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KAYAK

Crossover Prog • Netherlands


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Kayak biography
KAYAK is a Dutch band, originating from the early seventies. The band began as a symphonic progressive rock act with an emphasis in songwriting, but from 1977 on KAYAK changed direction moving into crossover territories. KAYAK revived in the 21st century, recording new albums and touring again.

The original line-up of KAYAK was quite strange. Most members were trained musicians at the conservatoriums of Holland. Max WERNER was a professional drummer that had to sing and Pim KOOPMAN was a professional piano-player that had to play the drums (which actually was his true love). Luckily Ton SCHERPZEEL was able to play on the keyboards, which was his profession. Later on, from 1977, Pim KOOPMAN left the band and Max WERNER became the drummer. A long-time fan, Edward REEKERS became the new vocalist.

Their debut "See See The Sun" (1973) is often seen as their biggest contribution to the symphonic prog genre. Their mix of na´ve, but very melodic symphonic songs is attractive and evokes early GENESIS, YES and some have mentioned SUPERTRAMP (which I never fully understood). KAYAK has two main composers, Ton SCHERPENZEEL and Pim KOOPMAN. The typical classical influenced style of SCHERPENZEEL remained recognizable throughout KAYAK's long career. The vocals of Max WERNER ('73-'77) are very distinctive because of his high-pitched voice that has a powerful strength-through-weakness appeal. KAYAK used many of the recognizable symphonic prog key-instruments, such as Moog and Mellotron. KAYAK's second album in 1974 was a good continuation of KAYAK's melodic/symphonic prog style, but it had a bigger focus on long compositions which was profitable for the music. "Royal Bed Bouncer" (1975) continued this course, whilst "The Last Encore" (1976) has a distinctive atmosphere with lots of great progressive songs that were perhaps the most original the band created in their progressive period. The first four albums of KAYAK are recommended to fans of the symphonic progressive rock genre.

After this the band wanted to have better sales and changed direction in to pop-territories with "Starlight Dancer" (1977), which only had the title track as a progressive song. The 1979 album "Phantom of the Night" became the biggest hit in the charts, but in the beginning of the eighties they disbanded after making their last progressive effort; the 1981 semi-prog/semi-pop "Merlin". Though KAYAK had made seven albums at this point, it's members had never seen a penny earne...
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Journey Through Time: Complete Studio Album CollJourney Through Time: Complete Studio Album Coll
Box set · Import
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Audio CD$85.65
$94.90 (used)
See See the Sun/KayakSee See the Sun/Kayak
Import
Imports 2015
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Eye Witness/MerlinEye Witness/Merlin
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Imports 2013
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Close To The FireClose To The Fire
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See See the SunSee See the Sun
Import · Remastered
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KayakKayak
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Esoteric 2012
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Royal Bed BouncerRoyal Bed Bouncer
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2012
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JANUS
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KAYAK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KAYAK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 120 ratings
See See The Sun
1973
4.03 | 119 ratings
Kayak II [Aka: Alibi]
1974
3.78 | 94 ratings
Royal Bed Bouncer
1975
3.45 | 71 ratings
The Last Encore
1976
3.14 | 60 ratings
Starlight Dancer
1977
3.45 | 75 ratings
Phantom Of The Night
1978
3.13 | 58 ratings
Periscope Life
1980
3.33 | 80 ratings
Merlin
1981
3.84 | 79 ratings
Close To The Fire
2000
2.77 | 46 ratings
Night Vision
2001
3.86 | 110 ratings
Merlin - Bard Of The Unseen
2003
3.79 | 69 ratings
Nostradamus - The Fate Of Man
2005
2.63 | 61 ratings
Coming Up For Air
2008
3.28 | 51 ratings
Letters From Utopia
2009
3.50 | 39 ratings
Anywhere But Here
2011
3.72 | 39 ratings
Cleopatra - The Crown Of Isis
2014

KAYAK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.86 | 25 ratings
Eyewitness
1981
3.61 | 21 ratings
Chance For A Live Time
2001
4.25 | 12 ratings
KAYAKoustc live
2007

