I am familiar with the Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin and his musical project Karfagen (which means Carthago) from the very beginning. That was with their debut album entitled Continium, from 2006. I was delighted with the dual keyboard work. Since then Kalugin has turned into a very prolific musician: he has released many albums with Karfagen, but also founded other musical projects, from Hoggwash and Sunchild to AKKO and AKP. And now, early 2022, Karfagen delivers a new album entitled Land Of Green And Gold.
We can enjoy the trademarks of Karfagen: melodic and harmonic, mainly instrumental compositions, alternating between symphonic rock and Neo-Prog, with wonderful work on keyboards and guitar, and flowing shifting moods. My highlights.
Land Of Green (part 1): It starts dreamy with soaring keyboards, sounds of nature, then a slow rhythm with sensitive electric guitar (Andy Latimer inspired) and spacey Minimoog-like synthesizer flights. Gradually the music turns into more bombastic and dynamic, with a tight beat, fiery guitar and pleasant keyboards (organ and synthesizer). Halfway the propulsive percussion and sound of the saxophone evoke a sultry Middle-Eastern climate, followed by a saxophone solo. In the second part lots of shifting moods, with fine work on keyboards and guitar.
Land Of Green (part 2): A mellow piece with a jazzy climate, topped with electric piano, fragile electric guitar and spacey synthesizer. Halfway a sumptuous outburst, then a moving and howling guitar solo in slow rhythm, goose bumps. The final part is again jazzy and mellow. During this track Dutch master Focus comes to my mind.
Solis Festum: A short, mellow track, with fine guitar play and cheerful accordion.
Land Of Green (part 3): This one contains a swinging rhythm with fat synthesizer runs and brass, a good example of Karfagen, its pleasant variety.
Pastoral: A very short track featuring classical guitar in the vein of Steve Hackett, simply wonderful.
Garden Of Hope (part 1): Another jazzy oriented composition, between a slow swinging rhythm and bombastic eruptions, embellished with electric piano, saxophone, warm vocals, mellow organ and finally a flashy synthesizer solo and fiery guitar runs, wow.
Land Of Gold: This epic composition is my favourite one featuring lots of strong moments. From dreamy with spacey Minimoog-like synthesizer flights to a mid-tempo with tight beat and delicate work on the flute. From use of the distinctive vocoder sound to a fiery guitar solo. From a sensational pitchbend driven synthesizer solo to wah wah drenched guitar leads. And from a Latimer-like guitar solo to a flashy synthesizer solo with pitchbend and a mellow saxophone solo.
Finally Land Of Jazz: This is one of the 2 bonus tracks, it sounds dreamy with soft saxophone, a freaky synthesizer solo and finally tender piano.
A wonderful, very melodic and harmonic effort, a bit more towards jazz, with strong and pleasant work on keyboards, guitar and saxophone.
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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