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Karda Estra

Symphonic Prog

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Karda Estra A Winter In Summertime album cover
3.37 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews | 27% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. ... From A Deep Sleep (4:05)
2. Covert (4:06)
3. Second sight (3:25)
4. The Excavation Site (3:05)
5. Transference (6:08)
6. Nightfall (3:41)
7. Fatal Flaw (2:51)

Total Time: 27:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Wileman / classical & electric guitars, bass, keyboards, samples, loops, drums, percussion, effects, producer
- Illesha Bailey / vocals, recorder
- Zoe King / flute, clarinet
- Rachel Larkins / viola

Releases information

Inaugural mini-album

CD No Image Records ‎- NICD12 (1998, UK)

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KARDA ESTRA A Winter In Summertime ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KARDA ESTRA A Winter In Summertime reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Like a lucid dream...

For my first experience with Karda Estra I thought I would offer some comments on the first title which hasn't been written on yet. KE is the musical child of Richard Wileman, a British composer and multi-instrumentalist who plays all guitars and keyboards here along with effects and drums. He is joined by Ileesha Bailey, Rachel Larkins, and Zoe King on vocals, viola, and flute/clarinet respectively. He is a big time music fan who prefers the control and the buzz of recording music over playing live, telling the Borderland's Musicwatch "I find the whole writing and recording process very inspirational. I must have recorded getting on for 200 tracks over the years, but the buzz is always with me when it's time for something new. Each track always feels like a fresh start. I've played a fair few gigs all over the country through the years, but it doesn't have the same appeal. In many ways, it can be more extreme - because of adrenaline etc. it can be very thrilling or really horrible - obviously depends on my own performance, audience reaction etc. I feel I shine more in the studio, whilst live I'm doing my best to try and give an approximation of what it should sound like. As time goes on, I definitely feel more of a writer than a performer. That being said, however, it really is a great buzz when a gig goes well." [Richard Wileman, to]

"from a deep sleep" begins with a collage of strange sounds, odd noises like the cobwebs of dreams, soon joined by a pulsing voice. Right away the style reminded me of Industrial music, with looping machine-like noises although the sounds you hear will be more pleasant and not obnoxious. So much is happening at once it is very difficult to do a play by play here but it's wonderful stuff. Dreamy blends of keyboards, vocal bursts, effects, and atmosphere to the rafters. And a bell ringing somewhere in the dark. "covert" features a rhythm that instantly brought Portishead to mind. Slick and tasty with Ileesha's vocal above the beat and a big fat, mellow bass line intermittently. Before the abrupt ending is a nice bit of classical guitar. "second sight" is another masterful layering of synths, vocal, viola, acoustic, and bass with a floating new age sound. "the excavation site" is a constant building of unease and dread, Bailey's vocal used to provide some lightness against the music. "transference" begins with some jolting percussion that, after some of the mellower passages, feels like being thrown through a plate glass window. Much of the track follows a rhythm track with a mellow vocal. Richard peels off a nice electric guitar lead on this one. This is the longest track and feels the most developed in the traditional sense with fairly constant rhythms, vocals, and an instrumental solo, though such development is not necessary or even preferred with this type of music. Most of the album is quite open to untraditional structures. "nightfall" has a creepy vibe with more of Bailey's vocal over some nice acoustic guitar and synth. "fatal flaw" as the title suggests has a constricting, ominous tone. As with the whole disc the arrangements are handled with great care as one soundscape appears in front of you, dissolves, and you await the next with anticipation. The album ends as it began with the strange effects and vocal pulses.

Wileman appears to enjoy couching some dark and mysterious themes in music that is aesthetically lovely rather than harsh or campy, thus creating a very nice contrast. The music is thought-provoking but can be enjoyed either as a relaxing background thing or as active-listening fare, paying bigger dividends to those giving it their full attention. It is a very short album (at 27 mins) which may be off-putting to those used to getting 75 minutes when they buy a CD (and some say size doesn't matter.) But for those looking for a good introduction to Mr. Wileman and his cohorts in Karda Estra, you won't go wrong here. Although I'm guessing that some of his full-length releases in the years since are probably more fully realized than this first release, I do recommend this mysterious little gem without hesitation. 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Karda Estra project belongs entirely to British composer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Wileman.He started it back in 1998 and composed the EP with the paradox title ''A Winter in Summertime'' the same year.In this private release Wileman was helped by female singer Ileesha Bailey, Zoe King/Josey on wind instruments and Rachel Larkins on viola.Eventually Bailey and Josey would become his long-time collaborators.

Clocking at only 28 minutes, ''A Winter in Summertime'' could have been easily a great film score due to his Avant-Garde atmosphere and very orchestral sound.Much influenced by ENNIO MORRICONE, Wileman decided to use the same approach on his otherwise rock musicianship and the result is an album close to the likes of later-era HOSTSONATEN, GOBLIN and NIKLAS BARKER.Most of the tracks feature sonic soundscapes, credited to the female choirs or wordless vocals, virtuosic acoustic guitars, electronic loops and haunting piano lines along with some viola parts, creating both a frightening and ethereal atmosphere.A deep and doomy rhythm section is also present on these tracks.The electric guitars are used sporadically and mainly in a background role, despite having an evident KING CRIMSON vibe.The rest of the tracks, actually a pair of them, are pure Avant-Garde/Orchestral pieces with a very grandiose and dark atmosphere with slow and deep arrangements, performed by Wileman on keyboards and programming, sometimes supported by acoustic sounds.

Perfect effort for a film soundtrack but definitely not everybody's cup of tea.Nevertheless, ''A Winter in Summertime'' is not an album for everyday listening, it requires a specific mood linked with deep, orchestral and atmospheric instrumental echoes.Overall recommended.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars

In 1997 Lives & Times released their final album, 'Hoarse', on their own No Image label: at the time they were a duo, comprising Richard Wileman (all instrumentation) and Ileesha Bailey (vocals). A year later they were back in a new incarnation, Karda Estra, being joined now by Zoe King (flute, clarinet) and Rachel Larkins (viola). 'A Winter In Summertime' was their first mini-album, with seven instrumental tracks and just over twenty-seven minutes long. For some strange reason, I never heard this when it was released, so some nineteen years on I'm coming across it for the very first time.

Right from the off this is classic Karda Estra, as Richard combines all the instrumentation plus Ileesha's wordless vocals into something quite magical and special. This is a soundscape, a musical feast for the ears. Richard, to my mind, is one of the most important composers of modern classical cinematic music, creating images and drama with wonderfully layered arrangements and perfect juxtaposition of different instruments and sounds. Using Ileesha as another instrument adds to the other worldliness of the album, and combining this with gently picked classical guitar and a lighter curtain of sounds is simply wonderful. There is so much depth within this album, it just draws in the listener so that nothing ese exists except the new world of Karda Estra. It goes from lulling to something more frantic, and the switch between the end of "The Excavation Site" and the introduction to "Transference" is quite mean, as I found myself quite rudely awakened from a dreamlike state. I may be nearly twenty years late to the party, but I am so very glad that I finally got there.

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