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Esperanto - Danse Macabre CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.71 | 59 ratings

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3 stars After ''Rock Orchestra'' was published, Esperanto toured the whole England as a support act to Sha na na, then traveled in Europe next to Strawbs, just before entering a castle in Wales to record a second album.The first tapes were soon recorded, but shortly afterwards Glenn Shorrock returned to Austrtalia, replaced by Keith Christmas, who was introduced to the band by Peter Sinfield.New material was recorded and sent to A&M, but again Esperanto were hit by the departure of the whole female singing trio of Yates, Slater and Dudoit, thus the band appears as an eight-piece group on the covers of the sophomore effort ''Danse Macabre'', released in 1974.

These unfortunate issues did not affect the performance of Raymond Vincent & co., as captured on the long opening ''The journey'' with its strong Classical, Avant-Garde and psychedelic influences, like a mix of CURVED AIR, EAST OF EDEN and RENAISSANCE, led by the furious, scratching violins, the dominant organ waves and the dreamy piano textures.''The castle'' is a lovely BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST-like orchestrated ballad, propably refering to the place of the album's recordings, with ethereal piano and keyboard parts, and both opening tracks actually sum up the whole story of ''Danse macabre'', which from this point on continues and develops around these kind of inspirations.With longer and more progressive compositions, Esperanto's music alternates between sinister instrumental mannerisms with dual violins and piano in the forefront and more easy-going music venues, where even E.L.O. come to mind due to the heavy string sections, with also lighter use of organs and melodic vocal lines by Christmas and plenty of multi-vocal harmonies.Parts of the pieces are heavily leaning towards Classic Prog with nice symphonic-oriented textures, reminding a bit of GENTLE GIANT and GENESIS, like on the nice ''The prisoner''.The last track is inspired by Camille Saint-SaŽns eponymous tone poem, delivered in a very short but trully magnificent movement by Esperanto, having a dramatic atmosphere, based on organs, synthesizers and violins.

Definitely a step towards more progressive and adventurous material by this short-lived multi-national ''tiny orchestra''.Well-executed music, with good breaks between calm and darker moods, and delivered with passion.The Si-wan release comes with different versions of three of the album's tracks with Glenn Shorrock on vocals, just before he left the band.Nevertheless, recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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