“After almost 50 years, Hans Lundin is to be applauded for continuing to produce such rewarding music”: Kaipa’s Sommargryningsljus

Sole remaining founding member provides “summer dawn light” featuring entrancing vocals and an awe-inspiring line-up

Kaipa – Sommargryningsljus
(Image: © InsideOut)

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Led today by keyboard player and sole remaining founder member Hans Lundin, Swedish symphonic prog exponents Kaipa have a venerable history. With five albums released between 1975 and 1982 (the first three featuring future Flower Kings frontman Roine Stolt on guitar), a two-decade hiatus and nine subsequent albums since 2002, they are a Scandi-prog institution.

Kaipa’s latest, Sommargryningsljus (‘Summer Dawn Light’), is themed around the concept of a nocturnal odyssey from fading light to redemptive dawn. It starts as the day ends with the title track – the first part of a single song that bookends the album – with vocalist Aleena Gibson gently emoting as she reflects on the dying of the day.

Both Gibson and her partner-in-voice, Patrik Lundström, are outstanding throughout this record, channelling the shifting moods and character of the music. There’s a dark vulnerability in Lundström’s delivery during Chased By Wolves And Burned By The Sun and Gibson’s powerful urgency in Like Thousand Dawns, as well as great duets between the pair.

KAIPA – Sommargryningsljus (Single Edit) (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO) - YouTube KAIPA – Sommargryningsljus (Single Edit) (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO) - YouTube
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Continuing the journey, Seven Birds builds gradually into bigger musical themes as the voices soar with yearning and they deliver a mesmerising multitracked a capella section. Like Thousand Dawns features a frenetic opening with great unison-playing between Darby Todd (recently seen behind the kit for Devin Townsend) and the ever-in-demand Jonas Reingold on bass. Guitarist Per Nilsson adds aural pyrotechnics via lovely playing and electrifying solos across the album; his turn on Spiderweb Train is particularly tasty.

While containing strong musical themes, Revelationview ebbs and flows in intensity to give violinist Elin Rubinsztein and recorder player Fredrik Lindqvist room to stretch out. Late-night fears and uncertainties are reflected in Chased By Wolves And Burned By The Sun and Spiderweb Train, with the former a track of contrasting feels, baleful at times and playfully intense at others. Entirely instrumental for the first three minutes, the band inject a jazz-fusion influence into proceedings. 

KAIPA – Revelationview (VISUALIZER VIDEO) - YouTube KAIPA – Revelationview (VISUALIZER VIDEO) - YouTube
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Finally, a rejuvenated day dawns with relief and optimism in Songs In Our Hands, and Sommargryningsljus’ recapitulating themes set up right at the beginning.

A beautifully crafted record, it manages to capture the majesty of classic symphonic prog with a distinctly Scandinavian flavour. Almost 50 years after Kaipa first formed, Hans Lundin is to be applauded for continuing to produce such rewarding music that delights and feeds the soul.

Sommargryningsljus is on sale now via InsideOut Music.