Band: Karda Estra
Label: Believers Roast Records (2015)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
By my count this is album number eleven for the symphonically inclined Chamber Rock group Karda Estra. Under the watchful eye of musical mastermind Richard Wileman, who plays the bulk of the instruments, this set of eight compositions, roughly fifty-minutes of music is at once reminiscent of the distinctive Karda Estra sound but at the same time seems to forge new musical ground. This new exploration may have something to do with Wilemanís collaboration with The Muffinís Paul Sears who handles the drumming and percussion chores on many of these tunes. But who knows, itís hard to say? The music is as on previous releases instrumental and is instantly recognizable for itís movie soundtrack qualities. The music in many respects is still haunting but perhaps not quite as spooky. Lush and resplendent major chords are counterpointed with plenty of minor notes and seemingly off-key guitar, clarinet, oboe, trumpet or saxophone lead lines. The music percolates along building to a myriad of climaxes and turning points where one instrument takes over the lead line from another and then sometimes they combines to create a grand flourish of music. But again itís worth point out that the music of Karda Estra is a combination of the majestically symphonic and the rough-hewn minor vibe better known to the jazz world. Iíve always enjoyed the music of Karda Estra: itís distinctive and instantly identifiable. Strange Relations fits nicely with everything else theyíve done even as it works to chart a new musical direction, one that is perhaps slightly more jazzy or Avant-Prog in nature. Lovers of off-kilter symphonic prog will really enjoy this. Check it out.