KAYAK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.76 | 25 ratings
In Concert - Merlin, Bard Of The Unseen
2003
2.46 | 9 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
2006

KAYAK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 19 ratings
Starlight Dancer (US)
1978
1.62 | 4 ratings
The best of Kayak
1978
3.00 | 4 ratings
Phantom Of The Night (Italian Production)
1978
4.04 | 7 ratings
Original Tapes
1988
3.20 | 6 ratings
Kayak
1988
3.08 | 10 ratings
The Best Of Kayak
1988
3.12 | 6 ratings
Original Hits
1995
3.51 | 11 ratings
3 Originals
1998
3.97 | 6 ratings
The Singles
1999
4.08 | 5 ratings
See See The Sun / Kayak
2000

KAYAK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

KAYAK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 See See The Sun by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 120 ratings

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See See The Sun
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars (This review, like many others, is loosely based on a chapter of my prog book Aamunkoiton portit - soon on print again!) It seems that the Dutch band KAYAK aimed at an international fame right from the start, on the heels of Focus. On their earliest, more symphonic albums one can hear British prog influence, mainly from Yes and Genesis, but unfortunately the more commercial approach took over in the latter half of the seventies. My first acquaintance with Kayak was "The Best of" compilation, concentrating on the late 70's / early 80's period. Its music is rather sweet, highly accessible, melodic and often quite catchy too, not very far from the hits of The Alan Parsons Project, except with more emphasis on keyboards (and, of course, not quite that well produced). However, on their more recent albums they have again had more progressive ambitions. Now back to the beginning, for this is their debut.

When the band was founded in 1972, Ton Scherzenpeel, Pim Koopman and Max Werner were young music students in Hilversum. After Cees van Leeuwen joined on bass, Scherzenpeel (who had studied double bass as his major) concentrated on keyboards. He and Koopman had been writing songs already for five years. Kayak signed a contract with EMI, and the group entered a proper recording studio for the very first time. "We were like kids in a toy store as we were testing what we could do with the 16-track equipment", Scherzenpeel recalls in the CD liner notes. According to him, See See the Sun is an album full of ideas, not all of them being worked to perfection. After two weeks' studio sessions the tapes were taken to Abbey Road studios for Alan Parsons to mix. Dark Side of the Moon had made Parsons a hot name, so this was clearly a calculated move from EMI in order to increase the international appeal.

The results may not be the most original prog of the time, but surely it's well produced and extremely convincing debut from young musicians. The opening track 'Reason for It All' has notable Yes flavours up to vocal harmonies and Wakemanesque harpsichord decoratings. Slightly oversugared song 'Lyrics' already hints at the later pop direction. Several compositions contain ambitious complexity without feeling very meaningful. Among my favourites is the lengthy and dreamy 'Lovely Luna', in which I sense a similarity in atmosphere to 'The Moon Is Down' by Gentle Giant. 'Ballet of the Cripple' is like a mixture of Mellotron-heavy Genesis and the more straight-forward Electric Light Orchestra. In the end they were at their most original on emotionally loaded songs such as 'Forever Is a Lonely Thought'.

The adventures in the British prog influences continued on the albums Kayak (1974) and Royal Bed Bouncer (1975), on which Ton Scherpenzeel's creative force was perhaps at its strongest. After fairly good The Last Encore (1976) there occurred some changes in both the line-up and musical style; the most commercial phase produced the albums Starlight Dancer (1977), Phantom of the Night (1979) and Periscope Life (1980). See See the Sun is warmly recommended for listeners of keyboard oriented light prog - and Supertramp, whose album Crime of the Century (1974) Kayak's bright sound has been compared to.

