Kaa-Kau

 

Kaarst (West Germany): From Our Friends To Our Friends (No label F 665.708, 1976)

Folk/Rock

Jutta Hahn (joint lead vocals), Anke Degen (bass, percussion, backing vocals)

Offering typically mellow mid-seventies hippie-folk, this pleasant album features full band backing, with electric piano and hand percussion adding a breezy, jazzy vibe. The actual songs aren’t as persuasive as their overall sound, however, and there isn’t anything here that is likely to stick in the mind. GRADE: C+.

Kaarst (West Germany): Kaarst 2 (No label F 666.131, with insert, 1977)

Folk/Jazz/Rock/Progressive

Jutta Hahn (joint lead vocals), Anke Degen (percussion, backing vocals)

This is slightly different from its predecessor, with the jazz edges more pronounced and some progressive elements creeping in via a side-long track. There’s also greater emphasis on delicate ballads, though once again the mood is mostly breezy and carefree. GRADE: C+.

Kaarst (West Germany): Hotel – Hier Spricht Man Deutsch (No label 666.965, with booklet, 1979)
Folk/Rock
Uli Mix (organ, cello), Anke Degen (percussion, backing vocals)
This marks a return to the shorter tracks format of their debut and loses the female vocals, but otherwise it’s very much business as usual. Overall, Kaarst were an accomplished enough band with a pleasantly mellow sound, but their music was pretty generic for its era so I can’t imagine any of their LPs figuring among anyone’s all-time favourites. GRADE: C+.

Jerney Kaagman (Holland): Made On Earth (Dureco Benelux 88.002, with inner, 1984)
Pop
Jerney Kaagman (lead vocals)
The former Earth & Fire singer’s solo debut is identikit eighties funky electropop – think Shalamar, Five Star, early Madonna or any number of others. Kaagman herself writes most of the lyrics, but they’re as pointless and clichéd as the tunes and arrangements. At least ‘In The Shade Of A Willow Tree’ has some hippie sentiments, a catchy tune and some nice folk/pop edges. GRADE: E+.
Jerney Kaagman (Holland): Run (Polydor 833 920-1, with inner, 1987)
Pop
Jerney Kaagman (lead vocals)
Kaagman’s second and final solo album is produced and mostly written by former Earth & Fire bassist Bert Ruiter (with Kayak’s Ton Scherpenzeel and Irene Linders also contributing). Not surprisingly it’s lightweight symphonic pop, perhaps a little better than Made On Earth but still shallow, calculated and rather forgettable. GRADE: E+.

Kábala (Peru): La Kábala (RCA MKL/S-1932, 1970?)
Jazz/Funk
The soft, hypnotic grooves and gentle vocals fall somewhere between lounge and Trópicalia, but this isn’t at all a bland album due to some intense playing and some fierce fuzz guitar here and there. Those expecting a full-on South American psychedelic onslaught are going to be disappointed, but this is an album that works on a number of levels and appeals to a range of audiences – explaining its enormous price tag. GRADE: C+.

KaHaRa (France): Les Dents Rouges (No label AMP9901, CD, 1999)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Caroline Crozat-Doos (lead vocals)
This collaboration between Ange vocalist Caroline Crozat-Doos and the prolific multi-instrumentalist Jean-Pascal Boffo offers jazzy song-based progressive with lots of electronics and effects and pronounced experimental edges. Hinting at both zeuhl and RIO and very French in feel, it’s an interesting and unusual album,with odd packaging to match (a booklet with some excellent graphics but no tray card).

GRADE: C+.
See also Ange, Luc Marianni’s Seltae Beat

Kaipa (Sweden): Notes From The Past (InsideOut IOMCD 097, CD, Germany, 2002)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (occasional vocals), Tove Thörn Lundin (occasional vocals)
Kaipa had already released several albums in the seventies and early eighties with all-male line-up before returning with this reunion effort. The disc was cut by the core duo of guitarist Roine Stolt and keyboardist Hans Lundin, plus a number of guests including Aleena Gibson, who sings ‘A Road In My Mind’, and Tove Thörn Lundin, who provides the spoken vocals on ‘In The Space Of A Twinkle’. Consisting of song-based progressive, plus a few instrumentals, it’s a pleasant set with some nice Mellotron textures. GRADE: C+.
Kaipa (Sweden): Keyholder (InsideOut 6 93723 65982 3, CD, with slipcase, Germany, 2003)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (occasional vocals)
For the follow-up, the duo expanded into a band, including Gibson as a full member, although she doesn’t do much here. This time round, I’m not convinced by her rather mannered, dramatic vocals (imagine a Scandinavian Tracy Hitchings and you’ll be close) or by their rather mainstream sympho-prog sound, which has some fairly knotty riffs but also draws significantly from neoprog. Nonetheless, this is a competent album, although a definite step down from its precedessor – and at more than 79 minutes it’s far, far too long. GRADE: C.
Kaipa (Sweden): Mindrevolutions (InsideOut SPV 085-48332 CD, with slipcase, 2005)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (joint lead vocals)
The centrepiece here is the 26-minute title track, but it’s no more ambitious or experimental than any of the shorter pieces. In fact, like its predecessor this is a well-crafted but rather dull album that again runs for an interminable 79 minutes. This time round, Gibson gets to take a larger share of the lead vocals, but since she’s in full Tracy Hitchings mode it’s a mixed blessing at best. GRADE: C.
Kaipa (Sweden): Angling Feelings (InsideOut SPV 79472 CD, CD, Germany, 2007)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (joint lead vocals)
This is slightly shorter than its predecessors, but it’s in the same musical vein. There are a few pleasant and atmospheric moments, but they’re fairly far between and for the most part this is pretty mediocre and banal stuff. GRADE: C.
Kaipa (Sweden): In The Wake Of Evolution (InsideOut 0519-2, CD, Germany, 2010)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (joint lead vocals)
Surprisingly, this is a decent album, with solid songwriting, some fine extended instrumental passages and some nice folky diversions. I still don’t find their rather conventional style tremendously exciting, but this is a good and enjoyable LP by any measure. GRADE: C+.
Kaipa (Sweden): Vittjar (InsideOut 0597-2, CD, Germany, 2012)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (joint lead vocals)
Like its predecessor, this is a solid album – nothing very original or exciting, but well above the band’s norm. In particular, some strings are used to good effect here and there. GRADE: C+.

