K2 - Book Of The Dead

(CD 2005, 46:40, ProgRock Records PRR160)

The tracks:
  1- Chapter 1 : Infinite Voyage(23:25)
  2- Chapter 2 : Mirror to the Spirits(6:54)
  3- Chapter 3 : The Edge of Light(7:03)
  4- Chapter 4 : Aten (Window of Appearences)(3:22)
  5- Chapter 5 : Cloak of Antiquity(5:54)

K2 Website        samples        ProgRock Records

Are you ready to step into the world of ancient Egypt and to experience the old pyramids and mystical Pharaohs? Welcome then to the afterlife and listen to the Book Of The Dead and the wonderful music performed by K2 (K squared). In almost 47 minutes, you are taken along on a journey that features all musical elements of the era in which progressive rock was invented. This means that you hear many traces of great seventies bands, especially UK, Yes and Genesis came to my mind. However, you can also enjoy modern jazz-rock influences.

Atlantis bass player and composer Ken Jaquess mixed both elements and created a true masterpiece. He used the concept of ancient Egypt for writing amazing music. Since I heard the Atlantis album Pray For Rain (2003), I already knew that this American musician is very talented, but this time he really grabbed me by the throat. Maybe the albumís length is a bit short in comparison with most albums nowadays, but together with six other musicians Ken produced enough fine music to call this album one of the highlights of 2005. Ken Jacques plays some strong bass parts that undoubtedly reminded me of Chris Squire (Yes). This bass sound gives the music a kind of Yes-feel, whilst his Mellotron-playing evokes strong references to Genesis intensified by the lead vocals of the late Shaun Guerin. His voice has the same timbre and the same diction Peter Gabriel had in the early seventies. Maybe the latter sang a bit more emotionally. Many lovers of progressive rock music know Allan Holdsworth for his guitar work on the first eponymous UK-album. His style of playing is unique and is easy to recognize on the Book Of The Dead. The fine guitar parts we hear might as well have been studio outtakes of UKís debut album. The fantastic violin passages performed by Yvette Devereaux, reminded me of the way Eddie Jobson played this instrument in UK. However, I hear also jazz-rock elements in the finest tradition of Jerry Goodman and Jean Luc Ponty.

Another important musician on the album is Spockís Beardís keyboardist Ryo Okumoto. We may label his MiniMoog-solos as jazz-rock, but also as progressive rock. On the other hand his piano playing sometimes sounds very classical. Finally, I have to mention drummer Doug Sanborn and additional guitarist John Miner. I would like to give this great line-up a big compliment, because together they released an album consisting of five musical highlights, apart from the duration of a track. The 23-minute long epic track Infinite Voyage is just as good as the short instrumental piece Aten, which only provides a bass solo. All pieces are performed very tastefully. Ken Jaquess is not only an excellent producer, writer and musician, but he also managed to gather musicians who were willing to give the best. Therefore, only the highest rating is appropriate for this album.

***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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