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Kaipa - Sattyg

Kaipa – CD Review




CD Info
Europe 2014, USA 2015
Inside Out/Century Media
Symphonic Progressive Rock
7 Tracks
English Lyrics

To borrow from Shakespeare: Kaipa, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

One. Last year I posted a long series of songs on one of the biggest progressive rock pages on Facebook. Over a period of months I listed my top ten prog songs of every year since pretty much when prog began more than 40 years ago. Kaipa was on that list nine times. You would have been on the list 11 times, with a song from every album you’d recorded up to that time, if I hadn’t missed your albums in the 1980s and 1990s. You weren’t easy to find here in South Africa during that period. Here’s the list of your songs that lit up my cortex:

1975: “Musiken Aer Ljuset” (from Kaipa)
1976: “Inget Nytt Under Solen” (Inget Nytt Under Solen)
1978: “Sist På Plan” (Solo)
2002: “Folke's Final Decision” (Notes from the Past)
2003: “A Complex Work of Art” (Keyholder)
2005: “The Dodger” (Mindrevolutions)
2007: “Path Of Humbleness” (Angling Feelings)
2010: “Electric Power Water Notes” (In the Wake of Evolution)
2012: “The Crowned Hillsides” (Vittjar)

Two. I’ve mentioned in many places that “Electric Power Water Notes” is my favorite prog rock song ever. It embodies everything that prog can be, and it puts it all together immaculately.

Three. I’ve also said many times that your album In the Wake of Evolution, which includes “Electric Power Water Notes”, is my favorite prog album of this century so far. It is perfection in every musical sense.

Four. Sattyg was one of my top three albums of 2014. That was after a coin toss against two extraordinary albums, IQ’s stupendous The Road of Bones (neo-progressive rock, as Kaipa knows) and Sulla Bolla di Sapone, crazily inventive Rock Progressivo Italiano by FEM. I confess to all three bands that my decision was somewhat arbitrary, they’re all such excellent albums.

Five. Of last year’s albums featuring female vocalists, Sattyg was my runaway winner.

Six. You don’t sound like any another band I’ve ever heard, and none of them sound like you. The closest similar band is probably Ritual, and that’s because your male vocalist, Patrik Lundström, did vocals and guitars for Ritual. Digging much deeper, the classic prog rock band that sounds most like modern Kaipa in parts of some songs is Yes in their heyday, when they made colossal albums like Fragile and Tales of Topographical Oceans. Yes is one of my very favorite classic prog bands.

Seven. You did a huge amount to keep prog rock alive and vibrant in Europe after it degenerated into adult-oriented pop-rock in the UK and America during the 1980s. OK, you didn’t, the original members of Kaipa did, but you’ve retained so many wonderful elements and influences from the old Kaipa. The 20th century Kaipa slotted in nicely alongside the enduring Rock Progressivo Italiano giants like Premiata Forneria Marconi and the other European-style prog bands like your Swedish countrymen, the deeply introspective Änglagård.

Eight. Roine Stolt. People who aren’t overly familiar with prog rock may not know that Roine Stolt has god-like status among us proggers. He was the force behind early Kaipa before he moved on to form another massively fabulous band, The Flower Kings. Stolt was one of the pioneers of neo-progressive rock, which pulled prog out of the doldrums. You’ve continued to honor his influence. I bet he loves Kaipa.

Nine. Not trying to be Roine Stolt. With your 21st century line-up you have created your unique sound, your brand of modern symphonic prog rock that incorporates the crossover prog style of jazz-rock and the lyricism of folk rock.

Ten. Your name. When I say it the way a dear Swedish friend told me to say it, “Kah-ee-pah,” my South African friends think I’m starting the chant for a Maori haka, the war dance the New Zealand rugby team does before all of its international rugby matches. New Zealand almost always wins its matches. It’s the rugby equivalent of Kaipa.

OK, I’ve run out of fingers. To continue in non-point form, the Kaipa that recorded Sattyg includes the aforementioned Patrik Lundström as male vocalist, and Aleena Gibson as female vocalist. Hans Lundin does keyboards and backing vocals. Per Nilsson plays electric and acoustic guitars, Morgan Ågren is the drummer, and Jonas Reingold plays the electric basses. To add the orchestral and folk rock elements, the band brought in Fredrik Lindqvist (recorders and whistles) and Elin Rubinsztein (violin).

These people are all stunningly good. Morgan Ågren teamed up with keyboard wizard Mats Öberg last year to record [schack-tati], an avant-garde prog-jazz fusion winner that made #4 place in my selection of jazz albums of 2014. Any member of the band would be a prize acquisition by any other band. They don’t have my permission to even think about that.

Kaipa would probably look bemused at the suggestion that they are a female-fronted band. They happen to be a band that sounds best with vocalists of both genders, just as they happen to be a band that sounds best with guitars, keyboards and drums.

Patrik Lundström is a strong tenor with an often raspy tone in his voice. Aleena Gibson’s vocals are equally powerful. She has the same type of forcefulness as Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s. Both Kaipa singers, however, can bring the volume down smoothly for the songs with softer vocals. Each of them does solo songs. They share the vocals on many of the tracks. The instruments, meanwhile, are as unfailingly good and memorable as the compositions.

If In the Wake of Evolution is such a favorite of mine, maybe I should try to compare it with Sattyg. Darn, do I have to? Once a band rises beyond the highest levels of quality, comparisons start becoming impossible. Let’s just say if I were to be stranded on that island with only a limited amount of music, it would have to include the entire Kaipa discography.

If you don’t know Kaipa, start with a song from Sattyg. The first track, “A Map of your Secret World”, is very typical of the Kaipa sound. To hear where they came from, play “Musiken Aer Ljuset” from their first, self-titled album. And for my all-time favorite prog song, settle back comfortably for “Electric Power Water Notes”.

Rating: 10/10.

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