[Review] Karfagen – Birds of passage

Karfagen, the project of the talented Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist and composer Antony Kalugin, born in 1997. Since then 11 studio albums have been released which have highlighted the artist’s talents. Last released “Birds of passage” was released on January 3, 2020 via Caerllysi Music and available on CD and Digital Download. The album contains a long suite “Birds of passage” divided into two parts lasting over 20 minutes each and three medium-length bonus tracks. The sound is a mix of various styles and influences on a symphonic Neo Prog base with Folk traits, harder and other orchestral inserts. Male and female voices alternate and create a good union with the music developed and performed with extreme precision and quality. Lyrics are based on the poems of Wadsworth Longfellow in the first part and William Blake in the second, with lyrical additions edited by Antony. Music is smooth, pleasant and the more complex parts are perfectly linked with the simpler ones, facilitating listening. The compositional skills of Antony Kalugin once again are best expressed, resulting in the true strength of the album. The choice of interpreters is once again spot on, offering impeccable performance. Melodies and atmospheres are positive, full of energy and intensity, with the themes developed in cheerful tones. All the instruments involved have the right space, creating a high-level sound ensemble, without excesses of virtuosity, favouring the symphonic aspect. The entire duration of the suite is exploited, without leaving empty spaces or sections that are too dispersed as sometimes happens in such long tracks. The bonus tracks are only in addition, “Spring (Birds delight)” is a passage with rhythmic and tribal drum, layered voices and melodies always with an ethnic background, focused on the rhythmic session. “Sunrise” is a song always with ethnic background melodies, with pastoral flute in the first part and percussion and atmospheric synth in the second. Closes “Birds (Short introduction)” available only digitally, which incorporates the sounds of the suite, leaving us with positive melodies, a short but intense Neo Prog song. The best way to start this 2020 is by listening and writing about an album of absolute value like this. It has all the nice features that a listener hopes to find when buying. Excellent compositions, instrumental and impeccable vocal performance, and many high-level ideas. A record to listen and listen to, once again the Karfagen project offers a work of the highest level, confirming that it is one of the best progressive companies in the world.

Tracklist

1. Birds of Passage (Part 1): (22:40)
– a) Your Grace
– b) Against the Southern Sky
– c) Sounds That Flow
– d) Chanticleer
– e) Tears from the Eyelids Start (Part 1)
2. Birds of Passage (Part 2): (21:11)
– a) Eternity’s Sun Rise
– b) Echoing Green
– c) Showers from the Clouds of Summer
– d) Tears from the Eyelids Start (Part 2)
– bonus tracks:
3. Spring (Birds Delight) (4:34)
4. Sunrise (5:23)
5. Birds (Short Introduction) (3:19)

Lineup

Antony Kalugin / Keyboards, Vocals, Percussion, Composer & Arranger, Programming & Mixing, Co-Producer

With
Tim Sobolev / Vocals
Olha Rostovska / Vocals
Mathieu Spaeter / Guitar
Aleksandr Pavlov / Nylon Guitar
Maria Baranovska / Violin
Alexandr Pastuchov / Bassoon
Elena Kushniy / Flute
Konstantin Ionenko / Bass
Viktor Syrotin / Drums, Percussion

Karfagen |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|YouTube Channel|

Caerllysi Music |Official Website|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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