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Thread: KANSAS- New Album: Music & Album Art Talk

  1. #76

  2. #77
    That kind of ending can work in some case - Pull Me Under by Dream Theater comes to mind. Might be that I just need to get used to it but it feels very different in this case.
    It is actually the one song that stood out for me on the album, and as others have said it is the least Kansas-like track. Definitely an odd way to end the album.

  3. #78
    It must have been frustrating for Billy to have to hear Steve W struggle on stage for years after burning his once stellar voice out. Billy has a fantastic voice. I'm sure he could have sang most of the songs well and with ease.
    I know what you mean. Billy seems like a pretty humble guy based on interviews and always expresses gratitude for the break Steve gave him with Streets, which then led to him getting the gig with Kansas.

    He could have indeed done the job - he did do a lot of singing and covering some of Steve's parts through the years. A lot of people in the audience probably didn't realize that on a lot of the choruses Billy would take over the main vocal part that was originally sung by Steve so Steve could drop to a lower harmony that was easier on his voice.
    An Unsung Hero (pun intended).

  4. #79
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    For these legacy groups (Kansas, Yes, Tull, etc...), I find that rather than simply wishing that the new music is as good as Leftoverture or what have you, I simply listen to Leftoverture or one of their other classics to get my Kansas fix. There's too much good new music to explore without having to go back to the grizzled veterans to see if they still have it. Nice for nostalgia, curiosity, and a night out at the fair or casino, but little else. All of this IMHO, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the winter tree View Post
    It must have been frustrating for Billy to have to hear Steve W struggle on stage for years after burning his once stellar voice out. Billy has a fantastic voice. I'm sure he could have sang most of the songs well and with ease.
    The last few times I saw Kansas with Steve, Billy was singing pretty much all the high stuff. They were really good at kind of sneaking that in with Walsh and Billy singing together, so I am not sure how much the casual fans noticed, but Greer was carrying a good chunk of the vocal load there towards the end.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthVander View Post
    I know what you mean. Billy seems like a pretty humble guy based on interviews and always expresses gratitude for the break Steve gave him with Streets, which then led to him getting the gig with Kansas.

    He could have indeed done the job - he did do a lot of singing and covering some of Steve's parts through the years. A lot of people in the audience probably didn't realize that on a lot of the choruses Billy would take over the main vocal part that was originally sung by Steve so Steve could drop to a lower harmony that was easier on his voice.
    An Unsung Hero (pun intended).
    Ooops, I did not see your reply when I posted mine, but basically we said the same thing. :-)

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    i was the first to criticize the abrupt ending of The Song The River Sang... but after a week of listening to the album, this is my favorite song. i take back everything i said. it all makes sense to me now- it leaves you wanting more. the title track comes close. but overall i like the album much better then the previous Prelude Implicit. there's more of a consistency to the sound. perhaps because the music was written solely by one person. 6 by Rizvi and 3 by Brislin. the previous album's music was all over the place. highlights beside the 2 i mentioned above are Throwing Mountains, Jets Overhead, Propulsion & Memories Down The Line. the 3 Brislin songs are great, he's a keeper and i hope he stays with the band. you know, Jets Overhead could have been named Icarus 3... but then Livgrin probably would have blown a gasket. Kansas has gone thru many changed through it's career, and i'm happy and proud that i've been aboard the whole time.

    btw, the only thing missing from this album are acoustic guitars!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BravadoNJ View Post
    i was the first to criticize the abrupt ending of The Song The River Sang... but after a week of listening to the album, this is my favorite song. i take back everything i said. it all makes sense to me now- it leaves you wanting more. the title track comes close. but overall i like the album much better then the previous Prelude Implicit. there's more of a consistency to the sound. perhaps because the music was written solely by one person. 6 by Rizvi and 3 by Brislin. the previous album's music was all over the place. highlights beside the 2 i mentioned above are Throwing Mountains, Jets Overhead, Propulsion & Memories Down The Line. the 3 Brislin songs are great, he's a keeper and i hope he stays with the band. you know, Jets Overhead could have been named Icarus 3... but then Livgrin probably would have blown a gasket. Kansas has gone thru many changed through it's career, and i'm happy and proud that i've been aboard the whole time.

    btw, the only thing missing from this album are acoustic guitars!
    I feel, though the abrupt ending was jarring, the reason it was done, was to represent the title of the album,
    The Absence of Presence: I know you're here, but you're not really there. It kind of reminded me of the Sopranos finale ending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Head roc View Post
    I feel, though the abrupt ending was jarring, the reason it was done, was to represent the title of the album,
    The Absence of Presence: I know you're here, but you're not really there. It kind of reminded me of the Sopranos finale ending.
    Do you actually know that from the band or are you guessing? I don't like the abrupt ending but its not going to spoil the whole album for me.

