's really the bassoon and vocals that give this album a depth of sound that is pretty unique. There's song craft, complexity, riffs and hooks a plenty.

The only complaint could be that it's a bit short in comparison to a lot of modern prog releases but the music is so captivating that you feel exhausted when it ends. This is a masterpiece.

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 The Unravelling by KNIFEWORLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.63 | 36 ratings

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The Unravelling
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

2 stars I've seen so much hype about this new Knifeworld album that I seriously wanted to slap an even lower rating on it. But I'm not like that. Knifeworld's latest, "The Unravelling", has arrived from Inside Out, and people are eating it up. There's something about the quirk in this band's sound that has convinced people to bow before them. Yet, I refuse.

Knifeworld. KNIFEWORLD. What kind of name is that, anyways? This band seems overly concerned with appearing special or different. They seem to put tons of effort into looking the "prog part", if you will. On paper, then, this new album seems like it should be a spectacular display of eclecticism and brilliance. With male and female singers (including the venerable Kavus Torabi) and with many different instruments making regular appearances, such as an entire brass section and violin, this album seems like it will be special. Like I said, though, I think that's how the band wants it to look on paper. The band, however, is certainly skilled at playing their instruments, and the album is technically proficient.

In reality, much of this album is a pretentious mess. Melodies and instruments clash and play past each other. Spaces in the music are like gaping holes in a bucket, letting all the content just escape. The band seems to think that composing music is simply cutting and paste grooves and melodies from classic bands. Indeed, there are entire foundations of songs on this album that seem like they were ripped directly from a Gentle Giant album. It's one thing to include a tool used by an older band, it's entirely different to change very little and expect the listener not to notice. I speak specifically of "The Skulls We Buried Have Regrown Their Eyes", as the brassy, bassy groove sounds ripped from "The Power and the Glory". That isn't the only one either. Not by a mile. Other bands ripped off include Yes and even The Steve Miller Band. Generally speaking, then, this album is nothing but old material arranged slightly differently, and with absolutely no shame at all.

The entire persona of the band screams prog-wannabe, though. From the pretentious song titles to the lazy attempts to sound and look unique to even the freakin' band name, the band comes off as trying to be "prog" as hard as they can, but there's just no real content or real inspiration involved at all. It's sad, though, as many of the songs have very short moments that sound original, but the band abandons them as quickly as they came. Overall, then, I'm completely unimpressed, and I was glancing at the clock before the album was even halfway done.

2.5 stars

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 Clairvoyant Fortnight by KNIFEWORLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.69 | 4 ratings

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Clairvoyant Fortnight
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars It seems to me Knifeworld doesn't make a lot of effort in producing quality music when releasing EPs. Their sole album from 2009 is no doubt about it, a wild beast, full of heavy crunchy guitars and a good dose of avant tendencies, what mainly separates it from the EPs is simply the level of songwriting. Although in general the "Clairvoyant Fortnight" EP have received positive reviews, I don't share the enthusiasm, I hope it doesn't mean the band have ran out of unique ideas, like the ones presented on the album. The core of the band has still remained intact, while various musicians contribute to each release, Kavus Torabi (Yes, the Cardiacs guitarist since 2003) is in charge and plays a handful of instruments aside from the guitar, the amazing Khyam Allami on the drums, Melanie Woods on "little girl's vocals" and Sarah Measures here credited only for Flute but usually plays more.

Knifeworld's music is a good combination between Cardiacs and some Gentle Giant, although less punkish but still holds a lot of characteristics from Cardiacs like humor, weirdness and knife sharp "out of the box" music arrangements. The addition of other instruments like sax, trumpet and flute is what makes this band so interesting and exciting, and this is the element that makes them close to GG and King Crimson. This time the songs seems to be a little more cheerful and brighter than on their debut, this is mainly due to Melanie's little girl's chants and the occasionally lighter sound. The arrangements are still busy and complex, but it's not complexity all the time like with progressive metal, it's more in the vein of modern art rock.

Overall this release is definitely less interesting than what they had to offer on their debut, first of all the songs are less heavy which in this case in my opinion takes the punch away, the songs are passing me by without leaving the impression I got from the album, they are not bad in any way and some moments are very very good, but overall this is fairly mediocare by Knifeworld standards. Out of the three songs here, "The Prime of our Decline" is the highlight with a good intro building up to a good Zappa meets KC saxophone riff, great sound which also returns in the end of the song including a bassoon, with a different riff and some cool interplay evoking the debuts high level of creativity with complex and tight arrangements, I love it.

