Exposé Online banner

Karda Estra — Mondo Profondo / New Worlds
(Believers Roast BR001, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-07-23

Mondo Profondo / New Worlds Cover artAfter a dozen or so releases, Karda Estra continues to revise and fine tune a sound that is expressive, angular, and uncommonly beautiful. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Wileman has chosen a path that eschews all of the common trappings of the rock idiom, perfecting a profile that lies midway between symphonic rock and a modern chamber sound, lushly orchestrated with violins, double-reeds, flute, clarinet, saxes, voice and more, in addition to Wileman’s guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, kalimba and percussion. Compositions typically involve strange and unusual melodic juxtapositions woven with surprise and enchantment, and for the most part shun any semblance of a rock beat – the lineup is essentially drummerless (although guest players contribute drums on one track). For those who need comparisons, the closest might be the early works of The Enid (their first four or five albums) but without the bombast, grandeur and symphonic overkill, mixed with the guitar classicism of Steve Hackett. The sound isn’t always dark a-la Univers Zero, nor is it always bright and cheerful, but it does encompass elements of both while often taking on an other-worldly character. Mondo Profondo features a number of collaborators, including the regular Karda Estra crew (Ileesha Bailey, Caron Hansford, Amy Hedges, Zoë Josey and Helen Dearnley), but we also find Kavus Torabi (Guapo), Matt Baber (Sanguine Hum), Phil Mercy (Thieves’ Kitchen), Stu Rowe, Marco Bernard, and others collaborating, track depending. Also included on this CD release is New Worlds, Karda Estra’s 2011 release heretofore only available as a download, The flavor of the twelve cuts on New Worlds is similar, perhaps slightly more serene and dreamy at times, and more edgy and avant-garde at others, and also features collaborations with Torabi and Rowe, plus Don Falcone (Spirits Burning) and Bridget Wishart (Hawkwind). All taken, this disc is a seriously enjoyable listen that’s in a class of its own.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Karda Estra / Richard Wileman

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gogglesphere & Lafcadio - Babies in Hell & Sham Duvet – One might ask why these two discs are being addressed in the same review; it’s because both Gogglesphere and Lafcadio are essentially the same band – or that is to say they have the same...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues