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Kansas The Absence of Presence album cover
3.69 | 184 ratings | 6 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Absence of Presence (8:22)
2. Throwing Mountains (6:21)
3. Jets Overhead (5:17)
4. Propulsion 1 (2:17)
5. Memories Down the Line (4:38)
6. Circus of Illusion (5:19)
7. Animals on the Roof (5:13)
8. Never (4:51)
9. The Song the River Sang (5:06)

Total Time 47:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Ronnie Platt / lead vocals, keyboard
- David Ragsdale / violin, guitars
- Tom Brislin / keyboards
- Richard Williams / guitars
- Zak Rizvi / guitars
- Billy Greer / bass, vocals
- Phil Ehart / drums, percussion

Releases information

Label: Inside Out Music
Format: Vinyl, CD/Blu-ray Artbook, CD, Digital
July 17, 2020

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to TCat for the last updates
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KANSAS The Absence of Presence ratings distribution

(184 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KANSAS The Absence of Presence reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars "We still stand out. It's the way since the days of our youth. The strangest sight. Like animals on the roof"

America's best band is back with a new record! The line-up is almost the same as on the previous The Prelude Implicit, with one important exception: the addition of keyboard player Tom Brislin. Having previously performed live with Yes, Camel, and Renaissance, Brislin has now joined Kansas. That means that he has played with four of my all time favourite bands! I already knew that he could play, but Brislin surprises everyone here by contributing his own compositions and lyrics to many of the songs on The Absence of Presence, and even sings lead vocals on one! Kansas are really lucky to have landed Brislin.

The rest of the band are in top form as well, with vocalist Ronnie Platt and producer/guitarist Zak Rizvi, both of whom joined the band for the previous album, now having settled firmly into the line-up. Violinist David Ragsdale, who first joined the band in the early 1990's, performs better than ever, and Billy Greer, a member since the mid 1980's, is still going strong. Drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Richard Williams have of course been there since the beginning. As a collective, these seven men carry the great legacy of Kansas into the 2020's.

The Absence of Presence is a stronger album than The Prelude Implicit, the latter having failed to impress me much even though I do like it. Rizvi is again responsible for the bulk of the music, while Brislin provided most of the lyrics. Brislin is the sole architect behind Memories Down the Line, The Song the River Sang (on which he also sings lead vocals), and the instrumental Propulsion 1. The latter is one of my favourites on the album together with Jets Overhead and the eight plus minute title track.

Let's hope for a live release next, preferably a live video, as I would love to see this line-up in action playing these new songs live mixed in with classics from the history of this great band.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars When 'Somewhere To Elsewhere' was released in 2000, with the classic line-up reunited for the first time in years (plus of course long-time bassist Billy Greer), I was hopeful we were going to see a new beginning for one of the most important bands ever to come out of America. Yet while that album was a huge success, and beloved by all fans, it was not meant to be, and it was a long sixteen years until their next release. By that time there had been significant changes in the band, not least being singer Steve Walsh retiring and main songwriter Kerry Livgren again not being involved. But Phil Ehart (drums), Billy Greer (bass), Rich Williams (guitars) brought back violinist David Ragsdale in 2006 (he was of course in the band throughout the 90's), plus new singer and keyboard player Ronnie Platt, rhythm guitarist Zak Rizvi and additional keyboard player David Manion. Now, just four years later and we have another new album, and while Manion has departed he has been replaced by Tom Brislin who has played with the likes of The Syn, Camel, Yes, Renaissance and Anderson/Stolt so definitely comes in with plenty of pedigree.

The album commences with "The Absence of Presence", gentle piano is joined by plaintive violin, and then just 25 seconds in we are in full Kansas territory and if it as if they have never been away and that it is the classic line-up all over again. By a minute into the album I had a massive smile on my face, and when the song became just piano and vocals, plus plenty of harmonies, I was grinning from ear to ear. I have no idea how long I have loved this band, but it is well over 40 years, and it was almost like listening to one of their classic albums from the Seventies for the very first time. It seems almost as if the guys have decided they need to stick with a Kansas style, as opposed to move it in any different direction, so the result is something which is both immediate and very enjoyable indeed.

I am sure I will never see this band in concert, as we rarely get groups like this down to little old New Zealand (although Yes have made it twice), so I will continue to play the DVDs and albums, and while there are some from their middle period which rarely make it onto the player, I am confident this one will continue to do so for years to come.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Now that's what I'm talkin bout!!! I have been a massive Kansas fan since their beginnings. I can still remember putting on the first album on my turntable as a 17 year old closing my eyes and letting "Journey From Mariabronn" take me on a journey along with "Apercu" and "Belexes." I was hook ... (read more)

Report this review (#2711088) | Posted by Sidscrat | Friday, March 18, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars EDIT 10/23/20: I'm moving my rating from 4 stars to 3 stars, after the initial wave of excitement when this album came out it unfortunately doesn't do too much for me and I find the Prelude Implicit to be a much better effort. While I still think this a good album, it suffers from a very loud and co ... (read more)

Report this review (#2431251) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Wednesday, July 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Even knowing the band for more than 30 years I never have been a great Kansas-Fan. But somehow THE ABSENCE OF PRESENCE caught me right away. I can't stop listening to it since it was released yesterday. I have the greatest respect for bands that can be faithful to their roots and sound fresh and ne ... (read more)

Report this review (#2420450) | Posted by Stoertebeker | Saturday, July 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM In 2011 a dream came true when I finally witnessed my first Kansas gig, since I became a Kansas fan after buying their first two LP's in 1975. I was also pleased with their comeback album The Prelude Implicit from 2016. So how about this new Kansas album, with only ... (read more)

Report this review (#2418375) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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