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K2: Black Garden | FESTIVALPHOTO

K2: Black Garden


Magna Carta/Border

K2 stands for a Californian progressive rock band (nothing to do with Don Aireys solo vehicle in the late eighties) fetching their influences from YES, ELP and UK.The band is now releasing album number two after their debut “Book of the Dead”. Most famed member must be Ryo Okumoto from SPOCK`S BEARD on keyboards. A prog lover´s wet dream is promised – wrapped in a story about how the ancient Polynesians sailed across a fair bit of the world before settling in the South Pacific.

The title track opens, and this IS progressive rock with a vocal twist. Bass/keyboard player Ken Jacquess took on the duty of writing and creating the music to this old story after visiting the area. He can not have been idle since it the result is over 50 minutes of music. The long-ish “Passage to the Deep” is a more spirited piece that turns into a Hammond orgy. On the other hand the entire album is filled with well-executed instrumental trips by all involved. Josh Gleason may start out odd in the title track but his voice sounds less stressed as the album progresses. The music really expresses various perilous passages of the historical trip, a further sign of how the subject has caught firmly on Ken. The single “Widow´s Watch” has a neat and enjoyable beginning with fine vocals by Josh. The soft track is mesmerizing and a fine single choice. My personal favorite is nevertheless the wet prog dream “Encounter or Absence”, which is very accessible still technical. It is also my personal suggestion for a second single. It is reminiscent of ELP, and grows the more I listen. The short “Summer´s Fall” feels like an artistic intermission between all the arty long songs. The joyous ending, “Path of the Warrior”, feels like a happy ending. K2 has created a very enjoyable record with an odd title track. If you can get over the first fear there is a masterful band to discover further on.

Track List
The Black Garden
Passage to the Deep
Widow´s Watch
Encounter or Absence
Storm at Sunset
Summer´s Fall
Path of the Warrior

Skribent: Mikael Johansson
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