Kick [USA]

The Power And The Glory (90)

Their sound reminds of Duke or Abacab period Genesis, especially on the title track...maybe with better vocal harmonies. Solid uptempo neo-prog.

Killing Floor [UK]

Killing Floor (70), Out of Uranus (71)


Kin Ping Meh [Germany]

Kin Ping Meh (71), No. 2 (72), No. 3 (73), Virtues & Sins (74)

A guitar and organ-laden (some Mellotron) hard rock/psych band whose name is from a 16th century Chinese poem. (It means "Plum Blossom Branch in a Golden Vase"). Though pretty much hard rock most of they time, they show many strong Beatles influences, John Lennon in particular. Their first album, released late in 1971 as a quintet is pretty decent hard rock with some psych touches. It includes two longer tracks, (10 and 7 minutes) but most are in the 3-5 minute range. The CD release of this album contains both sides of both singles released before their first album. The A-side of their first single ("Everything's My Way") appears in a different, longer version on the LP ("Everything"). In '72, the followed up with No. 2. They attempted to enrich their sound by adding three more members (an octet, now) and by diversifying guitar styles (three guitarists). The notable track here is the cover of The Beatles' "Come Together" which extended into an 11 minute jam that's got a nice underground vibe to it. This was apparently a concert favorite. There are two other long tracks, "Livable Ways" and "Day Dreams" which are both about eight minutes long. "Livable Ways" starts off with spacy organ and dark Mellotron then adds some heavy guitar doses of psychedelia. "Day Dream" is a somewhat dreamy, somewhat Beatleish tune that doesn't really go anywhere. This is followed by a bluegrass banjo/guitar ditty. There are also a couple of acoustic guitar based tunes, as there on the first album. If interested, check out the first release and move on from there. -- Mike Taylor

3 and Virtues & Sins are supposed to be straight hard rock with no prog. -- Mike Ohman

[See 2066 And Then]

Kindler, Steve and Teja Bell [USA]

Dolphin Smiles (87)

Steve Kindler is a violinist who's made a bunch of albums in the light jazz/new age vein. Teja Bell was the guitarist and mastermind behind Rising Sun. This project was a one-off that worked fairly well, with Bell's delicate acoustic guitar work provides excellent support for synths, and Kindler's melodic violin. A new age album that most progressives would enjoy.

[See Bell, Teja | Rising Sun]

King Crimson [UK]
Updated 3/21/06

In the Court of the Crimson King (69)
In the Wake of Poseidon (70)
Lizard (70)
Islands (71)
Earthbound (72, Live)
Lark's Tongues in Aspic (73)
Starless and Bible Black (74)
Red (74)
USA (75, Live)
A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson (76, Compilation)
Discipline (81)
Beat (82)
Three of a Perfect Pair (84)
The King Biscuit Flower Hour Starring King Crimson (84, Live)
The Compact King Crimson (86, Compilation)
King Crimson 1989 (89, 4CD box set, Compilation)
Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson (91, 4CD boxed set, Compilation)
The Abbreviated King Crimson (91, Compilation)
The Great Deceiver (92, 4CD boxed set of previously unreleased Live material)
The First Three (93, 3CD box set, first 3 albums)
Sleepless: The Concise King Crimson (93, Compilation)
VROOM (94, EP)
THRAK (95)
B'Boom (95, Live)
THRaKaTTaK (96, Live)
The Nightwatch: Live at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (97)
Absent Lovers: Live in Montreal 1984 (98, Live)
The ConstruKction of Light (00)
Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With (02, EP)
Power to Believe (03)

King Crimson releases an unbelievable number of albums every year, most of them archival material recorded at concerts, and also compilations. I have no hope of keeping up with them, and it's pointless to do so since there's a complete, updated listing available here. From here on out, I'll only list new studio albums from these gents.

King Crimson are one of the most influential and highly regarded of the long-lived prog bands. Through numerous line-up changes, their founder and guitarist, the ubiquitous and brilliant Robert Fripp, has crafted King Crimson's sound through quite distinct musical phases. Although the official classification for real KC-heads notes around seven identifiably different KC phases, the new listener can be given a good picture by pointing out three main phases in their musical output. Phase one consists of recordings up to and including Islands. Most of this period was characteristically defined by the lyrics and "spiritual guidance" of Peter Sinfield...a fair degree of high-brow social comment and mysticism. The music shows folk elements and ranges from chaotic improvisations with a seemingly huge amount of instruments (most of them Fripp on Mellotron) to beautiful acoustic songs with floating melodies. Fripp's later incredible and highly original guitar work is not too obvious in this phase but complements the music greatly when it appears. Many long, classicaly inspired pieces involving much Mellotron and occasionaly full orchestras make this phase sound more dated than later material but it all has a really timeless quality too (is that a contradiction?). Lizard is my favourite from this period and is probably the most ageless album I have. This period involved a lot of prog illumini on various albums ... Jon Anderson sings on Lizard, Greg Lake sings and plays on In the Wake ... etc. Phase Two involved Lark's Tongues up to and including Red. Much more modern sounding, many consider this Crimson's high point. Bill Bruford on percussion, John Wetton on vocals and David Cross on strings. Fripp's guitar rears its head properly on these recordings and you are treat to some of the most inspired and brilliantly original guitar work ever produced. There are a lot of long instrumental tracks that sound improvised but have a really tight structure...very loud distortion and strange modalities combine to provide a real challenge to the prog listener. Touching jazz ideas in places, folk in others and raw Fripp in most, Lark's Tongues is quite superb. Features percussion legend Jamie Muir, too. Most of Starless and Bible Black is live improvisation around Fripp themes with the audience dubbed out and this fact should be remembered when listening to the two amazing extended instrumentals on side two! Often descending into what sounds like "horror music" in these instrumentals, they come soaring up from the quiet passages with Wetton's bass and Fripp's screaming guitar together. Great stuff. Red shows a new development as the sound is tightened (Cross has left by now) and the characteristic Fripp guitar figures begin to emerge. Great percussion and a fantastic vocal track "Starless" on side two that incorporates Fripp's "one-note" solo section! This is often said to Crimson's most "metal" album but this is really misleading. It has absolutely nothing to do with "metal" as commonly perceived, it just has more guitar. A brilliant album. Phase three envelops Discipline, Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair. Very different to the other material, this was the result of a regrouping that Fripp undertook many years after he had broken Crimson up after Red. He originally re-formed the group under the name "Discipline," then changed the name to King Crimson and made an album called Discipline. Confusing, eh? Anyway, this lineup had Bruford on percussion, Adrian Belew on vocals/guitar and the stick-master Tony Levin on stick-bass. Belew's influence made this phase a lot more "pop" oriented than had previously been the case and these three albums are probably the most acessible of the KC recordings. Fripp's guitar-work had fully matured and his obscure time signatures and Belew's sense of humour (and amazing guitar talent) made for a really heady mixture. Characterised by overlapping guitar lines played in different times so as to sound like weird delay effects and Levin's perfectly executed and mid-range stick lines, this phase is a real delight. Belew's voice was made for this type of material and it fits well. As usual, brillant (but more subdued) percussion from Bruford. Get some of this phase or miss out on Crimson at a creative height. In short, a legendary band in all their incarnations. Rarely has such diversity been containable under one name. Totally recommended. All of their back studio catalogue was re-mixed for CD by Fripp and Tony Arnold in 1989 and is now available; look for the "definitve edition" blurb on the case. Latest lineup is Fripp, Belew, Levin, Trey Gunn, Pat Mastalotto and Bruford.
King Crimson are one of the paradigms of progressive rock. The band was in reality three different bands during its lengthy career, each of these incarnations quite different from the other, with Robert Fripp, the band's guitarist and founder, the only constant member. Their recorded output is quite varied. All of the albums mentioned below have been re-released on CD unless otherwise noted. King Crimson I (1969-72) created immense, orchestrated albums, with strong ensemble playing and some improvisation. Songs range from heavily orchestrated pieces, with particular use of Mellotron (comparable at times to the Moody Blues or Gabriel-era Genesis) and occasional power guitar chords from Fripp, to soft, gentle ballads. The band line-up during this period was unstable, which helps to account for the diversity displayed on the albums. In The Court Of The Crimson King is probably the best. In the Wake of Poseidon features excellent contributions from Keith Tippet on piano. These two are recommended. The last two studio albums by KC I betray Fripp's growing pre-occupation with minimalism. Lizard is a little more left field than the first two, perhaps a bit too uneven and inconsistent, and definitely wacky. Islands is much smoother, more orchestrial and more relaxed, bordering on the soporific. Earthbound was the last KC I release, a live album, which became a tradition of sorts with KC. It has poor sound quality, but contains the definitive live reading of "20th Century Schizoid Man" from the debut. King Crimson II (1973-75) were a much heavier proposition, the frontal lobes approach to rock. A useful comparison would be the Mahavishnu Orchestra lineup of 1972-74. John McLaughlin was a clear influence on Fripp's guitar style and KC II had a similar approach to fusion as McLaughlin's outfit. Starting from scratch again, Fripp was joined this time by David Cross on violin, Jamie Muir on percussion, though neither would stay the distance, and John Wetton on bass and Bill Bruford (late of Yes) on drums, a formidable rhythm section. Bruford is probably the most sympathetic musician to have worked with Fripp and he would turn up again in KC III. KC II was characterized by a lot of solo improvisation and full blown group jams, very heavy and very loud. Many of the tracks on the albums from this period originated from live performances, with overdubs added later in the studio. Often referred to as Crimson's "mature period," the albums are uniformly excellent, strong on material and performance. The Mahavishnu comparison is particularly telling on the first, Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Amazing guitar playing, excellent drumming and strong bass, the kind of record that gives "art rock" a good name. Starless and Bible Black is more severe, the two highly improvisational group jams that form side two are superb, with Fripp being particularly innovative, but some of the shorter, loosely defined tracks on side one tend to dissipate the effect. Red is the full fruition of the promise on the previous two albums. It is consistently sure-footed. Red is focused power, the best of these middle period recordings and, IMO, the best King Crimson album. A heavy album, but very expressionistic. Complex rhythms abound. Fripp's range and conceptual rigour are extraordinary. Side two contains the most beautiful piece of music recorded by the band, "Starless." The long guitar passage in the middle section is stunning in its effectiveness and simplicity. It should be said that guitar and drums dominate this album more than on the previous KC II albums, so this may not be to everyone's tatse. But this *is* King Crimson's masterpiece. All three KC II studio albums are highly recommended to fans of progressive *rock* music. The band dissolved again with a live album, recorded before but released after Red (it contains parts of the same concert used as a basis for Red) with violin overdubs by Eddie Jobson. USA is a good live album of the wrong material, with one exception, a superb and at the time otherwise unavailable track called "Asbury Park." The best live material by KC II is found on the 4CD live retrospective The Great Deceiver, which has some unique group improvs. Not the best place to start, but once you have absorbed the studio albums and acquired a taste for this phase of the bands career, it is a very worthwhile investment. King Crimson III (1980-84) was the nearest the band got to danceable, pop music, albeit with complex underlying musical structures. Fripp retained the services of Bruford and enlisted new members Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals) and Tony Levin (bass/stick). Although the musicianship is of a very high order, the bands instincts are haphazard. Adrian Belew had a disproportionally large influence on these albums and his instincts on guitar are not ideally suited for creating interesting rock music. Bruford uses electronic drums but they don't detract too much. Levin's stick is impressive. Fripp eschews power guitar for ultracomplex, intricate, repetitive rhythm patterns. This line up therefore is characterized by a fusion of musical complexity and technology - the music had obviously changed a great deal. Discipline is probably the best of these albums, being the most focused and also the most accessible. It has a great range in moods and is the most complete of the 80s releases. And probably the best place to start with KC III too. Beat is more relaxed and more pop-orientated but still has some interesting material. Three of a Perfect Pair is the least rewarding of this trio of albums. Some tracks work very well, Bruford again impresses, but this is by far the poppiest album released by the band. They disbanded in 1984 and marked their demise with two live releases, but this time on video. There are a number of compilations which offer an alternative introduction to the band. The best is A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson, a double set arguably featuring the best tracks from all KC I and KC II albums, though some in edited form and Lizard is conspicuous by its absence. Of course, the '80s material is not represented at all. The CD only compilation The Compact King Crimson couples all but one track each from the two most commercially successful King Crimson albums, In The Court and Discipline, with a number of other tracks. Note that only one track represents KC II and as such this compilation is seriously flawed. However, it is widely available. The ambitious 4CD set The Essential King Crimson: Frame By Frame is a lengthy retrospective which contains three discs of previously released material plus one live CD of unique recordings. This would have provided an excellent overview of the band (even Lizard is represented), if Fripp had resisted the temptation to tamper so much with the original recordings. Some of the lengthier studio tracks, which tend to be among the more essential tracks, have been severely edited for some reason. But, with these reservations in mind, this is recommended as a good introduction to the band, and it will never be redundant because of the live disc.
I split the discography into three sections because the band's music falls into three distinct periods:

Early period: In the Court of the Crimson King, In the Wake of Poseidon, Lizard, Islands.
Middle period: Earthbound (Live), Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, Red, USA (live).
'80s version: Discipline, Beat, Three of a Perfect Pair.

