Karnataka are back
On June 2nd 2005 Ian announced the return of Karnataka. As the founder member, main writer and driving force behind the band from the beginning Ian felt it was too soon to be thinking of retirement!
The process had started early in 2005 when Ian started a writing collaboration with Spanish keyboard player Gonzalo Carrera. With some strong ideas written, they started to seek additional musicians to contribute and a period of auditions and rehearsals followed. Guitarist Nick May and vocalist Alquimia collaborated for a short period whilst their search continued for permanent members and the right chemistry.
Adverts were placed in the national press and Ian was approached by an agent working with Fleetwood Mac tribute band Fleetwood Bac. He was aware of Karnataka and had seen the advert. He thought their lead singer Lisa Fury would be a good choice and might be interested. Lisa sent some demo recordings to the band and in February 2006 Lisa was announced as the new Karnataka lead vocalist.
Vibes From The Vines Festival 2006
In April 2006 Ian moved from his home town of Swansea to live in London and focus more on his music.
In June of that year the band announced their first live performance would be at the Vibes From The Vines Festival on August 14th 2006 headlined by Gary Moore.
Ian, Gonzalo and Lisa would be joined by session musicians, drummer Louie Palmer and guitarist Adam Fox.
The band performed a new track The Gathering Light for the first time.
The band received a glowing review in the November 2006 Record Collector magazine:
“…Karnataka mixed prog with Celtic influences and beautiful vocals from stunning new lead singer Lisa Fury…”
The focus returned to the search for a permanent guitarist and in late 2006 Italian guitarist Enrico Pinna, who had impressed everyone at his audition, was announced as the new lead guitarist.
Enrico immediately had a feel for the Karnataka material and his virtuoso playing brought a new dimension to the band’s sound. He had also previously collaborated with a number of artists including three-time Grammy nominee Mike Stern.
Enrico’s cv also includes many production and engineering credits. He runs his own Quadra Studios in London where the band have recorded their new album.
In 2014 Enrico released his new solo album The Dream Of The Whale – an ambitious suite of mainly instrumental music that draws on influences from world to fusion and progressive.
Following their successful debut at The Vibes From The Vines Festival, the band announced a full UK tour – their first since the Strange Behaviour Tour in 2004.
The 2007 tour was an opportunity for the line-up to settle and also to start introducing new material that would eventually appear on the band’s next studio album. Tracks included Your World, Moment In Time and The Gathering Light which were set to become crowd favourites for this and future tours.
The tour was a great success and received very positive reviews including from The Classic Rock Society.
Summers End Festival 2007
The band performed at the Summer’s End Festival on Sept 15th 2007.
Other acts included It Bites and Pain Of Salvation.
Cambridge Rock Festival 2007
The band performed at the Cambridge Rock Festival on August 19th 2007. The festival was held at The Britten Indoor Arena, The Kings Bush Centre, Godmanchester, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 2NH.
The festival also featured Thunder, Wishbone Ash, The Australian Pink Floyd, Dr Feelgood, Hazel O’Connor and Deborah Bonham.
2008 Writing and touring
During 2008 the band continued to write new material and announced an 8 date UK Autumn tour including a special double headline show at the Astoria 2 in London with Jade Warrior on Oct 23rd 2008.
Session drummer Louie Palmer was unavailable for the tour and the band were joined by session drummer Ian Harris.
Vibes From The Vines Festival 2009
In 2009 the band were invited back to perform at the Vibes From The Vines Festival in East Sussex.
Gary Moore headlined.
2009 Summers End
Summer’s End Festival was the band’s last live outing of 2009 before retreating to the studio to complete work on the new album.
The Gathering Light
Recording for the new album had begun in late 2008 and continued at intervals throughout much of 2009. The album was largely recorded and produced in Ian’s Kent based studio with all the guitars being recorded at Enrico’s London based Quadra studio. During the production, as well as bass, Ian recorded a considerable amount of keyboards on the album and programmed the drums. The recording was finally completed in October 2010. The album was mixed and engineered by Enrico.
The album was mastered in December 2009 by Frank Arkwright at Metropolis Studios in London – one of the world’s premier mastering suites. Frank had previously worked with U2, Coldplay and Stereophonics amongst others.
Finally, the fans patience was rewarded and The Gathering Light was released on February 1st 2010.
The album was released to critical acclaim, quickly becoming Karnataka’s fastest and best selling album.
Album artwork – Michael Bosanko
In the search for album artwork ideas, the work of Michael Bosanko had been brought to the band’s attention. Bosanko’s use of long exposure photography and moving lights to capture and create intricate light-art deigns was unique and inspirational. His refusal to make any post-production alterations in Photoshop was also refreshing, bringing an ‘analogue’ feel to his work in an age of digital manipulation. His light graffiti has been in huge demand and his work has now graced many adverts and magazines for clients, including Amnesty International, O2, Ford, Peugeot, WWF, Talk Talk, Digital Camera, Digital Photographer and the BBC.
The photo shoot for the new Karnataka artwork took place deep in the Welsh forests of the Brecon National Park in August 2010.
The Gathering Light – reviews
The response to the album was overwhelming and it soon established itself as a favourite amongst many fans.
A few select reviews:
“…hugely atmospheric… The Gathering Light may just be the album to springboard them to wider acclaim… Enrico Pinna furnishes every track with radiant and towering guitar parts that sing of Andy Latimer, Steve Hackett and David Gilmour but laced with his own musical personality… Lisa’s voice is beautiful, magnetic, charismatic and haunting in its own right… Without a doubt, my album of 2010 so far…” The Dutch Progressive Rock Page
“A genuinely potent force” Classic Rock Presents Prog
“Brilliant…superb… a must have album” Classic Rock Society
“First class” Powerplay Magazine
“Dramatic, exotic and lushly textured… It never fails to deliver… ‘The Gathering Light’ is like a beacon, and just as dazzling…” Get Ready to Rock
“…Enrico Pinna’s electric guitar passages and solos are awe-inspiring…” Musical Discoveries
“…whilst ‘The Gathering Light’ identifiably includes the original feel of the “old” Karnataka, this is a much more ambitious and progressive album. We are now faced with material that is more ethereal and often fragile but also incorporating much more complex soundscapes and these have been carried to a sublime level of accomplishment across the eight tracks, three of which (‘Serpent And The Sea’, Forsaken’ and the title track) are of epic proportions….” Fireworks Magazine
“…the album ends with the epic ‘The Gathering Light’, which begins with Troy’s yearning pipes as the mist rolls down the glens, then drums thunder as the song opens out to reveal the band at their most soaring and Celtic… this album is a massive grower, each listen revealing fresh nuances…” Ravenheart Music Feb 2010
World Web Awards
The Gathering Light was the Winner Of BEST INTERNATIONAL ALBUM category of the World Web Awards in Italy.
Karnataka featured in Poland’s Metal Hammer magazine.
End of a chapter
Following the release of the album Lisa announced her intention to emigrate to Australia. With the band on hold, Ian and Enrico had the opportunity to reappraise the situation and were particularly keen to move away from a line-up which was partly made up of session players, preferring a more inclusive, committed team based line-up. Lisa, Gonzalo and Ian Harries moved on giving Ian and Enrico the opportunity to take their time putting the best possible line-up together.