Skip to main content

Heavy Prog Review: Karmamoi-Odd Trip

Release Date: 15thOct 2013
Label: Crisalide Music

There are many Italian progressive bands around and The Ancient One can now add another to his personal list for the first time, and that band is, Karmamoi. The album for review is the second release from the band, following on from the debut, the self-titled Karmamoi (2011) and is called Odd Trip. While doing a bit of research into the band, I also found out that Odd Trip is a year old and there is already a follow-up scheduled for imminent release. Still, this review will fit under the old adage, “better late, than never” and I will look forward to the shiny new release.

Formed back in 2008, Karmamoi released a single the following year, toured Italy and started work on the debut album in 2010. Although as a general rule, I dislike trying to fit bands musical styles into a neatly labelled box, rather than under the umbrella of progressive rock, Karmamoi do play melodic prog rock, albeit with a distinct leaning to the heavy side.

The band, at the time of recording Odd Trip, was a 5 piece, comprising, Daniele Giovaanoni (drums), Serena Ciacci (vocals), Alessandro Cefali  (bass), Fabio Tempesta (guitars) and Alex Massari (guitar). Since that recording, Serena, the female vocalist, has been replaced by Joline Forshaw.

Odd Tripby Karmamoi is a 12 track album with a total playing time of around 51 minutes. There are 3 tracks which are very short and I would term them interludes, or linking tracks, and they are tracks 1, 5 and 9. They are titled “Oxygen” parts 1, 2 and 3, with running times of 1:44 minutes, 0:56 minutes and 0:58 minutes respectively. Track 4, “If I Think Of The Sea” is the longest track on offer, running on for over 6 minutes. (6:34)

The 3 “Oxygen” tracks are strange little linking pieces of atmospherics with sound effects, the odd riff and electronic bleeps. The “meat” of the album is contained within the other 9 tracks, with track 2, “If” (4:14) the first full track on Odd Trip. Starting with the sound of someone moving around, it evolves into some heavy riffing guitars. This is certainly an interesting start and then everything falls away to leave the fragile vocals provided by Serena. The background slowly builds behind the voice and there is an ethereal melody about the track this far. Around the 3 minute mark, back comes the sound of movement again and then those thundering guitar riffs. The song then makes its exit to the plaintive sound of a telephone.

Track 3, “Labyrinth” (5:42), has a slightly lower riffing intro with some electronic sound in the background, before Serena enters much earlier than in the previous track. Crystal clear vocals soar over the fairly sparse background before Serena ups the power a notch or two. The track then drops back down to let the music build as it did before, then the guitar, bass and drums get a chance to shine with some subtle gentle guitar from Fabio soaring over all. A gentler form of riffing builds the song towards a finale then the music fades again to allow Serena to carry the song onwards, backed by some very neat bass runs.

“If I Think Of The Sea” (6:34) is a much more atmospheric song carried along by the subdued music and the stunning voice of Serena. Very different from what has gone before, the guitar, which takes center stage around the 3 minute mark, has a very subdued tone. Some ineffectual noises are heard in the background prior to the vocal building heralding the ending of the track. This is a very different approach by the band which pulls the listener quickly into the track.

The strangely titled “Samvega” (5:24) again has that subdued melodic starting point, which meanders along creating a very atmospheric soundscape. Around the halfway point the band have moved the music into the heavier side prior to everything becoming stripped back again. All in all a much laid back instrumental track which leads neatly into “Yours.”

“Yours” (5:08) is another complete style change with “yowling” guitars and powerful vocals leading into a driving animal of a track, easily the most powerful track thus far. There is next to no easing back on this track and then the voice fades leaving the rhythm engine to motor for a while. Serena re-enters the fray and the track moves up another notch on its race to the finish.

Track 8, the title track, “Odd Trip” (6:10) has a neat drum/bass interaction as an opening, the vocals taking over before passing onto a short guitar passage. An almost “funky” bass line merges into a full band blowout and the song drives along before being escorted back into the opening themes. More of that ultra-melodic guitar puts in an appearance before the build-up to the finale.