These periods are drastically different, and to listen to the albums without knowing who recorded them, one would probably think they're the products of different bands. In effect, this is actually the case: the only musician who was present throughout the history of the band is the mastermind behind the whole thing, Robert Fripp himself. Each period is marked by a complete turnover of personnel (except, of course, for Fripp, and Bill Bruford, who returned from the middle period lineup for the '80s version). I will mention here that Earthbound was performed with early period personnel; however, I placed it with the middle period albums because in my opinion, it's much closer musically to the albums that followed it than to those that preceded it. As is the case with prog rock in general, odd time signatures are frequently found in music throughout the band's history. Peter Sinfield's lyrics on the early period albums, and Richard W. Palmer-James' lyrics on the middle period albums, are regarded by many as self-indulgent and pretentious. Well, such lyrics are often found in prog rock, but even with that consideration, these lyrics are embarrassing-not only to the band, but to its fans, and to the world of music in general. Adrian Belew's lyrics in the 80's version are much easier to deal with-they're often quite inventive and evocative, and (dare I say it) actually pretty good. All three periods also feature a great deal of...experimentation with structure, harmonics, and instrumentation. Fripp's guitar is the one identifiable thread that runs throughout; pick any Crimson album at random, and you'll find at least a couple places where he cuts loose with one of his fast, clean, somewhat dissonant, Frippian solos. Following are notes on the individual periods, along with recommendations for albums. I believe that all the music within any given period is consistent enough stylistically that if you like one album, you would almost certainly like the others from the same period.

Early Period: The lineup of King Crimson has always been highly unstable, and this is especially true in the early period, which featured (in order) Greg Lake, Gordon Haskell, and Boz Burrell on bass; Michael Giles, Andy McCulloch, and Ian Wallace on drums; and Ian McDonald and Mel Collins on sax, with various other players sitting in on various occasions. The early Crimson albums are much more "orchestral sounding" than the others and give the impression of being more deliberately composed and arranged. The heavy use of the Mellotron in some songs probably contributes to this impression. These are the albums on which one would look for the classical influences that often typify progressive rock, and some material has a distinct gothic feel. You can also find some very nice jazzy material at times. And the first track on the first album, "21st Century Schizoid Man," might even be considered the prototypical heavy metal song. For recommendations, I'd start with albums from the other two periods (well, that's where my preference lies). Seriously, though, Court would be the early period album to start with.

Middle Period: I will unabashedly admit that these are not only my favorite Crimson albums, but among my all-time favorites, period. The music is dominated by the thunderously heavy rhythm section of drummer Bill Bruford and bassist John Wetton, overlaid with Fripp's incredibly precise guitar playing. On Larks' Tongues and Starless and Bible Black, violinist David Cross has moments of counteracting the heaviness with a light, delicate touch; at other times, he dives headfirst into the fracas. Percussionist Jamie Muir adds some very nice textures to Lark's Tongues. The music, if one wanted to categorize it, might best be described as sophisticated heavy metal, with perhaps some jazz and psychedelic influences. It's characterized by long, intricate improvisations-not the kind in which one guy solos over a riff played by the others, but a continuous interaction in which everyone is "playing off" what everyone else is doing. This is a fairly risky approach, and I'm given to understand they produced some truly awful stuff onstage this way. But the stuff that found its way onto vinyl (and/or CD) is very interesting, compelling, and unique music. It often creates an ominous, even threatening feeling-low and slow, as if it's biding its time. Other times, the guys just blast it out at you. I think of it as music that could sink a battleship. Back when I was a young, single guy, a couple friends and I liked to get drunk and/or stoned, drive far out into the country with the express purpose of getting lost, and then try to find our way back. Well, middle period King Crimson is the musical equivalent, and you don't run the risk of killing yourself or someone else in a wreck, getting arrested for DUI, or running out of gas and meeting up with those mountain guys from "Deliverance" while hitch-hiking to a gas station that's probably not open anyway. For recommendations, I'd suggest starting with Red and working backwards; Starless next, then Lark's Tongues. Much of the material on the three available albums was actually recorded in concert, although this is not noted on the sleeves. And the boxed set The Great Deceiver provides four CD's worth of live recordings of the band from this period (obviously, a $50+ set of disks isn't a good recommendation for someone who's not familiar with the band, but it is essential for someone who's already deeply into them). Anyway, Red would present the new listener with the least amount of unfamiliar ground. Then, working backwards as suggested, the new listener would gradually find more "new territory."

80's Version: Bill Bruford returned for this lineup, joined by bassist/stick player Tony Levin, guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew, and Fripp. Actually, it wasn't until after they had begun rehearsals and had already put some music together that it became apparent that this group should be a reincarnation of King Crimson; previously, Fripp's thought had been to call this particular band Discipline. The '80s Crimson is much more technically and electronically oriented than previous versions. It's an extremely tight, precise band. The middle period Crimson took you for long drives out into the country to get lost, or they'd smash you over the head with a sledge hammer; these guys created highly polished, perfect gems of music for you to stand there and admire. Belew's wailing, anarchic guitar style forms an intriguing contrast to Fripp's precise, exact-and disciplined-playing. Belew also brought with him a sense of wit and good humor, which the band had previously lacked. For recommendations, I would suggest the new listener check out Beat first. Some suggest taking them in chronological order (in other words, Discipline first, then Beat, and ToaPP), which would mean from the most accessible to the least. But I believe that Beat showed a distinct jump in quality and actually represents the band much better than its predecessor.

90's King Crimson Reviews:

The first album by the 90's incarnation of Crimson was Thrak, which featured the talents of Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew on guitars, Trey Gunn and Tony Levin on stick and Bill Bruford and Pat Mastelotto on drums. As the first new King Crimson album in 10 years, Thrak certainly does not disappoint. It combines the best elements of the 70's and 80's sound, and sets them in the context of the 90's, with the usual disjointed flow of pieces one comes to expect from a King Crimson album, ranging from serene, laid back songs with vocals, to strange and dark instrumentals, to out and out nightmarish pieces (like the title track). Recorded live in the studio, this album is in places more experimental than anything Crimson have attempted before, and IMO certainly sounds as fresh and exciting as previous albums such as Lark's Tongues in Aspic or Discipline. Texturally the sound is more diverse than the 80's sound with the resurrection of the Mellotron (played by Robert Fripp) and the addition of guitar synths, which are used to create surreal shifting soundscapes with haunting atmospheres. As always, in the midst of apparent chaos, the musicianship is top notch, and this is most evident in the middle section of "Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream", where two themes, apparently in different time signatures, somehow manage to co-exist. (In fact Bill Bruford commented that he could give a 2 hour lecture on what's going on in this section - I believe him!)

The ConstruKction of Light (2000) is the long awaited follow up album to Thrak, and features a trimmed down line-up, without Bruford or Levin. Sounding heavier and even less accessible than Thrak, it explores the darker side of its predecessor with mixed success. Whereas Thrak was interspersed with mellower songs, here there is nothing to break up the relentless flow, and listened to as a whole the album comes across as quite stark, even a little overbearing. IMO there are some strong tracks to be found (and to be fair they are mostly long and make up about half the album), but other tracks are just plain irritating, like "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum", which unless you really enjoy self-punishment, I would only recommend listening to if you want to rid yourself of an unwelcome guest.

From what little I have heard of the live album, Thrakkattack, it is mostly improvised, highly avante-garde, and makes for very difficult listening. Recommended only for the most adventurous listener. As an introduction to the 90's period King Crimson I would recommend starting with Thrak, and the E.P. Vroom (very similar to Thrak) first. -- Daniel Briggs

[See Atoll | Asia | Belew, Adrian | Bruford | Cross, David | Emerson, Lake and Palmer | Family | Fields | Fripp, Robert | Giles, Giles and Fripp | Greenslade | Kingdom Come | Levin, Tony | Radius | Wetton, John | Yes]

Click here for the King Crimson web site, also known as Elephant Talk

King's Boards [Japan]

King's Boards (90)

This compilation disc features a single cut from each of five budding young Japanese synthesists, who are backed by various members of White Fang, Seilane, and Social Tension. The backing support is mostly bass and drums (no guitar), and they generally play adequetly but stay well out of the way of the featured artists. Motoi Sakuraba's (Deja Vu) entry is a whirling piano-driven piece full of strong melodies and syncopated runs, similar to Minimum Vital or Kit Watkins. Shigetomo Hashimoto offers a light whispy number with lots of flute-like lead lines and punchy brass hits, but the energy level is so low here, and the rhythm section so basic that the song fails to generate much emotion. Naomi Miura's (Rosalia) track is the gem of the album. She proves herself very capable in a heavily male-dominated genre. Based on a recurring, unusual lopsided groove she sprinkles killer CX-3 organ lines all over the place. Even though the obligatory Emerson references abound, the music is still fresh and full of life, all the while maintaining a very distinct analog feel. The last two cuts, by Manabu Kokado and Kodomo Endoh (Social Tension) respectively, are rather weak in comparison. Manabu's piece is a virtual Tony Banks rip-off and Kodomo's is so basic and amateurish it sounds like Kitaro trying to go prog-rock. All in all, the most surprising thing about Kings' Boards is the virtual lack of all-stops-out soloing. With the exception of the first and third tracks, the keyboards are only used to provide melodies and lead lines but the music constantly begs for more. Fortunately, two of the artists deliver the goods. With some reservations, this album should appeal to keyboard afficianados but it's not as strong as its reputation and certainly not in the same league as some of the other young Japanese artists like Il Berlione or Happy Family.

[See Deja Vu | Rosalia | Sakuraba, Motoi | Social Tension]

Kingdom Come [UK]
Updated 10/18/01

Galactic Zoo Dossier (71)
Kingdom Come (72)
Journey (73)
Kingdom Come evolved from the remains of Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The band became somewhat of an underground success. Their first release, Galactic Zoo Dossier, delivered true progressive rock with a horror concept, with of course Arthur Brown screaming at the top of his lungs. Heavy Hammond organ and very good guitar work from Andy Dalby runs through the whole album. The instrumental song "Creation" ranks up there with the best, showing of Googey Harris great skill on the organ. Kingdom Come appeared on the Glastonbury Fayre after the release of their debut album. Their performance was a highlight, with the members dressed up as monks and clowns.

The second album, entitled Kingdom Come, is totally different from the first one. Much calmer, but still "freaky" and original. This is probably the least good album of the three, though well worth buying.

With a new keyboardist, Journey, the last and IMHO the best Kingdom Come album, brings a new dimension to the word progressive. It is sometimes simple but all so dynamic with tons of Mellotron and synthesizers and astonishing lyrics. Strangley enough it features a drum-machine, BUT....this is NOT a bad sign. After you get to know the album you really don´t want a drummer replacing the machine (it´s true!). The machine just add to the brooding spacesound that is Journey. Favourite tracks are "Space Captives", "Gypsy" and "Come Alive".

The man behind the band, Arthur Brown, is a complete vocalist with a great vocal span, from highpitch screams to deep and low grunt/talk (some have compared his voice with the famous singer Tom Jones). If you like Crazy World of Arthur Brown you´ll probably like these albums. The sound of his voice alone is worth all three albums. -- Tobias Broljung

Not to be confused with the '80's US "Hair Metal" band that sounds like Led Zeppelin.
[See Crazy World of Arthur Brown, The | Fields | Greenslade]

Click here for Arthur Brown's web site

Kingston Wall [Finland]
Updated 8/9/07

Kingston Wall (92, Reissued in 1998* as I)
II (93, Reissued in 1998*)
III - Tri-logy (94, Reissued in 1998*)
Freakout Remixes (00)
Real Live Thing (05, Live, 3CD Box set)
*1998 Reissues featured a bonus CD for the first 1000 copies
Kingston Wall

The following information is condensed from the band's Wikipedia entry (click on link below for full article):

Kingston Wall was a psychedelic/progressive rock group from Helsinki, Finland, formed in 1987. They were incluenced by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, combining eastern themes, mysticism and psychedelia to create their own sound. Group members were Petri Walli (guitars, lead vocals), Jukka Jylli (bass, backing vocals) and Sami Kuoppamäki (drums, percussion).

The band broke up at the end of 1994. On June 28, 1995, leader Petri Walli jumped to his death from the tower of Töölö church in central Helsinki. Jukka Jylli and Sami Kuoppamäki currently play in the Finnish rock band Zook.

Click here for KIngston Wall's web site
Click here for Kingston Wall's Wikipedia entry
Click here for Aural Innovations' interview with Jukka Jylli

Kinzoku Ebisu [Japan]
Sometimes spelled without a space, i.e. Kinzokuebisu
Updated 10/23/06

Hakootoko (03)
Momijigari (04)
Kinzoku Ebisu at Baja Prog 2006 - Kenta Asanuma (drums), Makiko Kusunoki (keyboards, voice), Takehiro Kojima (fretted and fretless bass, bass pedals) and Daichi Takagi (electric guitars)

Hakaotoko is the debut album by the Japanese band Kinzokuebisu. Although the arsenal of keyboards used on the album is large and consists predominantly of such "classic" instruments as Mellotron, Wurlitzer, Mini-Moog, and Hammond, the music here is neither the so-called keyboard Prog nor a vintage Art-Rock in the spirit of the seventies. I would define the basic style that the band plays in as something average between Classic and Modern Symphonic Progressive, though the level of complexity and attractiveness of music on each track, starting with the seventh, is much higher than that of the first three songs: "Hakai", "Hakoniwa" and "Karabako I" (2, 3, & 5). In pure form, a fusion of Classic and Modern Symphonic Art-Rock is presented on precisely half of the tracks here (3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, & 14), one of which, "Karabako II" (7), doesn't feature vocals. The music is notable for the frequent alternation of intensive and mild arrangements, most of which, though, are distinctly dramatic in character, as well as the parts of vocals done by the band's main man Daichi Takagi. Makiko Kusunoki has a warm, almost angelic voice, but [his] vocals appear on the album only episodically, and the only song [he] performed alone is "Douke-no I" (9). The music on "Introduction", "Hakai", "Yami-ni", "Bannen", "Douke-no II" and "Misshiri" (1, 2, 4, 8, 10, & 12), two of which (1 & 4) are also instrumental pieces, represents a blend of Symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal with a very original approach to mixing light and heavy musical textures. By the way, all four of the short tracks here (1, 4, 10, & 13) are truly excellent compositions despite their brevity. As for the best tracks on the album, these are "Karabako: parts II & III", "Bannen", "Douke-no I" and "Misshiri" (7, 11, 8, 9, & 12 respectively).

