Not too many time ago I´ve sent a message to a spanish mailing list named La Caja de Música. In the message I talked about the power of marketing and its influence on any music style including - in a lesser way - progressive music. Of course there was a controversy and lots of feedback, mainly from those who whip themselves thinking that progressive rock is a genre cursed by the market. Fortunately the release of this new Kaipa CD establishes all my statements about marketing´s subject.
In 1975 Kaipa was a swedish band which achieved a certain success in Sweden but was unknown in the rest of the world. Later, Kaipa´s guitar player, a guy named Roine Stolt, achieved with his band The Flower Kings a great success in the progressive scene with albums like "Retropolis" and, mainly, "Stardust we are". That was the moment for Musea to re-release the old albums of Stolt with Kaipa. We could say that this is a case of sectorial marketing focused on minorities.
The years went by and Stolt joined Transatlantic, after replacing Jim Matheos (Fates Warning´s guitar player), along with Trewavas, Morse and the great Portnoy. Everything change... The Flower Kings achieves a bigger relevance among progressive rock fans and even new fans (Dream Theater´s for example). The distribution of the new CDs of The Flower Kings is bigger and better. The sales grow.
And now Musea doesn´t re-release. Inside Out (not too many underground) takes charges of Kaipa´s rebirth. De luxe artwork, lots of advertising, worldwide distribution, etc... is this marketing or not?.
reviewKaipa 2002 are Hans Lundin (hammond, mellotron, piano, keyboards and vocals) y Roine Stolt (guitars). The rest of the old members (Mats Löfgren, Ingemar Bergman, Tomas Eriksson) are missing in action, and have been replaced by deluxe guest musicians: Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings) playing the bass, Patrik Lundström (Ritual) singing, and Morgan Agren (Zappa) drumming.
About the music, firstly I have to say that the CD lasts around eighty minutes, so be patient. Although the music has been written by Lundin, the sound is 100% The Flower Kings. I would even say that Kaipa is an unleaded, decaffeinated, and undynamic version of Stolt´s band. Though some instrumental moments with keyboards and guitars have a great quality, the vocal melodies are predictable and without imagination.
Firstly I´ll talk about the short songs and then I will talk about the longest: "Notes from the past part I" (3:09) is an horrible track with horrible vocal melodies; "Night-bike ride (on Lilae Street)" (3:28) is a amazing instrumental track with a wonderful guitar; "Mirrors of yesterday" (6:17) contains a nice mellotron and keyboards background but again another dispensable vocal melody. The rest is epic symphonic rock, effective but wihout imagination; "In the space of a winkle" (3:27), is a dreamy song with female vocals reciting; "Folke´s final decision" (4:03), is a more up-tempo instrumental track with some great keyboards which create a catchy melody followed by the guitar; "Second journey inside the green glass" (5:55), has a Crimson like beginning and some brutal hammonds in its development. I enjoyed a lot with this song; "A road in my mind" (7:17) is a ballad sung by a girl with some interesting instrumental moments; and "Notes from the past part II" (6:58), more or less the same than the first part.
The longest tracks are "Leaving the horizon" (14:10), close to the epic classic symphonic sound of The Flower Kings, I mean, changes of rhythm which intercalates sweet and powerful moments with lots of guitars and keyboards. The vocal melody is again horrible and also I hate Lundström´s voice; the best of the long songs is "The name belongs to you" (13:46), with a huge deploy of keyboards a la Pär Lindh but failing in the scarce sung moments; and "Morganism" (10:33), a sort of jam-session with a great (just take a look at the title) drumming work by Morgan Agren.
Well, I suppose this CD will be recommended by the 99.9% of progressive media. I would only save the three long tracks, "Second journey inside the green glass" and "Night-bike ride (on Lilae Street)". All of them deserve four stars. But about the rest I only enjoyed with some instrumental moments here and there. Although the CD owns a high instrumental quality and a great sound, the feeling after listening to the whole CD is a total boredom. From "Notes from the past" Kaipa could have been taken a couple of CDs, one good and another worse, so the overall conclusion is irregular (that´s the reason of the two and a half stars). Anyway I´ll accept my fate if this CD is chosen as the best CD released in 2002 because it owns all the ingredients for the success.
And I´m sure this CD will sell more CDs than the whole Kaipa´s discography (infinitely more interesting). Marketing reaches all levels of existence, even progressive rock.