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Kedama — Live at Sunrise Studios
(Black Rills 10, 1977/1999, CD)

by Dean Suzuki, Published 2000-10-01

Live at Sunrise Studios Cover art

Keyboard lovin’ progsters will want to search this one out. Kedama, a trio of keyboards, including the mighty Hammond B3, the beloved Mellotron, Mini Moog synthesizer, a period instrument if there ever was one, plus Farfisa “home organ,” electric piano, and acoustic piano, Les Paul guitar with a Big Muff distortion unit, and drums, pumps out prime instrumental progressive rock that belies its relatively late recording date, between 1976 and 1977. Guitarist Christian Linder owes a small debt to Fripp’s guitar tone, but Linder’s is grittier and his style less idiosyncratic. Keyboardist Richard Rothenberger is the archetypal progressive key-meister, though less virtuosic than an Emerson or Wakeman. His musical maneuvers are closer to Emerson’s, as he favors more angular lines, more modernist chords and harmonic sequences, and the disjunct arpeggios, not to mention a flair for a variety of keyboard colors. Kedama juxtaposes the heavy with the more dreamy or lyrical passages, though he favors the more aggressive, even brutal approach. Indeed, the Emerson link can be extended; Kedama is much closer in style and musical temperament to Emerson, Lake & Palmer than Yes, though it is unlikely that anyone would mistake Kedama for ELP. In addition to the original four tracks released on vinyl, this CD features another album’s worth of bonus tracks, including five from 1977, plus two more recorded in 1973 and taken from what appears to be a sampler album entitled Perspectives. By the way, audiophiles take note: the album title is significant, in that Sunrise Studios used the then up-to-the-minute recording technique known as the Artificial Head capturing what is supposed to be accurate stereo as heard through an anatomically correct head with microphones within the artificial ear (at the expense, however, of a full, resonant sound). On all fronts, an exceptional prog nugget from the vaults.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 20, 1999 releases, 1977 recordings

Related artist(s): Kedama

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