Finally, about the piece that deprived the album of the whole rating star. "Kyouki" (6) is completely out of the overall musical picture of the album, and not only. There is nothing but synthesizer effects and some spontaneously abstract solos of piano and bass, so the fact of the inclusion of it in the album (in the middle of the album!) evokes nothing but great perplexity.

On its website, Poseidon Records presents Kinzokuebisu as an outfit performing a theatrical Symphonic Progressive in the style of Genesis, which doesn't correspond to reality almost at all. The band plays an original music, which might satisfy all kinds of the lovers of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock without exception. -- Vitaly Menshikov

Regarding Momijigari:
Three song EP from this up and coming Japanese prog group. First cut starts out with rather standard symphonic prog with nice female vocals in Japanese then segues half way through to mid-period King Crimson circa Red/Discipline. Not terribly original but very tasty and well done. The next two cuts sound like a completely different band. Kind of old school hard rock/metal with a prog edge. The last cut includes some hilarious Japanese "metal" vocals (at least I thought it was hilarious). These guys will be playing Baja Prog in 06. I enjoyed this CD and look forward to a full length effort. -- Clint Collins
The band's former URL seems to now be for sale. But try these links:
Click here for a bit of info on the English version of the Poseidon web site
Click here for the Baja Prog web site where you can find photos of their 2006 performance

Kirchin, Basil [Switzerland]
Updated 3/21/06

World Within Worlds (71)
World Within Worlds, Part 2 (73)
Quantum (03)
Charcoal Sketches / States Of Mind (?)
Abstractions of the Industrial North (?)
Basil Kirchin and his father Ivor, in the big band days

Industrial before Industrial was cool. Brian Eno writes part of the liner notes [on Worlds Within Worlds - Part 2]. Pretty scary stuff, odd instrumentation, natural sounds and time dilations.

The following is condensed from Kirchin's bio on his label Trunk Records web site:

Basil Kirchin was born around 1927. He first started playing the drums in December 1941 at the Paramount, Tottenham Court Road, where his fathers Big Band held residency. A gruelling schedule of wartime drumming had begun. Consumed with music, by 1946 he joined a new band (one of the first British Big Bands) - Harry Roy and his 1946 Orchestra. By the early 50s, The Kirchin Band had arrived - led and directed by Basil and his father Ivor. At the time, The Kirchin Band was the only band to play live with it's own PA system. Not only did this ensure a stable sound quality but also meant Basil could record all their performances. The band developed a wild, spontaneous sound never heard before, and Basil had it all on tape. However, while Basil was on a trip, his precious tapes were with him on board ship as it docked at Sidney Harbour. Tragically, as the tapes were being hauled off the ship onto the dockside, the cargo net broke and the tapes fell into the water. Everything was ruined. A life's work gone for good.

By 1961 Basil was back in England, and had begun writing music for "imaginary films" with the help of Keith Herd, a local friend and electronics expert. He'd also begun work on his Worlds Within Worlds concepts - a whole new language and sound in music he had discovered. But it was only in 1967 when the Swiss manufacturers Nagra perfected a recording machine advanced enough for Basil that he could actually even consider beginning work. With the financial assistance of the Arts Council, Basil managed to get himself a Nagra and by 1971 the first Worlds ... recording was released, and in theory a new musical language was born. Basil had discovered a new sound within sound, that no one had heard before. Needless to say, the LP sunk without a trace. Two years later, the next part of his Worlds ... opus was released, this time on Island Records. In Basil's opinion, both releases are botched attempts at his true ideal - ruined, muddied and diluted by too much record company interference. Basil moved to Switzerland and continued work on his new musical language, paid for by his occasional film and TV work. Since then Basil had been working and composing most of the time, but with no musical releases.

In 2003, Kirchin began releasing his unreleased material on Trunk Records. The first of these was Quantum, said to be "the recording Basil always wanted - his greatest experiment in sound". Trunk Records has also released limited quantities of earlier recordings, Charcoal Sketches / States Of Mind and Abstractions of the Industrial North.

Kirchin passed away shortly after the release of Quantum after a long battle with cancer. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for the complete Basil Kirchin bio on the Trunk Records web site

Kirikyogen [Japan]

Kirikyogen (??)

Kirlian Aura [USA]
Updated 6/8/07

Kirlian Aura (07)
Keith Petty is Kirlian Aura

Kirlian Aura is the debut independently-released CD from Kirlian Aura, otherwise known as Keith Petty. This album has been in the works for a long time (about 20 years according to Keith), and after the usual issues with obtaining a label, Keith has decided to self-release it.

Though I haven't heard the entire album, there's a 17:15 MP3 cut named "Spectre of the Sargasso" available on the Kirlian Aura web site which I have heard. It's very mellow instrumental prog, some might even call it new-agey. It could be compared to early Camel for its mellow prog sound (but not Rush or Blue Oyster Cult which Keith claims as influences). Or if I wanted to sound more negative, I could say that as Kenny G. is to jazz, so is Kirlian Aura to prog. But it's not bad for all that.

Drums are tastefully-programmed drum machines, and the instruments are mostly synthesizers with a smattering of guitar (or maybe that's a sampler, I'm not sure). Nothing here is harsh, startling or challenging in any way, but the recording quality is excellent and the music is smooth and professional sounding. Definitely not for all GEPR readers, but if you want some mellow background music that has a fair amount of progressive content, you could do far worse. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Kirlian Aura's web site

Kistenmacher, Bernd [Germany]
Updated 1/31/11

Berlin Live 85 (85, Live)
Head Visions (86)
Romantic Times (86)
Wake Up in the Sun (87)
Musique Intermporel (88)
Kaleidoscope (88)
Dresden 08/89 (89)
Outlines (89)
Characters (91, w/ Harald Grosskopf)
Stadtgarten Live (91, w/ Harald Grosskopf)
Live and Studio Tapes (92)
Starting Again (95)
Thoughts (96)
Compiled Dreams (97)
Contrasts Vol I (98)
Contrasts Vol II (99)
My Little Universe (99, 8CD Box Set)
Un Viaggio Attraverso L'Italia (01)
Celestial Movements (09)
Beyond The Deep (10)
Let It Out! (11, Download only as of 1/31/11)
Bernd Kistenmacher

Bernd Kistenmacher is one of the new generation of German electronic musicians who has produced three works that should well qualify him to take on the mantle of the Klaus Schulze of the nineties. Outlines is his most recent, and features four lengthy compositions blending analog and digital synthesizers to realize a set of spacy, melodic works that probably compare well with Schulze classics such as Audentity. The mood varies from spacy synth textures to aggressive passages with strong rhythm, to make for varied listening. In short, if you enjoy the works of Klaus Schulze, you could do worse than add this disc to your collection.

The author of this entry (I don't know who that was) misspelled Kistenmacher's name as Kirsmacher, and it's probably been like that for at least ten years now. Humblest apologies from the Gibraltar Encyclopedia. By way of apology, I've updated this entry with an up-to-date discography, photo and links, and also the Kistenmacher and Grosskopf entry. -- Fred Trafton
[See Grosskopf, Harald | Kistenmacher and Grosskopf]

Click here for Bernd Kistenmacher's blog
Click here for Bernd Kistenmacher's MySpace page
Click here to order Bernd Kistenmacher albums from MellowJet Records

Kistenmacher, Bernd and Grosskopf, Harald [Germany]
Updated 2/26/05

Characters (91)
Stadtgarten Live (91)
Bernd Kistenmacher has, in the past few years, established himself as one of the icons of the German electronic scene, with his rhythmic, Klaus Schulze-influenced works. Harald Grosskopf has been the percussive force behind Wallenstein and Ashra, and has gradually shifted to more "electronic" projects. As expected, this collaboration showcases both their skills to very good effect, resulting in a very compelling work of rhythm and melody-oriented electronic music. The closest comparison would be, not surprisingly, to Ashra (Manuel Göttsching) and Klaus Schulze.
[See Ashra | Grosskopf, Harald | Kistenmacher, Bernd | Wallenstein]

Kitajima, Osamu [Japan]

Benzaiten (76), Osamu (77), Masterless Samurai (81), Dragon King (81), Face To Face (83), The Source (86), FM Shrine (87), Passages (87), California Roll (88), Sweet Chaos (90), Behind The Light (92)

His records span from very exotic fusions of hard rock and traditional Japanese music all played on traditional instruments ("Benzaiten") to a more Jazz-tinged sound (Osamu, Masterless Samurai), to Japanese tinged-soul (Dragon King, Face to Face). His more recent material is overtly new-agey (The Source, FM Shrine, California Roll). His most progressive albums are the first three, Masterless Samurai and earlier. His later stuff is all hit or miss. The stinkers are Dragon King (somewhat) and Face To Face (Gack!) Benzaiten, if you can find it, is probably the most intense and beautiful fusion of Japanese traditional and progressive rock you'll ever find. Stunning.

Kitaro [Japan/USA]
Updated 10/24/06

Ten-Kai (78, a.k.a. Astral Voyage, Astral Trip)
From the Full Moon Story (79, a.k.a. Dai Chi)
Oasis (79)
Silk Road I (80)
Silk Road II (80)
In Person Digital (80)
Silk Road Suite (80)
Tonko (81, a.k.a. Tun Huang)
The World of Kitaro (81)
Ki (81)
Best of Kitaro (81)
Queen Millennia (82)
Live in Budokan (82)
Portopia '81 (83, a.k.a. Portpier Matsushita Kan)
Ten-Jiku (83, a.k.a. India, Silk Road IV)
Asia Tour Super Live (84, a.k.a. Asia, Live in Asia)
Hi Un (85, a.k.a. Flying Cloud, Silver Cloud)
Sei Ho (86, a.k.a. The West, Towards the West)
Tenku (86)
Light Of The Spirit (87)
Ten Years (88)
Kojiki (90)
Selections from Kojiki (90)
Live In America (91)
Shanghai 1920 (91, a.k.a. Once upon a time in Shanghai)
Dream (92)
Lady of Dreams (92)
Heaven and Earth (93)
Mandala (94)
Tokusen II (94)
An Enchanted Evening (95)
Peace on Earth (96)
Cirque Ingenieux (97)
The Soong Sisters (97)
Gaia . Onbashira (98)
Healing Forest (98)
Noah's Ark (99)
Thinking of you (99)
Shikoku Eighty-Eight Temples (99)
Best of Kitaro Volume 2 (99)
Ancient (00)
An Ancient Journey (01)
Asia Cafe (02)
Mizu ni Inori te (02)
Live in Yakushiji (02)
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai (03)
Best of Silk Road (03)
Ninja Scroll (03)
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 2 (05)
Spiritual Garden (05)

Kitaro was born in 1953 as Masanori Takahashi in Toyohashi, Japan. Kitaro is a nickname, from a character in the Japanese TV cartoon Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro. In the '70's, he joined the Far East Family Band and toured with them. Then he met German synthesist Klaus Schulze, who produced two albums for the band and became Kitaro's mentor in creating synthesizer music. Kitaro left the Far East Family Band in 1976 and soon embarked upon a solo career. His albums became prototypes for what would later be called "New Age" music, and he remains a favorite in the genre to this day. His style has become a reference when talking about others who have been inspired by it ... you'll see variants of "sounds like Kitaro" throughout the GEPR.

Kitaro has collaborated with others, including Micky Hart of The Grateful Dead and Jon Anderson of Yes. He ended up spending so much time in the USA that he separated from his wife, who still lived in Japan. Kitaro lived in Colorado for many years and remarried Keiko Matsubara, a musician who had played on several of his albums. They have recently moved to northern California. -- Fred Trafton

[See Anderson, Jon | Far East Family Band]

Click here for Kitaro's web site

Kittyhawk [USA]

Kittyhawk (80), Race For The Oasis (81), Fanfare (84)

US fusion oriented group featuring two chapman stick players in the lineup. Music is mostly instrumental, tasty and very tight. Highly recommended.