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    This is a pretty great interview with the two principal songwriters for this new album - Zak and Tom. They talk about the songwriting process, how they each came to be in the band, meeting Kerry Livgren at a show, and some of the recording background for the new album. It is pretty neat reading this - they both come across as very humble and down-to-earth guys who have somehow found themselves in Kansas.

    https://americansongwriter.com/kansa...nce-interview/

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    This is a pretty great interview with the two principal songwriters for this new album - Zak and Tom. They talk about the songwriting process, how they each came to be in the band, meeting Kerry Livgren at a show, and some of the recording background for the new album. It is pretty neat reading this - they both come across as very humble and down-to-earth guys who have somehow found themselves in Kansas.

    https://americansongwriter.com/kansa...nce-interview/
    Agreed, that's a great interview. Really fascinating and the two new creative geniuses of the band are truly humble yet clearly inspired.

    This album didn't click for me the first couple of times, but on the third listen it SLAMMED into me and I completely dug it. It's a bit more homogenous-sounding than "The Prelude Implicit" (no "Unsung Heroes, "Summer" or "Refugee" acting as palate-cleansers) but the sound is so very dead-on. Williams' and Rizvi's guitars are so kick-ass in their intertwined power, Brislin's keys do the job, and yeah...Ragsdale is there, not getting left behind. His solo in "Jets Overhead" is pure Kansas wonder.

    I will say I didn't find Platt's vocals as strong as they were on his first album. His voice just sounds a bit thinner this time, and I don't know why. I think it's just hard to compare to Walsh in his heyday, especially when Platt reminds me more of Ted Leonard (which isn't a bad thing).

    "Never" is threatening to tear me apart emotionally, as I'm experiencing a loss in my family at this moment, so, yeah. Kansas can still pull my strings.
    "Arf." -- Frank Zappa, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (live version)

  12. #87
    I finally got around to listening to this. I love 70's Kansas. Some of my favorite progressive rock music of all time. I haven't paid much attention since Monolith but I like Tom Brislin. First impressions are that he does really nice work on this. Kansas to me was never really a keyboard forward band like other symphonic prog bands of the era so this is nice to hear. Instrumentally this album is quite enjoyable. I'm not sure how I feel about vocalist Ronnie Platt. Is it me or is the guy's vocals auto tuned to death on this? is the previous album with him like this? That said, the last time I saw the band they were opening for Yes on the Masterworks or Symphonic tour and Walsh's vox were like a bag of nails falling on the piano strings so in that sense these vocals are an improvement!

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    Finally listened to this just now: the 5.1 version. Pretty incredible on first listen! I’ve been a Kansas fan since the beginning. There have been MANY great albums from the over the years, and this ranks up there with the best! The new members have given them much needed new life! It’s truly amazing how great this is, coming from a band that’s been doing this for so long! Most bands that have been around this long and have new members just try to recreate the past, or live in the past (Yes)....but not Kansas. They really amaze me! At this point in my life, I’m truly happy hearing new music that has the “sound” of the past while using new ideas....fantastic album on first listen. And I love the cover! (Can’t believe the pages of posts putting it down! Really funny!) Carry on, Kansas! (Couldn’t resist...)
    So much music....so little time....

  14. #89
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    This album is another entry in the "Loudness Wars". It appears to be the "hottest" KS album in their catalog, at least on a casual observation of the dynamic range at http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/li...=kansas&album=

    The playing on the record is very good, intricate, and thoughtful. The singing is a lot more tame than the Steve Walsh/Steinhardt era, but the guy is a good singer, nonetheless. The mastering makes it a tough slog, though. Everything tries to be louder than everything else!

  15. #90
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    This is a fine effort by the new Kansas.

    It is always refreshing to get new ideas and compositions by the latest band members who have lots to contribute and breathe new life into this veteran band.
    Tom Brislin and Zak Rizvi have written excellent tunes, no Epics but that's OK. This band is more about melodic symphonic prog and not the long and sometimes tedious songs like other bands focus on.
    Neal Morse bands come to mind.

    Veterans Billy Greer, Phil Ehart and Rich Williams are excellent, Dave Ragsdale has finally gets his chance to shine and his violin work is brilliant. My only asterisk is Ronnie Platt who IMHO has not made his mark in the band and still keeps trying to find his own sound identity and vocal presence.

