Messages From Afar: The Working Tapes is other brand-new 2024 release by the Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin and his band Karfagen. This release also sounds very tastefully arranged, harmonic, melodic, accessible, alternating between dreamy climates, mid-tempo beats and bombastic atmospheres, with the focus on a pleasant colouring featuring a variety of keyboards and acoustic - and electric guitars, with a wide range of guest musicians. My highlights.
The Game Of Imagination (Uvertura) opens with delicate piano play, then classical keyboard orchestrations, blended with Mellotron and synthesizers, the climates contain obvious classical overtones, between dreamy and bombastic, halfway an eruption with piano and choirs, how impressive, dynamic and compelling, what a start!
Hymn Of Hope contains a wonderful piano and classical guitar duet, then the organ joins, culminating in a catchy mid-tempo, tight beat, with sensitive electric guitar and a flashy synthesizer solo, trademark Karfagen.
High pitched female vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar feature in Bond Of Love then a sumptuous outburst with heavy guitar riffs, halfway synthesizer flights, then again mellow with female vocals.
Searching For Mr. Kite delivers electric piano and soaring strings, in a slow rhythm, then heavy guitar work with a tight beat, embellished with another sensational synthesizer solo, finally the unsurpassed Mellotron sound, a strong and varied composition.
And finally, the epic composition Faces (First Contact Tapes). It starts bombastic with a lush synthesizer sound, and a spectacular wah-wah drenched guitar, then a mid-tempo featuring freaky synthesizer runs and heavy guitar, halfway a mellow climate with tender piano, and finally Mellotrons, fiery guitar and spacey synthesizer, wow, top notch Karfagen!
My CD version contains 4 exclusively bonus tracks featuring music of guitarist Max Velychko. The first two tracks are acoustic pieces: Alone In The Field with dreamy twanging guitar, and a beautiful, intense acoustic guitar solo, and Snow with soaring keyboards and tender guitar. The other two tracks sound like ambient electronic music: Red Moon with halfway moving electric guitar and Morning View with atmospheric work on guitar and keyboards.
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)
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