Kittyhawk is an early 80's West Coast fusion-jazz band, reminiscent of Jean-Luc Ponty and Chick Corea. One of the first bands to make extensive use of the Chapman Stick, a 10 string touch sensitive guitar/bass, Kittyhawk forged a sound that is both accessible and unique. Their first release, Kittyhawk, is probably their strongest effort. The two following releases, Race For the Oasis and Fanfare are more commercial and less interesting. -- Wade Boring

Klaatu [Canada]
Updated 5/4/02

Klaatu (76, aka 3:57 EST)
Hope (77)
Sir Army Suit (78)
Endangered Species (80)
Magentalane (81)
Klaasic Klaatu (??, Compilation)
Peaks (??, Compilation)
Klaatu were a Canadian 4 piece who had a sound reminiscent of the mid-period Beatles; In fact it was the big rumor after their first album release in 1976 that this was actually the Beatles reunited and recording under a different name. The fact that the first album contained no credits or photos, and that the band had no public performances went far to fuel this theory. (As far as I can tell, they were strictly a studio band). With the release of the second album Hope the band continued to evolve, becoming a more progressive unit with lush orchestrations and outstanding compositions. Their material tended to have a strong element of humor, not unlike early 10cc, but with longer tracks and elaborate arrangements. This would be their masterpiece, its sidelong suite "The Loneliest Of Creatures/ So Said The Lighthouse Keeper" is a monumental classic. Again, no credits, no photos, and no performances, and the "Beatles under a different name" rumor went the way of all the other Beatles rumors, thus a lot of people lost interest in the band, and the album was for the most part overlooked. With the third album Sir Army Suit assumed a more streamlined pop-song oriented format, the promise of Hope was not to be fulfilled: it showed the band sporting both a harder edge and a more pop persona, but no progressive tendencies. This trend of decay continued into the final two albums, when they became a three piece, eventually stooping to dance tracks. The song "Sell Out" from Endangered Species says it all.
Their first two albums are worthwhile for prog fans. Klaatu is kind of a strange mixture of early Beatle/Beach Boys pop which is mostly take-it or-leave-it for me (except the last song, "Little Neutrino" which is a rather long and spacey tune). It's "progressive" in the same sense as the Beach Boys Pet Sounds, which is to say short poppy songs which feature somewhat odd instrumentation, but usually over a 4/4 beat. Hope is great fantasy prog stuff, my fave track being "Politzania." Lots of different instruments are used in addition to odd voices, sound effects, and stereo panning which make a very enjoyable headphone experience. Very symphonic, especially the long, "Loneliest of Creatures" suite. I predict most prog fans would like this album much better than their first. -- Dennis Montgomery
Klaatu were followers of The Beatles, but in much more progressive way. I have only two their albums: Klaatu and Hope. The self titled album is an absolute masterpiece with such great Beatlesque songs like "Anus Of Uranus" and "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" (later covered by ... are you ready? ... The Carpenters). Hope is a little bit weaker, but it certainly deserves your attention-more Beatles and more glam. Finally,I want to say that Klaatu actually never was a prog band - they were just a small pop band with clever arrangement. But what a pop band it was! -- Oleg Sobolev
OK, it's time for me to put in my nickel's worth here, because I'm tired of all this dissin' of Klaatu's first two albums. "Not progressive"? "Not a prog band"? How can these people say that? There are 50 entries in the GEPR I can think of right off the top of my head for bands that are much less progressive than Klaatu's first two albums. It's true, the band really did begin to decompose with Sir Army Suit, though even that album has a couple of songs worth note. The following albums, I can only use one word to describe: SUCK. But the first two are essential in any prog collection. There's a pretty nice release of both Klaatu and Hope on a single CD, and I've heard rumors that it's being remixed for an even cleaner version, with a few minutes of extra material from the original tapes being thrown in for fun.

Klaatu was, as has been correctly mentioned in a previous entry, rumored to be a Beatles reunuion album, or at least some of the Beatles reunited under a new name. (Klaatu is, by the way, one of the words spoken to the robot in the '50's sci-fi movie "The Day The Earth Stood Still" which prevented him from destroying the Earth. As I recall, the entire phrase was "Klaatu Nicto Barada". How's that for useless trivia?) Some of the songs are quite Beatles-like, but the stress on science fiction themes rather than hippy philosophy would have made this album quite a departure for the Beatles. The song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" in particular uses a very McCartneyesque vocal style. Yes, the Carpenters really did do a cover of this one, and it was actually pretty well done. Other sci-fi themed songs were "The Anus From Uranus", "Little Neutrino" and "Around the Universe in 80 Days". There's also the story of Sir Rugglesby, "the only man who ever went to hell and came back alive", a sort of ghost story. OK, the songs are all in 4/4 and have really hummable melodies. But I must say that in spite of being a Beatles fan myself, this stuff was far more interesting and progressive than any of the Beatles music (well, maybe except for "Number 9"). The studio technique, composition and orchestration is just superb, and makes for a thrilling listening experience even now, more than 25 years later. As a matter of fact, if this album was being released today, I would accuse them of being Flower Kings followers instead of the Beatles.

But as good as Klaatu is, it can't hold a candle to the next album, Hope. Gone are the short catchy tunes, this album contains lengthy compositions of great harmonic complexity and heavy orchestration (in fact, the side-long title track "Hope" sounds like it uses a real orchestra, which in 1977 probably means it was a real orchestra). Keeping with the sci-fi bent of the first album, "Hope" is sort of a rock opera sung by a laser lighthouse keeper, the "loneliest creature in the universe" because he's the last left of his race after an interplanetary war. I tend to think of "Politzania" on side 1 as being a prelude to "Hope", since it tells essentially the same story told from a different perspective. Yes, it's still all in 4/4! Big deal! Like it's a crime to write in 4/4 for cryin' out loud. You know, Beethoven even wrote in 4/4 and you wouldn't call him "not prog" would you? Well, er ... maybe you would. I personally think he's one of the best prog composers ever to exist. But I digress ...

Sadly, at this point I must bring myself into complete agreement with the previous reviewers. Sir Army Suit is an attempt to get back to what they thought would sell albums: short, poppy songs that sound like the Beatles. Unfortunately, this album sounds like the Beatles at their most uninspired. The one exception is the title track "Sir Army Suit" which captures some of the feel of the first album again, but mostly this album is a loser.

The only other album I have is Magentalane. Despite a very Beatlesesque cover, this album contains nothing of any interest at all. Boring, dancable, poppy crappola. Save your money, this isn't even worth taking up the space on your CD rack.

Bottom line: Klaatu and Hope are both highly recommended, especially if you like the more tuneful side of prog, like The Flower Kings or even Transatlantic. Steer clear of all their later stuff. -- Fred Trafton

Klan [Poland]

Mrowisko (70)

Continuous, flowing concept work with organ and some violin.

Klockwerk Orange [Austria]

Abakadabra (75)

Koenji Hyakkei [Japan]
a.k.a. Hundred Sights Of Koenji
Updated 9/5/07

Hundred Sights Of Koenji (94)
Viva Koenji! (97, a.k.a. II)
Nivraym (01)
Live at Star Pines Cafe (02, DVD)
Angherr Shisspa (05)
Live at Doors (06, DVD)
Koenji Hyakkei - I believe this is the most recent Angherr Shisspa line-up: Kyoko Yamamoto (vocals), Miyako Kanazawa (keyboards, voice), Tatsuya Yoshida (drums, vocals), Keiko Komori (reeds, voice) and Kengo Sakamoto (bass, voice).

It's tough to find good Japanese prog bands in the USA. Usually, I hear only what I get from Musea Records when they do a co-release with the Poseidon label, but these are rare and are usually only the "big" bands (i.e. Gerard, Ars Nova, etc.) Add to that the fact that Japanese bands web sites have limited or no English on them, and it's hard to find out about these bands, much less obtain any of their albums, even by mail-order. So when Chad Hutchinson announced that a Japanese band named Koenji Hyakkei would be playing at the 2008 version of NEARFest, I must admit I had never heard of them. So, I used the wonderful Internet to do some research. I found that they do have two albums released in the USA on the Skingraft Records label, and there's two (long!) songs available on their site to audition. Wow, I'm glad I did ... and this band alone means I'll need to attend next year's NEARFest.

Koenji Hyakkei is one of drummer Tatsuya Yoshida's many bands, who is usually most recognized as being the leader of Ruins. But Koenji Hyakkei doesn't really sound much like Ruins ... OK by me, since Ruins is a bit too frenetic and melody-less for my taste. Well, for an entire album at least. But Koenji Hyakkei isn't like that. They can be best summed up as "The Japanese Magma". They even sing in some language that is neither English nor Japanese ... it might be a dialect of Kobaian, but if so, I've not read about any Magma fans offering up a translation. And Tatsuya Yoshida is tight-lipped on the subject, perhaps preferring the band to have an air of mystique.

What is known of the band is that the original line-up included vocalist/keyboardist Aki Kubota (formerly of Bondage Fruit). However, she left after the second album, to be replaced (on keyboards) by Kenso's Kenichi Oguchi for Nivraym. By the fourth and most recent album, Angherr Shisspa, he is also gone, and Le Silo's keyboard goddess Miyako Kanazawa steps in. Former members of Ruins also have played with Koenji Hyakkei at various times, including Ryuichi Masuda and Shigekazu Kuwahara. But the only constant over all four albums has been Yoshida, and there's no debating that this is his band (though bassist Kengo Sakamoto has been with the band for the last three albums).

I've so far heard only the two samples on the Skingraft Records label site, which are "Grembo Zavia" from Viva Koenji and "Rattims Friezz" from Angherr Shisspa. "Grembo Zavia" is a 10:14 tour de force of very Magma-like mayhem, but it's Magma amped up on PCP to the point of superhuman strength. I'm a major Magma fan, so this is plenty OK by me. "Rattims Friezz" is a bit more layed-back ... at only 7:01 in length, it's only a bit shorter, but in addition to the Magma influence, I also hear quite a bit of Zappa-like jazz in this song. There's a version of this posted on Area or Samla Mammas Manna, though what I mostly hear is Magma ... and, in case you were wondering, that quote about being "The Japanese Magma" is from Yoshida himself, so there's not much doubt about the influence.

I've also seen a couple of YouTube videos of the band, and these are every bit as interesting as the Skingraft samples, so I can't wait to see them at the next NEARFest ... at which I intend to obtain all their albums. I do hope they'll bring enough for everyone, because they're going to sell well. A great and insufficiently known band. Highly recommended! -- Fred Trafton

[See Bondage Fruit | Kenso | Le Silo | Ruins]

Click here for Koenji Hyakkei's web page, and to order Viva Koenji! or Angherr Shisspa from Skin Graft Records
Click here to order Live at Doors or here to order Live at Star Pines Cafe DVD's from Squidco

Kolab [USA]
Updated before 2000, Original GEPR

A Dark Hour For History (90, Cassette)
A Dark Hour for History is the new cassette by Kolab, a collaboration between Pete Gulch (Nightcrawlers) and the Canadian synthesist Steve Brenner. This mixture of talents is magical and should appeal to any fan of teutonic space music. A Dark Hour for History is two 14 minute cosmic journeys into the nether reaches of your mind, "Time Traveler" and "A Dark Hour for History." Sequenced electronics, piano, and found sounds make for a highly enjoyable half hour of music. I wish there were more music on this tape! A Dark Hour for History is easily the best release I've heard on the Synkronos label. Check it out for yourself.
[See Goricon | Nightcrawlers | Xisle]

Kolinda [Hungary]
Updated 9/30/06

Kolinda (76)
Kolinda 2 (77)
1514 (79)
Makám & Kolinda (82, as Makám & Kolinda)
Szélcsend után (84, as Makám & Kolinda)
Úton (84, as Makám & Kolinda)
Kolinda 6 (88)
Transit (91)
Ösz (96)
Ráolvasás / Incantation (97)
Elfelejtett Istenek (00)

Kick-butt underrated Hungarian band. They probably don't like to call themselves progressive but they're just as progressive as most other 70's output. They're also very innovative. Masterminded by their founder Peter Dabasi, Kolinda invites you to partake in their sometimes insane, sometimes beautiful, sometimes hypnotic world of Hungarian folk and gypsy prog which includes a plethoria of exotic instruments, bombastic (at times) female/male vocal harmonizing, sometimes beautiful vocal harmonizing, etc. I cannot say enough good things about Kolinda. Everyone talks about Solaris and/or After Crying being the two primary bands from Hungary. Truthfully, Kolinda is every bit as good if not better.

They've been around since 1975 and have released a bunch of albums. Their 2nd and 3rd albums (1514) are probably their best but (unfortunately) hopelessly out-of-print. Their 2nd was on CD with the French Hexagone label and their 3rd (1514) was never released on CD but God knows they're better than tons of albums out there on CD.

They are still alive and recording even today and their latest Elfelejtett Istenek ("Forgotton Gods") is excellent and very 1970's sounding. -- Betta

[See AT Ensemble]

Click here for Kolinda's web site
Click here for some additional info

Kollár, Attila [Hungary]
Updated 11/23/01

Musical Witchcraft (98)
Attila Kollár is the flute player in the seminal Hungarian progressive rock band Solaris. His first solo album Musical Witchcraft (Periferic Records BGCD 016) bears strong resemblance to Solaris' music, and actually most of the band's late-nineties line-up appear on it. The music is largely constructed around Kollár's simple enough but beautiful flute melodies, which draw from Hungarian folk music but also strongly from baroque and renaissance themes. While the melodies are not really developed to any large degree, their splendour and the strength of the arrangements surrounding them provide more than enough interest and variation to make for an enjoyable 45-minute musical work without any unnecessary padding or stretching (most songs stay below the 5-minute mark). The supporting instrumentation can range from simple acoustic guitar and tambourine to full-blown band backing. In keeping with Solaris' style, there are also a more rocking songs with chunky guitar riffs and shredding solos, and this is where Kollár can add some Ian Anderson-styled flutter and wheeze to his playing. The main difference to Solaris is the lesser attention given to keyboards which are now reduced to accompainement. Without analog synth solos and with the occasional use of programmed rhythms, the album sound is pushed slightly more towards "modern" than with Solaris who always seem to strike a delicate balance between the retro and contemporary aspects of their sound. Three songs rise above the rest: "Boleriade" carries the album's most memorable, lambent melody over martial drumming; "Silent Man's Prayer" is a full-blown symphonic rock track with various tempo and rhythm shifts and solos; and "Ba'rock'" a spirited adaptation of a few J.S. Bach themes, with guitar, keyboards and flute racing through scales in amusing unison. In many ways this is comparable to Solaris' 1999 release Nostradamus - Book of Prophecies, though exhibiting a narrower and perhaps brighter palette, and should be enjoyable to all those who like that album. -- Kai Karmanheimo
[See Solaris]

Kollar, Paul [USA]
Updated 9/25/01

Subtle Matter (99, recorded in 1980)
Paul Kollar in concert, circa 1980

Paul Kollar was the bassist and occasional keyboard player and guitarist for several progressive bands. From 1970-79, he played in several local bands in Cleveland, Ohio. These were Sailor's Tale, Vasil Zook ("sorta like Crimson meets Gong meets Zappa"), and Fallen Alien. None of these bands put out any recordings (though Paul still has some tapes which may someday "see the light of day", as he puts it).

