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Catapilla - Changes CD (album) cover




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3.61 | 133 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars CATAPILLA were a short-lived, London-based, psychedelic Jazz-Rock ensemble who released two albums in the early 1970's. They released their eponymously-titled first album in 1971 and the album we have here, "Changes", was released in 1972. "Changes" is an apt title, because a keyboard player was brought in for this album, giving the album a distinctly different sound to the first album. Catapilla featured the lovely voice of Anna Meek, who also wrote all of the lyrics for this album. The album also features saxophonist Robert Calvert, although he's not to be confused with THEE Robert Calvert of Hawkwind fame. There's a side-long piece of music titled "Embryonic Fusion" on Catapilla's first album, and that could quite easily apply to the early fusion of jazzy psychedelia contained within this enthralling album. There are four extended pieces of two-part psychedelic Jazz-Rock grooves on the "Changes" album, so let's have a listen now and see if Catapilla will turn out to be a bright and beautiful butterfly or just a dull-coloured moth.

There's plenty of time for "Reflection" on this opening 12-minute-long, psychedelic Jazz-Rock freak out. If you're on a mission to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before to explore strange new music and to seek out "new" artists and "new" albums, then beam up right here and be transported back nearly 50 years in time and have a listen to this extended and exotic psychedelic Jazz-Rock Jam session. "Reflection" features echoey swirling vocals, a reverberant saxophone atmospherically phasing in and out and the ever-present sound of a psychedelic acid guitar soaked in reverb. If you're in an insouciant mood, then a bright sunburst of unrestrained Jazz-Rock "painted" in vibrant psychedelic colours might be just what you need. Be prepared for a dramatic metamorphosis eight and a half minutes into the song though, when this Catapilla song emerges like a beautiful butterfly into a floaty hypnotic ambience of swirling and echoey sound where you can be carried away peacefully into a sea of love and heavenly dreams. This music is groovy, baby! Returning to Earth now and our destination is London for "Charing Cross". This begins as a lovely laid-back and mellow Jazz-Rock groove. Prepare to be carried away by the soaring and uplifting vocals from Anna Meek with a cool saxophonist in accompaniment. There's a dramatic change of pace midway through the song though, when there's a sudden burst of energy and the song barrels out of "Charing Cross" station with all the power of a diesel locomotive daubed in psychedelic rainbow colours.

Side Two opens with "Thank Christ for George". There's no clue as to who the mysterious George might be, but putting that aside, it's another 12-minute-long psychedelic Jazz-Rock jam, featuring those lovely swirling and mellifluous vocals from Anna Meek with the gorgeously smooth and sophisticated sound of the saxophone in accompaniment. It's another two-part number, beginning as an uptempo and upbeat psychedelic Jazz groove and emerging into a slow dreamlike sequence where you may be tempted to just lay back and let the hypnotic and transcendental waves of music wash over you in an ocean of calm and peaceful serenity. If you haven't quite reached the heights of musical nirvana just yet, then the final meditative laid-back instrumental groove on the album, "It Could Only Happen to Me", might just help get you there. . It's seven minutes of sheer unadulterated psychedelic joy and saxophonic delight!

This mesmerising album of hypnotic beauty is like a potful of calming musical nirvana without the aid of marijuana. In the same way as nature can transform a grubby caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, the British band Catapilla have transformed sound into beautiful music with this marvellous album of Jazz-Rock drenched in bright and radiant psychedelic colours.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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