Antony Kalugin -
Chameleon Shapeshifter

(CD 2021, 64:44, Caerllysi Music)

The tracks:
  1- Chameleon(19:40)
  2- Shapeshifter(6:06)
  3- Exceptional Chamel Ballard(7:48)
  4- House On The Hill(4:04)
  5- Wonderous Glory(4:50)
  6- Key(4:16)

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Anthony Kalugin (born in 1981) is a prolific multi-instrumentalist from the Ukraine and known for his work with Hoggwash, Karfagen, Sunchild and AKKO, along his solo albums. This new CD is the final chapter of the Magical AKP (= Anthony Kalugin Projects) Trilogy entitled Chameleon Shapeshifter.

The album starts with the epic Chameleon (close to 20 minutes), it is structured in the symphonic rock tradition featuring lots of flowing shifting moods, breaks, and soli on a wide range of instruments, but it sounds very accessible and melodic (like Neo-Prog). From slow rhythms with spacey and brassy synthesizer flights to an accellaration in a mid-tempo with pleasant work on guitar and keyboards. From a spectacular bombastic break with rock guitar and flashy synthesizers to tender piano in ambient climate with spacey keyboards. From dreamy atmospheres with mellow play on saxophone, accordion and flute to a slow rhythm with sensitive electric guitar, then a lush synthesizer sound. And finally a strong build-up with exciting guitar solo featuring howling and biting runs, topped with spacey synthesizers and a tight beat, concluded with tender classical piano work. The music does not fail to keep my attention during the entire running time, and I am very pleased with the lush synthesizer sound, from spacey flights to a sensational pitchbend driven synthesizer solo, wow!

Shapeshifter (6:06) reminds me of Eighties Camel, very melodic and harmonic, with wonderful work on guitar and keyboards. First dreamy with sensitive electric guitar and piano, then a slow rhythm, mellow synthesizer flights join, the rhythm-section turning more dynamic. Next a sensitive and powerful electric guitar solo, culminating in bombastic climate with saxophone and guitar, the interplay is awesome. In the second part the mood shifts to dreamy with tender piano and guitar, culminating in powerful saxophone work, in a slow rhythm.

Exceptional Chamel Ballard (7:48) delivers a spacey synthesizer intro, followed by a slow beat, topped with a fine synthesizer solo and sensitive guitar solo. Halfway a surprising swinging break with powerful bass, fat synthesizer flights and fiery guitar solo (evoking Pink Floyd). Finally mellow work on keyboards.

House On The Hill (4:04) starts with a keyboard sound that comes close to Mellotron strings, pretty melancholical. Then the atmosphere turns more cheerful with folky flute and acoustic guitar. Halfway a slow rhythm with heavy guitar runs, but finally again mellow with folky flute. Another tastefully arranged composition.

In Wonderous Glory (4:50) first a dreamy climate with flute and piano, then a Camel-like atmosphere with guitar and piano in slow rhythm soft synthesizer flights. Halfway fiery guitar and a more lush sound, embellished with spacey synthesizers. In the end sensitive guitar and flute, simply wonderful, trademark Anthony Kalugin.

The final song Key (4:16) features duo vocals (male and female), blended with twanging acoustic guitar, sensitive electric guitar and soaring keyboards, the romantic atmosphere and vocals strongly brings early Steve Hackett solo to my mind.

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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