Label: Inside Out Music - IOMCD 159,Inside Out Music - IOMACD 2075 • Format: CD Album, Promo • Country: Germany • Genre: Rock • Style: Prog Rock
The four later left the group to start Saratoga which in time merged with another Topeka based band White Clover, the partnership between the two bands leading to the formation of the first version of Kansas.
After Kansas I broke up inthe members of the band from White Clover reverted to their original moniker while those from Saratoga continued on under the name Kansas. The second version of Kansas was a very prolific songwriting period for Livgren who composed nearly 60 songs, Die Könige - Ivan Rebroff Und Die Regensburger Domspatzen - Festliche Weihnacht which made their way onto the demo tapes the band recorded between Kansas II generated some label interest as a result of the demos in question, but, frustratingly, it was never able to land that coveted recording contract.
Hence, when Livgren was contacted in by drummer Phil Ehart asking him to join White Clover, a band with a line on a record deal, he jumped at the opportunity. Kansas II subsequently folded and, as a result, White Clover adapted the Kansas moniker to become the bands third and most well known incarnation. The demo tapes Kansas II recorded "sat in a vault" for nearly 30 years until Livgren received a phone call from Cuneiform Records requesting his consent to release them onto CD.
During the spring of Livgren proceeded to contact his former band mates in Kansas II, many which had not seen or spoken to one another in 30 years, in order to advise them of the planned re-issue of their earlier recordings and to get their permission.
After Livgren re-mastered the original demos, they were released by Cuneiform in September of and became the first official Proto-Kaw release under the title Early Recordings from Kansas, Please note that "proto" refers to first while "kaw" is the Native American name for Kansas. Hence, Proto-Kaw. When Livgren got together with his former Kansas II band mates for a release party to celebrate the new CD and renew old friendships, a jam session took place in which some of the old magic started to reappear.
As a result, the group discussed the "possibility" of reforming. What would it sound like now? There was only one way to find out- and that would be to go into the studio.
After staying in touch over the winter, the members of Proto-Kaw met once more in March of and decided to begin work on a new album to be completed within two years. The project moved forward to such an extent that the plan was to release it independently in late ; however, as the release date approached, the band was contacted by Inside Out Music which convinced it to sign with them.
With Livgren being the bands primary songwriter, it is only natural to expect Proto-Kaw to reflect a Kansas-element in its sound. Consequently, if you enjoy Kansas, particularly its earlier material, then you are going to love Before Became After. But Proto-Kaw, on the other hand, is very much its own band with its own unique and distinct sound. Yes, the music here is VERY progressive but that would only be telling part of the story.
The use of a saxophone and flute, for example, helps to give the album a jazz-rock fusion feel while other moments are outright epic and orchestral in their capacity or even lean towards a classic rock direction. A "jam band" influence can also be found in several sweeping instrumental passages showcasing the abundant confidence Proto-Kaw displays in its instrumental sound. As things turned out, only five of the original Kansas II members were able to take part in the project.
Drummer Zeke Low and bassist Rob Mikinski were too busy to participate Mikinski did play bass on the song "Axolotl"while Don Montre had unexpectedly passed away at age Livgren is at the literal top of his game on Before Became Aftercontributing some of the most impressive rhythm and lead guitar work we have heard from him since his solo effort Seeds Of Change.
Bolton proves quite the talented musician, his work on saxophone and flute adding just the right amount of texture to the bands sound while providing exquisite interplay with Livgren's lead guitar. Wright displays an equal amount of ability on keyboards in accentuating the instrumentation without coming across overbearing.
Craig Kew who performed on Livgren's mid-nineties solo project When Things Get Electric replaces Mikinski on Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After and combines with Schulz on drums to form a tight and steady rhythm section. Meredith rounds out the project with a distinct and pure, clean sounding classic tenor voice bringing to mind the likes of Steve Walsh Kansas and Dave Pack Ambrosia. Production values are near Id Rather Be With You - Joshua Radin - Live From The Village in highlighting sonics of a consummate and superlative nature.
A crystal clear sounding mix allows all the instrumentation to shine, a compelling combination of lead guitar and bass underscoring just the right amount of rhythm guitar, flute, saxophone and keyboards. The album opens Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After a very strong manner with the beautiful guitar driven progressive rock of "Alt.
More Worlds Than Known". The song gives rise to a catchy melody as just the right amount of crisp rhythm guitar backed by keyboards and occasional acoustic Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After conveys it at a mid-tempo pace through its first three verses.
During the three minute jazz-flavored instrumental passage that follows, Livgren's lead guitar perfectly interweaves with Bolton's flute. Proto-Kaw displays Air - Ekseption - Ekseption softer side to its songwriting skills on the stylish "Words Of Honor". Once an immaculate blend of flute and acoustic guitar takes the song through its first verse, it picks up in pace for a slowly moving acoustic laced chorus projecting an ethereal feel.
