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

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Aegis Integer - Sand Timer – This California trio seems to have sprung fully formed from the brow of some musical god. The music is undeniably "progressive" in a number of ways, but rarely reminds me more than very...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues