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Kaipa - 'Vittjar' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     November 06, 2012    
 
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For those with a love of warm, sophisticated prog.

Swedish progressive rockers Kaipa have a lengthy history that dates back to the 70s when their line-up for a time included the young Roine Stolt, later to become widely embraced in prog circles and beyond for his work with The Flower Kings and Transatlantic. The 80s saw Kaipa begin a two decade hiatus until vocalist, keyboardist and founder member Hans Lundin surprisingly reactivated the band for 2002s ‘Notes From The Past’. New album ‘Vittjar’, their twelfth studio release, finds Kaipa on the Inside Out label and the current incarnation includes Scar Symmetry guitarist Per Nilsson and bassist Jonas Reingold of both The Flower Kings and Karmakanic.

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Interviewed elsewhere in this issue of Fireworks, Lundin attests that the influence of traditional folk music from his native country is very much felt at the heart of ‘Vittjar’, accompanied of course by the prog rock trademark of lengthy instrumental interludes that includes regular shifts in pace, rhythm and tempo. The Swedish sung title track is a perfect example of the organic fluidity that runs throughout; indeed each of the musicians recorded all of their parts individually at separate studios which could have made for a disjointed end result but instead the material seems to seamlessly gel together. Encompassing many different styles and flavours across the likes of the reggae tinged ‘Treasure House’ and the urgent ‘The Crowned Hillsides’ there is an array of creativity and different techniques to be found across each of the tracks. Clocking in at more than twenty minutes is the expansive ‘Our Silent Ballroom Band’; dramatic, powerful and emotional in equal measure it takes the listener on an adventurous musical journey of truly epic proportions.

Nilsson, renowned for some dark and sinister solos and riffs with Scar Symmetry, reins in his more metallic tendencies and no one member of the band is allowed to dominate. Lundin is clearly the integral member of Kaipa and has his fingers firmly on the controls but allows the rest of the band the freedom to express themselves accordingly. With a lot of the mainland European prog bands the vocals are unique and may take some getting use to and the voice of Aleena Gibson is no exception to this; indeed some may well consider her style to be a little harsh or jarring when set against the backdrop of what is largely an uplifting and feel-good journey that twists and turns at regular intervals.

Those with a love of warm, sophisticated prog and bands such as the Annie Haslam fronted Renaissance will certainly find much of interest here.

Dean Pedley

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