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    Posted: October 12 2012 at 19:45
I think Livgren is a seriously overlooked composer in the symphonic prog realm. His works with Kansas blow me away every time I listen...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 19:47
He composed that on an airplane overlooking America below.

Have you heard Somewhere to Elsewhere by Kansas?

What about Proto-Kaw?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AEProgman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 20:26
He is one of my favorite composers.  His music is always thought provoking and the time signatures always seem to take a turn when you least expect it.
 
As Epignosis mentioned, Somewhere to Elsewhere was his last venture with Kansas (at least I think it was) and is a very good album.  Icarus II is excellent.  Also, the Kansas live album Two for the Show (30th Anniversery Edition) is great, it captures the band at their peak, much better than the original with a 2nd disc.
 
I have all the Proto-kaw stuff and like Before Came After album over the rest, but enjoy them all.  HearingProto-Kaw and him in an interview on satellite radio in the mid/early 2000s was influential in my re-interest in prog again.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 20:34
Anyone not sure about Kansas should just go out and buy the `Original Album Classics' 5 CD set that's dirt cheap. I picked it up for under $20 Australian, so for $4 you get their first five outstanding, defining and highly original progressive rock albums - OK, so the fifth album `Masques' isn't quite as great, but still very decent. All remastered editions, too, with bonus tracks.

`Journey From Mariabronn', `Song For America', `Lamplight Symphony', `Carry On, Wayward Son', `The Wall', `Magnum Opus'...the list of classic tracks just goes on!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 21:12
Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother Aussie-Byrd-Brother wrote:

OK, so the fifth album `Masques' isn't quite as great


Fifth album?  Masque was Kansas' third album, and it contains very important Kansas pieces: "Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel," "All the World," "Mysteries and Mayhem" and their epic "The Pinnacle."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 21:19
Originally posted by Epignosis Epignosis wrote:


Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother Aussie-Byrd-Brother wrote:

OK, so the fifth album `Masques' isn't quite as great
Fifth album?  Masque was Kansas' third album, and it contains very important Kansas pieces: "Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel," "All the World," "Mysteries and Mayhem" and their epic "The Pinnacle."


Epignosis, you're spot on! I was looking at the back cover of that box set, and it has the albums in the following order - Kansas, Song For America, Point Of Know Return, Leftoverture, Masques - so I clearly wasn't paying attention lol!

Still my least favourite of the five, but still very good!

Thanks for the save!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 21:30
Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother Aussie-Byrd-Brother wrote:

Originally posted by Epignosis Epignosis wrote:


Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother Aussie-Byrd-Brother wrote:

OK, so the fifth album `Masques' isn't quite as great
Fifth album?  Masque was Kansas' third album, and it contains very important Kansas pieces: "Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel," "All the World," "Mysteries and Mayhem" and their epic "The Pinnacle."


Epignosis, you're spot on! I was looking at the back cover of that box set, and it has the albums in the following order - Kansas, Song For America, Point Of Know Return, Leftoverture, Masques - so I clearly wasn't paying attention lol!

Still my least favourite of the five, but still very good!

Thanks for the save!


Shame on the record company for that!

I can understand your distaste though- it has lots of bad Walsh "love songs" on there.  Cheers!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 21:53
Originally posted by Epignosis Epignosis wrote:

Shame on the record company for that!I can understand your distaste though- it has lots of bad Walsh "love songs" on there.  Cheers!


I used to totally (and stupidly) dismiss that album outright, one look at the title of the first track - "It Takes A Woman's Love (To Make A Man)" turned my stomach!

