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Curved Air - Phantasmagoria CD (album) cover

PHANTASMAGORIA

Curved Air

 

Eclectic Prog

3.84 | 150 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Amazing followup to "Second Album", the final album with (more or less) the original lineup (the band had trouble keeping bassists), the difference here, of course, the band was on to their third bassist, Mike Wedgwood (later of CARAVAN, for the albums "Cunning Stunts" and "Blind Dog at St. Dunstans"). A more elaborate album than before thanks to the inclusion of strings and horns, not to mention a jazzier album.

The first two songs, "Marie Antoinnette" and "Melinda (More or Less)" are stunning ballads that's firmly in familiar CURVED AIR territory. These two songs gives more fuel in the fire that I feel Sonja Kristina was one of the best female vocalist around! "Not Quite the Same" is a rather dirty number about masturbation, while "Cheetah" is an instrumental piece dominated by Darryl Way's violin. "Ultra-Vivaldi" is Francis Monkan's time to shine, where he gives an electronic take on Vivaldi on his VCS-3 synth (of course this wasn't the first time the band explored Vivaldi, as demonstrated on "Air Conditioning", their debut).

Side two finds the band being more experimental. For example, a Monkman experiment called "Whose Shoulder Are You Locking" which involved Sonja Kristina electronically modifying her voice in to a synthesizer and computer, which ends up sounding like a vocoder (I understand this experiment also involved one of the guys who worked for Electronic Music Studios, the same company responsible for the VCS-3/Synthi "A" synthesizers), and I'm sure this gave Electronic Music Studios (EMS) an idea to develop a vocoder. "Over and Above" is a wonderful jazzy number, dominated by vibraphones, with lots of horns and strings. There are some quirky passages that brings to minds Frank ZAPPA or GENTLE GIANT. "Once a Ghost Always a Ghost" is the closing number, another quirky number, with more jazzy passages and horns. What a great album that I should have tried so long ago, it's not even funny!

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Proghead | 4/5 |

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