 See See The Sun by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 120 ratings

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See See The Sun
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Kayak's debut album finds the band crafting a blend of prog rock sensibilities and aesthetics with pop catchiness and accessibility. Compared to their subsequent self-titled album, which was rather mannered and polished, this time around the band's sound is a bit rougher and rowdier, and I'm inclined to give it a slight edge over its successor but not much of one. Both this debut and the subsequent released proved that an interesting sound could be developed by bridging the prog and pop worlds, and if you enjoy one you will probably enjoy the other, and See See the Sun deserves a certain kudos for blazing this trail not just for Kayak but for other artists like Supertramp.
 Kayak II [Aka: Alibi] by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.03 | 119 ratings

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Kayak II [Aka: Alibi]
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Their more progressive and energetic moments remind me of a rockier Genesis or Supertramp; their quieter, smoother, poppier moments put me in mind of some of the ballads that the Alan Parsons Project would turn out in subsequent years. And in between all of that, just occasionally they let loose some vocal melodies that put me in mind of what Queen were getting up to around this point in time. Kayak were one of those groups who were paying attention to what the progressive world were doing but also had a keen sense of the mainstream pop zeitgeist, and happily on Kayak II they manage to bridge the two beautifully.
 Merlin by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.33 | 80 ratings

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Merlin
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

3 stars Beautiful innovative pop gembox, that can be called for this Kayak's "Merlin" soundtrack, especially the A-Side. Honestly to say as a progressive rock reviewer, the five pieces upon the B-Side are so fine pop songs and might not appropriate to be called as "Crossover Prog" that I cannot evaluate at least here if they are good or not, sadly. Contrary to the reverse "poppie" side, the five "Crossover Gems" upon the first appearance of this soundtrack should be listened by all of progressive rock freaks.

The beginning of this Merlin theatre is superb ... started with a gorgeous music phrase of "Niniane", very extensive, brilliant hard-edged rock sounds and clear voices take off one after another. Always pleasant colourful world can be felt under this song. "Tintagel", a short piece but a quiet song Fantasia to brilliant piano plays, is another dream in this theatre ... what a solemn voice Edward has really. In the third track "The Sword In The Stone", heavy backing voices crystallized with strict, rigid rhythm sections' explosive play are beyond expression. The following "The King's Enchanter" is a tad danceable, enjoyable one along with slight eccentric rhythm yay.

"Niniane (Lady Of The Lake)" must be considered as their masterpiece. One of the most incredibly beautiful tracks I've listened to until now, and this excellence can give this album such a kaleidoscopic sound colour, I'm sure. Ton's keyboard storytelling and Johan's crying guitar shout outside in the middle of this track are indeed awesome. Cannot listen without tears. Very suitable for the last song on the A-Side.

Let me mention as follows: this soundtrack should be a fantastic mirror that can project the bright side and the dark one around a progressive rock combo, not only like Kayak but also like other ones drenched in pop / catchy wave in the latter music life. A pathos around the progressive rock scene can be felt, in a sense.

A splendid album nonetheless.

 Kayak II [Aka: Alibi] by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.03 | 119 ratings

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Kayak II [Aka: Alibi]
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Based on the succesful path of the debut the Dutch band followed ''See see the sun'' with a second album, which was originally to be titled ''His master's voice'', but this ideas was soon abandoned not to raise conflictions with the label of the same name.Eventually the album carried only the name of the band as a title, but became known also as ''Kayak II'' or ''Alibi'', named after the opening piece.It was released on EMI in 1974.

Now, the influences remain stable for Kayak, GENESIS and YES were the basic sources of inspirations, but this time the songwriting appears to a be a bit more accesible, focusing on vocal harmonies, elaborate melodies and striking choruses, flirting more and more with the emerging sound of SUPERTRAMP.So, in ''Kayak II'' the formula displayed follows a complex Symphonic Pop style and the band comes as the best retro equivalent to Swedish A.C.T., having a rich and convinving composing style, which ranges from poppy lines to symphonic orchestrations, filled with keyboard and piano interludes, interesting paces and joyful guitar plays.There are certain pieces that recall GENESIS' smoother and lyrical side, like the beautiful ballad ''Mountain too rough'' or the melodic ''Serenades'', but all pieces contain some serious musicianship with big time Mellotron dashes and organ runs.But it's not all about Symphonic Pop here.The long ''They get to know me'' is a pure Symphonic Rock opus with dramatic vocals and different segments, reminding of other North-European acts like FOCUS and DICE.Melancholic and haunting symphonicism, quirky synth drives and crying guitars complete a stunner in Kayak's discography.Or the 6-min. ''Trust in the machine'', which has a slight CAMEL touch circa ''Moonmadness'' with some jazzy orientations in the keyboard parts and some impressive Mellotron washes towards a grandiose outro.