Kaipa (Sweden): Sattyg (InsideOut 0506968, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2014)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (joint lead vocals)
This is easily the best thing I’ve ever heard from Kaipa: they rock out in no uncertain terms on parts of ‘Screwed-upness’, the title track is a beautiful classical-tinged instrumental and the rest is more genuinely progressive than usual. I’m still not convinced by their two vocalists’ dramatic approach, but by any standards this is a good sympho-prog album and by Kaipa’s standards it’s a classic. GRADE: C+.

Kaipa (Sweden): Children Of The Sounds (InsideOut 8895462252, CD, with digipak and booklet, Germany, 2017)
Progressive
Aleena Gibson (joint lead vocals)
Kaipa seem to be on a roll – this is another very strong album by their usual standards, packed with well-crafted symphonic prog songs. Admittedly their style isn’t hugely varied but there are some nicely complex moments here, with a guest violinist being used to excellent effect, creating an authentic seventies vibe. GRADE: C+.

Kalo (Japan): Spiral Dream (Muséa FGBG 4543.AR/Intermusic IM-001, CD, France, 2004)
Progressive
Miori Naritomi (lead vocals)
From the artwork and track titles like ‘Dharani’, ‘Forest Fairies’, ‘Sunset’ and ‘Land Of Spirits’, I expected this to be new age-ish, but in fact it’s a varied set of progressive instrumentals. Mostly it’s gentle and relaxed, with occasional jazzy tinges, but there are a few more uptempo and bombastic moments. Guest Miori Naritomi fronts three of the thirteen numbers, adding typically Nippon vocals over light ballad backing. The whole thing is very accomplished, very derivative and very, very Japanese. GRADE: C+.

Kama Sutra (South Africa): Kama Sutra’s Mechanical Earthquake (No label KRC 001, double, with insert, 1976?)
Progressive
Julie Marshall (joint lead vocals)
This very rare double album offers guitar-led hard progressive rock: a bit patchy in parts, but containing some outstanding passages. The lyrics are mildly intriguing too, with a rather philosophical bent, and it’s never entirely clear whether they’re promoting Christianity or subtly opposing it. In any case, this is one of the most interesting and worthwhile seventies albums from South Africa. GRADE: B–.

Kampec Dolores (Hungary): Kampec Dolores (Ring RL 2012, 1988)
Psychedelic/Jazz/Rock/Avant-Garde
Gabi Kenderesi (principal vocals, drum programmes, violin)
The band’s debut album frequently leans towards the RIO direction they would later pursue but also includes a number of tracks with a more psychedelic feel and some new wave and folk edges. Overall it’s a good and interesting LP, although it would have been much better with a real drummer instead of the programmed percussion. The cassette version was titled 1984-1988 (Bahia MKB 006) and included several bonus tracks from earlier sessions. GRADE: C+.
Kampec Dolores (Hungary): Levitation (RéR PE 07, UK, 1991)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Gabi Kenderesi (principal vocals, violin)
Far more experimental than their debut, this is an interesting RIO work with some new wave undertones. Some tracks betray a strong classical slant, but overall this retains a certain pop sensibility, with short tracks, although it’s frequently very weird indeed. GRADE: C+.
Kampec Dolores (Hungary): Tü Fokán (Bahia CDB 004, CD, 1993)
Progressive/Avant-Garde
Gabi Kenderesi (principal vocals, violin)
Known in English as Eye Of The Needle, this is Kampec Dolores’s best album by some margin. It’s weirder yet again than its predecessor, with Gabi Kenderesi offering all kinds of vocal improvisations and glossolalia over mutant funk grooves that create an almost hypnotic quality. Add in some unusual electronics and studo treatments, and the result is a fine piece of avant-prog that often recalls similar excursions by eighties French bands. GRADE: B–.
Kampec Dolores (Hungary): Zúgó (Bahia CDB 028/RéR KD1, CD, UK, 1996)
Avant-Garde
Gabi Kenderesi (lead vocals, violin)
This where Kampec Dolores went off the deep-end: Zúgó (also known as Rapid) is pure avant-gardism fringing free jazz. At various times, the five-part suite features yoik-style singing over random bass strumming, wild jazzy saxophone and relaxed ethnic elements; the whole thing isn’t especially atonal but is exceptionally weird. The album proper is followed by a silent track lasting twelve minutes, then a couple of short bonus cuts. Altogether, this is a bold, creative, completely baffling album. GRADE: B–.
Kampec Dolores (Hungary): A Bivaly Hátán (Bahia CDB 064/RéR KD 2, CD, UK, 2000)
Folk/Psychedelic/Avant-Garde
Gabi Kenderesi (lead vocals, violin)
Although this contains some very weird moments, it’s nowhere near as strange or as exploratory as its predecessor. Mostly it fuses different folk styles (principally East European but reaching as far afield as Africa) with elements of funk, psychedelic rock and jazz to create some unusual but compelling soundscapes. Once again, there’s a silent track (this time of seven minutes) followed by the ‘radio edit’ of the title track; I doubt this got much airplay. GRADE: B–.
Kampec Dolores & István Grenscó (Hungary): Koncert! (Kpetrys CD-KP02/ReR LC-02677, CD, 2003)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Gabi Kenderesi (principal vocals, violin)
Kenderesi’s vocals here are sometimes as weird as on Zúgo, but the musical backing is much more conventional, offering some funky progressive rock textures. Mostly the album is song-based, but there are a few moments of superb exploratory space rock. GRADE: C+.
Kampec Dolores (Hungary): Earth Mother Sky Father (Poseidon PRE-003, CD, Japan, 2005)
Jazz/Folk/Rock/Progressive
Gabi Kenderesi (lead vocals)
Very different from their previous work, Earth Mother Sky Father offers a procession of gentle, mostly tranquil, songs drawing on traditional Hungarian music as well as European jazz. There’s a dreamy, psychedelic feel to much of the material, quite a few funky basslines, and occasional outbursts of acid-rock and free-jazz, making for an interesting and atmospheric album. GRADE: C+.
Kampec Dolores (Hungary): Tema Principale (Trottel SZ02TR2005CD, CD, 2013)
Jazz/Folk/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Gabi Kenderesi (principal vocals, percussion)
This is very much weirder than its surprisingly conventional predecessor, with lots of glossolalia, singing bowls and electronic effects. Once again there’s a folky element to the sound, though this is much closer to jazz, and as with Earth Mother Sky Father there’s a lazy psychedelic haze enveloping most songs. Parts of the album fringe free-jazz, whilst others are minimalist and eerie; as a whole, it’s effective and quite varied, whilst rather inconsequential at the same time. GRADE: C+.
See also Danubians

