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Ciccada - A Child in the Mirror CD (album) cover

A CHILD IN THE MIRROR

Ciccada

 

Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 189 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
5 stars It's been quite a struggle trying to hear and/or acquire a copy of this album or its music. But, the persistently high ratings and reviews lead me to persevere--and I am very glad I did. My first listen was appreciative ("a lot of JETHRO TULL riffs," I remember thinking), but I knew this child in the mirror was no simple kid, so I took my time, let it percolate, let the music get familiar, before trying to comment on it. I immediately knew we had a collection of very intricately constructed songs performed by very skilled "classical" chamber musicians. Repeated listens caught me thinking of WOBBLER, THIEVES KITCHEN, ALAN STIVELL, and even a little bit of NIL, GENTLE GIANT, THE CHIEFTANS, HAPPY THE MAN, GRYPHON, DIXIE DREGS and even some Southern or Country Rock. Such an odd yet intriguing mix, no? I only hope/wish that this album gets the listens and attention I believe it deserves.

My favorites:

"A Storyteller's Dream" (10/10) is a beautiful song--yet another (mostly) instrumental--with a very strong grounding in folk traditions--not unlike THE PENTANGLE or ALTAN. For me, probably the album's most emotive song. I love the organ solo with strumming acoustic guitars and mellotron mid-song which builds into quite a jam! 10/10 IMHO, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the all-time great prog-intrumentals.

"A Garden of Delights" (9/10) has a very Greek JETHRO TULL beginning to it. The near-operatic vocals of Evangelia Kozoni change this--as does the very catchy chorus, giving the song much more of its own identity. Music and lyric/vocal together lead us on a journey quite like a classic Greek play--full of many twists and turns, trying to get us to see sense and joy against the backdrop of a very arduous life of pain and struggle. Quite a journey! Quite a powerful, convoluted song! A true example of what I'd call classic progressive rock.

"A Child in the Mirror" (9/10) is another instrumental, here mixing Renaissance instruments/styles with TULL's Thick as a Brick/Passion Play era sounds/styles (and riffs!), yet also contains some kind of indescribable YES-like quality to it. I absolutely love the acoustic guitars and recorders in this song.

"I Stigmi--The Moment" (9/10) is a very classy folk-jazz-classical chamber piece with keys, electric guitar, and woodwinds noodling around over a standard C&W bass & drums back beat. The guitar picking even seems to come right out of Nashville. I love the fact that Evangelia Kozoni's vocals are being sung in her native Greek.

"Epirus--A Mountain Song" (8/10) begins with piano, clarinet and voice setting an almost chamber music-like scene. They are later joined and embellished by acoustic guitars, drums, electric bass, and electric guitar in a kind of IONA-like slilghtly amped up rock version of a folk song. I like the male b-vox on this one. More of this in the future would be nice.

"Raindrops" (8/10) has a very pastoral, folk feel to it, with flute, acoustic guitar, bassoon, electric piano (?) and voice constantly weaving in and out of each other's melody lines.

"Isabella Sunset" (8/10) starts with piano and violin before drums, bass, flute and electric guitar join in--Baroque to rock in an instant! The vocal melody and lyric very much has the same feel as that of NIL or THIIEVES KITCHEN where the female singing is really just another instrument in the (very complicated) weave--here an beautifully trained operatic folk singer--often even mimicking the melody line of another instrument. A pretty song with, again, some very intricate songwriting construction. I hope the group continues to explore more multi-voice harmonic weaves as there are near the end of this one as I much prefer this kind of vocal weave to those barbershop quartet/Beach Boys-like ones of MOON SAFARI. Great outro.

"Elisabeth" (7/10) is another instrumental tune that begins like an acoustic folk song before turning classical chamber music--perhaps even Renaissance music. Surprisingly, it goes to heavy rock power chords near the two minute mark, then digresses back to its pastoral yet intricate and sophisticated acoustic weave. Back and forth several more times--which surprisingly works really well--kind of like AFTER CRYING or some YES and KING CRIMSON. Some nice segues and added instruments (cello, organ) spice it up and keep it from getting too repetitive, predictable or boring. Halfway through the back beat falls into a very standard Country and Western beat--which again works!

This is the only album from 2010 that I've given 5 stars. It is, IMHO, a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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