In the late '70's, Paul saw Robert Fripp during his infamous "anti-tour" where he went to small venues demonstrating his "Frippertronics" setup, which uses two reel-to-reel tape machines to produce a long delay. The performer uses the delayed signal along with what he's currently playing to create huge, dreamy sound textures. Paul began to experiment with this technique himself. In 1980, Paul was a co-founder of St. Elmo's Fire, and did a "warm-up act" for the band by doing improvisational performances using his Frippertronics setup. Subtle Matter is a collection of these live performances.

This is a very good recording, and if you like Fripp's classic Frippertronics albums (Evening Star, Let the Power Fall etc.), then this CD should appeal to you. In many ways, it's more interesting than Fripp's works because it doesn't rely solely on guitar for its source sounds. Paul also uses keyboards and bass to build up the sonic textures here. As on Fripp's recordings, these range from soft and dreamy to brittle and abrasive, constantly and slowly mutating during the course of each slowly-developing piece. Good stuff.

Paul later played in another progressive band named Brain Forest, and is currently working on a new St. Elmo's Fire CD, being built up by the individual musicians in different cities sending ADAT tapes around. Paul distributes all of his music via his independent label, Sprawling Productions.

[See Brain Forest | St. Elmo's Fire]

Click here for Sprawling Productions web site

Kollektiv [Germany]
Updated 10/24/01

Kollektiv (73)
This one sounds a little like Organisation or the first Kraftwerk album, though more livelier and jazzier, with some great rhythms and a lot of amazing guitar, flute and sax solos, and some nice electronic effects. The three tracks on the second side form one long suite that starts off slow and builds in intensity to the last track, "Pressluft", with it’s frenzied guitar riff. It’s one of those albums which is way too original to be categorized as fusion. -- Rolf Semprebon
A Hamburg, Germany band who recorded this one-off in 1973. Much more of an improvisational jam-oriented psychedelic than a progressive band; they definitely have their own personality, but for convenience's sake I'll lump them into the AshRa Tempel / Amon Düül II type school, though they aren't really that similar to either of those bands. There's a flute player who sounds at times like Ian Anderson when he plays quick staccato-like notes, and like Didier Malherbe or Paul Horn when he wants to be weird and/or spacey (which is much more often). He's not shy at all about playing through delay and reverb effects, and it works really well.

The first tune, "Rambo Zambo" (11:49) starts off with a spacy flute intro that segues into a relatively straightforward psych jam that gets weirder and weirder as it goes on. There's some terrific flute & guitar (very effects-processed) and those unidentifiable reverbed sound effects that so many German bands of this era were so good at. Not bad at all.

The next tune, "Baldrian" (7:05) starts with more effects-laden sax, guitar ostinato & effects before converging into a slow bluesy jam heavy with higher-register sax soloing and spacy slide guitar. Decent, but nothing terribly original.

The third tune, "Forsterlied" (1:49) is a bizarre little freakout interspersed with disembodied/distorted-sounding voices making proclamations in German. Amusing.

The last piece is the 20-minute "Gageg", and it's sort of a mixed bag. It starts off very promisingly in the manner of Ummagumma-era Floyd - in fact, think of Didier Malherbe playing the spaciest flute he can over "Careful With That Axe" and you'll have a good idea. Out of this a rather catchy riff develops between the guitarist & flute player, which is explored for a couple minutes before abruptly going into a pretty annoying bridge reminiscent of Blood, Sweat & Tears (without horns) before reprising the opening bass part again, but this time with a very Wes Montgomery-like guitar solo. The guitar gives way to more spacy flute soloing, then that annoying BS&T bridge again, then into a livelier but still not terribly remarkable jam in 9/4, with the guitar playing a repeating riff over which a tremolo-laden sax wails. At least, I think that's a sax! This shifts gears in a bit into an equally ordinary psych jam with the jazziness removed, first with a pretty dull guitar solo and then into a very vaguely Canterbury-like wahwah sax solo which worked a little better. From here the opening bass line and catchy guitar riff get reprised yet again, much jammier this time, finishing up with another crappy BS&T-like ending.

In conclusion, I really wouldn't call this one essential or even close to it, but if you like this genre I don't think you'd throw it out. Symph-heads, well, that's another story. It has its ups and downs, but the ups make it good enough for me. -- Alex Davis

Kombo [USSR]

Emancipee (90)

Instrumental fusion.

Komintern [France]

Le Bal du Rat Mort (71)

[See Alpha Du Centaure | Atoll]

Kong [Netherlands]

Mute Poet Vocalizer (90), Phlegm (92)

A very hard-edged industrial rock band from the Netherlands, sort of like Djam Karet with no heart and soul. Gayle Ellett of Djam Karet recommended this band to me. Very hard and abrasive.

Kopecky [USA]
Updated 11/11/09

Kopecky (99)
Serpentine Kaleidoscope (00) Progressive World review
Orion - A Live Performance (01, Live)
Sunset Gun (03)
Blood (06)
Kopecky - Paul (drums), William (bass/sitar/keys) and Joe (guitar/voice) Kopecky

Original Entry, added about 2000: Sorry to jump right to the ending first, but I just gotta say it right up front ... these guys are spectacular! Unless you're a "Progressive Purist" who feels that Metal-styled guitar playing automatically makes a band "not Prog", you should go to the Kopecky web site and order at least one of their CD's immediately. You'll want the rest of them once you've heard it!

So now that you already know the ending, here's the story to go with it. The Kopeckys are three brothers from Wisconsin who joined forces in 1996 after becoming disenchanted with the other musicians they had been working with. Music must run in their genes, because each of them is a virtuoso in his chosen instrument. Most bands with this much power and drive in a 3-piece guitar/bass/drums format I would normally pidgeonhole as "Metal" or "ProgMetal" and be done with it. But this would be inaccurate and misleading in Kopecky's case. Their music is very complex and changes a lot in texture, even within songs. This is what keeps them interesting as a (almost) purely instrumental band.

Joe's guitar work is complex, intricate and has a sound that can only be described as bone-crushing, reminiscent of John Petrucci's (Dream Theater) metal-styled guitar. But he can also lay back and get mellow for some cuts, or just for a few measures. The metal styling, however, is one of the touchstones of Kopecky's sound that they keep coming back to.

William's fretless bass work is, in a word, amazing. In the quieter passages, he reminds me of Eberhard Weber, bassist for Kate Bush. When the going gets meatier, a better comparison would be Jeff Berlin. But William can also make that bass do things I've never heard anywhere before, like the rubbery percolations in "Magic Room" on Serpentine Kaleidoscope. "Sky-Blue Hair" from Kopecky is mostly a bass song too, but you'll have to keep reminding yourself you're listening to a bass, it's so much more melodic than most "bass songs" ever are. Oh, yeah ... just for variety, he also plays Sitar which figures prominently into several cuts, and also keyboards.

I hate to keep mentioning Dream Theater, but Paul's drumming accuracy and texture I can only compare to Mike Portnoy's, especially on DT's Awake CD. The drumming is precise and crisp and it meshes and interplays very carefully with the notes coming from the other instruments. The whole band is about interplay between musicians ... no flashy solos here, Kopecky gives new meaning to the word ensemble. On many independent Prog releases, the recording quality ranges from amateurish to awful. Happily, this is not true of the Kopecky studio CDs. Both of the studio albums are impeccably recorded and mixed. They have great presence, and are so clean and crisp that you can pick out every note and drum hit with no muddiness or stepping on each other. These guys are real pros. -- Fred Trafton

Addendum, added about 2001:
Other reviewers have dwelt upon the differences between their first album, Kopecky, and the second, Serpentine Kaleidoscope. While it is true that the second album is a bit more mature than the first, both are amazing pieces of work. This becomes even clearer on their third release, Orion, a live album recorded in a concert at Orion Studios in Baltimore, Maryland on April Fool's Day of 2000. This album contains (almost) equal second helpings of songs from both studio albums, and also a "sneak preview" of a new song ("Temptation's Screaming-Ground") from their upcoming third studio album. It's a testament to the uniform quality of their music that this hangs together as an album quite well in spite of using material spread across three albums. The sound quality is so good that it rivals their studio albums. It's incredible to hear what three guys can do onstage without studio tricks like overdubs. This is such a high quality release, and such a good overview of Kopecky's music, I would recommend this as a good starting point if you want to hear Kopecky's music. Middle-Eastern-flavored psychedelic Prog-Metal? Something like that. You owe it to yourself to hear this band for yourself. As I said in the first sentence, order a Kopecky CD now if you like your prog crunchy.

The latest news from Kopecky is their relationship with Pär Lindh. Joe and William played as guitarist and bassist for the Swedish prog master at NEARFest 2000. After this, William went to play with The Pär Lindh Project on their latest tour, and he is now a full member of the Project, working with them on their next studio album. But that's not all ... the tables turn once again, and Pär Lindh will be playing as "guest keyboardist" with the brothers Kopecky at Baja Prog 2002, where they will be playing songs by both Kopecky and Pär Lindh. -- Fred Trafton

News, added 11/11/09 from the Kopecky web site:
"We are deeply saddened to announce that our dear brother Paul James Kopecky passed away on June 22, 2009 due to complications related to juvenile diabetes. He was only 37 years old." -- Joe and William Kopecky
[See Far Corner | Haiku Funeral | Lindh, Pär]

Click here for the Kopecky web site
Click here for Kopecky's MySpace page

Kornelyans [Yugoslavia]

Not An Ordinary Life (72)

Reminiscent of Italian prog ala Banco.

Kornet [Sweden]
Updated 9/30/06

Kornet (75)
Fritfall (77)
III (79)
Killer all-instrumental fusion-prog band. I have heard III and it is one of the very best from any country. The level of musicianship and the inventiveness of the arrangements are unbelievable. If you like fusion (even moderately like myself), you owe it to yourself to hear these guys. Highest recommendation. -- Juan Joy

Koska [Spain]

Bihozkadak (79)

Basque Prog.

Kosmos [Canada]
Updated 6/21/07

Kosmos (07)
Kosmos - (not in photo order) Alex Crow (keyboards, programming), Michel "Away" Langevin (drums, sounds), Vincent Peake (bass) and Jetphil (guitars)

Kosmos is a space rock band with a lot of influence from krautrock but with some punkish tendencies. Their debut album should be available (at last word) around September of 2007. I've heard a few songs from the album on their MySpace site, and they sound pretty good. Check these out for yourself (link below).

Michael "Away" Langevin of Voivod is the drummer and ringleader. I hope to hear the whole album soon, and I'll give a more thorough report at that time. -- Fred Trafton

[See Voivod]

Click here for Kosmos' MySpace page

Kotebel [Spain]
Updated 5/17/09

Structures (00)
Mysticae Visiones (01)
Fragments of Light (05)
Omphalos (06)
Ouroboros (09)
Carlos Plaza - Musical director of Kotebel

Original entry 4/30/02:
The first thing you'll read in any review of Kotebel is that they are not a band, but a project of composer Carlos Plaza. In spite of this, there are a core of musicians who play on both albums with guests brought in for different parts as required by the compositions. The core musicians are Omar Acosta (Flute, EW5), César García Forero (Guitars) and Carolina Prieto (Voices) in addition to Carlos Plaza who plays keyboards, bass, percussion and provides the music direction. They have released two albums on the Musea label as of this writing [4/30/02], Structures and Mysticae Visiones. I've only heard the second release.

Mysticae Visiones is a spectacular CD, very symphonic, majestic and even spiritual. The album consists of two pieces. The first is the 35:48 "Mysticae Visiones" suite with 12 individually named movements, then "The River", clocking in at 14:55. The album is mostly instrumental, but Carolina Prieto provides some ethereal female "ah-ah" vocals. "Mysticae Visiones" has some very classically-styled passages, in fact Debussy's more pastoral moments are frequently in evidence, particularly in the piano and strings. But there are also many traditional progressive elements as well, such as Thijs van Leer-styled flutes and Steve Hackettish guitar solos.

There are sections that are somewhat like Philip Glass, though they evolve more quickly. For Hammond fans, there's also some great ELP-styled Hammond/synth soloing, especially in "First Heaven - Punishment" and again in "Third Heaven - The Beckoning". In the beginning and end of the suite and also starting the "Death" movement in the middle is a high-pitched synthesizer sequence with a filtered bass synth drone underneath - this might be a hackneyed musical idea, but here it is done so well, evoking a sense of warm, peaceful loneliness that I just love it.

"The River" borrows from Latin Jazz as well as spacey prog, and is an excellent piece in its own right, but the "Mysticae Visiones" suite is a tough act to follow.

I'll mention that most reviewers compare Kotebel to The Enid, though I can't confirm this since I'm unfamiliar with The Enid. What I do know is that I found this to be one of the best CD's I've heard so far this year (it was released so late in 2001 that it's almost a 2002 album), and I think this is an essential CD for anyone enjoying symphonic prog or romantic classical music. -- Fred Trafton

Update 9/23/06:
When Fragments of Light was released, I listened to it a couple of times and really liked it, but my review queue was so deep that it got relegated to the "I've really got to get around to reviewing this soon" category. Like many other CD's I have in my review queue. Then in 2006, Plaza released Omphalos, and I still hadn't gotten around to reviewing Fragments of Light yet. Ashamed and begging forgiveness of these fantastic musicians, I'll finally get around to reviewing both albums.