    But it's a huge improvement from the Prelude Implicit. Would love to hear these songs played live, someday soon when the Foreigner/Kansas/Europe Tour gets rescheduled.
    Four and half STARS of 5 - **** 1/2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rajaz View Post
    But it's a huge improvement from the Prelude Implicit. Would love to hear these songs played live, someday soon when the Foreigner/Kansas/Europe Tour gets rescheduled.
    I would suspect that they will be playing a mostly-hits set on a bill like that. Maybe an hour long?

    I too would love to hear some of this played live and look forward to a full Kansas show at some point.

  17. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by BravadoNJ View Post

    btw, the only thing missing from this album are acoustic guitars!
    This is a very good point! I am enjoying the album, but I do miss that acoustic/electric diversity that was present on songs like "Miracles Out of Nowhere."
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  18. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by Head roc View Post
    I feel, though the abrupt ending was jarring, the reason it was done, was to represent the title of the album,
    The Absence of Presence: I know you're here, but you're not really there. It kind of reminded me of the Sopranos finale ending.
    I'm fine with the abrupt ending. It's a little bit daring (certainly more so than a generic fade-out) and, if listening to the CD, it sets up the return to the opening of track 1 again quite nicely.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter"
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  19. #94
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    There's a dash of acoustic on Throwing Mountains....

    I agree the mix is pretty dense and that can make it a little fatiguing to listen to all the way though. With that many people in the band there's gonna be a lot of layers though....

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    considering that one of the two songs that Kansas are famous for is an acoustic tune, you think they would keep on it.

  21. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    This album is another entry in the "Loudness Wars". It appears to be the "hottest" KS album in their catalog, at least on a casual observation of the dynamic range at http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/li...=kansas&album=
    I bought the vinyl version, which sounds great. As I've stated a few times before, vinyl records can't be brickwalled the way digital mediums can. If they were, they'd be unplayable.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    A worthy addition to the Kansas discography. It's a nice late career album but nothing really grabs me...
    Prog's Not Dead

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    [QUOTE=Steve983;990674]Do you actually know that from the band or are you guessing? I don't like the abrupt ending but its not going to spoil the whole album for me.[/QUOTEI

    I have not heard the band address the abrupt ending, so I hypothesized(not really guessed) that the band members would not do something so jarring, unless they had a good reason, such as, a connection to the concept of the album. Of course, I could be wrong, but I think it is a good theory and possibly correct. It also helps me deal with that jarring abrupt ending as part of the album's concept, that otherwise could be viewed as a bit of a misstep. For some reason, the abrupt ending on the Beatles, She's So Heavy was not so jarring, not a misstep, but appropriate. I hope this helps positively influence people's feelings about the ending to this impressive Kansas album.

  24. #99
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    [QUOTE=Head roc;991104]
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    Do you actually know that from the band or are you guessing? I don't like the abrupt ending but its not going to spoil the whole album for me.[/QUOTEI

    I have not heard the band address the abrupt ending, so I hypothesized(not really guessed) that the band members would not do something so jarring, unless they had a good reason, such as, a connection to the concept of the album. Of course, I could be wrong, but I think it is a good theory and possibly correct. It also helps me deal with that jarring abrupt ending as part of the album's concept, that otherwise could be viewed as a bit of a misstep. For some reason, the abrupt ending on the Beatles, She's So Heavy was not so jarring, not a misstep, but appropriate. I hope this helps positively influence people's feelings about the ending to this impressive Kansas album.
    I listened to the album again yesterday. For me the abrupt ending works. I still think this album is outstanding.

  25. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by miamiscot View Post
    A worthy addition to the Kansas discography. It's a nice late career album but nothing really grabs me...
    I've waited until now to opine so I had time to listen a few times. On the positive side, the production, musicianship and mixing are first-rate, though mastered a bit overloud. And the songs often have the certain undefinable "Kansas" sound (violin alone can do that).

    On the negative side, I'm just over the mid-point on the side closer to the "nothing really grabs me" side than "this is fantastic side". In short, and on the negative side, the songs are pretty good, but none really stands out as "A" material that will just sit in your brain, even without comparing to Carry On, The Wall, Icarus, Song for America, Hopelessly Human, Lamplight Symphony, Dust in the Wind, etc. The lack of acoustic work is also a minus.

    Overall, it's a decent listen, a solid B to B+. It's really good that the band carries on (no pun intended). The new songwriters clearly know the canon, but they're a tier or two down from Kerry, Steve, etc. I look forward to more from them, though.

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