"Buried Alone - Tales Of Crushing Defeat" is the name of their album and it's definitely the one to get if you're interested to check this wonderful band. The "Clairvoyant Fortnight" EP is good but doesn't even come close to any of the songs appearing on their debut. I'm still a huge fan and I can't wait for a second album. 3 stars is what it is.

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 Buried Alone  - Tales Of Crushing Defeat by KNIFEWORLD album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.80 | 18 ratings

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Buried Alone - Tales Of Crushing Defeat
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Now this album is awesome!!

This was one of the finest discoveries I had last year, I just couldn't stop listening to it, something about it just grabbed me and I couldn't let go. There's something haunting about this album, I'm not sure if it's the sound or its weird tinged melodies, but when that freight train is coming out of nowhere and easily runs you over, it actually feels like holy water are cleansing your soul, you simply can't be happier. Knifeworld are a London based solo project of Kavus Torabi which had been circulating the Avant scene (as well as other scenes too) until joining the Cardiacs as a guitarist in 2003. The ideas for Knifeworld had been always on his mind but it wasn't until 2008, when Cardiacs went into hiatus, that he formed the band, obviously they had a lot of influence on him. For their debut recording, Torabi played most of the instruments himself (guitars, bass, keyboards, violins and other instruments) as well as singing the majority of the lead vocals, writing, producing and arranging all of the material. The album sounds rich because of its varied instrumentation recorded by various other members, Flutes, Saxophone, Trumpet and piano were added as well as additional female vocals by Melanie Woods which is a permanent member of Knifeworld.

"Buried Alone..." is the logical continuation of Monsoon Bassoon sole album, which was Torabi's ex band, he also brought with him Sarah Measures who contributed saxophone, clarinet and flute on both albums. Another shining star in the line up is drummer Khyam Allami which is also a permanent member of the band, everything he does is simply stunning, very complex and powerful, he really pushes the music forward, giving it a lot of edge.

Given the Cardiacs relations, I thought this would be much more popular than it is, but I think this unique work is flying out of everyone's radar, and that is a real shame. Although this is listed under Crossover don't expect any poppish or too accessible vocals or any cheerful vibe for that matter, the album is actually going inside subtle avant garde territories very often, you might say it's hiding in just about every song appearing in the shape of weird vocals, quirky leads and other weird fillings by sax, trumpet flutes and more.

The album is quite varied and it's something that you can feel right from the start, it is well balanced between heavy moments and....well... not so heavy moments. The first thing that grabbed me were the melodies, they have a beautiful weird vibe to it, the mixing of both male and female vocals really complements the heavy music, Melanie Woods is definitely doing a great job, and I give Torabi a lot of credit for arranging the whole thing, this is really professionally done. I like how their voices are contrasting each other, while Melanie is chanting like a little girl. It is one of those albums that make you think "who the hell needs long instrumentals?", the songs are effectively powerful, don't get me wrong, there is definitely a looooooooooot of playing to enjoy. The playing is quite complex and reminds me of Gentle Giants on a few occasions, especially when they add those sax and trumpets.

Buried Alone... rocks quite heavily with some crushing guitars, that somehow manages not to cross the border to heavy metal city. The vocals and wind instruments are wove cleverly inside that heavy sound while in the meantime takes you in a totally different direction, this is really exciting. There are no fillers and not even one dull moment, this is one unique tour de force featuring some unpredictable complex twists and surprising quick turns on top of a relentless and tight heavy rocking rhythm.

Check out "The Wretched Fathoms" which has one element the band came to be an expert with. Crushing guitars are squeezing your brain with disturbing but serene vocals that somehow found their way into the mix, make you think "How did they think of it?" "Severed Of Horsehoof" is a beautiful break from all the heaviness. Its beautiful and relaxing intro immediately drains my powers and I'm left with no ability to move while the song keeps haunting me. Calm verses with acoustic and electric guitars which complete each other perfectly shows this album has a lot of depth. "No More Dying" is another clear favorite of mine, it seems it is so easy for them coming out with a weird and zany intro played by quiet saxophones, and then destroy it with a sledgehammer, while still managing to be complex and straight forward all together, exhilarating really!

This album sets the bar very high for the next album, and although expectations can turn into disappointments, I can't help but sit in anxious anticipation. Torabi is taking his time and although Knifeworld have released two EPs since the album, he found time to participate on Guapo's latest album too. I hope to see more people turning into this one of a kind album, it would mostly appeal to any Cardiacs fan or anyone who enjoy chili peppers and chocolate pineapples on top of his pizza.

4.2 stars, very recommended!!