Fragments of Light has a lot more latin influence than I remember from Mysticae Visiones, particularly in the rhythms. Nice almost-flemenco acoustic guitars accentuate this impression in some parts, but there's just about every mood you can think of on this album, from rock to operatic classical vocals to '80's Crimsonish interlocking counterpoints and spacey synths and vocals. There are also some spoken word sections (in spanish) that I can only wish I understood. Like Mysticae Visiones, a very spiritual feel pervades the music, somewhat like the new-agey symphonic music on the Narada label, but these compositions are far more complex and varied than that more popular style. It doesn't feel like a "rock album" as much as a recording of a modern classical composition that happens to have a lot of rock elements in it. Which may, in fact, be an accurate description. If it's not being played live, it feels as if it could be played live with the right instrumentation. The bottom line is that it's excellent and any fan of symphonic prog or even modern classical should find it to be a great addition to their collection. -- Fred Trafton

Update 11/8/06:
... and then a bunch of time passed and I still didn't talk about Omphalos. But now the time has come.

Re-reading the above, it's a pretty good description of Omphalos as well. But in this case, varied is the key word. There are sections of spanish guitar, classical-sounding pianos, electric guitars playing stacatto sequences that almost sound like "Tarkus", operatic soprano vocals, latin and rock percussion, spacey synthesizers, and even some subdued Hammond organ and Mellotron. Most compositions that try to jump around in style this much would be a directionless mess (like, say, Stomu Yamashta's Go), but not in the hands of Carlos Plaza. Omphalos is a fantastic rollercoaster ride through mystical visions ... oh, sorry, that's the name of the second album. But it's true here too, and this time Plaza is kind enough to provide English translations for the songs with lyrics. As I had suspected, the lyrics are about mystical subjects ... "Omphalos" is the egg from which all creation was hatched, "Ra" is the Egyptian sun god and "Song of Peace" ends with the Hindu "Om", a vibration of universal peace. In addition is the mostly-instrumental "Pentacle's Suite" with a pentacle movement for Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars bookended by a Prologue and Epilogue.

But as much as the lyrical content warms my pagan heart, it's the music here that really moves me. Intricate without being too bombastic, highly varied without becoming a train wreck of unrelated elements, and superbly interesting and experimental compositions without degenerating into a cacaphony of dissonance. This is just a really great album, and deserves to be in any prog fan's collection, along with Mysticae Visiones and Fragments of Light. Outstanding. -- Fred Trafton

Update 5/17/09:
If it's any consolation to Carlos Plaza, this time around I'm reviewing Kotebel's new release Ouroboros within days of having received it, and only weeks after its release. That's both an apology for the way I put off reviewing Fragments of Light and Omphalos, as mentioned above, and also my way to make a statement about how impressed I am with Ouroboros. What a cool album. Like the previous releases, Ouroboros walks the line between a classical music composition and a prog rock epic. This one leans more heavily to the symphonic prog side of the equation, but there are still those moments of Debussy-like classical beauty.

This album is a bit less varied stylistically than either Fragments of Light or Omphalos, but that fact doesn't make it any less interesting. In fact, some might say it makes this a more cohesive album than the previous releases. Of course, I wouldn't ever say any such thing, but either way, this is a great album of complex, keyboard-oriented symphonic prog. Also, this album is purely instrumental, which is fine, though I do miss those mysterious lyrics. Well, maybe next time.

Once again, mystical themes are in evidence -- this time mythical creatures provide the inspiration for these songs. The computer-cobbled depictions of these creatures are the only really hokey thing about this album. My best advice: ignore the silly photoshopping and just enjoy the music. A couple of clumsily-mixed drums (the kit's overly loud snare and some sort of bongo that "pops" too much in particular) on the first cut introduce a slight mar on what I would consider an otherwise perfect album. Don't let this small annoyance deter you, however. Ouroboros is an essential release for any fan of complex, melodic symphonic prog. One of my favorite releases so far this year.

I should also mention the "bonus track" ... 16+ minutes of a nice live recording of a performance of "Mysticae Visiones". Excellent. My only complaint about this is that it's too short. I'd love to hear the whole thing live. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Kotebel's web site
Click here for Kotebel's MySpace page
Click here to order these albums from Musea Records

Kotilainen, Esa [Finland]
Updated 2/26/05

Ajatuslapsi (77)
Aamu joella - Morning by the River (95)
By the 1970s, Finland had produced a number of interesting academic and avant-garde electronic music pieces, ranging from the electronic études of Bengt Johansson to M.A. Numminen's ear-razing experiments with digital-synthesizer pioneer Erkki Kurenniemi's "electric quartet". However, it was keyboard wizard Esa Kotilainen's Ajatuslapsi (LP Love Records LRLP 196) that really spearheaded the emergence of rock-oriented, Berlin-school synth music in the country. You can hear this on the album's centrepiece, the suite "Unisalissa" (In the Dream Hall) that spans its A-side. A few minutes into the piece, the harmony settles on to a single droning organ chord, over which a synthesizer slowly draws four-note melodic fragments that shine as incessantly as any mentally-disturbed jewel. Soon we have multiple synthesizer ostinati echoing across the Rubycon while the spooky organ and string-synthesizer's melodies prophesy a Phaedra-like tragedy. However, Kotilainen next goes beyond this familiar German space: most of the rest of the suite is taken up by a corrosive, Arabic-modal organ solo over the ominously trudging, buzzing and trilling synthesizer accompaniment. And as if to balance the electronic darkness of the piece, the brief coda has accordion playing a frostily folky melody, backed by that most Finnish of instruments, the kantele.

On the B-side, "Avartuva näkemys" (A Widening Perspective) is more an intricate sound-effect narrative than a fully engaging musical composition, but "Ilmassa" ("In the Air") is another hugely effective synthesizer meditation over a single organ chord. Kotilainen's work may lack Klaus Schulze's Wagnerian monumentalism or Tangerine Dream's atmospheric profundity. Instead its homespun production values, its modest instrumentation and its subtle folkloristic touches make it sound quite refreshing within a musical style that later has been followed, imitated, copied, remixed and sampled nearly to death with all the state-of-the-art electronic instrumentation modern technology has produced. It is derivative yet different enough to be interesting, if not earthshaking. Love Records' successor Siboney has been promising a CD re-release for years, but at the beginning of 2005 those were still just promises.

In addition to his prolific studio works and collaborations with the Lapp artist and author Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, Kotilainen has played with many Finnish progressive rock artists, including Wigwam and Jukka Tolonen. At one time he was the sole owner of a working Mellotron in the country. The white beast makes an appearance on his 1995 solo album Aamu joella - Morning by the River, but this album is more a showcase for his accordion and more about folk music than anything else. From 1999 on he has been the regular keyboard player for the reformed Wigwam.

[See Tolonen, Jukka | Wigwam]

Kraan [Germany]
Updated 3/2/04

Kraan (72)
Wintrup (72)
Andy Nogger (74)
Live (75)
Let It Out (75)
Wiederhören (77)
Flyday (78)
Tournee (80)
Nachtfahrt (82)
Live (88)
Soul of Stone (91)
The Famous Years Compiled (98, Compilation)
Live 2001 (01)
Unreleased 80ies (01)
Kraan in 1972

An excellent seventies jazz/rock/spacemusic band. Two of their mid seventies works, Andy Nogger and one other were released through Jem in the USA. I think. Hellmut Hattler's bass playing is excellent, the guitarist is superb, and they have a sax player who I think at times uses effects pedals and wah wah and can even sound like a keyboard player sometimes. They added keys later on. First couple LPs were classic space rock, and then they got a very refined sound, very fun, funky rock with a really spacey feel. Later LPs added keyboards to the original guitar, bass, drums, sax lineup. I think the Live double LP really stands out as a high point in their releases. The two LPs that made it out in the US are good, but I think are weakened a little by the vocals. I'm inclined to almost compare them to Steely Dan because of their excellant musicianship and pristine production on the later works, but they don't really sound at all like Steely Dan. The later LPs tend to get more slick and faster and faster to a point of near technical over-indulgence.

Kraan is a primarily-instrumental outfit that blends the very best elements of fusion, funk, space and progressive - led by bassist extrordinaire Hellmut Hattler - into a unique style of their own. The early albums (through Let It Out) featured Johannes Pappert on sax, who did some pretty inventive stuff using special effects. With Let it Out they added a keyboardist and subsequently Pappert left, so the later albums have a slightly different feel. Most of their tracks are instrumentals, the few vocal tracks tend to be fairly eccentric. A good place to start is the Live album (a double LP on single CD) which contains the best material from the first three, or Let It Out.
Talk about "get the funk out!": I have Kraan's Live and have heard a little of Tournee. Live is a fantastic album that owes as much to jazz/funk as it does rock. There are two players that stand out immediately: Peter Wolfbrandt on guitar and Hellmut Hattler on bass. Wolfbrandt's guitar is clean, refined, and very tasteful, whether he's in a funk or rock groove. Hattler's bass is all OVER the place. He must have six fingers on each hand! Johannes Pappert is the sax player and he usually sounds like anything but a sax. At times I thought it was a violin and other times sounded more like a synth, just like Miles Davis during his mid-70's funk/fusion era. Jan Fride, the drummer, sets up a rock solid groove. It's really hard to imagine this is four piece music. On Tournee, the sax is replaced by a real set of keyboards and the drummer changed. The funk groove is still there but no so pronounced, while the fusion groove is enhanced, reminding me somewhat of Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group. I don't know about the rest of their work, but these two are excellent.
Great space-rock/jazz-fusion mix. Led by the restless guitar and raucous rock vocals of Peter Wolbrandt, and featuring the monster bass playing of the bespectacled Helmut Hattler (he may be one of the top five bassists of all-time!), Kraan made a spacy jazz/prog type of music with some Middle-Eastern themes, yet retained true rock power. No keyboardist at this early stage, but alto-sax player Johannes Pappert often makes his instrument sound like a synth, violin, flute or oboe. This lineup reaches its peak on Andy Nogger, which is virtually swimming in crazy sound-effects. "Stars," "Holiday am Marterhorn," "Nam Nam" and "Yellow Bamboo" are all among the band's best song. The double Live album is a great introduction to the band if you can find it, including tracks not available anywhere else, and extended versions of "Nam Nam" and "Andy Nogger." Let It Out adds ex-Karthago keyboardist Ingo Bischof to the lineup, and starts to carry on toward more conventional fusion territory, but not too far. The American (Passport label) issue of this features several remixed tracks. Wiederhoeren treads further into straight fusion, but the amazing "Vollgas Ahoi" and the Caravan-like title track proves they can still jam with the best of them. Tournee is another live album. I heard some of a much later album, very conventional indeed, and not too interesting. -- Mike Ohman
Regarding Wiederhören:
I think this albums on more funk edge, thus it is somehow forgotten by prog society, music alike first three albums is very spacey and funky but very progressive, needs to be listened carefully. All of them plays incredible, apart from Hellmut Hattlers superb bass playing, drummer Jan Fride's perfomance is amazing. Wiederhoeren is the best Kraan album. Get it listen it and listen and again listen as the name of the album suggests. WIEDERHÖREN ["Listen Again" in German - Ed.] -- Emrah Yucelen
[See Hattler, Hellmut | Karthago | Lilental | Pappert, Johannes]

Click here for Kraan's official website in German
Click here for a fan site

Krabat [Germany]
Updated 9/7/01

22 (00)
Krabat released their debut CD on Black Rills Records, the only German band on the label (the rest are all Swiss), and the only one that isn't from '70's archives. This band is, in fact, very modern. They're so modern that I had a tough time listening to their CD at first ... on first impression, it came off sounding like one of those "alternative" bands my 19-year-old son is always trying to get me to listen to. And these folks obviously listen to it too.

But, after a few listens, and especially after getting past the first few cuts, it's obvious that Krabat is much more than another "alternative" band. Not very symphonic (no keys), and with a female vocalist singing in German or just "ooh aah"'s, they sound like a less misogynistic and more "90's FM" version of King Crimson, with guitar work somewhere in Fripp's Starless and Bible Black range, though less distorted and more modern sounding. Unlike some of the older Black Rills releases, the sound quality here is excellent. Recommended if you don't need synthesizers to make your prog complete. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Krabat's web site (in German)
Click here for Black Rills Records

Kracq [Netherlands]
Updated 7/28/06

Circumvision (78, re-released on CD 2004)
Mixed Emotions and Cellar Tapes (79, re-released on CD 2004)
Circumvision is an interesting audio historical document. To my ears, more "psych" than "prog", with mosquito-buzz synths, psychedelic guitars and '60's-sounding production. The playing is a bit on the loose side, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear this was a "recorded live in the studio" album, though I don't know that for a fact. I don't really note much in the way of the "RIO-like tendencies" mentioned by Vitaly in the following review, but we all hear things a bit differently. What I hear is a bunch of good musicians (on good drugs?) doing some good jamming, though based on overall song structures they've worked out together beforehand. Sort of like early Gong in overall feel, though not derivative of their style in any way.

Circumvision will never be my favorite album, but it's certainly good and worth a listen or two. -- Fred Trafton

Kracq is a very obscure band from Holland. They recorded three albums in 1978 and 1979, all of which were never released before. Thankfully, they're out now and can be ordered from the Polymnia label (check Links below the review). The second and the third Kracq albums, "Mixed Emotions" and "Cellar Tapes", are placed on one CD.