Kane’s Cousins (USA): Under Gum Bubble Ground (Shove Love ST-9827, 1969)
Pop/Rock
This odd album mostly offers light rock with a satirical feel and falsetto vocals, interspersed with dialogue and skits. However, the disc closes with an excellent jazzy progressive instrumental with some searing guitar work, and is worth hearing for this alone. GRADE: C.

Kangaroo (USA): Kangaroo (MGM SE-4586, 1968)
Pop/Rock
Barbara Keith (occasional vocals)
This obscure band is chiefly remembered for including much-covered songwriter Barbara Keith in its line-up, but she doesn’t do much here, taking lead vocals on only two songs and writing just one. That sole composition, ‘Daydream Stallion’, is the album’s one classic – a stunning piece of dreamy psychedelia, and worth the price of the album alone. The remainder is amiable, melodic guitar-driven pop/rock, with one quirky foray into rural territory (‘Frog Giggin’’). GRADE: C+.
See also Barbara Keith, Stone Coyotes

Kangaroo Kourt (USA): Kangaroo Kourt (No label, 1988)
Avant-Garde/Industrial
Treva Dea
The husband-and-wife duo of Lee Blair and Treva Dea (though it’s not certain that Dea appears here at all) offer two side-long stabs of minimalist sonic experimentation. Side one delivers electronic and processed tones that echo endlessly: all very weird and cosmic and completely inconsequential. Side two is more upbeat, if that’s the right word, mixing stabs of synthesised sound with found voices and effects. Again, it doesn’t really do anything or go anywhere, so whilst it’s mildly intriguing it’s pretty insignificant. GRADE: C.
Kangaroo Kourt (USA): Interstellar Static From The Kangaroo Kourt (Castle 47345, clear vinyl, 1989)
Avant-Garde/Psychedelic
Treva Dea
Much more interesting than their first, this offers a long, Krautrock-like cosmic number on the first side that begins with ethereal vocals, moves through spacy synthesised tones and culminates in what sounds like a storm. The second side is scrappier, but nonetheless interesting, making for a unusual and minimalist LP. GRADE: C+.

Kangaroo Kourt (USA): Messages In Ether From The Kangaroo Kourt (Castle 49467, clear vinyl, 1989)
Avant-Garde/Psychedelic
Treva Dea
Their third album is slightly different yet again. Side one offers what sounds like sampled choirs bookending cacophonous sound effects to create a sort of ambient industrial twist on Popol Vuh’s ‘Aguirre’, whilst side two is a long, vaguely Oriental instrumental blending plucked strings with tinkling keyboards – pleasant, mildly hypnotic and completely insignificant. GRADE: C+.
Kangaroo Kourt (USA): Atmospheric Distortions From The Kangaroo Kourt (No label, 1991)
Avant-Garde/Industrial
Treva Dea
Side one returns Kangaroo Kourt to the borderline industrial style of their debut, with a series of skittering electronic tones that never coalesce into anything resembling music. Side two consists of a radio being tuned randomly, making it a treat for anyone who considers Yoko Ono’s ‘Radio Play’ to be a minor masterpiece. GRADE: E.
See also Mauve Sideshow

Kanguru (Australia): Dreaming (Ranger Recordings RRCS-2497, with insert, 1977)
World Music/Folk/Psychedelic
Oshia White (occasional vocals, dulcimer), Cléis Pearce (viola)
The subtitle ‘Evening of Dream Ragas’ tells you everything you need to know – this is dreamy, trippy Eastern instrumental music, comparable to Popol Vuh’s ethnic excursion or earlier American ventures like Children Of One. However, it’s uncommonly good, creating a haunting and sacred atmosphere that places in it a different class from the glut of broadly similar albums issued by various Eastern religious cults. The original private pressing (limited to 300 copies, with an unusual textured paste-on cover) is now extremely rare but a second pressing (Larrikin LRB096, 1980) is somewhat easier to find. GRADE: B–.
See also MacKenzie Theory, Cathie O’ Sullivan with Cléis Pearce, Max Ryan & Cléis Pearce

