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Camel - Mirage CD (album) cover

MIRAGE

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1843 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars My love for Camel began with this album. I saw it several times in the shops, but the sleeve design made me think to a sort of advertising, so I didn't want to try them. Later I have discovered that the author of the novel on which The Snow Goose is based thought the same and this is why the album is officialy entitled "Music inspired to The Snow Goose".

Some years later I was lazying between the ruins of an bandoned barn in a desertic area of the Catalunya (Spain) with some friend and a portable tape recorder battery alimentated and just two tapes. One was Mirage.

Maybe because of the warmth, maybe because of other "influencing elements", the music entered in my mind and it's still here.

"Freefall" has a spacey flavour, something that a Pink Floyd addict like me can only appreciate, then let's listen to how all the four guys contribute to the tracks. Doug Ferguson's bass is often underevaluated, maybe because he doesn't slap and his sound is always very clean, maybe because he doesn't add notes when they are not needed. Camel wouldn't have been the same without him, and the relatively poor albums with Sinclair are here to demonstrate it. Also Ward is for me one of the best drummers which I've listened to. Add the skill and the songwritig of Latimer and Bardens in the middle of their peak of creativity.

After "Supertwister" the first of the two short epics of the album: Nimrodel. It was probably "fit for purpose" when I have listened to it for the first time, but the music is highly evocative and even if its duration is below 10 minutes I consider it an epic.

The B side is opened by another spacey instrumental: Earhrise. It's a good track, but is obscured by what is likely the most beloved Camel's song for their fans: Lady Fantasy. It's an epic suite. It's organic. It never looses continuity even when the theme moves from a clean guitar melody to a keyboard riff, to warm singing and to the tendentially hard-rock finale. One thing about Camel's singing: many people thinks that this is their weakness. I think that the warm low-pitched voice of Andy Latimer is better than some of the people that he hired later to sing on his behalf. Compare how he sings Fingertips on Stationary Traveller and how Chris Rainbow sings the same song on Pressure Point.

Mirage is "Camel at their top" and has a follow-up in Rajaz 30 years after. Both represent a trip in the desert (in my case literally) and justify the name of the band.

octopus-4 | 5/5 |

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