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KARISMA RECORDS – HOME OF MAGIC PIE, SEVEN IMPALE, WHITE WILLOW ET AL (PART ONE)

Quite a few of my favourite prog bands reside here. I have reviewed MAGIC PIE in the past. Their last album was “Fragments of the 5th Element” (2019). Similarly, with WHITE WILLOW. And I also made a new discovery: TUSMØRKE, another Norwegian band, an acquired taste for sure but, for lovers of psychedelic folk prog, with some similarities to JETHRO TULL, is a must; it’s a bit different, with some really interesting exchanges between synths and flute.


As for Norway’s MAGIC PIE, I wrote for Acid Dragon, with reference to their first album, “Motions of Desire”: “A remarkable assimilation of many major 1970s classic influences, while retaining a vitality and high degree of originality; there are shades of YES, CAMEL, SPOCK’S BEARD and, with a stylistic ‘tip of the hat’ to GENTLE GIANT on the epic 20-minute opening track ‘Change’. I also thought there was a JON LORD influence in the organ solo, and noted that 8 minutes in, “the mood changes with a reflective section that recalls THE FLOWER KINGS. The title track was more neo-prog in style (IQ/ MARILLION) with a nice synth solo. ‘Full Circle Poetry’ was 14-minutes long, “intriguing, anthemic, slightly melodramatic, pastoral, with a surprising ‘reggae’ beat emerging”. The guitar was impressive on ‘Without Knowing Why’, while the first part of ‘Illusion and reality’ had ‘classical’ guitar arpeggios, with a memorable chorus. The second part brought in some Metal Prog elements (DEEP PURPLE, DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X). A real melting pot, in other words.


I also reviewed “Circus of Life”, noting that part of ‘Welcome’ bore a passing resemblance to ‘Musical Box’ by GENESIS, and referring to “the brilliant musicianship”, with “breathtaking interplay between synth and guitar on the instrumental ‘Freak Show’, while the second part of the ‘Circus of Life’ suite was the best piece of prog I had heard since THE FLOWER KINGS’ “Unfold the Future”. I praised the melody and sensitive vocal on the PINK FLOYD influenced ‘What If?’, while the penultimate movement of the suite, ‘Trick of the Mind’, at 21:50 was “prime classic rock with sections with appeal to metal prog fans”, and “a delightful YES/ WAKEMAN synth passage. The vocal harmonies on ‘Pointless Masquerade’ once again invoked GENTLE GIANT.


You can guess I like this band and will investigate further in part two where I will also discuss WHITE WILLOW, SEVEN IMPALE (already reviewed on this site) and bring myself up to date with these and other artists on the KARISMA label.


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