Mike McLatchey    22-March-2001 Kaipa, Inget Nytt Under Solen, Stockholm Symphonie

Kaipa - Kaipa (Musea FGBG 4091AR, 1975/1993, CD)
Kaipa - Inget Nytt Under Solen (Musea FGBG 4098AR, 1976/1994, CD)
Kaipa - Stockholm Symphonie (unknown)

In their early years, the Swedish band Kaipa were a quartet playing music in the symphonic rock vein as typified by Yes or Genesis. Vocalist/keyboardist Hans Ludin is nearly a dead ringer for a Swedish Jon Anderson, and this comparison may have affected the bands quest for international acclaim, being that their debut was released in 1975 and that progressive rock bands were not in vogue with the big labels by this time (regardless of the fact that they were on Decca in Sweden.)

Their debut is a fine album, showing Kaipa in their early stages. Guitarist Roine Stolt is an immediate standout and proves to be a unique element, his Allman Brothers/Santana influenced playing is a breath of fresh air for this type of music (in fact one wonders what happened to these influences by his transition to the Flower Kings). All of the melodies, many taken from traditional Swedish folk, seem to be worked out and many are quite excellent and accessible. A borderline classic (a little more pyrotechnics would not have hurt) and a definite winner for the 70's symphonic fan.

Inget Nytt Under Solen is a more mature work with a greater palate of keyboard sounds (including mellotron). There is a side-long suite and drummer Ingemar Bergman adds some harsh vocals somewhere in the middle of it than are a bit distracting. The album is more mature than its predecessor, and the title cut that ends the album is a beauty and probably most indicative of their style - dreamy symphonic rock with simple, yet very effective melodies and a great deal of emotion. This reissue includes several bonus tracks, a short live version of the side-long track (see below), and rather dull English vocal versions of the same mixes with a singer that reminds one of Gabriel or Lanzetti of PFM. Overall, an excellent purchase.

Stockholm Symphonie is an extremely rare, very limited, Japanese pressing that is almost impossible to find. It is a brilliant live radio show from between their first two albums, with most of the songs coming from their debut. Kaipa come across more effectively live (the bonus track on Inget Nytt Under Solen also is a good example of this) with a more insistent and intense delivery with greater room given to Stolt's excellent guitar work. Being that this may be impossible to find, it would be best to go for one of the first two, but believe me, Kaipa were a super live band and this may be my favorite of the three.

With the rejuvenation of the Swedish symphonic scene, this is an ideal time for the reissues of possibly one of their most influential bands. Recommended.

(Originally published in Exposť #3, p. 16, Edited for Gnosis 3/11/01)

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