Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kalapana - "Many Classic Moments"

Kalapana's final studio album (discounting the Japanese "Northbound") before breaking up in 1979. Released in 1978 this is the soundtrack for the surfing documentary of the same name (the movie was recently released on DVD for the first time after never being put on VHS).

The same group line up from "Kalapana III," Malani Bilyeu, DJ Pratt, Kirk Thompson, Randy Aloya, Alvin Fejarang and Michael Paulo, are present on this album. They continue the Jazz Pop fusions that they started on the previous album.

The title track is a winner one of the finest songs Bilyeu ever wrote. "The Ultimate" is a pounding instrumental that makes the listener feel like they are inside a wave. The closer a cover of Batdorf and Rodney's "Can You See Him" is a seven minute acoustic guitar solo with three minutes of lyrics. DJ Pratt's guitar skills are on ample display and show that he is one of the great guitarists out there. "The Water Song" has some poor lyrics but soars on excellent music and Bilyeu powerful vocals. "Sunny Days" is Pratt going for a Mackey Feary vibe and doing a pretty good job. "Uptown Country" and "Down By The Sea" are enjoyable but they take a few listens to really get into. The album is short with only eight tracks (one of them being "Naturally" from their first album) so really there are only seven new songs. Nevertheless this is another winner from Kalapana and will certainly please their fans.

Some of these songs appear on Kalapana's "Best of Vol. 2" collection but most are only available on this album. Like their previous album, "Kalapana III," this one is something of a collectors item. Originally released on Vinyl everywhere but when CD's came around this was never released on CD in the United States. It is only available as a super expensive Japanese Import. My great friend Laurel lived in Japan for a while and sent me this CD, which I treasure.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kalapana -"Kalapana III"

Kalapana's third album originally released in 1977 has become something of a collectors item. Originally available internationally on vinyl record, the album was only released on CD in Japan. This makes it very hard to come by in the US or even Kalapana's home state of Hawaii. My very good friend Laurel lived in Japan for a while and generously got this album for me.

After the massive success of "Kalapana II," group leader Mackey Feary left the band for a solo career. Malani Bilyeu the other band leader took over the reigns as lead singer. Guitarist DJ Pratt also began writing and singing here with two songs. Randy Aloya was added to the group on bass guitar and vocals. Saxophonist Michael Paulo and drummer Alvin Fejarang, who had been sidemen on the previous two albums, were now listed as band members.

This album features a stronger jazz fusion component than their previous albums. The arrangements and stylings are also more experimental and ambitious. The songs are excellent especially for fans but because of their stylings they are not as instantly memorable as the work on their first two albums. The best songs are dominated by Bilyeu: the hit "Girl," "Inarajan," "Another Time" and "Dilemma." Other winning tracks are the haunting "Alisa Lovely" by Pratt and Fejarang and "Songbird" by Bilyeu and Pratt.

Overall this is a great album for Kalapana fans but unless you want to pay a high import price or find a friend in Japan this will be hard to come by. Some of the songs have appeared on various greatest hits collections. It is sad that the record company cannot at least make it available in Hawaii since this is a pretty good album but oh well.