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Proto-Kaw - Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 54 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I only discovered this early Kansas recordings a few years ago (four or so).

The music featured is not very close to the one we will know some years after these tracks. The presence of sax provides a definite VDGG or Crimson angle and vocals are quite different that the one we will know for decades (Walsh).

It is still an interesting item for Kansas fan to grab. Probably not essential but most of the songs are of good texture. You will recognize an early version of Belexes featured here in a live environment.

Most songs are on the long edge and features solo (guitar or sax in this case) which were the usual stuff in these early seventies. Even if the recording quality is not super, I believe it was well worth the effort to restore those tapes and put it on the market (even if they could have done it a little earlier).

The music is more complex than the one we will be used to; flirting with the eclectic genre most of the times. A close link with ELP can also be noticed in several songs of which Totus Nemesis is the most obvious. The Hammond play from Dan Wright is powerful, hypnotic and is the highlight of this long piece of music (almost forteen minutes). We are indeed brought back to ancient Egypt. If Triumvirat are of your liking, no doubt that you will appreciate such a song.

It is even heading pure experimentation at half time: a wall of sounds difficult to identify or name; almost each musician taking his role. This part can be compared to ASOS from Floyd. Quite special to say the least. It ends up into a total chaos worthy of Crimson or Van Der Graaf. This was rather avant garde for these days. It is a quite daring piece of music but quite difficult to get into. This is a zillion miles away from Kansas music.

As a counterpart, one gets Greek Structure Sunbeam which is a smooth jazzy tune full of tact and sweetness. Fine vocals and good piano are the best elements of this song. I have to say that the finale is quite poignant.

I deeply regret that I couldn't make their concert in my home country. Some two years ago, they shared the bill with Pallas at the Spirit of 66 (Verviers) and I'm afraid that it might well be their last European appearances. But who knows.

My highlight is Incomudro. It is one of my favourite Kansas songs from the great Song For America album. It is quite interesting to discover it in this prior incarnation with a different vocalist. All the majesty of the song is there and I'm really moved while listening to it. A superb moment of music. Great flute adds some early Genesis mood to it. You might know that I am quite keen of this.

Incomudro is just a fabulous song of which I am totally found of. It is THE highlight actually.

The last two live tracks are nothing else than jamming seesions very much jazz oriented and of lesser interest.

This is a good album, not only for Kansas fans. Those won't really recognize the band they love (except the two future Kansas songs of course).

Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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