Paul Kantner & Jefferson Starship (USA): Blows Against The Empire (RCA LSP 4448, with inner and booklet, 1970)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Grace Slick (joint lead vocals, piano)
The packaging is amazing – a gatefold sleeve with silver foil inner panels, a printed inner sleeve and a lavish booklet full of illustrations by Grace Slick. So is the music, as you would expect from Kantner and Slick at their artistic peak, supported by an ever-changing cast of co-writers and musicians that reads like a Who’s Who of West Coast rock: Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, David Crosby, Jack Casady, Graham Nash, Mickey Hart, David Freiberg et al. The mood is quite different from any Jefferson Airplane album, with a dreamy, sketchy, impressionistic feel and strong acid-folk elements – but it easily equals the best of them. A handful of copies were issued on clear vinyl, apparently as a promotional item and allegedly containing a different mix (though this isn't at all evident from my copy). GRADE: A.
Paul Kantner & Grace Slick (USA): Sunfighter (Grunt FTR 1002, with inner and booklet, 1971)
Rock/Psychedelic
Grace Slick (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
If ever an album defined the word ‘synergy’, this is it. Taken individually, only two or three of the twelve tracks are truly world-class, but collectively they add up to one of my top ten albums of all time. Remarkably perceptive sequencing has much to do with it: it’s almost impossible to conceive of a more organic or natural flow than the first and last three tracks. The album transfixes from the first moment, with the crashing piano chord and muezzin-style wailing that opens ‘Silver Spoon’ (easily Grace Slick’s finest song) before the sound and fury ebbs away into a final, ominous bass note; this gives rise to the gentle, but still distinctly sinister, acoustic ballad ‘Diana (part one)’, which in turn is punctuated by the martial drums that open the powerful title track. At the other end, ‘Diana (part two)’ fuses the same melody to a completely different backing, made up of symphonic synthesisers; these reach a majestic climax before draining away into the much eerier electronic soundscape of ‘Universal Copernican Mumbles’; then, as its final notes skitter away, a warm piano riff opens the brilliant extended jam ‘Holding Together’. The packaging is the icing on the cake – a truly stunning gatefold depicting Kantner and Slick’s infant daughter China held aloft against a sunrise on the outside, and a psychedelic light display on the inner (not to mention both a printed inner sleeve and a thick booklet with some amusing Grace Slick drawings). To my mind, this is the best album to emerge from the Jefferson Airplane family, which is saying quite something. GRADE: A+.
Paul Kantner, Grace Slick & David Freiberg (USA): Baron Von Tollbooth And The Chrome Nun (Grunt BFL1-0148, with inner and insert, 1973)
Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive
Grace Slick (joint lead vocals, piano)
Three very weak cuts aside (two of them Freiberg’s only songwriting contributions, which has to say something), this is the final classic album from Kantner and Slick’s productive partnership. He’s in dreamy, über-psychedelic mood (‘Your Mind Has Left Your Body’, ‘White Boy’); she’s alternately moodily reflective (‘Fat’, with the Pointer Sisters on backing vocals), joyously profane (‘Across The Board’) and both profane and psychedelic (‘Fishman’). When they collaborate, it’s to create one of the most beautiful and uplifting songs to emerge from the West Coast, ‘Sketches Of China’. The more rock-based ‘Flowers Of The Night’, from their friend Jack Traylor, is brilliant too, with highly literate lyrics and an excellent extended coda with lots of Mellotron. In fact, prog fans could love this, as the instrument is all over the album. In 1973, it seemed that Slick and Kantner could do no wrong, and were incapable of making bad albums; the formation of Jefferson Starship the following year quickly demolished that proposition. GRADE: A–.
Paul Kantner (USA): The Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra (RCA AFL1-4320, with inner and insert, 1983)
Rock
Grace Slick (joint lead vocals, piano)
This may be credited as a Paul Kantner solo album, but it’s almost as much Slick’s LP: she shares lead vocals, co-writes several cuts and plays a little piano. It’s also the best album from Jefferson Airplane’s alumni in a decade, despite an inevitably silly concept (something about a band who transmit their music telepathically escaping into space) and some weak tracks thrown in purely to support the concept (‘Declaration Of Independence’, badly sung by Slick and Kantner’s daughter China). But notwithstanding some inevitable AOR tinges, it’s richly melodic and uplifting stuff, with some great harmony vocals, excellent compositions and a quintessential West Coast hippie undertone. GRADE: B.
See also Great Society, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Grace Slick, Starship

Kapel Maister (Argentina): Into Salvation (Mystic Empire/Icarus MYST CD 027, CD, Russian Federation, 2005)
Metal/Progressive
Mariela Lemos (joint lead vocals), Luciana Quierolo (joint lead vocals)
With a flashy guitarist and not one but two soprano singers, this one-shot Argentine band sounds like Nightwish and countless other (and better) European outfits on the power metal sections, but the more restrained keyboard-based neoclassical and symphonic passages are more interesting. GRADE: C+.

Kaprekar’s Constant (UK): Fate Outsmarts Desire (Uranium Club UC92002, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2017)
Progressive
Dorie Jackson (occasional vocals)
With a line-up including Van der Graaff Generator’s David Jackson and Level 42’s Phil Gould, Kaprekar’s Constant’s debut album could have offered a bizarre mix of prog and jazz-funk. Instead, it’s obvious from ‘Blue Bird’ that their major influence is Big Big Train, with the same narrative approach, pastoral moods and über-Englishness. At times this almost sounds like a pastiche of their work, but it’s a nice mellow album in its own right. GRADE: C+.

Kaprekar’s Constant (UK): Boederij – Official Bootleg (Uranium Club UC92002, DVDR, with gatefold minisleeve, inserts and box, some with autographed Christmas card, 2018)
Rock/Progressive
Dorie Jackson (occasional vocals, bell)
It may be a DVDR, but there’s nothing ‘bootleg’ about this release, which captures the band’s entire performance at the Boederij (all three songs and 24 minutes of it) in excellent audio and video quality. As with their studio album, their music reminds me of Big Big Train, showcasing the same kind of mellow, pastoral, quintessentially English soft rock and prog. Bonus material includes a promo video and audio-only mixes of the three live songs, completing a nice package. GRADE: C+.

Kaprekar’s Constant (UK): Depth Of Field (Talking Elephant TECD434, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2019)
Progressive
Dorie Jackson (joint lead vocals)
It’s always unfair to judge one band’s music in terms of another’s, but once again Kaprekar’s Constant’s music can largely be summed up in three words: Big Big Train. Both the narrative lyrics and mellow pastoral prog draw heavily on that band’s music, though at times Kaprekar’s Constant are folkier and at others jazzier than their mentors. Like a lot of Big Big Train’s work, this is charming, melodic and beautifully crafted; whether it’s particularly compelling is a different matter entirely. GRADE: C+.

