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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover

SPACE SHANTY

Khan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 774 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars This is the very best Canterbury album there is. A little bold? Perhaps, but what Khan manages to accomplish on their sole disc is something really special, that sets it apart from a flood of other incredible albums.

First off, I'd just like to give major kudos to all the musicians involved. Dave Stewart and Steve Hillage need no introduction, and their interplay throughout all of the album's many instrumental passages is top notch. The chemistry within the band is unparalleled, with all of the album's complex arrangements sounding very natural and organically flowing. Lately I've also been paying particular attention to the bass playing of Nick Greenwood; what an underrated musician! Even though the organ and guitar steal the show, Nick manages to keep up really well, and plays all sorts of interesting and unconventional licks throughout. From a technical standpoint, it's pretty hard to beat how well all four members of Khan play.

Of course, well-played albums are a dime a dozen in the prog world, so that alone can't define a masterpiece. So what else does "Space Shanty" have going for it? What really resonates with this album for me is the atmosphere it creates. There are a whole lot of influences on display here, from smooth jazz fusion, to hallucinatory space rock, to heavy psychedelic blowouts, to soulful blues passages. And, miraculously, all of these different genres are so well balanced in every track that a unified sort of nocturnal atmosphere comes into fruition. Often melancholy, meandering, inviting, there's a definite coherence of mood throughout the whole affair. I think it can be best described as a very nostalgic, "coming-of-age" type of feeling. I highly recommend putting this on as a night driving album, it seems almost like it was made for it!

Now just because "Space Shanty" is well-played and engulfed in a beautiful atmosphere, does that really quantify it as the "best Canterbury album there is"? I think that those criteria alone are enough to push me to a 5 star rating, but what really makes Khan's album the shining star of the Canterbury Scene is in its approach. Canterbury, lighthearted as it is, is one of those genres that seems to be very conducive to abstract silliness, and, quite frankly, a whole lot of noodling. Khan's greatest strength is their ability to take all of the typical Canterbury aesthetic and to channel all those absurd ideas and influences into something so structured, tangible, and ultimately very emotive. Call it "Canterbury-for-those-who-don't-really-like-Canterbury" if you like, but what I believe really sets Khan ahead of Soft Machine or Hatfield and The North is that, as splendid as the musicianship on those records is, there's a bit too much of a niche appeal to their style. But with Khan, even if you take the "Canterbury" descriptor away, "Space Shanty" is still a masterpiece. 5 solid stars for this beauty.

Magnum Vaeltaja | 5/5 |

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