Jack The Jester : Kaipa originates from the genuine LP-era, after all, the band was founded in the early seventies. The DECCA label released their first album in 1975, which was titled simply 'Kaipa'. Then followed 'Inget Nytt Under Solen'(1976), 'Solo'(1978), 'Händer'(1980) and 'Nattjustid'(1981). These albums left music lovers in Sweden dumbfounded and established the band as Sweden's leading Symphonic Progressive Rock group. From '82 onwards the members embarked on their own separate paths to glory, but now, 27 years after the release of their debut album, 'Notes From The Past' finds its way to my letterbox…
This is not a 'Tribute to…'nor is it a 'Best of…', but instead it is a brand-new absolute jewel of an album with the impressive length of no less than 79 minutes. Roine Stolt and Hans Lundin, both had been previously involved with Kaipa, are the founding fathers of this new album. Stolt (FlowerKings, Transatlantic) and Lundin (Hagen) have assembled an impressive band around themselves including Lundtom (Ritual), Agren (Zappa) and Reingold (Flowerkings). The true strength of this album is its unpredictable character and its tendency to make one crave for more time and time again.
Vocally supported opening track 'Notes From The Past [Part 1]' provides a captivating basis. The keyboards dominate to such extent a light connection with Ayreon might even creep up. The second track shows distinctive Yes-influences and is entirely instrumental (as is some 80% of the CD in total). 'Mirrors Of Yesterday's clear vocals, completed with 'Camel'-ish guitars, entice the listener into humming along. The longest track on the CD is 'Leaving The Horizon', a 14.10 minute spell exhibiting the members' technical ability. The style varies from Folk and Jazz/Fusion to pure Sympho when the cello makes its first audible appearance, proving the instrument can hold its own in more than just classic overtures. Another surprising element are the spoken words by Aleena Tove in 'In The Space Of A Twinkle', underlining the fact that we are dealing with a concept CD here.
The entire CD is unpredictable to such a degree it manages to tip one off balance time and time again. Striking passages can be indicated in every musical piece, but in this case it proves far too demanding a job. The distorted bass guitar of course sticks out and therefore needs to be mentioned, as does the (fortunate) use of the Hammond and Moog sound (yes, it's back!). 'Morganism' and its Dave Weckel-ish drum is the most experimental track of the album (playing it very loud allows one to distinguish drumsticks keeping time in the background); it incorporates a Big Band's wind section, funky bass play, fusion-session drums and much, much more. This album shouts Progressive with a capital & bold P.