But the truth is that song is really not that bad, and the album is full of great tracks! You can tell the band was trying to find a balance between accessible/commercial pieces and extended work-outs. It's probably a step back from the quality and depth of the first two albums, but certainly not a dud album.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Throw Sand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 22:50
From what I've heard and seen, "The Pinnacle" was originally a 14-minute epic, but the record company made the group split it into two parts - "Mysteries and Mayhem" and "The Pinnacle". I can never listen to one without the other.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timothy leary Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2012 at 23:06
Odyssey into the Mind's Eye is a great visual treat with music composed by Kerry. Strongly recommend you give it a look. I think some of it is available  on youtube.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stewe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2012 at 06:13
Seeds of Change and Collector's Sedition are great albums on par with best of Kansas/Proto-Kaw. For fans of Livgren it is a must.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ProgDrummerTony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 16 2012 at 15:01
I love almost anything that Kerry Livgren has written for Kansas; I never get tired of it. I've heard his Decade compilation album and thought it was pretty amazing despite it leaning more towards pop. I was even impressed with the guitar solo he did on Neal Morse's "Long Story" from Testimony. Kerry seems like the kind of musician I would want for immediate inspiration when it comes to songwriting, as he normally ends up pulling off something worth a million bucks. Go Kerry go!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote prog4evr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2012 at 00:25
Two reasons I loved Kansas from the beginning:  Steinhardt (on violins) and Livgren (on keyboards and guitars).  "Seeds of Change" has two great songs:  Mask of the Great Deceiver, and Live for the King.  Two reasons for that too:  Livgren; and, Ronnie James Dio on vocals...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2012 at 01:03
I love the first two albums and also Somewhere To Elsewhere as mentioned by Epignosis. Never 100% convinced by either Leftoverture or Point Of Know Return. The sound became a lot more sleeker (not a bad thing in itself) but I don't get as much enjoyment listening to those albums as the others I mentioned. (I could mention I saw Kansas live about 8 years ago but Kerry was not touring with them at that time.)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2012 at 01:12
Richard, I just listened to the self titled album on the way into work! There's some really impressive arrangements and playing on especially that one and the `Song For America' follow up! Even the more straightforward tracks have killer playing and lots of fire!

I love `Leftoverture' but so far haven't quite warmed as much to `Point...'. I need to give it a lot more plays, though!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AEProgman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2012 at 18:52
Originally posted by prog4evr prog4evr wrote:

Two reasons I loved Kansas from the beginning:  Steinhardt (on violins) and Livgren (on keyboards and guitars).  "Seeds of Change" has two great songs:  Mask of the Great Deceiver, and Live for the King.  Two reasons for that too:  Livgren; and, Ronnie James Dio on vocals...
Live for the King is awesome, Dio was the perfect vocal for that song.
 
There is another little known treasure by Livgren, One Of Several Possible Musiks.  It is listed in the reviews and Epignosis did a great review of it, including something I did not think of before, what could Kansas or Proto-kaw have done with these compositions.  It is all instrumental and Kerry did all the instruments, but he did use a drum machine in places which detracts from the good writing.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2012 at 19:10
It isn't well known that several of Livgren's pieces that saw the light of day in the 21st century were written before Kansas cut their first album.  "Myriad" is one of those.



By the way, if you are interested in what early-early Kansas sounded like, check out Proto-Kaw's collection from those days (listed on this site).

Hint: They sounded a lot like Van der Graaf Generator.  Wink


Edited by Epignosis - October 17 2012 at 19:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AEProgman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2012 at 21:04
^ I did not realize Myriad was written back then, amazing, it is one of my favorites on STE along with Icarus II. 
 
Yes, I have that early recordings disc, quite good considering some of the recording techniques used then.  I think the album cover notes indicated some were recorded in a cave! 
 
I really love "Skont" when they included it on the bonus DVD on the Proto Kaw "Wait of Glory" special edition album.  Kerry just really looks to be enjoying the moment when they are in the jamming section of the song. 
 
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2012 at 21:10
Some additional points:

-"Incommudro: Hymn to the Atman" is on both the early recordings and on Song for America.  Interesting to hear the drum solo difference.  "Belexes" is also on the early recordings.

-Proto-Kaw recorded a new version of "Greek Structure Sunbeam" on Forth.  Very good!

-The instrumental section in "Thanatopsis (The Coming Dawn)" on StE is lifted from "Reunion in the Mountains of Sarne" from the early recordings.  Check it out and compare!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AEProgman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2012 at 20:20
^ Finally took time to compare tonight, wow that is so subtle, I had to listen to both a number of times to pick it up!  The instrumentation in RitMoS has such different textures than the violin part in Thanatopsis.  Good catch and ear!
 
I had not listened to "Early Recordings..." in a while, it is back in rotation this week after this exercise of the ear.
 


Edited by AEProgman - October 22 2012 at 20:24


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