Subsequent to Bolton's flute joining with a crisp sounding rhythm guitar, Livgren tops things off with several seconds of bluesy lead guitar. The brilliant "Leaven" is nothing less than a creative thing of beauty. A predominantly instrumental track, it starts in an ominous sounding manner as a mix of acoustic guitar and flute underscores narration from Meredith. The heavy duty bass line that follows opens a two minute instrumental passage driven by a hard rocking combination of rhythm guitar and keyboards.
Fires of Heaven, burn through me Touch of Leaven, make me free. Following more narration, the song ends as catchy vocal harmonies continually repeat the phrase "Fill everyone under the sun". I find Livgren's lyrics to be nothing less than inspiring:. A compelling reason to follow In step I've not known Fire Escape - The Gizzards - Im Just A Man With A Tool In My Hand I fall in battle I'll know it's the war that I own I will fill my life till nothing remains Come and break apart this fortress That keeps me in chains.
Introduced to a slowly moving blend of acoustic guitar, flute and piano, "Axolotl" tapers off even further at the start of its first verse before the rhythm guitar kicks in as it gains impetus for a chorus advancing at an anthem-like upbeat tempo. After the song slows to a combination of flute and acoustic guitar, sweeping keyboards enter the mix in time for it to again taper off to more flute and acoustic guitar.
An upbeat blend of bass and piano introduces "Quantum Leapfrog" before soaring vocal harmonies briefly carry it forward:. Rising, falling, so enthralling surging, racing all embracing.
Bolton's saxophone leads the way through the instrumental passage that follows, just the right amount of keyboards underlining the mix until Livgren cuts loose with some spicy blues flavored Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After. The vocal harmonies suddenly return. Polar, spacing, perfect phrasing Equal action, balanced fraction. The creativity displayed here is nothing less than jaw dropping.
Livgren's lyrics are once again thought provoking:. Oh Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After small, and still so great More than any man could imitate Magnify it up, find it in the book All you had to do was take a look.
The song takes off to a heavy duty bass line backed by a bit of lead guitar before it slows for its first verse. Regaining its momentum, "Greenburg The epic length "Gloriana" is only matched by Kansas' "Song For America" in terms of beauty and ambition. A blend of flute and piano opens the song before it picks up in pace when Livgren graces the scene with a touch of lead guitar.
Slowing to a piano after Cul-De-Sac - Genesis - Genesis - The Best Of! - Special Club Edition minute and a half upon reaching its first verse, "Gloriana" regains its momentum upon attaining a beautiful acoustic laced chorus bolstered by vocal harmonies.
After Livgren's lead guitar opens a two and a half minute long instrumental passage, "Gloriana" slows to a near standstill before again picking up in pace for a hard rocking amalgamation of rhythm guitar and saxophone. Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After commercially accessible classic rock flavored "Occasion Of Your Honest Dreaming" begins to a union of lead guitar and organ.
The lead guitar drops from Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After mix as the song quickly moves through its first and second verse until it evenly flows to a non-stop hook filled chorus that will have you singing along in no time.
I like how "Occasion Advancing in an acoustically driven fashion during its first verse, "Heavenly Man" picks up in pace and moves on to a Lied Tegen Het Neofascisme - SoLIEDair - SoLIEDair and epic flavored chorus reinforced by a crisp rhythm guitar. Livgren's spicy lead guitar work duals with Wright's organ throughout a minute long instrumental passage.
Following its third chorus, a portentous atmosphere is created when the song slows as pounding drums are carried over several seconds of biting lead guitar. Every time I look up to the sky I feel I'm growing very small Can there be a meaning to it all?
I fear, do we matter much at all? There is more than I can see More than I feel, I really couldn't know Do you see us as we are Anders Börje - Katinka / Vi Segla På Ett Litet Moln (Shellac) as we'll be?
Am I a friend or foe? The wonderful eleven minute "Theophany" brings to mind the all out progressiveness Kansas displays on its self-titled debut and Song For America. A militant style drum beat underscoring sweeping keyboards propels the song through its first minute until Livgren takes over with his tastefully done lead guitar work. Stopping dead in Ladieu Au Roi - Wapassou - Ludwig tracks, "Theophany" slows as an acoustic guitar carries its first and second verse before a crisp rhythm guitar drives it forward.
The acoustic guitar returns as "Theophany" again decelerates for its third verse. A jazz fusion based combination of keyboards and bass opens an awesome four and a half minute long instrumental passage allowing the band to display its first class level of musicianship. In closing, Before Became After deserves to rank among the finest progressive rock releases of if not the past decade. Nothing less than a first class work of art, the album proves in no uncertain terms that the "second version of Kansas" possessed more than enough ability to have made it on a much larger scale.
The fact that these guys got together to make music of this high caliber after being apart for several decades attests not only to the amount of talent here but to the level of commitment form each of its members.
I am looking forward to hearing more from Proto-Kaw in the future. Track Listing: "Alt. Additional Musicians Rod Mikinski — Bass. Interviews s. Faceboo k. Release Dates. Children Of God. Jesus Christ - The Exorcist. Weapons Of God. The Collected Works. Musical Style: Progressive Rock. Record Label: Inside Gloriana - Proto-Kaw - Before Became After.
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