Already judging by the contents of the band's first album [Circumvision], it becomes clear that Kracq was one of the most interesting progressive groups formed in the second half of the seventies. Above all, it's due to their rare and original music, which is genuinely inspired, and the high caliber of musicianship by all of the band members. Though partly, it's also because they sometimes use counterpoint and polyrhythmic structures, which at the time were adopted only by the proponents of RIO and related experimental outfits. Well, the latter features are present only on the first six tracks, but these form no less than half of the album. The opener "Summer of My Life" is the only song among them and is brilliant throughout, including the vocal-based parts covering about a third of it. The music is a really unique, both highly intricate and intriguing Symphonic Art-Rock with RIO-like tendencies and ever-changing arrangements. The instrumentals "Day In Day Out", "Somewhere in the Evening", "Y", and "Y-II" (Tracks 2, 3, 4, & 6) follow the principal compositionally stylistic aspects of "Summer of My Life", though "Y" contains also distinct elements of classical music, provided by piano, and "Y-II" those related to Prog-Metal. Among the notable particularities of the first two tracks are solos of acoustic guitar inventively interwoven with basic textures. "Cobweb" (5) is too short to define its stylistics precisely. Nevertheless, consisting of eclectic interplay between solos of synthesizer, guitar, and bass and those of various mallet and metallic percussion, this is a RIO-like entity rather than something different. The remaining five instrumentals, located on all of the further oddly numbered tracks, are just exceptionally brief to be considered music. I don't know why these snatches of effects, etc, have been included here, but, fortunately, they don't mar the overall impression of the album. All the tracks that really form the second half of the recording are songs: "Put up the Organized Fight", "To a Square", "Partnership", and "Keep Control" (Tracks 8, 10, 12, & 14), each representing Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of progressive Hard Rock without noticeable deviations towards experimentalism. While being more accessible than any composition from the first half of the album, each of them, nevertheless, contains enough turns and twists to continue keeping the listener's attention. In any case, Circumvision is a really remarkable album. I believe it will be deeply appreciated by any expert in Classic Symphonic Progressive, and not only.

[Regarding Mixed Emotions and Cellar Tapes]: Hey, anybody in the mood for a cheesy muzak with loops-&-tapes-&-drum machines and other push-button techniques? I doubt that you read these pages, but in any case, you won't find it on this output. False alarm, in short! No drum machines and, proper, drums, too. A light percussion is available, but only on one track. For their second and third albums Kracq (a trio now) has gone far beyond the ground of traditional Progressive Rock, using only synthesizers, electric and acoustic guitars, vocals and vocalizations, but in a way you have never heard before, you may believe me! With no affectation and absolute inattention for then-typical trends in recording (1979 after all), on their follow-up outing Kracq presented an unbelievably original slab of psychedelically avant-garde Space Rock with still a rather strong inclination towards RIO-like forms, and also those of experimental Electronic Rock and some touch of the other musical disciplines: a guitar and symphonic Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Space Metal. Well, all these are familiar terms, but they combined here the most marvelous way I could've expected. So I can say with assurance that this Dutch band was one of the very first bearers of Fifth Element. The music is both extensive and dense, eclecticism goes hand in hand with hypnotism, and all of this is throughout, even though one may think that all these said things are absolutely incompatible. Vocalizes and vocals are delivered in such a unique way as no one other band did before or later, ever. The amazingly extraordinary singing by Charlotte Rutten, which, sometimes, is not unlike the moan or howl of a ghost, is soaring over the strange, somewhat otherworldly musical landscapes built by very eccentric, yet, immediately perceivable (at least on a sensitive level) interplay between synthesizers and guitars. "Fight" (track 2) is the darkest place in this world of surrealism and the other flying unearthly entities:-) Partly due to overdubs, the parts of keyboards slightly dominate over those of guitar on most tracks, and those are especially rich in odd and related features. However, "Charlotte's Blues" and "Slow" (Tracks 5 & 6) feature very few keyboard sounds and are based almost exclusively on the parts of electric and acoustic (or semi-acoustic) guitars, including the overdubbed ones, that are as quirky and queer as just everything on this CD. Generally, the album is very picturesque and is imaginative enough to catch up the brave listener by the wing of adventure and carry him away to the world of fantastical music.

[In conclusion,] Kracq is one of the most wonderful bands existed at the time of Progressive's decadence, and now it's clear why nobody has ever been interested in releasing their music but them themselves. The sound quality is far from excellent, but I believe this factor won't prevent the profound and open-minded Prog lovers to enjoy this exceedingly intricate, but really thrilling musical experience. Both CDs are highly recommended. -- Vitaly Menshikov

Click here to order Kracq titles from Polumnia Music

Kraftwerk [Germany]
Updated 4/18/01

Kraftwerk (70)
Kraftwerk 2 (71)
Kraftwerk (73, repackage of first two LPs into 2LP set)
Ralf and Florian (73)
Autobahn (74)
Exceller 8 (75, Compilation)
Radioactivität (75, aka Radioactivity)
Trans Europa Express (77)
Die Mensch-Maschine (78, aka The Man Machine)
Highrail (79, Compilation)
Computerwelt (80, aka Computer World)
Electric Cafe (86)
The Mix (91, remixed versions of earlier songs)

German electronics duo (Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralf Hutter) who first recorded as Organisation in 1970. The Organisation album is even more rare than the first two Kraftwek albums, which are usually seen as a double LP repackage with a cover photo of an oscilloscope display. Around 1972 or so, Schneider quit, and was replaced by Michael Rother (guitars) and Klaus Dinger (drums). This lineup recorded 35 minutes of music together, enough for a short album, before breaking up. This music remains unreleased to this very day, anyone know whatever became of it? Rother and Dinger subsequently recorded on their own as NEU! Hutter meanwhile rejoined with Schneider and recorded Ralf And Florian, supposedly a very good mix of electronics and acoustic instruments (flutes and the like). I haven't heard this one, though. For Autobahn, Wolfgang Flur (percussion) and Klaus Roeder (guitar, violin) were added to the fold. The album continues the experiments mixing synth textures with acoustic instruments (flutes, violins, recorders) most notably on the 22-minute title song, the first six minutes of which were repackaged as a single and became a surprise hit, but perhaps most successfully on "Morgenspaziergang", the second half is surprisingly all-acoustic! Future albums are all-electronic and all-boring, taking on a hokey robotic stance which turns out to be decidedly un-progressive. -- Mike Ohman
[See Düsseldorf, La | Neu | Organisation]

Click here for the Official Kraftwerk web site (with a bunch of fancy animations and almost no information)

Krakatau [Finland]
Updated 6/28/01

Ritual (88)
Alive (89)
Volition (92)
Matinale (94)
3/5 of Krakatau, May 1995 - Raoul Björkenheim (guitars, percussion), Ippe Kätkä (drums, percussion), Uffe Krokfors (bass, percussion).
Not pictured: Jone Takamäki (saxophones, flute & percussion), Affe Forsman (drums, percussion)

Especially on Ritual you'll see this band referred to as "Raoul Björkenheim's Krakatau", but as the lowest common denominator is always Krakatau, it doesn't matter to complicate the whole thing. Ritual exemplifies mixture of sounds from many continents. It certainly does not resemble Finland in any way. Rypdal-ish ECM-jazz, Aylerisms popularized by Soft Machine circa Third, African rhythms and percussion, less standard jazz of Ornette or Mingus exposed by Tapani Rinne's saxes, Raoul's noisy guitar, out-of-this-world bass flute and bass clarinet by Jorma Tapio and double drumming / double percussion (on the most of tracks) intermingle in the pot. I dare to say this music is quintessentially African. The opener "Foot Talk" could be also recorded somewhere in Mali, Senegal or Nigeria, if less electric. Harmonies have fairly African flavour and one could imagine watching the countryside blurred by heat. Raoul's noisy, tormented and heavily distorted guitar was probably influenced by Hendrix, what can be in best such a manner heard on "New Day", which linear notes refer to as a "metal poem". "La Lluana" is sort of alternative-rock sounding jazz and there are few more tracks sounding that way. "Matinaal" which kicks of with smooth double-bass solo, is a distorted jazz-classic and "Epilog" is a distinct ECM track with alternating warm harmonies and maddened sax lines. Few other tracks like a "Go" are profiled towards RIO-ish areas of progressive music. Title track deserves a special mention. Thundering bass and frogs-from-hell-imitating baritone sax announce something solemnly important. Few initial bars of percussion and one can distinguish the atmosphere of inter-tribal battle which will occur in subsequent hours. Bass flute pours in betwixt the torrents of percussion. It sounds much like the owl on seek-flight. Other listeners may not hear it so abstract, but whether is it so or not, me can not tell. But me can tell it is excellent!! Cuneiform release also contains two additional tracks, recorded in 1989-90 without woodwinds, of which one ("Relentless") is fine performance of heaving guitar and overall improvised madness. Everything in everything, Ritual is much varied and very important album and one of a few examples of distorted, unclean ECM-ish new music. Not to be missed!!! -- Nenad Kobal

[See Björkenheim, Raoul]

Kraldjursanstalten [Sweden]

Nu Ar Det Allvar!!! (80, EP), Voodoo Boogie (81?)

Kraldjursanstalten were a Swedish trio of guitar, bass & drums. I don't remember the names of the guitarist & bassist (they were identical twins) & drummer/vocalist was Michael Maksymenko. Heavily Capt. Beefheart influenced, IMHO, they were the best Beefheart-style band ever. Maksymenko released a solo album which was similar, if a little slicker, & played in Henry Kaiser's "Crazy Backwards Alphabet." He's kinda retired from music, but he still writes some music, and one tune will be Cuneiform's Siamese Step. Bros. CD. -- Steve Feigenbaum

Krel [Italy]

Fin Che Le Braccia Diventano Ali/E Il Mondo Cade Giu (70, 7")

When this band stopped, Giorgio Piazza went to play with Katharsis and PFM. Franco Mussida and Franz Di Cioccio also went on to play with PFM. Psychedelic sound.

[See Katharsis | Premiata Forneria Marconi]

Kriget [Sweden]

[See Trettioariga Kriget]

Kristina, Sonja [UK]

Sonja Kristina (80), Songs From The Acid Folk (91), Harmonics of Love (94, w/ Cloud Ten)

She was the vocalist for Curved Air. On Acid Folk, the style is acoustic guitar driven psychedelic folk, with drums, bass, violin and cello.

[See Curved Air]

Krokodil [Switzerland]
Updated 5/4/02

Krokodil (69)
Swamp (70)
An Invisible World Revealed (71)
Musik (71)
Getting Up For The Morning (72)
Sweat and Swim (73)
Classic German Rock Scene (7?)
Early German underground scene.
They are not from Germany. They're from Switzerland. I've got their CD's so I'm sure. -- Ryszard Ryzlak
[See Hepp, Hardy]

Kromlech [Mexico]
Updated 6/27/00

La Soledad de las Sombras (99)

Their CD, La Soledad de las Sombras (The Loneliness of the Shadows) is all instrumental, except for a spoken word introduction. It is a musical representation of a dark original fable depicting the cycle of time and the universe. The music gets off to a slow start, but then it grabs hold, and doesn't let go. Like a river, flowing from one melodic "scene" to another, La Soledad renders the listener unable to resist the current. There is an imaginative interplay between the guitar and keyboards, sometimes iterating and expanding over the melody, sometimes lancing and contrasting with each other. In addition to several engaging solos from the lead instruments, "La Soledad" offers a lot of enjoyable ensemble playing where each member of the band offers just the right accent, detail or fill, keeping things always interesting, always moving. The keyboardist, Fernando, sounds to have had classical training, and Carlos is one ripping rock guitarist about to bloom. He evokes some mighty tasty tones from his six-string. This is music created by a BAND and it is obvious they are bouncing ideas off each other. They are all into it. The CD is not without warts. There are some moments when the composition sounds a bit awkward. There is the occasional bad note. The mix sometimes seems muddled and muted. But despite these badges of self-production, the music is inspired and inspiring. It rises above its incidental shortcomings, leaving me at the end wanting to "relive the cycle" by listening to it all over again. And I do. -- Jeff Gebhardt

Click here for Kromlech web site (in English)

Krutzen, Henry [Belgium/Brazil]
a.k.a. Xeno
Updated 1/21/05

Silances (81)
Iceland (97)
Them (98, as Xeno)
Che Vuoi? (98, w/ C. Nicaise & J.L. Plouvier)
Moving to Town ... (99, as Xeno)
Play La Chance (00, 2CD)
Henry Krutzen is a Belgian composer, though he has recently moved to Brazil. He is a member of Finnegans Wake, but he has also put out many interesting albums of his own music on his Metafora label. He records both under his own name and under the name Xeno. The Henry Krutzen albums tend to be modern "chamber music", either piano or Univers Zero type modern classical, while the Xeno CD's are electronic music. At the moment, Krutzen is focusing on his career and a new wife, but hopes to resume recording in Brazil with some new musical associates as soon as he is able to.

Them is a CD of electronic music with alternate soundtracks for old science fiction movies, such as "Forbidden Planet", "It Came From Outer Space", "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, "Them" and "Zardoz". This CD is very rhythm oriented, and there's hardly a melody to be found, though there are simple chord progressions, frequently only two to four chords in length. These are used as repetitive passages for electronic and vaguely ethnic-sounding rhythms to play against. I would almost call these "Techno Lite", meaning they're missing the hard 4/4 kick drum and bass line, but other than that they would be quite dancable at a rave. These pieces are quite minimalist in structure, but are cinematic in the sense of sounding like the "suspense" background music of a movie. For example, hearing "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" makes me think of a sweaty chick skulking down a dark, smoky corridor with a plasma rifle waiting for an alien to jump out of one of the pieces of rusted machinery. But that's just me ...

Moving to town ... is the more interesting of the Xeno albums, in my estimation. This album is more melodic than Them, but still is created of icy, sparkling digital synthesizer and sampler timbres playing trancy, hypnotic and repetitive patterns. The "melodies" here are frequently sequenced patterns playing at such a high velocity that even Robert Fripp would be unable to play them live. The sequences are sometimes harmonized very simply, with 4ths or 5ths simply playing in parallel to the main notes of the melody, and sometimes with complex, bizarre, and dissonant harmonies. Krutzen also pulls the '80's Crimsonish trick of making the sequence a different length than the number of beats in the measure, causing them to change accents each measure, and also making the melody appear to change. The best description I can think of for this music is that it's like looking at a fractal photograph ... self-similar and yet changing in every part, vaguely organic and yet also alien. This is probably the easiest of the Krutzen solo albums to call "progressive" in the usual sense.

