Karmakanic - Dot

5 songs
50:16 minutes
***** ***


Jonas Reingold is one of the few bass players that has quite a reputation although usually he is not the band leader. His often fretless instrument can be heard on Roine Stoltís bands The Flower Kings, Kaipa and recently Anderson/Stolt, but also with other quality prog bands like The Tangent and Nad Sylvan. Not even yet fifty years old, Reingold has quite a discography to look back upon and be truly proud of.

His own band Karmakanic might be lesser known, although they have been around since the early days of the millennium. Records come regularly, although with quite long intervals in between releases, making Dot their fifth longplayer, coming five years after In A Perfect World.

Those of us familiar with Reingoldís countless other projects know that stylistically, things tend to be quite close to one another, and therefore you shouldnít expect something totally different with Karmakanic. If I wanted to be mean, Iíd call them the light version of The Flower Kings, but that wouldnít do them justice. The thing is that Jonas Reingold is actually a very talented songwriter, which can best be seen on the albumís magnum opus God The Universe And Everything Else No One Really Cares About, whose first part is clocking in at twenty-four minutes, coming right after the opener, intro and title track Dot, one minute of staticky white noise. This long track is inspired by a lecture of the late astronomer Carl Sagan, about how small our planet is, compared to the rest of the universe. This should put things in perspective, especially for those who give themselves too much importance. This track has it all, from a slow build-up to dramatic progressive rock parts, followed by a childrenís choir. There are many parts, but repeated listening will make you discover the different movements. The following Higher Ground is a ten-minute mini prog epic, dealing with growing up in a small town in Sweden. The beginning is very pastoral in nature, with a warm electric piano, the chorus is brimming with melancholy, showing once again that combining a Beatlesque sensitivity for melodies combined with the playfulness of progressive rock does actually work. The songís second half lets the band members indulge with instrumental parts. Steer By The Stars is with four minutes the albumís shortest song. Co-written by The Tangentís Andy Tillison, who also contributed Hammond organ, this is a rocking soulful song with a very rousing chorus, somewhat like gospel music, but probably without the religious background. Traveling Minds is inspired by mid- to late-Seventies Yes but somehow doesnít really find its momentum. The album concludes with a reprise of the magnum opus, bringing the entire track to half an hour of music.

And yet, Dot is not an overly long affair for a progressive rock album. And frankly, that is a good thing. We get a really great long track, a long and a short track that are also very nice, plus one not so successful piece. My first impression of Karmakanicís Dot was a bit lacklustre, but repeated listening made me appreciate the bandís rather pop sounding take on progressive rock, which sounds just like the mandatory wholesome Swedish prog sound that we have come to expect and savour in the past.

Back to Reviews