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Kaprekar's Constant - Fate Outsmarts Desire CD (album) cover


Kaprekar's Constant


Crossover Prog

3.87 | 93 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars A surprise arrival from this collective of British prog veterans, the sound is pristine and well-mixed and effected, the music very easy on the ears, kind of like TONY PATTERSON or MANTRA VEGA with the British historical passion equal to BIG BIG TRAIN.

1. "Hors d'Oeuvre" (3:28) opening with a passionate male voice singing a cappella, the song soon progresses into a well-woven tapestry of straight-timed folk rock for the telling of a story about. Love the background flute, organ, and sax play in the second and third minutes. Interesting choral bridge to the piano-based, "orchestra"-drenched finale. (8.5/10)

2. "Bluebird" (17:53) a musical expression for the telling of the story of Malcolm Campbell and Parry Thomas chasing the world land speed record back in the 1920s. The song is peppered throughout with interjections of recorded radio quotes from the era's headlines. GENESIS-like drum play and multi-track guitar picking coupled with a very pleasant, catchy melody make this easy listening part of the song (the first six minutes) my favorite on the album. Instrumental section in the seventh and eighth minutes contains some lackluster electric guitar and saxophone soli before we are returned to the narrative with news of Parry Thomas' death while trying to race his speeding "Babs" to a new world record. Dull, sad lyrics follow. Bluebird's return the next year is announced, followed by a "fanfare"-type of full-band instrumental section. The achievement of a new record initiates another pretty, more upbeat singing section. The multi-instrument soloing here is almost jazzy. Nice multi-voiced vocal section follows--another outstanding section--which progresses with a steady buildup into a prolonged final section--one that rivals anything BIG BIG TRAIN has conjured up. (9/10)

3. "Pearl Of The Lake" (5:10) a pretty ballad that would have fit perfectly on the 2016 MANTRA VEGA release. Nice sound, soothing, but nothing very exciting or noteworthy here. (7.5/10)

4. "Hallsands" (14:18) a song that tells a sea story with lead singer's IAN ANDERSON/DAVE COUSINS-like voice taking the stage, front and center, for the majority of the song. A switch into acoustic folk traditional music at 5:36 is fun-- though the electric guitar power chords sneaking into the background are, in my opinion, unnecessary. But this is all for naught as there is a quick switch back into storytelling mode with a new, orchestral-sounds-supported slowed down section--a section that is, unfortunately a little too monotonous despite the gradual buildup with additional instrument tracks filling the soundfield. At 8:30 the music switches into an interesting instrumental section in which seems imitative of Genesis' "Apocalypse in 9/8" Just before the ten minute mark this ends and some medieval acoustic instruments give the song a new mediŠval feel before settling into more of another ballad- support combination--this one far more traditional British folk-oriented (until the electric guitar solo at 11:42). Flutes and Mellotron-like synthesizer washes support. Organ and electric guitar re[place the vocalist to carry the main melody forward from the end of the thirteenth minute to the song's end. I like a lot of this music--and it seems perfect for the support of another historically-based story, but the story and lyrics are lost to me. (I just don't absorb the meaning of the words of song lyrics. A disability of mine, I believe.) (8.5/10)

5. "Four-Faced Liar" (4:24) a song based in acoustic instrumentation (even the keyboards seem to be trying to make the sound of acoustic orchestral instruments), another story is being told with lots of radio samples incorporated beneath and between the singing and music. Something about Boston and gold. The lead vocal here is rather pitchy. (8/10)

6. "Houdini" (21:26) the third and final epic-length song of the album, opens with atmospheric sounds supporting the long introductory reproduction of an old loudspeaker speech--perhaps an original recording of Houdini? At the end of the second minute the speech ends and the music switches to bring electric guitar arpeggi and some nice flute play to fore while female voice(s) enter before a lone female voice takes over the lead. With the second verse drums, bass, and more layers of keys and guitars and saxes join in. Very nice sound and construct. The succeeding sections of instrumental and lyrics support are nothing extraordinary--even tread a disappointing line between predictability and lackluster. In fact, the plethora of old radio samples are by far and away the highlights of the song. I like Kate Bush's tribute better. (8/10)

The keyboard master does a great job arranging plenty of keyboard-generated orchestral sounds and textures but, in the end, they're a weak point because they're still just keyboard generated representations. The vocalists have pleasant timbres and interesting stories to tell but their performances mostly lack passion and fire. The most interesting parts of the music are the tapestries woven by the combination of acoustic instruments, though even these seem prone to disappoint due to their frequent lack of invention and/or their flashless product.

Four stars; a nice piece of pastoral, history-oriented story telling--a celebration of one of the niches progressive rock music has carved for itself.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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