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Kaprekar's Constant

Crossover Prog

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Kaprekar's Constant Fate Outsmarts Desire album cover
3.86 | 108 ratings | 4 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hors d'oeuvre (3:28)
2. Bluebird (17:53)
3. Pearl of the Lake (5:10)
4. Hallsands (14:18)
5. Four-Faced Liar (4:24)
6. Houdini (21:26)

Total Time 66:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Jefferson / vocals
- Dorie Jackson / vocals
- Al Nicholson / acoustic, classical & electric guitars, mandolin, keyboards, composer
- Mike Westergaard / keyboards, piano, backing vocals, production & mixing
- David Jackson / saxophone, flute, whistle, bell
- Nick Jefferson / bass, fretless bass, electric guitar, keyboards, composer
- Phil Gould / drums, percussion, Dube
- Paul Gunn / spoken voice

Releases information

Artwork: Sean Jefferson

LP Uranium Club ‎- UCV92001 (2017, UK)

CD Uranium Club ‎- UC92002 (2017, UK)

Digital album

Thanks to damoxt7942 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT Fate Outsmarts Desire Music

KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT Fate Outsmarts Desire ratings distribution

(108 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT Fate Outsmarts Desire reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band KAPREKAR'S CONSTANT basically revolves around the talents of Nick Jefferson and Al Nicholson. To give life to their creations they assembled a collective of musical friends, and the end result of this became the album "Fate Outsmarts Desire" which was released through fledgling label Uranium Club in early 2017.

Those fond of what to me at least comes across as archetypal English progressive rock, complete with pastoral sequences, shimmering symphonic textures and a fairly mellow, atmospheric laden expression as a key feature throughout, those are the persons that should take note of this band and lend them an ear. The vocals will perhaps be something of a divisive factor, depending on personal taste, but I can easily see this album one that will make it into may people's lists of personal favorites from 2017.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars I must confess, I have been listening to progressive rock music for more than 40 years now, and there have been times when I have treated the lyrics more as an additional instrument than important words (I mean, have you studied 'Tales of Topograhpic Oceans'?). This time, however, I felt emotionally vested in what was going on, so much so that driving and listening started to become a difficult, of not dangerous, task. The second song on the album is "Blue Bird", and tells the story of Malcolm Campbell, and his endeavours to break the land speed record. From a young age, I was fascinated with cars, and the first piece of school work I can remember completing was a project on the great Graham Hill sometime in the Sixties. Many years later and we were living in Dorking and decided to go to a Sunday market in Weybridge, not too far away. It was only when we arrived that I realised we were inside the famous Brooklands racing track, and the curved bank I had seen so many times on grainy black and white film. By the time the eighteen- minute-long song had ended, I was fully invested, both in the lyrics and in the music, which owes so much to classic Seventies pastoral progressive rock, and to the way that multi-instrumentalists Al Nicholson and Nick Jefferson have brought together an incredible bunch of people to work on the album.

But, if I had felt a connection with that song, track 4 really brought it home. The song is called "Hallsands", and is the story of a village destroyed by authorities deciding that the sand that protected the cliffs would be better off at Devonport Naval Base, and ignored the locals who said that it would undermine them. These days there a few ruins left, filled with memories of those who were there. Why the connection? Well, although my dad was a foreigner in Brixham, where I am from, as he was born at Bolt Head (all of 30 miles away), I can trace my family from my mother's side through generations of trawlermen. And, some of them had actually come from Hallsands. I remember being taken there more than 40 years ago and being told the story, never expecting to hear it immortalised in song, and certainly never expecting to hear said song now that I am living on the other side of the world!

I had already fallen in love with the album, with stunning performances from all involved (including the wonderful David Jackson from VDGG), yet the "Pathe News Reel"-style spoken passages and the breathy vocals let alone the strong lyrics, make this a very special album indeed. This is a very special album, and makes my personal Top Ten for 2017.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Latest members reviews

5 stars When I discover a new group and try to get others to check them out (entirely the point of my presence on this and other websites), I first try to compare to other bands to pique interest. Here I was immediately reminded of Big Big Train and Van der Graaf Generator, Only to discover David Ja ... (read more)

Report this review (#1887672) | Posted by Corcoranw687 | Monday, February 19, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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