Great Symphonic/Art/Pop Rock by Kayak.The greatest proof that poppy vibes cannot ruin a progressive album, on the contrary, this has to be one of most excellent and intelligent albums ever recorded by a Prog Rock group.Highly recommended.

 Starlight Dancer (US) by KAYAK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1978
3.35 | 19 ratings

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Starlight Dancer (US)
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I always enjoy compilation of early albums like this one with KAYAK which basically after they released five studio albums: See See The Sun (1973), Kayak II (1974), Royal Bed Bouncer (1975), The Last Encore (1976) and Starlight Dancer (1977). My first listen of Kayak happened with Kayak II especially with its Woe and Alas track. To be honest I love this track very much since the first time I heard it even until now. I really don't know why this compilation does not include this beuatiful song Kayak has ever made.

However, I like the inclusion of Nothingness right here in this compilation. This song has a very solid composition combining nice piano work and very good vocal harmony. The poppy song I. I Want you to be Mine (4:46) is actually good as well. Still my Heart cries for you (4:34) is very melodic and melancholic. While Starlight Dancer (5:03) is an excellent song with brilliant composition starting with something melodic at intro part followed with a blast of music that moves nicely from start to end. Irene (4:22) is a very good instrumental.

Overall it's a good compilation. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Coming Up For Air by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.63 | 61 ratings

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Coming Up For Air
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by progbaby

3 stars 3.5 stars ... Really!

I see this album has a low rating. I respect the opinions / ratings of others. We all hear different things and have different tastes. The same album(s)/song(s) speak differently to many of us. What makes the world interesting is people can see different things in the same "object".

this particular "object" is this album. Yes it's modern pop (with very little progressive tendancies) and different from Kayak's older period. To my ears, that does not make it worse. I consider Kayak similar to King Crimson and Camel. 1 or 2 key members remain over multiple transitions/personal changes so it's really hard for me to judge the 70's Kayak over the current Kayak. Because whenever I think the 70's Kayak is so great (and I do feel that way), there's some major gems with the modern phase of Kayak (2000-present) as well.

One of my all time favorite Kayak songs (and maybe in my top 10 favorite song of all time) is on this album. "Broken White". I can't describe what makes the song so great in my head. All I know is when I'm listening to it, I'm on the verge of breaking down (and I'm not really an emotional guy). Something about the melody/lyrics and the way it's sung along with the musical (sounds like an accordion or something) break in the middle just says to me "this is one of those songs that I have been searching for a long long time".

Just for that one song, the whole album is worth it. But there's some other gems on this album. Freezing, Medea, Daughter of the Moon, Sad State of Affairs and the Mask and the Mirror... Wow!!! Some really nice melancholy/catchy melodies there. Yes there's some filler songs too (skip them) to make this album a little uneven. But for the most part, aren't most modern pop albums "uneven"? Who can expect a modern pop masterpiece? So I feel we have a pretty good album here with several strong songs mixed in with a few forgettable songs.

But "Broken White".... Holy darn. This may be the best song Kayak ever did.

I honestly feel you owe it to yourself to go on youtube and search for Kayak "Broken White" or some other place. Give it a listen before you skip this album due to its low ratings. And maybe listen to Freezing, Daughter of the Moon, Mask and the Mirror (there's some pretty cool vocal harmonies in this song which reminds me of early Queen ala Bohemian Rhapsody).

Broken White is a "******" song.

Don't expect a progressive album but do expect some really nice pop melodies that are not "too commercial" sounding (ala US modern pop aka Bieber, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, yuck!).

Kayak has nothing to be ashamed of with this album and the low ratings. Some fine melodies here.

