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Karnataka - The Gathering Light CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.53 | 150 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars In the dim and distant past I travelled to a Sleeping Giant gig, intrigued to see what the ex-So & So's were doing, and aware that Steve Rothery would also be appearing. But they weren't the headline, that honour belonging to Karnataka. To be honest, I wasn't exactly impressed with what they were doing, and spent more of their set outside chatting with Dave Foster, and wasn't overly surprised when I heard that they had broken up a while later. But, bassist Ian Jones kept hold of the name while others departed to The Reasoning and Panic Room, and eventually put together a brand-new band using the same name as before. The first time I heard this 2010 album I was amazed, as here was real power and depth, a vibrancy and passion that immediately made an impact. Lisa Fury has a great voice, while the rest of the guys (Ian Harris (drums), Gonzalo Carrera (keyboards, piano) and Enrico Pinna (guitars)) are wonderful musicians.

There are obvious similarities to bands such as Mostly Autumn, and when listening to their use of uilleann pipes, I had a little smile to myself and thought "There's Troy Donockley", and yes it was. They also use a "real" string section as opposed to synthesised, and I note that one of these is Hugh McDowell who I first saw on TV playing with Wizzard more than forty years ago, but is probably best remembered for his years with ELO.

The album starts with an emotional, atmospheric prelude, where held-down keyboard chords provide the backdrop for Troy to place his magic. "State Of Grace" commences with some beautifully clear guitar lines, and then the band start to build and really project. This album is a delight from the start to end with elements of folk combining with symphonic progressive rock to create something that is quite special indeed. The band seem to be just at home playing light and gentle or over the top bombast, and it is this contrast that highlights the different aspects of their music. The opening prelude, "The Calling?" is an instrumental, as is "State Of Grace", which is nine minutes long, and it is only a minute into "Your World" that Lisa finally makes an entrance, as the band move into a more syncopated style. Up to then the listener things that can there be no room at all for a singer as the music is so complex, and after that one asks why were they not using her previously?

I may not have been a fan of Karnataka in their previous incarnation, but I like these guys, a lot.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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