Karmakanic is the long standing project of bassist extraordinaire Jonas Reingold. While he is possibly more known for his work in The Flower Kings, Karmakanic is his band and his music. “DOT” is the band’s fifth studio album and finest to date. The band is exceptional. Reingold is of course a tremendous bassist who gives himself room to solo (a fretless bass solo!) on this album. He is joined by legendary drummer Morgan Ågren, who played with Frank Zappa and former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Göran Edman.
The album hinges heavily on the 2 two part epic “God the universe and everything else no one really cares about.” Part one is nearly 24 minutes on its own and part two, which closes the album, is another six minutes. So those two tracks are 30 minutes of the album’s 50 minutes total. They need to work or this album is a lost cause. Fortunately, it’s some of the best music that Reingold has ever written. The transitions are perfect and the melodies are very strong. Plus there’s some KILLER Hammond work from Andy Tillison from The Tangent. It’s pure, classic prog thru a modernized lens.
The only part I am not keen on is the child’s choir piece in part one. Yes it’s Reingold’s kids so I appreciate the significance of that and it does add an element of innocence to the theme of the song, but I’ve never been a fan of using kids to sing something when you have vocals like Edman or Nils Erikson. Speaking of Erikson, he sings lead on the phenomenal “Higher Ground.” I thought it was Daniel Gildenlöw but he is not listed as being on “DOT.” Without the benefits of detailed liner notes, I asked Jonas himself and he confirmed that it is Erikson. It’s a great bit of nostalgia on that track and an amazing vocal by Erikson.
“Steer by the Stars” is the song that SHOULD be released as a single. It’s very melodic and catchy. While the lyrics are somewhat typical, they still work very well. Traveling Minds has a slightly more stripped down but still builds nicely. It has a nice solo by Krister Jonsson. And another stellar vocal by Erikson! The title track is yet another one of those intro type tracks that are basically noise. Can we all just stop with tracks like that? You listen once and usually skip them from then on.
“DOT” is an intelligent, thoughtful album with some great playing by great musicians. That’s what prog SHOULD be. Reingold shows why everyone seeks him out for their projects. Other than a few minor blips on “DOT,” Karmakanic have a tremendous album that should please prog rock fans all over this pale blue dot. (Sorry I had to say that.)
2. God The Universe And Everything Else No One Really Cares About Part. 1
3. Higher Ground
4. Steer By The Stars
5. Travelling Minds
6. God The Universe And Everything Else No One Really Cares About Part. 2
Label: Inside Out Music