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Karnataka - The Storm CD (album) cover

THE STORM

Karnataka

 

Prog Folk

3.46 | 52 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Karnataka ? The Storm Rachel Jone's crystalline vocals and the sounds of harp, sax and violin ? result: pure magic

I heard of this band due to a lovely photo in a prog magazine. When I first heard the music I was instantly won over by the musical talents and most of all the sweet female lead voice so often missing in prog bands. The album begins with the peaceful serene sounds of an ocean, the waves crashing somnambulant against the beach. The harp (on keyboards) begins to chime and the beautiful crystalline tones of Rachel Jone's vocal prowess bursts through like sun beams through a cloud. The lyrics are thoughtful and reflective about life and hope. The wall of sound is created by the sound of strings and soaring keyboards and the vocal harmonies are like another instrument.

The tracks blend seamlessly together at times and there are some sublime passages of lead guitar solo work and Steve Simmons sensuous sax. One is instantly reminded of Mostly Autumn but Karnataka are original in the way they merge a Celtic flavor with their own inimitable style. It is difficult to choose a highlight as each track adds to the ethereal atmosphere and thematic content. I am however quite drawn to the opening tracks.

All the tracks are well executed in terms of musicianship and vocal talents. The melodies range from soft and lilting to hauntingly ethereal. There are blasts of rock and lengthy instrumental sections featuring screaming guitars. Jones has a distinct way of performing, her vocals are almost nonchalant or effortless, soft, fluid and flowing on each track. She never raises her voice or performs vocal gymnastics, but her range is suited to the shimmering music. It is a very tranquil ambience that is created, a kind of enchanting dreamscape with melancholy moments though it is not depressing music. On the contrary the sound is uplifting, rising in crescendos from piano to forte.

Interestingly enough Jones became Cohen and has traversed into heavier territory recently with her new group The Reasoning, but this Karnataka album showcases Jones/Cohen at her most effective. The Storm is the best of the 3 Karnataka albums followed by Delicate Flame of Desire. I highly recommend this album. Female fronted prog at its best along with Mostly Autumn. A 4 star triumph.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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