Karmakanic: DOT (InsideOut Music)
The Swedish progressive-rock band Karmakanic doesn’t fool around on its fifth studio album, inspired by author/astronomer Carl Sagan and simply called DOT. Following the fuzzy one-minute title track, Karmakanic (“Car Mechanic”?) launches into the first part of the 30-minute song “God The Universe And Everything Else No One Really Cares About”—a beautifully explorative epic about humanity’s insignificance in the vast universe.
Band founder and bassist Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings) recruited no fewer than 11 other vocalists and musicians for this album, and despite DOT’s progressive nature, “Steer by the Stars”—four and a half minutes of uplifting pop-rock—comes as close to mainstream as you can get without offending the prog community. The nostalgic “Higher Ground” and Yes-like symphonic majesty of “Traveling Minds” round out the album’s five tracks. A limited-edition version of DOT includes almost 2.5 hours of DVD material, including Karmakanic’s 2012 performance at the Rites of Spring Festival in Pennsylvania and a making-of-DOT documentary.