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 Dear Lord, No Deal by KNIFEWORLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.67 | 6 ratings

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Dear Lord, No Deal
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Very nearly 5 stars.

A Knifeworld EP has more than enough going on to feel like a LP. The energy level is constantly so high, and the melodies always so varied and polyphonic, that there's a lot to take in. And yet, it's amazing how easy a pill Knifeworld is to swallow. Knifeworld's main guy, main broseph, Kavus Torabi, manages to (like his close affiliate Tim Smith) to write addicting and catchy pop tunes whose complexity can make any musicians arms fall off. The melodies that weave together so beautifully and epically that in away that's almost instantly recognizable. It seems that in particular with this EP, Kavus and the fellows have really struck gold big time. It is with this EP that Knifeworld really sounds like a band, and one of the better sounding bands. The musicianship is just off the charts. Kavus's manic arpeggios, Khyam Allami's masterful control of the time signatures, Craig Fortnam's excellent melodic bass work, and really just... everything. It is all executed so professionally, and mixed great, all clean and fresh and psychedelic in the way that it messes with your mind. Honestly it gets me excited writing about it.

So it all starts with the huge whirlwind which is "Pilot Her". This bizarre love song, I think, is one of the single catchiest coolest songs I've heard in my life. The two chord harmony is done with crunchy guitars, and sharp blasts of Hammond. It is beautiful and rather nervous... particularly with the great falsetto background vocals. The great C part towards the end, with the fantastic bouncy bassoon is such a gigantic wall of psychedelia, is practically perfect. Kavus and Melanie Woods vocals work beautifully together.

The next song "Dear Lord, No Deal" (took me soooo long to get the word play here), is an immediately more laid back affair. Kavus starts singing with an acoustic guitar, and I just kinda wish there was a bit more umph (for lack of a better onomatopoeia) off the bat, but luckily the song picks it up rather quickly with cool harpsichord transitions and great musicianship. Emmett Elvin's keyboard skills are to be commended here.

The real beast here, however, is the 14 minute full on psychedelic swashbuckling epic that is "HMS Washout". The initial 8 or so minutes are rather calm, a long dreamy part with great trumpet work and dreamy synths. The seagulls in the background disappear when this epic violin and guitar led melody in god know what time signature comes in. Khyam Allami (my Iraqi brother!) really, just destroys it on the drums in that part. Rolling toms and great fills and everything. And this is all just a crescendo to the wonderful, endless, downright hypnotic, looping finish. With Kavus singing "saw their arms away" over and over again it's all a bit pirate-themed. The horns hear are just so epic, and Khyam once again takes the weird time signatures and plays with it like nothing. Kavus's guitar lines add along with the synths, the horns, and even Craig Fortnam's bass, give the song the insane polyphony that makes Knifeworld unique. The song is a beautiful well made epic, simple as that.

Really, Knifeworld is one of the most exciting bands in the world. Seamlessly combining prog, metal, pop, RIO, add genre name here, Knifeworld successfully creates a sound which is just exciting, erratic, joyous and addicting.

Please, just release another full length already.

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 Clairvoyant Fortnight by KNIFEWORLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.69 | 4 ratings

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Clairvoyant Fortnight
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A little something to tide us over.

Knifeworld from the start, which for me was the Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat, was a band I was going to be keeping an eye on. I was ready already for the next album, but this is the second intermediate EP and the better of the two, but not by too much.

I may be repeating myself but it's like the spirit of Gentle Giant in their prime had been floating around in space and landed on the Knifeworld.

So, when I found out there was streaming about for the main track of this EP, I was clicking around and accidentally launched two instances out of sync. I was thinking hmm. I don't know if I really like this as much. Fortunately about a minute in I realized what I had done, oops. It doesn't really lend itself too well to being listened to in that fashion. May have been summoning up evil spirits or something. Well, there's a video for this and once again, if only MTV still played videos?"I may have to borrow your tarot tomorrow." Not sure if I've entirely figured out what this song is about. I am certain it's about five minutes and twenty eight seconds.

In A Foreign Way, nice and bouncy. Video available for this one but not as fancy as the first.

The Prime Of Our Decline is the icing on this cupcake. Deliciously complex, if any track will convince you to keep an eye on these guys and gals, none will. A wild seven and a half minute ride.

A full length album is in the works. I'll be there.