Kaprekar’s Constant (UK): The Murder Wall (Talking Elephant TECD472, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2022)
Rock/Progressive
Dorie Jackson (joint lead vocals)
The Murder Wall has a fascinating concept (concerning scaling the North face of the Eiger), intriguing lyrics and excellent packaging. But whereas extreme mountain climbing is one of the ultimate white-knuckle experiences, the actual music – pleasant, well-crafted soft rock with some progressive edges – is more like a day in bed under the eiderdown. GRADE: C+.

Kara (UK): Kara (Homeland Hr01, CD, 2005)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Kirsta Johnston (principal vocals, keyboards, flute, recorder)
For the most part, this is soft, folky neoprogressive in a style similar to Karnataka or the gentler side of Mostly Autumn. However, a superb instrumental version of ‘She Moved Through The Fair’ takes them closer to electric folk outfits like Magicfolk (with whom band member Colin Mold later guested) or Morrigan. Overall, this is a lovely and relaxing album, if a little slight and low-budget. Kirsta Johnston had previously been a member of the Total Aberdeen Youth Choir, with whom she cut an album of hymns entitled My Song Is Love. GRADE: C+.

Karavan (West Germany): Lübeck (No label 325 091, 1981?)
Rock
Luise Frison (joint lead vocals)
The subtitle ‘Russische Songs’ indicates the nature of this rather peculiar LP, which mostly reinterprets traditional Russian folk songs in a light, breezy rock style. Much of the album is quite mediocre, but there are also some pretty good numbers. GRADE: C.

Karda Estra (UK): A Winter In Summertime (No Image NICD12, CD, 1998)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals, recorder), Zoë King (flute, clarinet), Rachel Larkins (viola)
The remarkably short (27 minutes) A Winter In Summertime saw the band formerly known as Lives & Times return in a very different new guise. Gone are the lo-fi gothic pop songs of old, replacement by darkly atmospheric symphonic pieces with strong classical undertones and wordless vocals. It’s still a bit low-budget and not that well edited, but the music here is well-crafted, dark and atmospheric, with some interesting instrumental textures. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Thirteen From The Twenty First (No Image NICD13, CD, 2000)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute, clarinet), Rachel Larkins (violin, viola), Caron Hansford (bassoon, oboe, cor anglais)
Karda Estra’s classical ambitions are obvious on their more substantial second album, which has nearly twice the playing time of its predecessor. The disc is divided into three sections: ‘Surrealisms’, ‘Miniatures’ and ‘Soundtracks’; the former features brighter and more pastoral music than their debut, but the album becomes darker as it progresses, with clear influences from Ligeti in a couple of places. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Eve (Cyclops CYCL 104, CD, 2001)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute, clarinet), Rachel Larkins (violin, viola), Helen Dearnley (violin), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
Inspired by the 1886 short story ‘The Future Eve’, this offers the band’s usual haunting, richly textured neoclassical music. As on their first two releases, the keyboards, winds, violins and wordless vocals work beautifully together, creating an excellent album with a very filmic mood. GRADE: B–.
Artemiy Artemiev & Karda Estra (Russian Federation/UK): Equilibrium (Electroshock ELCD 031, CD, Russian Federation, 2002)
Progressive/Psychedelic/Industrial/Avant-Garde
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
This collaboration with Russian electronic composer Artemiy Artemiev (son o composer Eduard Artemiev, who created the excellent Warmth Of Earth) is rather different from a normal Karda Estra album. Woodwinds are largely replaced by minimalist electronics, with the whole thing sounding like a vast cosmic opus with subtle industrial undertones – the perfect soundtrack to a weird and austere arthouse science fiction film. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Constellations (Cyclops CYCL 130, CD, 2003)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute), Rachel Larkins (viola), Sarah Higgins (cello), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
Returning Karda Estra to more familiar pastoral, faintly gothic, neoclassical territory, Constellations (as its name suggests) offers ‘music inspired by space and time’. Ironically it’s a lot less cosmic than its predecessor, but it’s also much shorter and more concise, making for one of their best outings. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Voivode Dracula (Cyclops CYCL 143, CD, 2004)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute, clarinet), Helen Dearnley (violin), Michelle Williams (clarinet), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
As the title suggests, the music here was inspired by Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’.  By this point in the band’s career, they had an established style, and this doesn’t represent any deviation from their previous work (except of course Equilibrium). Nonetheless, I like what they do and this is as well-crafted and uncompromising as ever. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): The Age Of Science And Enlightenment (Cyclops CYCL 158, CD, 2006)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute), Helen Dearnley (violin), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)

I’m not sure what the overriding concept of this set is, and the cryptic track titles give no clue. However, this is another richly crafted, atmospheric LP in the band’s usual neoclassical vein. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): The Last Of The Libertine (Cyclops CYCL 163, CD, 2007)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute), Louise Hirst (trumpet), Helen Dearnley (violin), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
A lot more uptempo than the band’s usual work, this still displays most of their sonic hallmarks, including the wordless vocals, light classical mood and rich wind arrangements. At the same time, there are significant rock touches too, including some electric guitar, making this the great album that Lives & Times never quite made. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Weird Tales (Cyclops CYCL 171, CD, 2009)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute), Amy Hedges (saxophone, clarinet), Helen Dearnley (violin), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
The album opens in a heavy progressive bein, making one think that Karda Estra have changed direction completely, though it quickly settles down into their customary style. Don Falcone and Bridget Wishart of Spirits Burning co-write and play on ‘The Eye Of Silence’, though it’s not noticeably any different from the other cuts. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): New Worlds (Download, 2011)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Amy Hedges (saxophone, clarinet), Helen Dearnley (violin), Caron Hansford (oboe)
With a procession of short pieces and significant rock elements, this recalls Lives & Times even more strongly than The Last Of The Libertine. Unlike Lives & Times, there are no actual songs and the music doesn’t have the same low-budget, unfinished feel, so this is another enjoyable LP. Once again, Falcone and Wishart make an appearance on one track. As a footnote, this was originally released only as a download; two years later, the entire album was included as a bonus on the Mondo Profondo CD. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Mondo Profondo (Believers’ Roast BR011, CD, 2013)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Helen Dearnley (violin), Amy Hedges (clarinet)
The opening ‘On Those Cloudy Days’ is much darker than anything on the band’s last few albums; some of the subsequent cuts are more uptempo, but this is overall a more intense LP than New Worlds, with a return to fewer, longer tracks. The result is a step up from its predecessor and another very creative set. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Strange Relations (Believers’ Roast BR016, CD, 2015)
Progressive/Jazz
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Amy Fry (saxophone, clarinet), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
Much jazzier than Karda Estra’s usual fare, Strange Relations hints towards a Canterbury sound, with echoes of any number of British and French seventies acts. With a typically dark atmosphere and some varied soundscapes, it’s another accomplished addition to the band’s catalogue. GRADE: B–.

Karda Estra (UK): The Seas And The Stars (No Image NI CDR 18, CDR, with minisleeve and autographed postcard, 2015)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Amy Fry (saxophone, flute, clarinet)
This is a change of approach from Karda Estra, with a switch from full albums to EPs (in this case running for 20 minutes). There’s no change in musical style, however, with plenty of their usual haunting, neoclassical, mainly instrumental music – and no drop in quality either. The physical release was limited to a mere 51 copies, complete with a signed postcard. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): Future Sounds (No Image NI CDR 20, CDR, with minisleeve and autographed postcard, 2015)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (occasional vocals), Amy Fry (clarinet)
The second instalment in the series is a comparative epic, running for 25 minutes, and musically slightly different, with more of a rock and jazz orientation. If you forced me to choose a favourite, I’d probably pick The Seas And The Stars, but they’re both excellent. The two EPs were subsequently compiled into the album Time And Stars (Believers’ Roast BR019, 2016). GRADE: B–.

Karda Estra (UK): Infernal Spheres (Believers’ Roast BR020, CD, with autographed postcards, 2017)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Amy Fry (saxophone, clarinet), Helen Dearnley (violin), Jo Court (clarinet), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
Karda Estra’s first full-length album in a while is a bit of a grab-bag: some pieces are wistful, some are dark, some are jazzy, several are (uncharacteristically) cheerful and even whimsical. The one constant is that they’re all very effective. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): The Land Of Ghosts 3 (No Image NI CDR 16, CDR, with minisleeve, 2012, recorded 2003 to 2011)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute, clarinet), Rachel Larkins (violin, viola), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
This short sampler (four cuts in 21 minutes) features contributions to two Cyclops Records samplers, a track from an Edgar Allan Poe-themed compilation and a previously unreleased minute-long classical guitar solo. Whilst short, this showcases Karda Estra at their most epic and is an impressive addendum to their discography. GRADE: B–.
Karda Estra (UK): The Compact Land Of Ghosts 1 & 2 (No Image NI CDR 17, CDR, with minisleeve, 2015, recorded 1990 to 2004)
Progressive
Ileesha Bailey (lead vocals), Zoë King (saxophone, flute, clarinet), Rachel Larkins (violin, viola), Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais)
According to the band’s own blurb, this is ‘a collection of early archive, non-album pieces, sketches, soundtracks and experiments, plus “proto-Karda Estra” tracks from Richard Wileman’s previous projects Lives & Times and A New Idea Of Heaven’. Over the course of 76 minutes, the resulting album demonstrates most facets of Richard Wileman’s composing talents, creating a useful sampler including a substantial number of rare and unreleased tracks. Once again, this was a very limited edition of just 50 copies and rather oddly was released three years after The Land Of Ghosts 3, despite containing mostly earlier material. GRADE: B–.
See also Lives & Times

Karitsat (USA): Jeesus-Rock! (Finnlevy SFLP 8520, Finland, 1972)
Rock
Mary Damrow, Lisa Carrothers
The American Christian band was actually called Sheep, but adopted the Finnish translation of its name in order to issue this rare LP over there. Side one consists of good self-penned material sung in English, varying slightly garagy rockers and lighter folky numbers. In contrast, side two consists of cover versions mostly sung in Finnish and isn’t as effective, with a rather MOR flavour. The band’s heartfelt monologues on ‘Hallelujah’ represent a particular lowpoint, with only the impassioned ‘Stephen’ really working well. They later issued a second album under their real name and participated in the Lonesome Stone project. GRADE: C+.
See also Lonestome Stone, Sheep

Karlis (USA): Naked Lies (Perpendicular, 1994)
Psychedelic
Kathleen Karlis (principal vocals, synthesiser), Maralee Ash (occasional vocals, keyboards)
Although not particularly expensive, this is an extremely rare LP – it took me literally years to find my copy. Musically, it’s a mixture of guitar-led garage rock and more avant-garde keyboard-based music, with the latter material generally being superior. GRADE: C+.

Karmamoi (Italy): Karmamoi (Crisálide Music, CD, 2011)
Rock/Progressive/Metal
Sérena Ciacci (lead vocals)
Mixing mainstream rock, a few symphonic progressive toucnes and some heavy rock, with a very song-based style, this reminds me of several contemporary South American bands rather than anything Italian. Very understated and far from ambitious, it’s nonetheless well crafted and enjoyable. GRADE: C+.

Karmamoi (Italy): Entre Chien Et Loup (Crisálide Music, CD, with minisleeve, 2012)
Folk/Rock
Sérena Ciacci (lead vocals)
Why the French title, I have no idea, but this EP contains semi-acoustic reworkings of four numbers from their first album, plus one new song. With bluesy and jazzy edges here and there, and some nice acoustic guitar and mandolin work, it’s a pleasant set, culminating in the heavier rocker ‘Stesa’. GRADE: C+.
Karmamoi (Italy): Odd Trip (Crisálide Music KO1, CD, with digipak, 2013)
Progressive/Metal
Sérena Ciacci (lead vocals)
The cover of Karmamoi’s second full-length album suggests they’ve gone space-rock, whilst the title might imply psychedelia. In fact, this is similar to their first album, though heavier in parts, offering similar symphonic metal that once again doesn’t sound particularly Italian. GRADE: C+.

