Karakorum — Fables and Fairytales
(Tonzonen TON058, 2019, CD / LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-08-18
With their second album, Karakorum further develops an interesting combination of progressive rock influences that’s quite distinctive. The title Fables and Fairytales may hint at some kind of airy-fairy nonsense, but in this case it’s more indicative of humor and irony than dwelling in realms of fantasy — I don’t think anyone serious about the universal truth behind myths would call a track “Smegmahood.” The three tracks on the album range from nine minutes to 23, and all of them are chock full of a dizzying array of styles and sounds. At one moment, you’re hearing cosmic blues rock reminiscent of classic Nektar, then you get a heavy organ section the brings to mind Uriah Heep, then some complex vocal harmonies that clearly relate to Gentle Giant, then a bit of goofy space-jester frivolity harking back to Gong’s pothead pixies. But wait — there’s more! Too much is never enough for these guys, but somehow they manage to hold it all together. “Fairytales” is the side-long epic here, and it starts with a quiet, spaced-out throbbing rhythm underpinning flights of Middle-Eastern inspired wordless vocalization. But of course there’s much more to it than that, and it develops into a dramatic march rhythm, then a slower melodic section, finishing off with a propulsive arrangement featuring mallet percussion. Fables and Fairytales certainly isn’t for listeners looking for a quick thrill, but patience is rewarded with these imaginative compositions.
Related artist(s): Karakorum
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