 Periscope Life by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.13 | 58 ratings

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Periscope Life
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars For sure this seventh album is not the best from Kayak as there are not so many masterpiece songs taken from this one. As far of the way I define Kayak, it's basically a pop rock band with some elements of prog that makes them in the prog scene. The strenght of Kayak music is in most of their melodies as many tracks they have produced have very strong and memorable melodies with great vocal harmony. As for this album there are two masterpiece songs: "Anne" which has a very good vibe and flow, plus - of course - memorable melody. The other one is the ballad "Sad to Say Farewell" which has become my personal favorite of all time. It's great in terms of vocal as well as how the piano blends together in the music. I really consider this album still worth as personal collection especially for those melody-maniac. Keep on proggin' ...! Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW
 Royal Bed Bouncer by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.78 | 94 ratings

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Royal Bed Bouncer
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by progbaby

5 stars It's been a while since I have given an album this kind of a review. I've had this album for several years and listened to it a few times and shelved it. You know how that goes when you have a bunch of prog and are in a bunch of different moods.

This past 2-3 weeks though, I've returned back to Kayak with a vengance. Gosh darn, their first several albums thru "Last Encore" are classics. And "Starlight dancer" is pretty good too. "Close to the fire" is also a fantastic album.

Back to "Royal Red Bouncer", I personally feel the first 10 tracks from the original album might quite possibly be one of the strongest 10 tracks to occupy a non-concept album. We have excellent short-lived melodies in the perfect 70's vein. The opening track "Royal Red Bouncer" sounds very "Genesis" ala-"Selling England by the Pound" or "Nursery cryme". A little too derivitave and forced. But still good. The album then picks up from tracks 2 thru the end and contains some of the most beautiful ballads put on a prog rock album. Some may debate the "progness" of gems like " Life of gold", "If this is your welcome", "Moments of Joy" and the ever heavenly/haunting closer "My heart has changed" which might be one of the most perfect 2.5 minute melodies to my ear. It's georgeous and sad all at the same time and has shades of melancholy like the incredible must-have Trader Horne album (from 1970). And "Patricia Anglaia" with it's wordless vocals (female it sounds like) would belong perfectly in some Sergio Leone "flashback scene" in one of those classic Spaghetti Westerns.

After the original 10 tracks, the cd has 9 bonus tracks which some have made their way on previous albums which are all gems too.

I think "richardh" above said it perfectly when he said "I don't think there is a better song based prog album in existence".

I totally agree.

This is by far one of the best albums I own in my collection. And that includes a collection of hundreds of the best italian, german, english, swedish, etc.. prog albums out there.

Without exaggeration/hesitation, this is just as strong as any of the best Beatles albums, etc.. If the Beatles (during their Abbey Road/White Album/Let it Be phase) had become a prog group, I'm thinking they would have sounded similar to this. And maybe not as good :-)

Gosh why can't they do music like this here in the USA. It makes me sad when I turn on the radio and hear Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, etc.. It makes even sadder when I see Rolling Stone articles naming the likes of "Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and all the American pop singers" as "The greatest talent in the history of mankind" while never considering to mention the thousands of prog albums/bands from Europe/South America/Asia/etc... Kayak is one of the best bands out there in my opinion.

Beautiful album. I'd give this 6 stars if it would allow me.

 See See The Sun by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 120 ratings

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See See The Sun
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars With his first album snuck Kayak burst onto the music scene. Lyrics obtained only some commercial success, and less Mammoth. But it was evident the great talent of a band made ​​ up of young musicians with good ideas. Hilversum Music Academy proved to be the meeting place.

The electric piano, hammond organ and moog are ahead in general, with the addition of Werner's mellotron in certain sections. The vocal harmonies, as in Forever is a Lonely Thought or Hope for a Life, among others, are fabulous.

Lovely Moon and Forever is a Lonely Thought are introspective and distant beauty, the most original and engaging.

The statements, coupled with good initial theme Reason for it All, deserves a high rating.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Snow Dog for the last updates

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