Really, who doesn’t admire wild Scandinavian hippies? One can only imagine those Viking lovers of peace returning in their long boats to establish a loving order upon all the conquered, asking for forgiveness! Even the clever name of the band, Karmakanic reveals much about the very intentions of ever-amusing Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings, The Tangent). The band’s outstanding 2008 album, WHO’S THE BOSS OF THE FACTORY, especially exemplified the best ideals of the late 1960s.
IN A PERFECT WORLD (2011) did as well, but despite the opening track, “1969,” the album didn’t cohere as well as the previous one.
Whatever the case might have been, Reingold has just released the best of the Karmakanic albums, DOT (officially out from Insideout on July 22, 2016). It is an extraordinary release in every single and imaginable way. Not only its structure and flow, but its lyrics, especially, are quite moving.
At 51 minutes long, the album is really based around one major track, the 23-minute “God, The Universe, and Everything Else.” In a sense, it lyrically reflects the last The Flower Kings album, DESOLATION ROSE. While the hippie desires remain, there’s a dose of melancholic realism as well. DOT powerfully invokes the martyrs of our very violent year, and, in many ways, though the album was recorded before the innumerable horrors and violences of the summer of 2016, the album’s mood perfectly and prophetically reflects what has come to pass over the past two or three months. The atmospheric (and rather proggy) “Dot” begins the album, its title and meaning taken from the late Carl Sagan; “God” is track two as well as the final track, and, in between: “Higher Ground”; “Steer by the Stars”; and “Traveling Minds.” As the tracks reveal, the theme of the album is finding a way to travel beyond our modern day horrors, see them in the light of eternal love, and center ourselves and the world, bringing all back to proper, loving order.
For those of you who have read my own thoughts on prog before, you very well know how much I love the man who played organ on the whole album as well as co-wrote the track, “Steer by the Stars,” Mr. Andy Tillison Diskdrive. I’m extremely proud to claim this unbelievably talented man as a personal friend and inspiration in so much that I do.
Reingold must feel the same, for Tillison’s fingerprints are all over this album, and it makes the DOT feel like the perfect hybrid of The Flower Kings and The Tangent.
So, what’s even better than a Scandinavian hippie? A Scandinavian and an English hippie team up, of course!
Honestly, fair reader of progarchy, what more do you want out of music? While this has already been a tremendous year (and an expensive one!) in terms of prog, DOT is an absolute must own. No question about it. Preorder now.
3 thoughts on “Scando-Anglo Hippiedom: A Karmakanic Album in Six Parts”
I love the idea of the Scando-Anglo hippiedom!! Another must-buy coming up it seems! Very well penned as always, Brad! 😎 ❤
OK, Brad — you just convinced me to buy all three of these albums. Hope you’re happy!