Karmamoi (Italy): Silence Between Sounds (No label K02, CD, with digipak, 2016)
Progressive
Sara Rinaldi (joint lead vocals), Sérena Ciacci (occasional vocals), Irene Morelli (occasional vocals), Hellena (occasional vocals)
Once again, they’re offering elegant song-based prog, alternating stately symphonic passages with heavy rock (and throwing a few electronics into the mix). The results aren’t hugely memorable, but they’re pretty accomplished and highly listenable, hinting towards the modern prog style of outfits like Frequency Drift. GRADE: C+.
Karmamoi (Italy): The Day Is Done (Sonic Bond Sound CD 11, CD, with digipak, 2018)
Progressive
Sara Rinaldi (principal vocals)
Once again, this is of that modern (postmodern?) prog style that focuses on shifts of mood rather than tempo, alternating ethereal song-based sections with heavier instrumental sections. Again, it all works well; again, it’s all very understated. GRADE: C+.

Karmamoi (Italy): Room 101 (No label, CD, 2021)
Progressive/Metal
Sara Rinaldi (lead vocals)
Karmamoi are a difficult band to review, though it’s arguably their music’s gauziness that in itself makes them distinctive. This concept album (no prizes for guessing the inspiration) is suitably spacy and atmospheric; it can riff effectively, bordering full-blown metal; and it soars in all the right places, once or twice really catching fire. But despite the high level of craft, it's typical of a lot of modern prog – by which I mean the post-post-Anekdoten stuff, not neoprog – in that it's all texture and mood, without much emphasis on hooks, so it falls just short of a B–. GRADE: C+.

Karnataka (UK): Karnataka (Karnataka KTKCD001, CD, 1998)
Rock
Rachel Jones (lead vocals)
Despite the running times – four of the eight tracks clock in at over seven minutes – this is not progressive rock, despite a fondness for symphonic keyboards and lengthy guitar solos. Instead Karnataka offer portentous stadium rock, with a muddy and lo-fi sound, crashing drums, squalling guitars and very little in the way of dynamics or variety. It’s not exactly bad but it’s all utterly generic, making this a rather underwhelming debut. GRADE: C.

Karnataka (UK): The Storm (Immrama KTKCD002, CD, 2000)
Rock/Progressive
Rachel Jones (lead vocals)
This has both better recording quality and much better songs than their first. It’s musically very different too, dropping most of the hard rock leanings for a mellower Celtic-influenced sound, often resembling a more rock-oriented Clannad. It’s still far from original or genuinely progressive, and there’s only one really great composition (the catchy ‘Dreamer’) but as soft rock goes this is pretty good. GRADE: C+.
Karnataka (UK): In Concert (Classic Rock Legends CRL0938 PAL, DVD, 2002)
Rock/Progressive
Rachel Jones (lead vocals, tambourine), Anne-Marie Helder (tambourine, flute, backing vocals)
Like their albums, this is competent and polished without being especially exciting. Whilst they’re clearly a good act live, there isn’t much variety on offer and after a while their slickness becomes a disadvantage as well as a bonus. GRADE: C+.
Karnataka (UK): Delicate Flame Of Desire (Immrama KTKCD003, CD, 2003)
Rock/Progressive
Rachel Jones (lead vocals, percussion), Anne-Marie Helder (percussion, flute, backing vocals)
A self-conscious attempt to make a more progressive album, this is certainly their most mature work to date. However, it’s not an adventurous record or one that transcends its influences: for the most part, it sounds like a hybrid of Clannad and eighties Renaissance with Dave Gilmour on guitar. That’s when it’s not sounding like the cheesy, ‘uplifting’ music to a TV commercial, as it does on the opening cut. GRADE: C+.
Karnataka (UK): Live In The USA (Classic Rock Legends CRL 1083 PAL, DVD, 2003)
Rock/Progressive
Rachel Jones (lead vocals, percussion), Anne-Marie Helder (percussion, flute, backing vocals)
Like their other DVD, this is a polished and professional show, but decidedly short on excitement. Very soon, the songs all merge into one another, creating a bland and homogenous listening experience. GRADE: C+.
Karnataka (UK): Strange Behaviour (Immrama KTK CD 004, double CD, 2004)
Rock/Progressive
Rachel Jones (lead vocals, percussion), Anne-Marie Helder (percussion, flute, shawm, backing vocals)
This live double album marked the last gasp of the original line-up, with Rachel Jones heading off to the Reasoning and Anne-Marie Helder to Mostly Autumn, Panic Room, Parade and solo work. They were reputed to be an outstanding live act, and this album has a muscular enough sound, but its 19 tracks – some of them very lengthy – clearly indicate their lack of variety. As a result, the set feels almost interminable. GRADE: C.
Karnataka (UK): Gathering Light (Immrama CD005, CD, 2010)
Progressive
Lisa Fury (lead vocals, percussion)
Their first studio album in seven years retains only one link with their original incarnation – multi-instrumentalist Ian Jones. They’re still recognisable as the same band, but they’ve matured considerably, with a much more progressive, complex and rocking sound akin to Magenta or Mostly Autumn (and with the ubiquitous Troy Donockley adding his equally ubiquitous uileann pipes). The standard of songwriting is much improved too, making this by far their best album – overall it’s good, but the lack of originality and some rather average musicianship (notable during the tempo changes) means it falls short of being great. GRADE: C+.
Karnataka (UK): New Light (Immrama KTBR001, Blu-Ray, with insert, 2012)
Rock/Progressive
Hayley Griffiths (lead vocals)
This live set is recorded with yet another female singer, who has a rather Annie Haslam-like voice, adding something of a Renaissance feel to the proceedings. The concert is well-staged, including some good effects, and very well recorded and filmed, but as usual their music is rather soporific, with the occasional moments of rock energy providing welcome respite. The bonus material comprises band interviews and a photo gallery. GRADE: C+.
Karnataka (UK): New Light (Immrama KTKCD006, double CD, 2012)
Rock/Progressive
Hayley Griffiths (lead vocals)
The audio version of the show confirms that their material is pleasant and mellifluous, with good singing and musicianship, but all a little one-paced. They’re good at what they do, for sure, but would probably benefit from learning a few new tricks. GRADE: C+.

