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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Karfagen - Messages from Afar: First Contact - 2017

“... a high quality album full of wonderful melodies ...”
As you will know, Karfagen is one of the many projects of composer, musician, producer Antony Kalugin who was born in Ukraine. This ninth Karfagen album is a special one. The album entitled “Messages from Afar: First Contact” is a special concept album, that’s divided into 2 chapters. The 1st is made by Karfagen and the 2nd under the name of one of the other projects of Antony, Sunchild. “Messages from Afar” is released on the Caerilly Music label and is packed in a beautiful digipak with artwork of painter Igor Sokolskiy. This digipak includes also a lovely full size poster. Nice to see your own name in the Thank You section of the digipak, but what about the music?
Antony Kalugin - keyboards, vocals, percussion; Max Velychko - electric & acoustic guitars; Kostya Shepelenko - drums; Oleg Prokhorov - bass; Olha Rostovska - vocals, keyboards; Michail Sidorenko - alt saxophone 

Synths used on this record:
Korg Triton Extreme, Prophecy, M50, Roland V-synth, JV-90, JV-1010, Alesis Micron, VSTi-Hypersonic 2

Max plays on Carvin guitars
This first part of the concept is divided into three sections with the names “Message I”, “Message II ”and “Message III”.

“Message I” includes the parts “First Contact”, “Foreign Land” and “Curious Talk”. “First Contact” is a wonderful and melodic piece of music with a jazzy bass, great guitar work and lots of keyboards. The music is melodic and keyboard drenched. It is a kind of mix between Neo-Prog and Symphonic Rock. If you want references, I had to think of Dave Kerzner, Camel and a little bit of Floyd. The song seamlessly flows into the “Foreign Land” part. The saxophone and the guitar work gives this part a more mellow and jazzy atmosphere. This part is more guitar oriented. People who have read my review of the Inside The Music album “Wizard’s Eye” know already that Max Velychko is a wonderful and very talented guitar player. Besides all the beautiful keyboard stuff of Antony and Olha, you can find amazing guitar work on this fine album. After the first two parts with a duration of about seven minutes each, the last part “Curious Talk” is with three and a half minutes a lot shorter. The end is very beautiful with melodic guitar and keyboards that are melting together. The wordless vocals of Olha increase the atmosphere of the music.

The section “Message II” has five parts; “Volcano Rabbit & the Frog”, “Faces in the Clouds”, “Vale Of Dreams”, “Golden Fields Of Rye” and “Riding on a Rainbow”.

“Volcano Rabbit and the Frog” is an uptempo piece of music with some old school Neo Prog and spacey synth sounds. The interaction between the keyboards and the guitar works very well. In “Faces in the Clouds” the band slows down a little bit with romantic piano parts and beautiful melodic guitar work. It seamlessly flows into “Vale of Dreams”. A part with nice keyboard melodies and remarkable guitar work. The guitar playing of Max enriches the music of Karfagen. “Vale of Dreams” develops into one of my personal favorite tracks. What a lovely melodies, this is pure bliss. After these great 8 minutes of melodic Prog the section “Message II” closes with two shorter parts. The first one is called “Golden Fields Of Rye” and exists out of a beautiful piano and Mellotron part. This flows into “Riding on a Rainbow” where the keyboards are joined by the guitar. In these three last parts “Vale Of Dreams”, “Golden Fields Of Rye” and “Riding on a Rainbow” you can find the most beautiful melodies. So the last parts of the “Message II” section are very strong.

It all comes together in “Message III” which is made up of one long (15:45) piece of music entitled “Constant Flow”. Love the little references to the work of Camel and Genesis. Especially in the keyboard sounds you will notice this. For example the sounds that reminds me of my favorite Camel album Moonmadness. Together with the last three parts of “Message II” this “Message III” (“Constant Flow”] is definitely the highlight of the album for me.
Well what can I say more. With “Messages from Afar: First Contact” Karfagen delivers again a high quality album full of wonderful melodies. The keyboard and guitar work on this album is remarkable. The album sounds as a modern and fresh tribute to the sounds of the seventies. Musically speaking the album resides in the world of mellow and melodic Neo-Prog and Symphonic Rock with some jazzy guitar injections by maestro Max Velychko. Antony Kalugin continues to surprise us with beautiful music. Highly recommended by progVisions!
Douwe Fledderus - February 2018
rating - Caerllysi Music


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