Kaprekar's Constant - depth Of Field - 2019


... one of the strongest and most interesting new releases of this year ...


In July 2017 I wrote a review about a wonderful album of pure beauty. A beautiful album with great vocalists, a narrator and with a lovely instrumentation. The album was called “Fate Outsmarts Desire” and was released under the name Kaprekar’s Constant. That year the band gave a wonderful gig at the famous Prog Dreams festival in “de Boerderij “ Zoetermeer. That was a great front row experience for your reviewer. Lucky fans will treasure the now sold out official bootleg of that remarkable gig. So with great eager the fans waited for the new studio album of Kaprekar’s Constant. The wait is over because the band presents for your delight and entertainment some new stories from the past and present on their new album “Depth of Field”. The album has been released on the Talking Elephant Records label.


The Collective:
Al Nicholson - guitars, piano, keyboards and mandolin; Nick Jefferson - bass, guitars, keyboards and spoken word; Mike Westergaard - piano, keyboards, guitar and backing vocals; David Jackson - saxophones, flutes and whistles; Bill Jefferson - vocals and backing vocals; Dorie Jackson - vocals and backing vocals; Mark Walker - drums and percussion

Special thanks to Ian Anderson - spoken word on “Rosherville Part Two”


The music on this album has been written by Nick Jefferson, Al Nicholson and Mike Westergaard. The latter is now besides producer also a full member of the band and was again responsible for the mixing. Therefore the sound image and feeling of this album is comparable with the debut album. So expect a product with the same quality as the outstanding debut album. The band has grown into a confident unit and like on their debut took their time to research the stories that are presented on this fine album.

One of the two long epics (“Rosherville”) is split into two parts and are positioned on either side of the album. In fact this is not entirely true because the album ends with a special and present story of personal loss. The story that gave the album it’s title “Depth of Field”. So the album opens with “Rosherville Part One”. After a brooding and broad symphonic opening with a slight Pendragon vibe we are welcomed to Rosherville: “welcome to Rosherville - the place to spend a happy day”. Like the also British band Big Big Train, Kaprekar’s Constant is a master in telling stories and to frame them musically. The music is full of melody and on the mellow and pastoral side of the progressive rock spectrum. The band is developing their unique musical style further on this album. Trademarks are the beautiful vocals of singers Bill Jefferson and Dorie Jackson and the excellent contributions of David Jackson on saxophones, flutes and whistles. In the short track “Holywell Street” the most beautiful melodies pass by. For “Ghost Planes” survivors are sharing their wartime memories of the V1 attacks. The vocal parts are alternated with narration. This gives the piece a special atmosphere. There are two things that stands out to me. The first one is that Dorie Jackson is further developing into a more than excellent singer and that her father David Jackson has again an important role in the music but his wonderful contributions are more woven into the music. “The Nightwatchman” opens with great piano playing of Al Nicholson. A piece with a delicate instrumentation with acoustic guitars, piano, saxes and lovely orchestrations. The piece is beautifully sung by Dorie Jackson. A little resting point before we can enjoy the other epic of the album. With a duration of almost 24 minutes “White Star’s Sunrise” is the longest track of the album. The story is about the company of the largest steamers in the world, the White Star Line. It is about the transatlantic passenger liner Olympic and their sister ships Titanic and Britannic. In this amazing composition David Jackson is for me the star. His excellent performance reminds me of the heyday of Van Der Graaf Generator. Also the composers and multi instrumentalists Al Nicholson, Nick Jefferson and Mike Westergaard deserve an honorable mention for the beautiful arrangements and keyboard orchestrations on this album. This highlight is followed by “Rosherville Part Two”. Jethro Tull’s vocalist and flute player is contributing with some spoken word. He was asked to read a poem in the middle section of “Rosherville Part Two”. Like all the other songs on this remarkable album the arrangements are first class. As said before the album ends with title track “Depths Of Field”. It is a photography term for the distance between the nearest and farthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image. It is a short delicate song with only acoustic guitar and the beautiful voice of Dorie Jackson. A short song about a personal loss ... The images live on, But the cameraman has gone.


As I already rewarded the debut album “Fate Outsmarts Desire” of Kaprekar’s Constant with four and a half stars out of five ... this is a true five star album! You will get three amazingly arranged long pieces (“Rosherville”, “Ghost Planes” and “White Star’s Sunrise”) and a handful of shorter gems. If you would expect that “Depth Of Field” is that always difficult second album of a band ... I have exciting news for you ... “Depth Of Field” is quality wise as strong as that remarkable debut album and at the compositional level even stronger. The band sound tight and confident. Personally I think this is one of the strongest and most interesting new releases of this year. What could I say more ... Kaprekar’s Constant’s “Depth Of Field” is highly recommended by progVisions.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - November 2019 -   - Talking Elephant Records