Che vuoi? is a multi-media project. It is a collaboration between Krutzen, who composed the music, Jean-Luc Plouvier who played it on piano and Christine Nicaise, a famous Belgian painter who created a painting of her impressions of the music. This CD is all solo piano (except one track where Krutzen plays saxophone), and sounds very neo-classical in its style. Nicaise' painting was cut into 100 pieces and individually signed, and a piece was included in each of the 100 copies of the CD. This CD is excellently written and performed, and though this isn't my personal favorite style of music, I would certainly recommend it to fans of Univers Zero or Genet-Plouvier.

Play la Chance is a monumental 2CD work that Krutzen feels is his most important project so far. It includes the talents of numerous guest musicians and was three years in the making. This album really reminds me a lot of Philip Glass, or particularly the Philip Glass Ensemble in parts. It is both minimalistic and yet rich in harmonies and counterpoints, using traditional orchestral instruments including brass, reeds and strings, plus Krutzen himself on saxophone. This is the place to start with Krutzen's music, in my opinion. You'll hear a bit of all his other musical styles here, including the Xeno works, though this album leans much more heavily on traditional instruments than synthesizers.

If you don't like to stray too far from the "progressive" genres, then listen to Krutzen in Finnegans Wake. If you are also a lover of "new music" including neo-classical and minimalist composers like Steve Reich or Philip Glass, then you should also check out these Krutzen "solo" works. -- Fred Trafton

Cellist* Krutzen, besides being leader of Finnegans Wake, also dabbled with trance/rave sounds, but Play La Chance is his marvellous double silvering of his own contempo-inspired composition, with numerous musicians present (J-L. Plouvier, Dirk. D - both from UZ, and many others on cello, brass, various reeds, and score of people called Ictus Ensemble. As you may expect, results are close to Art Zero school but the later went off in the direction of minimalism. Not as inaccessible as you would think. -- Nenad Kobal

* Note: Sorry, Nenad ... Mr. Krutzen is trained in saxophone, keyboards and percussion. He is not a Cellist!

Click here for Henry Krutzen's web site

[See Finnegans Wake | Genet-Plouvier | Univers Zero]

KSIZ [France]
Updated 4/20/08

Sandcrawler (08)
KSIZ - Mathieu Spaeter and Jimmy Pallagrosi

KSIZ is a French prog-metal project spearheaded by guitarist Mathieu Spaeter and drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi. Self-produced and featuring guest contributors on keyboards, violin, bass and double bass, the album is basically a demo to show off the skills of Spaeter and Pallagrosi, both of whom possess prodigious chops. From Spaeter we get prog-metal chugging and soloing reminiscent of John Petrucci, while Pallagrosi reminds me frequently of Neil Peart.

While the soloing from both musicians is frequently jaw-dropping, the album starts to wear a bit thin by the end for my taste, with no vocals to lend any credence to the sci-fi/fantasy/mythology song titles like "Balrog Wakes Up" (Lord of the Rings), "Asgard/Midgard/Niflhel" (Norse mythology), "Gedwëy Ignasia" (Eragon) and the title song (Dune). Without vocals, these titles have about as much meaning as "Red", "Oval", "Hard" and "Pez Fat". I mean, really. But the guest musicians are quite good, get a fair amount of space to play in each song, and prevent the album from getting too far into "ego trip" territory.

But my personal observations about song titles aside, this is a pretty good album from some really excellent musicians who I hope can soon hook up with a "real band" and produce some truly killer concept albums ... with songs that tell a story in the sci-fi/fantasy/mythology vein. I guess I'm thinking they could use lyrics and a vocalist. But then they would probably have French lyrics that I couldn't understand. Oh well. In the meantime, Sandcrawler in its present form will please many who are prog-metal fans. The album is being distributed by Musea Records (see link below).

And, no, I don't know what KSIZ means. King-Size? -- Fred Trafton

Click here for KSIZ's web site (in French)
Click here for KSIZ's MySpace page
Click here to order Sandcrawler from Musea Records

Kultivator [Sweden]
Updated 11/13/01

Barndomens Stigar (81)
An absolutely mindblowing ultra-high energy band from Sweden with an excellent female vocalist. Their sound, to my ears sounds like a cross between Area, Magma circa Kohntarkosz, and Samla Mammas Mannaz circa Familijsprickor, although the net result seems a bit more accessible than any of the aforementioned bands. The original LP was re-released on CD with two bonus tracks recorded in 1992.
Outstanding Swedish quintet who released a single album in 1981. The CD reissue on the Ad Perpetuam Memoriam label also contains a song recorded in '92 and a live song recorded in '79. Strong Canterbury influences abound-often I'm reminded of a souped up National Health - but zeuhl influences are equally prevalent. Vocalist Ingemo Rylander (also recorder and Fender Rhodes) even sounds a good bit like Amanda Parsons. Not mere copycats, though, as Kultivator play an original style with distinctive Scandanavian flair throughout the entire album. The compositions are well arranged, full of complexity, shifting time signatures and make good use of dynamics. The Rhodes has a more prevalent voice than the reknown Hammond of Canterbury fame. Several songs, e.g., "Kara Jord" have the driving march-like rhythms that calls Magma to mind. Strongly recommended!
Originally released on Bauta label, this has future Ur Kaos alumni Johan Hedren among its members, and to my ears it is quite in the vein of other Bauta releases that were to come out during 80's. Maybe a bit more complex than Bauta average. Each track was composed, arranged and performed with a single aim: To kick ass. Well, I don't know if this was the aim, but tracks do kick ass. Half of the tracks were composed by Johan Hedren. This is usually refered to as a mixture of Zeuhl and Cantebury. To my ears it is more in the RIO vein with equal portion of zeuhl, esp. via bass for good balance + a quirky Cantebury twist protruding through high energy on most of tracks. Of course everything is swathed in Scandinavian ethno-folk tradition plus there are killer vocal presences of Ingemo Rylander and Hadan Svav Boys Choir (most notably on "Grottekvarnen" with popular paparapapa instead of lyrics), so everything results in catchy riffs and vocal lines worthy of further whistling. Though not necessarily melodic they remain in memory center. You may also catch yourself jumping across the room subconsciously. I have to admit that are Bauta artists among the most influential in Sweden. While Lach'n seemed to influence Anglagard sublimely, Kultivator perhaps provided an influence for Anekdoten (track "Vemod"). Maybe I'm missing the point with this admiting, but you can't miss the point with the purchase of Barndomens Stigar! Warmly recommended!!!!! -- Nenad Kobal
[See Hedren, Johan | Ur Kaos]

Kurenniemi, Erkki [Finland]
Updated 9/30/06

Äänityksiä/Recordings 1963-1973 (02, Compilation)
Erkki Kurenniemi

Finnish electronica pioneer who invented and built custom synthesizers. Recordings 1963-1973 [Love Records LXCD 637] is a compilation of his own recordings mostly from 1968 to 1971. Most are previously unreleased. Includes the full "Dance of the Anthropods" of which an abridged version can be heard on Wigwam's Tombstone Valentine. This is mostly monophonic synthesizer noise and effects, really chaotic and heavy stuff. Great for fans of early electronic music. -- Robert Holmberg

Click here to order this album from Love Music

Kurgan's Bane [USA]
Updated 1/26/07

Search from Sea to Sea (98)
The Future Lies Broken (00)
Camouflaged In Static (05)
Kurgan's Bane - Luis Nasser (bass), Lisa Francis (vocals), Pete Laramee (guitar) and Jeff "The Bear" Laramee (drums)

Though I haven't heard any Kurgan's Bane albums, they do have several full-length MP3's available on their web site. Theoretically, these are samples of the best of the band's output (at least if I was a band, I'd want to advertize what I thought was my best stuff). Here's what I heard ...

"Asstro" is an instrumental heavy metal song with progressive touches, perhaps a bit reminiscent of early Rush. Not bad ... a nice song to headbang to in a concert. Heavy guitars, busy bass and drums, no keyboards or vocals. Nicely played and well recorded, though nothing (to my ears) extraordinarily special.

"Martyr" is even more Rush- or Queen-like in the music, though this time Lisa Francis' multitracked vocals adds a lot of interest in heavy rock verses and choruses in between more "proggy" guitar parts and a nice screaming solo. But even the vocal sections feature odd meters, and there's some understated keyboard parts ... a bell-like rhythm, a synthesizer arpeggio and some Mellotron sweetening at the end. But basically, this is still all about "power guitar trio" style.

Bottom line is that Kurgan's Bane seems like a pretty cool band, though there was nothing I heard that would make me say "drop everything and buy this". But both songs are well-done and engaging. Finally, you may be interested to know that several (most, actually) of the band members are also active in Sonus Umbra. -- Fred Trafton

[See Sonus Umbra]

Click here for Kurgan's Bane's web site

Kvartetten Som Sprängde [Sweden]
Updated 1/28/09

Kattvals (73)
This was a quartet in the beginning and after the bass player left they settled as a trio; Rune Carlsson (drums, bongos), Fred Hellman (organ, piano) and Finn Sjoberg (guitar and flutes). This is a wonderful instrumental record, similar to early Camel, Flasket Brinner or Ragnarok and [there] is also a clear influence from one of the most influential groups ever to appear, Santana. The music also has a jazzy feel at times and a bit of folk in others and is very melodic, with very good organ and guitar through the whole album. This is the only record they made and it's a shame because groups like this deserved better luck. -- Julio Lopez

Kyrie Eleison [Austria]
Updated 4/19/02

The Fountain Beyond The Sunrise (76)
The Blind Windows Suite (94)
Michael Schubert (Vocals), Manfred Drapela (Guitar), Gerald Krampl (Keyboards), Norbert Morin (Bass), Karl Novotny (Drums)

Austrian symphonic band in the vein of Nursery Cryme-era Genesis and sounding very much like that band from that time. The songs aren't all that great though on their album The Fountain Beyond The Sunrise.

This Austrian band produced one obscure album in the mid-70's that is heavily influenced by Nursery Cryme/Foxtrot-period Genesis. The vocals are in English but carry a strong accent, and the album was recorded on a four-track which does little justice to the lush and complex symphonic arrangements over the album's four long tracks; Still, it stands on its own strengths. The CD re-release was cleaned up as much as possible, and bonus track is included.
The Fountain Beyond The Sunrise is another of the much acclaimed classics from the mid-seventies. The music is symphonic, progressive rock at its finest, with Mellotrons and keyboard leads, and moods ranging from quiet piano passages to walls of sound. The sound is very close to the Genesis of that period, with Tony Banks-styled synth textures and a vocalist who does come fairly close to Gabriel, in style.
I hate clones, especially Genesis clones, but these guys have a heck of a lot of taste for sounding so much like their influences. Originally recorded in 1976, The Fountain Beyond The Sunrise was released on a horrible sounding record. I was warned against buying the CD, but did it anyway. Much to my surprise the sound quality is bearable and the CD packaging is quite nice. I think someone told me the band recorded the original tracks in a basement somewhere in Austria, with a 4-track. If you like the Genesis 71-74 period, I recommend this. While I don't think I'd pay more than about $15 for the disc, it contains some interesting music, obviously derivative, but interesting nonetheless. Kyrie Elieson captures most of what I like about my favorite period of Genesis. The vocalist is a Gabriel soundalike, and the rest of the band has Genesis' "Rhythm Makes the World Go 'Round" approach. Its a surprisingly powerful and enjoyable offering
Evidently a second CD The Blind Windows Suite was released in 1994, but since the band broke up in 1978, this must be a "previously unreleased" album. Given the low production quality of their first album, which was "recorded nearly under live conditions with only 2-track recording machines" according to keyboardist Gerald Krampl, this may be even worse.

The Kyrie Eleison complete recordings will be reissued in mid 2002 by MIO records in Israel. It will have an improved sound for The Blind Windows Suite plus 10 lost minutes from the same period. The box set will also include a third CD containing 70 min. of live acts from 1974, material mostly taken from Blind Windows and some from The Fountain Beyond the Sunrise, with high sound quality. The box set will be issued as a limited edition of 500 numbered pieces, but there is a possibility of a second edition. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for a fairly unreadable web site (black text on dark background)
Click here for MIO Records web site for info on the reissue and a better version of the above site

Kzat Aheret [Israel]
Alternatively spelled Ktzat Acheret, a.k.a. Nonames
Updated 4/19/02

Kzat Aheret/Nonames (74)
I would like to recommend one of the better progressive rock bands that was ever created. The Hebrew name of the band is Kzat Aheret (in English this translates to "A Little Different"). But besides the Hebrew name, on the album cover, there is one more name - "Nonames". They are a band that was created in Israel in 1974, by a three very talented musicians and composers; Shem-Tov Levi-flute and voices [mainly], Shlomo Ydov-guitars and voices [mainly], Shlomo Gronich-keybords and voices [mainly]. I write "mainly" because they played many more instruments like drums and string instruments. A very astonishing band for Israel in those days. They were experienced in many progressive styles, like a very sophisticated psychedelic style, with classical and extravagant improvisations and forms, with melodic and dissonant melodies, and with a theatrical style of humor in many episodes, and sometimes were influenced with their own folk music. They used great orchestration. They released their only album in '74 and published many singles. -- Dickmann Ofer
[See Gronich, Shlomo | Ydov, Shlomo]
See also Gil Keltch's History of Israeli Prog article in Gibraltar Webzine #2