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 Dear Lord, No Deal by KNIFEWORLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.67 | 6 ratings

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Dear Lord, No Deal
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Two years after ''Buried Alone...'' Kavus Torabi's Knifeworld seems more tight than ever.What started apparently as a personal project by Torabi becomes now more of a regular band with Melanie Woods on vocals and drummer Khyam Allami still on board.Emmet Elvin on keys and Chloe Herington on wind instruments also joined the band.The fresh line-up recorded a collectable 150-numbered EP entitled ''Dear Lord, No Deal'' in 2011, of course on Torabi's own Believers Roast label.

The unique style of Knifeworld is present here as well.Two very short tracks with demanding musicianship, frenetic grooves, changing themes, distorted vocals and rich instrumentation will be the introduction to this short CD.Both ''Pilot Her'' and the eponymous track do not extend the 3-min. mark but are trademarks of the band's sound, groovy and professional Art Rock with somewhat pompous vocals and jazzy overtones among others.These will give their place to the 14-min. ''HMS Washout'', which is a nice amalgam of Torabi's inspirations.The familiar sound of the previous tracks is again present on the opening minutes but the middle part is dedicated to some weird RIO/light Post-Rock music with calm guitars and sharp saxes on the forefront, while the track will capture a great GENTLE GIANT/MANEIGE feeling on the way to its end with fiery strings, organs and a furious rhythm section along with multiple vocal parts.

Do not get bothered if you do not find one of the numbered CD's of this short release, as the album is available for download on several digital music stores.Recommended for fans of adventurous Crossover Prog/Art Rock.

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 Clairvoyant Fortnight by KNIFEWORLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.69 | 4 ratings

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Clairvoyant Fortnight
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by The Hemulen
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The shift from solo "studio project" to a fully-fledged band has done the world of good to Knifeworld. Kavus Torabi's songwriting has hardly been in doubt, ever since his Monsoon Bassoon days, but the addition of permanent band members has really helped to solidify Knifeworld's sound, (crunchy riffs, psychedelic washes of synth and keys and gratifyingly prominent bassoon being particular hallmarks), and push his songwriting to new and giddy heights.

Torabi has never been shy or secretive about his influences, and the keen-eared well-versed prog fan will doubtless catch sonic glimpses of Magma, Henry Cow, King Crimson, Cardiacs, The Muffins and a hundred other bands besides, but this EP more than anything that's come before it, makes it abundantly clear that the only band Knifeworld really sounds like is Knifeworld.

Yes, Kavus and co. are reaching back into the murky depths of prog and psychedelia's past but not in order to copy wholeslae a particular band or style of music - the influences manifest as flourishes, nods and winks and a vague fuzzy vibe. For all their unashamed then-ness, there's something defiantly NOW about Knifeworld. These three songs are brimming over with passion, urgency and a flurry of ideas, each tumbling over and into the next in a mad rush to overwhelm your mind and transport you on some mad, psychedelic journey, with or without any chemical aid.

And deep within that seething, bubbling melting pot of musical ideas lurk hooks and melodies so insidiously catchy that you'll be humming them for months. What might seem baffling and overwhelming on first listen quickly opens out into some of the most joyful, life-affirming, powerful and intense music you're likely to hear this or any other year.

They came very very close with last year's "Dear Lord, No Deal" EP, but with "Clairvoyant Fortnight" it seems Knifeworld have finally come of age.

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 Dear Lord, No Deal by KNIFEWORLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.67 | 6 ratings

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Dear Lord, No Deal
Knifeworld Crossover Prog

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Short but wonderful...

Knifeworld may not have gotten very much press here at PA, but they are a group definitely deserving of more attention than they've yet received. To date, they've released a full length album and two EPs, with a sound which draws some comparisons to other groups (for me, I hear some Cardiacs in the horn parts especially). They don't lean on the influences, though, instead letting their own music shine through with a high energy, fun-loving sound. Somewhat punky, somewhat proggy, always enjoyable.

This album presents two sides of the band to the listener; the first side, which is the first two tracks, is the more accessible, sticking with shorter song formats and catchy music engineered to ensnare the senses. The final track on the EP, making up the bulk of its length, shows their less conventional style, the track goes through several styles over its fourteen minutes. Slower, stripped-down sections shift into higher gears, with more speed and more instruments, and sometimes the track has a very lush, almost dreamlike quality. As was mentioned in the previous review, the fade-out loop at the end of the track is rather long, but personally I don't feel that it detracts from the value of the music.

Kavus and crew have created quite a good EP with Dear Lord, No Deal. They're still a young group, though their musical talents are clear. I'm looking forward to more material from Knifeworld, though Kavus is keeping himself busy playing with other groups (check out his contributions to Bob Drake's newest album) along with writing material for future Knifeworld releases. Four stars for this release, and recommendations to check out all of their material.

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