[Review] Karfagen – Land Of Green And Gold

Karfagen is the brainchild of multi-talented Ukrainian musician and composer Antony Kalugin who offers Symphonic-style Progressive Rock. From 2006 to today he has published 13 full-lengths and several EPs and compilations, becoming one of the most prolific and appreciated realities of modern Prog. The new record release “Land Of Green And Gold” released on January 7, 2022 via Caerllysi Music contains 8 tracks that make up the sections of the 2 chapters plus a third as a bonus track. The first chapter “Land Of Green” opens with “Kingfisher and Dragonflies (part 3)” a short intro of just over 2 minutes featuring guitar arpeggios. The intensity increases with the passage of the piece in which keyboard phrases are inserted maintaining a strong symphonic connotation and very pleasant dreamy atmospheres. Here we are at the central body of the chapter “Land of Green (Part 1)” which begins with atmospheric sounds and orchestrations, connecting to the dreamy atmospheres of the previous one. With the entry of the instruments, the electric guitar immediately offers a valuable lead and the rhythmic session is solid and elaborate. The keyboards offer positive melodies and interesting solo cues, with the intensity that also increases with the passing of the minutes and the track becomes more elaborate. The 70s-style sounds permeate the song, with that personal touch to which karfagen has accustomed us, a very intense and engaging track for lovers of the Prog sound. The winds offer an excellent solo insert in the central part and the second part opens with a high-level musical crescendo, developing with intricate textures and excellent passages with the keyboards protagonists. The second part “Land of Green (Part 2)” begins with more delicate guitar and piano arpeggios, with a Jazzy touch and a softer rhythm session. The bass is deep and the guitar offers a solo that increases the intensity of the song with the use of distortion, a very intense passage. “Solis Festum” is the shorter section of the first chapter, very intricate and with dark and powerful sounds in the opening, it develops with acoustic guitar arpeggios and Accordion melodies. The third part “Land of Green (Part 3)” concludes this suite, which begins with rhythmic and Prog melodies mixed with Funky, original and very rhythmic. The keyboards are the protagonists, well supported by the electric guitar inserts and the winds that give body to the melodies. A prolonged solo of guitar and winds in the central part leaves room for the keyboards in the second part with the track that guides us towards the end with the succession of solos. This first chapter of the disc ends with the short “Pastoral” which is a passage with very delicate and pathos-laden acoustic guitar arpeggios. The second chapter “Land of Gold” unlike the previous one is composed of only 2 songs, the first of which is “Garden of Hope (Part 1).” From the soft beginning and with elaborate melodies made of pleasant intertwining of guitar and keyboard and enriched by Cambio tempo shows all of Karfagen’s compositional and executive technique. In the central part the winds enter and the sounds become more dilated, and then in the second part the first sung stanzas of the album are inserted, with a warm and expressive vocal. keyboards and winds intertwine with tempo changes that accelerate the rhythm session in pure Prog style, giving space to very interesting guitar and keyboard solo inserts. The second part gives the title to the chapter “Land of Gold” and is characterized by a piano intro on which the electric guitar is inserted. The keyboards are the protagonists of the first part of the song, creating an excellent mixture with the guitar, while the rhythmic session is solid and rhythmic, with the constantly changing structure. The vocal is enriched by the effects, but the guitars and keyboards are the protagonists of the sound, mainly instrumental and of excellent quality. In the central section it becomes darker with pompous orchestral sounds and the horns in evidence, while the second part begins with more positive and symphonic atmospheres and sounds. The flute offers a delicate lead insert, followed by the electric guitar and keyboards, returning to darker sounds. Very interesting the changes and the very elaborate passages that allow you to vary the central theme of the track, but Karfagen as we well know is a master in this. The third chapter “Land of Jazz” is added to the album as a bonus track, and is also the shortest. The first track is “Garden of Hope (Part 2)” characterized by an atmospheric intro on which a warm and expressive vocal is inserted on constantly evolving guitar and keyboard arpeggios. A track developed with a musical crescendo enriched by tempo changes alternating soft parts with more accelerated ones, ending with a prolonged atmospheric symphonic section. The title track of this “Land of Jazz” section opens with a deep double bass and intricate wind melodies close to Jazz. Different from the artist’s usual proposal but which shows a more Jazz Prog side, involving and with very high level passages, very technical. Once again this artist manages to amaze us with original sounds, Karfagen’s musical research knows no bounds and it is a pleasure to be able to listen to his compositions. This last section and the album “Land of Jazz (outro),” an intricate succession of piano and winds, short but intense that closes this work in style. It is not new that Karfagen offers quality music, and when you listen to one of his new releases, the expectation is high, and this time too it is 100% respected. Intense, elaborate at times intricate, full of interesting ideas and in pure Symphonic Prog style with the winds to give an edge to the sound. A listening recommended to all lovers of Progressive sounds, managing to transport the atmosphere of the ’70s to the present day, giving new life to this genre, which with artists like karfagen certainly shows that it still has much to express. Another excellent chapter in the discography of this Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist who is now a certainty in the modern music scene and at each release he confirms that he is a mature and technically very prepared artist.

Tracklist

Chapter 1: Land of Green
1. Kingfisher and Dragonflies (Part 3) (2:11)
2. Land of Green (Part 1) (11:00)
3. Land of Green (Part 2) (3:30)
4. Solis Festum (1:39)
5. Land of Green (Part 3) (4:58)
6. Pastoral (1:34)

Chapter 2: Land of Gold
7. Garden of Hope (Part 1) (7:49)
8. Land of Gold (13:20)

Chapter 3: Land of Jazz (bonus tracks)
9. Garden of Hope (Part 2) (4:31)
10. Land of Jazz (6:37)
11. Land of Jazz (outro) (0:44)

Lineup

Antony Kalugin / Keyboards, Vocals, Vocoder, Percussion

With:
Alexandr Pavlov / Electric, Acoustic & Nylon Guitars (1-7,9)
Max Velychko / Acoustic & Electric Guitars (8,10)
Yan Vedaman / Tenor & Soprano Saxophones
Konstantin Ionenko / Bass & Double Bass
Ivan Goritski / Drums
Sergii Kovalov / Accordion (3,4)
Elena Kushchii / Flute (8)

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

Caerllysi Music |Official Website|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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