Another strangely titled track, “5+” (4:06) follows the last of the “Oxygen” linking tracks, and the spoken intro is soon into a heavy riffing passage. There are some more subtle guitar riffs as the song progresses before another atmospheric spoken piece. A repeat of the riffing then escorts the track out.

“Lost Days” (4:26) moves away from the riffing guitars to enter with a keyboard passage and “breathy” vocals and provides a very melodic track, showing the other side of the band. Cue the final track, “Aria” (6:11) and some powerful drumming, superb vocals herald a real rocker of a track. There are little hints at power riffing, but these are kept well in check.

Certainly, Karmamoi, are not an Italian band of the Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) family, but have a style all of their own. Flowing from almost Pink Floyd based atmospherics to the more power prog of Rush, Karmamoi have produced a midpoint mixture which makes for an extremely interesting and listenable album.

Odd Tripprobably requires several listens, but when it does get inside the listener (or vice versa), it is a terrific slice of heavy prog.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: If I Think Of The Sea, Samvega, Odd Trip


Tracks:
Oxygen 1
If
Labyrinth
If I Think Of The Sea
Oxygen 2
Samvega
Yours
Odd Trip
Oxygen 3
5+
Lost Days
Aria
 


Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

December 6, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Rock Review: Aunt Mary-New Dawn

Release Date: 12th February 2016 Label: Wind-Up Website
Aunt Mary, as a name, somehow suggests an “older” band and it came as no real surprise to find that they are a Norwegian prog band from the 70’s. The band were considered by many to be one of the best prog bands in Norway with their brand of music a mixture of heavy hard rock tunes plus clear indications of a more symphonic nature, although that only really showed itself on their 3rd, and last, studio album, Janus, in 1973. Last that is, until now, with the release of New Dawn. This would appear to be an apt title for a release which follows 24 years after an album of blues covers, released in 1992. 

At their height, Aunt Mary were “up there” with the likes of Deep Purple, Ten Years After, King Crimson, Jethro Tull and many more. After the release of Janus in 1973, the band split up but did a few sporadic appearances, as well as releasing the blues covers album mentioned earlier.

3 years ago, the Norwegian guitar legend and producer, …

Alternative Rock: mariaFausta -Million Faces

Release Date: November 12, 2017
Label: Independent
Website mariaFausta is a European alternative rock vocalist. Recently her album Million Faces became available. I knew that she would probably sing with an accent and she does. Here is the thing with that aspect of a recording artist, either you cannot get past it or you like it, there is no middle ground. After that process and you decide you like it, you realize it is part of the charisma and make up of what the artist is presenting. For my ears things landed on the positive side in all aspects.

Maria’s sound is a varied approach that works very well. It certainly is alternative rock and one of the most original and different albums I have heard in 2017. I hear a ton of instrumental music and sometimes find it difficult with redundancy regarding my words. That is something that all writers worry about. You are cognizant of that fact at all times. Well let me tell you, this music was a total joy to hear and then have the opportunity to p…

New Age Instrumental Review: Anaya Music-AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music)

Release Date: February 2, 2018 Label: Anaya Music Website
Around this time a year ago I had the experience of listening to Anaya Music and providing coverage of Eternity.  It was an uplifting experience and a memorable listen as I recall.
Now with February drawing closer AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music) will arrive.
Once again, the recording features several exceptional collaborations between Anaya Music and a live virtual symphony orchestra recorded in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. The orchestra combines members of the finest ensembles in Prague, including the Czech Philharmonic.
I think they should rename the orchestra to “The Live Spiritual Orchestra.” If you have been exposed to Anaya Music you will understand what that means. If this is your first journey with this music you will find out very quickly. Either way, this is spiritually uplifting music that leaves a smile on your soul. It’s like the term digital footprint, there is an everlasting m…