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Kaipa - Notes from the Past CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 217 ratings

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4 stars Notes From The Past is the 7th full-length studio album by Swedish symphonic progressive rock act Kaipa and the first album since Stockholm Symphonie (1993). The band was very active in the seventies but had longer periods of inactivety in the eighties and nineties. This album marks the return to a more regular release rate. The only remaining member from the original lineup are main composer and keyboard player Hans Lundin. Roine Stolt ( The Flower Kings, Transatlantic...etc), who was also an original member of the band, only appears here as a guest guitarist as far as I understand. The other main players on the album are bassist Jonas Reingold ( The Flower Kings, Karmakanic) and drummer Morgan Ågren ( Mats/Morgan Band, Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects, Zappsteetoot, Frank Zappa, Dweezil Zappa, Fläskkvartetten, Glen Hughes...etc). Ritual vocalist Patrik Lundström handles the male vocals while the sparse female vocal sections are handled by Aleena and Tove Törn Lundin.

The music on the album is keyboard driven symphonic progressive rock. There are some fantasy/ folky elements in the music too as well as jazz rock/ fusion elements. The music is mostly intrumental but there are vocal sections in some songs. Most are handled by Ritual vocalist Patrik Lundström. He is a strong vocalist with a distinct sounding voice. I can´t claim to be much of a fan of his voice though but that´s purely a question of personal taste and has got nothing to do with the quality of his performance. The female singing are also of high quality. The lyrics are a bit cringe worthy to be honest and I must admit that allthough I enjoy the variation that vocal parts, on an otherwist pre- dominantly instrumental album, gives, I enjoy the instrumental parts a lot more. I´m probably getting of on the wrong foot here by pointing out the negatives but we´ll get to the positives later on. And don´t worry there are lots of positives to be mentioned. So while we are at the negatives I have to mention the 79:07 minutes long playing time. That is way too long IMO and I´m sure the album would have been even more powerful if it had been a bit more compact. So finally on to the positives. First of all the playing on Notes From The Past is outstanding. I initially purchased the album because it was mentioned on the cover that Roine Stolt was playing on the album and I was in a Flower Kings phase at the time where I simply purchased anything Roine Stolt was involved in. I had never heard about Kaipa before though. Well as it turns out Roine Stolt actually delivers one of his more subtle performances. Listening to Notes From The Past it becomes very clear that Kaipa is Hans Lundin´s baby. He is simply everywhere on this album. Great vintage keyboards and kind of joyfull and positive notes and atmospheres throughout. The jazz rock/ fusion element in the music is created by the rythm section. Bassist Jonas Reingold probably don´t need much introduction in prog circles but as always he delivers a stunning performance. The most important player on this album in terms of giving me a great listening experience is master drummer Morgan Ågren. He is such an incredibly skilled and powerful drummer. I´m at a loss for words really.

In terms of influences in the music The Flower Kings obviously comes to mind but I´ll add Änglagård to those influences as well because of the folky element in the music. A song like Leaving the Horizon is a good example of the Änglagård influence but then Änglagård might be influenced by the early Kaipa releases for all I know ( I haven´t listened to anything from Kaipa pre-Notes From The Past yet). While I find the album to be a bit too long there are no sub par songs on the album. The quality is high throughout and songs like the above mentioned Leaving the Horizon and the intrumental and fusion influenced Morganism are just some of the highlights on the album.

The production is warm, well sounding and professional. I´ve had Notes From The Past for just about as long as it´s been released, but the album has never been a favorite of mine and if I have to be honest it has spend the last couple of years in my dusty basement. Fortunately I opted to give the album one more chance and write this review because after eight years I guess my tastes have changed a bit because now I really enjoy Notes From The Past. It´s like I just needed some time to absorb the music to appreciate it. But maybe it´s got something to do with the positive vibe on this album. I´m usually more interested in music that oozes bleak melancholy or features sheer aggression but this album has neither. This is in every way a pleasant, warm and positive album and while I´m not a sucker for those this one works well for me. So this has been a great surprise for me and Notes From The Past certainly deserves a 4 star rating.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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