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Quidam - The Time Beneath The Sky CD (album) cover





3.69 | 97 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For this, their third album, Quidam seemed determined to compensate for their previous release, which, as nice as it was, it failed to sustain the energy and melodic richness that had been so majestically exposed in their excellent debut album. "Pod Niebem Czas" shows Emila Derkowska and her partners of Quidam regaining the excellence and taking it to a new top, in this way, delivering their best recording so far. Not only the musical magic has resurfaced in full swing, but also it has been enhanced with the incorporation of renovating textures from Eastern European and Arabic folklores (not unlike Solaris' "Book of Prophecies"), as well as modern electronic pop, somewhat related to Porcupine Tree, albeit with a softer vibe that may remind us of 90s Pink Floyd and the calmer side of Ozric Tentacles. The opening track is an example of the former, while track 2 takes the latter trend. The addition of these elements are fluidly integrated into the band's main essence, so it is not a stylistic twist what is taking place here in "Pod Niebem Czas", but a revitalization of the particular neo-prog trend that Quidam had already made their legitimate landmark. This is particularly true about the sequence of the last 5 numbers, conceptually integrated under the overall namesake title. This is not really a suite, but a series of linked tracks that range from ethereal electronics with ethnic flavours ('Credo II') to crescendo jamming ('Quimpromptu') to sheer melodic vibe ('Credo I' and the closing track), with 'Jesteś (W Labiryncie Myśli)' stuck in the middle and providing a moment of impenetrable melancholy. As always, the keyboard orchestration meet a proper counterpoint in the alternating guitar, flute and synth leads, but none of the latter ever get too overwhelming; also as usual, Derkowska incarnates the vocal dimension of Quidam's magic with her skilful touch of distinction and polished sensibility. The band's most aggressive side is wisely incarnated in their excellent cover of the Led Zeppelin tune 'No Quarter': while the original's somber ambience was mostly treated as a sinister exercise in hard rock, Quidam takes that same somberness and transforms it into something more mystical while retaining its air of unearthly mystery. More a reinvention than a cover, indeed. On the least challenging side of things, the folk-oriented 'Kozolec (Dla AgaPe)' and the conventional melodic rock ballad 'Nowe Imię' bring some passages of simple pleasure, reminding us of the overall candour of the previous album. The statement of the Polish album's title (all things have "their time under the sky") was also applied to the band's fate - after the tour that succeeded this album's release, Derkowska left the ranks in order to pursue her own musical interests, focused on gospel choirs. It would take three years and some important line-up changes before a refurbished Quidam returned to the musical scene, but that's a matter for another review: at this point, I'll conclude my review by marking this album with a 4-star rating. An excellent farewell to an era in the history of Quidam.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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