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Circus 2000 - An Escape From a Box CD (album) cover

AN ESCAPE FROM A BOX

Circus 2000

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.10 | 28 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Italian hippie-rock with female English vocals

Circus 2000 from Turin formed in 1970 and released two full length albums along with a few singles before disbanding in 1973. While I have not heard their debut this album seems to be influenced by the Airplane and the California hippie rock sound. Another band that they instantly reminded me of was Earth and Fire mostly due to the similar voice of Silvana Aliotta. Her voice is pure unbridled attitude, sultry and sensual, with a bit of an accent to add to the effect. Some may find her voice a bit irritating at times as it is unusual but if you like the singers of the bands above you should be OK.

The music of "An Escape From A Box" is not essential progressive music by any stretch, but period hippie rock complete with stereotypical lyrics and trippy guitars. I would almost describe the sound as more psych-blues-rock than space rock or pure psych, they head off occasionally into Big Brother territory as well. The band is pretty good with crisp drumming and an edgy guitar sound and thankfully they take some space and stretch out at times. It always sort of holds back from becoming super-heavy with plenty of light touches. The nearly 9 minute "Need" is the standout to me. These single notes drenched in wah-wah alternated with three concise strummed chords, cleanly played, alternating with Silvana's amazing vocal. Several sections of bluesy, trippy guitar soloing here and there. Then there is an emotional vocal build-up that leads into a spacey section of rapid bass/drums over wordless vocals harmonies before some tablas softly finish the track. Some moments like the early acoustic parts of "Hey Man" have a folkie feel to them sounding a bit like the Dead when Donna would sing. The album packs a nice, polished, crisp sound for 1972 and I can't emphasize enough the good balance they achieve between "light" and "heavy" moments. As good as Silvana is she does not overshadow the players in the band who shine by not only what the play but the manner in which they play: careful, nuanced, effectively. [Side note: Silvana's daughter Valeria Caponnetto Delleani can be heard on myspace. Her music is not nearly as interesting as Circus 2000 but her voice is good like her mom.]

Circus 2000 is a very good period album and you do not have to be an Italian Prog fan to enjoy this. Any fan of British and American hippie rock will do fine with this album. Even fans of acid-folk like the Holderlin's Traum debut should like this, although Circus 2000 is heavier than that. The VM-015 issue features good sound but measly information, simply a foldover insert with lyrics and miniscule bio in Italian.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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