Karnataka (UK/Italy/Turkey): Secrets Of Angels (Immrama KTK CD007, CD plus DVD, with digipak and booklet, UK, 2015)
Progressive/Metal
Hayley Griffiths (lead vocals)
Radically different from anything they’d done before, this sees Karnataka adopting an epic metal-tinged sound, with prominent orchestrations throughout. The spectre of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ hangs heavy over proceedings, particularly on the opening ‘Road To Cairo’ whilst they stretch out and leave their comfort zone on the closing twenty-minute title track. Arguably they don’t have the tunes to match their arrangements, but this is a good album by any standard and a huge leap forward from their earlier work. The bonus DVD offers a ‘making of’ feature, picture gallery and three live performances of album tracks. GRADE: C+.

Karnataka (UK/Italy/Turkey): Secrets Of Angels – Live In Concert (Immrama KTKDVD002, DVD, 2018)
Rock/Progressive/Metal
Hayley Griffiths (lead vocals)
With their new line-up, Karnataka are a band transformed: whereas their previous live DVDs were mellow and sophisticated and soporific, this time they’re playing like they’re possessed. The icing on the cake is Hayley Griffiths (now sadly departed), who is clearly the best frontwoman they have ever had. One weakness remains: their material. The new stuff, heavily informed by ‘Kashmir’ (which they actually perform as the encore), strongly outclasses the old, but all these years on their best song is still ‘Dreamer’ (and it seems they know it too, given the way they milk the ending). Nonetheless, whilst they’re still a decidedly average band, this is – particularly by their usual standards – an exceptional performance. GRADE: B–.
Karnataka (UK/Italy/Turkey): Secrets Of Angels – Live In Concert (Immrama KTKCD008, double CD, 2018)
Rock/Progressive/Metal
Hayley Griffiths (lead vocals)
Without the visuals, this is more a C+ than a B– but even so, Karnataka’s revitalisation is obvious and their new material stands heads and shoulders above their old. Hayley Griffiths’s class also clearly shows through, making it more of a pity that she’s now apparently moved on. GRADE: C+.
See also Hayley Griffiths, Anne-Marie Helder, Last Knight, Luna Rossa, Mostly Autumn, Panic Room, Parade, Reasoning

Kathy (USA): Kathy (Le Chant Du Monde LDX 74533, France, 1973)
Folk
Kathy Lowe (lead vocals, dulcimer)
For her solo album Kathy Lowe is again helped out by Pat Woods, who plays guitar and wrote the opening song. Most of the remainder is self-penned, with simple acoustic backing creating a rather different feel to the more experimental Country Show. It’s a pleasant enough LP, but her rather shaky, quavering singing could either delight or repel listeners. GRADE: C.
See also Pat Woods & Kathy Lowe

Kathy & Gulliver (USA/Italy): Kathy And Gulliver (RCA PSL 10553, Italy, 1972)
Folk/Pop
Kathy Vergani
This folk/pop album has a lovely cover and a varied selection of tracks, with backing ranging from fuzz guitar to strings. Side one is very middle-of-the-road and marred by a few rather twee and precious cuts, but side two is solid throughout, peaking on the heavier, mildly psychedelic ‘Sixteen Dandelions (And Clover Leaves)’. GRADE: C+.

Maria Katira & Yiannis Dimitris (Greece): Erana (EMI Columbia 14C 062-70895, 1978)
Folk/Rock
Recorded between 1970 and 1973 but not released until 1978, this compiles separate and duo recordings by Katira and Dimitris. Musically it’s richly melodic orchestrated folk/rock with a very Greek feel and a subtle psychedelic edge. Despite its major label status, this is one of the rarest albums from Greece, consistently selling for several hundred pounds. GRADE: C+.

Kauhukakara (Finland): Taistelu Pahoja Kelloja Vastaan (Eclipse Music ECD-200801, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2008)
Jazz/Folk/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Anni Elif Egecioglu (principal vocals, percussion, cello)
Mostly operating at the lighter, chintzier end of RIO, this intricate album blends influences from jazz, modern classical, mediaeval folk and the avant-garde into light and playful soundscapes. Whilst a little rock dynamism would not have gone amiss, there is some excellent music on offer here. Two of the band’s four members also recorded as Elifantree. GRADE: B–.
Kauhukakara (Finland): Eläinten Fanfaari (Eclipse Music ECD-20111, with digipak, 2011)
Jazz/Folk/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Anni Elif Egecioglu (principal vocals, keyboards, percussion, cello)
Like their debut, this is gentle, playful RIO, drawing heavily from chamber music and other classical sources. Once again, it’s an excellent and very varied LP with some delightfully atmospheric and intricate moments. GRADE: B–.
See also Elifantree

Jutta & Michael Kausch (West Germany): Bitte, Nicht Stürzen (Polydor 2371 369, 1973)
Folk
Jutta Kausch (joint lead vocals)
This is a lovely album of baroque folk, with all-original material by Michael Kausch. His gentle, undemanding short songs cover a range of styles, at times hinting at everyone from Bröselmaschine, Ougenweide and Sounds Of Mac Murrough through to Made In Germany-era Amon Düül II (the waltz-flavoured opener ‘Das Lied Von Der Treeue’). To these ears, the LP would have been immeasurably improved with some longer, more involved compositions and with some rock elements to counterbalance the very sweet moods, but it’s still a truly charming disc. GRADE: B–.
Jutta & Michael Kausch (West Germany): …Ganz Alleine Mag Ich Nicht (Polydor 2371 474, with insert, 1974)
Folk
Jutta Kausch (principal vocals)
Their second and final album is as beatific as their first, with some interesting arrangement touches, although several songs simply use acoustic guitar. However, accomplished as it is, it doesn’t add much to the impression created by their first, and I find this the less enjoyable of their two releases. GRADE: C+.