Karfagen is the brainchild of the Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin. He uses this project/band for mainly instrumental music. This can be specially heard on the debut album Continium (2006), the second release The Space Between Us (2007) and on the compilation album The Key To Perception (2009). The music of bands like Happy The Man, Camel and Focus were important sources of inspiration on these releases, but Mr. Kalugin has also been influenced by the music of jazz-rock guitarist Pat Metheny. The third official release Solitary Sandpiper Journey (2010, see review) contained more vocal parts than the two previous albums, while the jazz-rock and fusion elements clearly decreased. Elements from classical and folk music combined with more vocals had taken over on this album.
However, the old musical style seems to have returned on Lost Symphony, the latest record of Karfagen. The album is again almost completely instrumental and it strongly tends in the direction of the same type of music you could enjoy on the first two albums. This can be simply explained because in the booklet it is said that the music originates from 2000/2002. Some of the music was even lost for a while, but could be restored thanks to a demo that included 'the lost symphony'. Looking at the back of the CD-booklet you get the idea that you just bought a vinyl album, since Lost Symphony has been divided into 'side one and two' and even a 'third side'. This third side includes the bonus tracks, but I don't think that these tracks were meant to be bonus tracks; otherwise it would be rather strange to name your album after a bonus track which is moreover the best track of the entire album. This lost track belongs together with Journey Through The Looking Glass to the highlights of the album.
A lot of splendid keyboard work can be heard all the way through, just as on the band's first two albums. However, I once again heard influences from the music by Dutch band Focus. You have to listen very carefully to this album a couple of times before you discover what it's all about. All compositions flow into each other like a classical piece of music. This surely is cleverly done, but it means that the listener has to be focused all the time. This way you'll discover new things every time you play Lost Symphony. All details have been hidden in the music and you can only discover them by spending more time on this album. Sometimes you hear traces of Camel, Pat Metheny or Focus; at other times the Ukraine folk music takes over and invites you to enjoy the music of a different culture.
I would like to advise people who enjoyed Karfagen's early work to check out Lost Symphony. Also those who like the music made by Pat Metheny, Camel or Focus will get a very satisfying album if they decide to buy this release, but beware! Take your time while listening to the music on this disc, since the beauty of it all will only be revealed if you're patient.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
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