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Phoenix - Cantofabule (Cantafabule) CD (album) cover

CANTOFABULE (CANTAFABULE)

Phoenix

 

Prog Folk

3.99 | 93 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars First of all, I have to give a big thank you to harmonium.ro for giving me an opportunity to hear this Romanian band's three albums from the 1970s. So far I've listened to this one the most because it has analog synths on it and I'm a sucker for analog synths. It seems almost every rock band on Earth was at least experimenting with synthesizers at the time, even bands from Communist countries. Being a rock band in a Communist country was not fun and it almost amazes me how many rock bands from eastern Europe there were in the 1970s. There is a folk influence here but it does not dominate. I'm no expert in Romanian folk music, but I'm going to assume it has more in common with Italian folk than Balkan folk, due to linguistics/history.

"Invocatie" starts with insect like synth noises. More overdubbed spacey synths join in. Then the band does start/stop symphonic rock. Switches to a rockin' groove with vocals now. Great harmony vocals during a 'chorus' like section. All of a sudden a gong gets hit, the music stops and then it goes into a short folky section. I like the drumming and altered vocals in the middle, followed by some bell sounds, acoustic guitar and a spoken word section. Some pounding drums and "ahh" harmony vocals in the background later. Then a synth solo. Later reprises the start/stop symphonic section and continues the main part of the song. Some good drumming near the end. At the very end is some funky blues-rock with harmony vocals. Terrific song.

"Norocul Inorogului" is a folky song. Not sure what Romanian folk music sounds like, but I assume something similar to this. Good singing and nice bass synth. You hear some kind of traditional wind instruments in this song. "Scara Scarabeului" is a very commercial sounding early 70s style rock song. Good but not very proggy. "Definul, Dulce Dulful Nostru" starts with some electric harpsichord, cymbals and bass fills. A guitar riff drags the drums into the mix. Then a great mix of band, synth and harmony vocals. Some good drumming in this song. Cool guitar solo which is some kind of classical/blues hybrid. Great dramatic organ to end it.

That song segues into "Uciderea Balaurului" which is more of a typical 1970s hard rock song. Sounds like some clavinet here. "Stima Casei" begins almost funky with the bongos and the bass but quickly switches to a folk song. Good mandolin(?) playing and flute. "Pasarea Calandrinon" opens with classical piano. Goes into some great hard rock then folk-rock. The two sections alternate. Nice intricate playing before a great guitar solo. Switches to a new groove near the end. The music stops and then some jazzy piano and folky violin. I like the sadistic laugh at the end.

"Filip Si Cerbul" is another great hard rocker with some cool synth. I like the almost surf style drumming and '50s rock'n'roll guitar playing at the end. "Vasiliscul Si Aspida" starts out as a folk song with some whispered vocals. Then it turns hard rock with great drumming and harmony vocals. Some acoustic guitar later. At one point the vocals sound like they were recorded through a megaphone. The music stops and then some foot stomping and folk singing to end it. "Sirena" is more of a ballad. Good synth. Hard rocking chorus.

"Pasarea Roc..k And Roll" starts with really cool spacey synth that slowly transforms into an air-raid siren sound. Then gets almost Hawkwind sounding with punk-like shouts of "hey!" Changes to a more commercial rock song. "Canticlu A Cucuveaualiei" is a song you can listen to on PA. Begins with some music box before the band comes in on an almost Zeppelin vibe. The band grooves when the vocals enter. Some backwards guitar. Great bass playing at one point. "Zoomahia" is a highlight. Opens with spacey synth sounds and echoed whispering. The bass guitar starts to play the sequencer rhythm and then the whole band comes in. Almost sounds Canterbury. Some Gong like chanting in the middle.

I love the part starting 4:44-pure awesomeness. Another sequencer pattern leads the band. Instruments kind of float around in a Gong like way at the end. "Phoenix" is the last song. Electric harpsichord, bass fills and wah-wah guitar arpeggios are joined by drums and vocals. Nice synth. Ends with a faster version of the funky blues-rock riff at the end of "Invocatie" fading the song out. This double-album has some great artwork. The sound and production is pretty good. What stands out for me the most is the amazing synthesizer work here. None of it I would consider cheesy or dated. Instead a lot of it is spacey and experimental (for the time). I'm going to give their two previous albums more attention, but this one gets 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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