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SNY ANIOłÓW / ANGEL'S DREAM

Quidam

Neo-Prog


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The progressive rock band QUIDAM (Latin word meaning "someone, some human being") was founded in 1991. The album "Angel's Dreams" / "Sny Aniolów" was released in two language versions: Polish and English. It is the follow up to their debut album "Quidam" that was released in 1996. Their music is quiet and dreamy with catchy refrains, and performed by talented musicians. Some reminiscences that can be heard are CAMEL, GENESIS, IQ, early KING CRIMSON, PENDRAGON, PINK FLOYD and John WETTON. The female vocalist Emila Derkowska is a powerful singer, and she is giving QUIDAM a unique sound. Another thing that is adding a unique touch to QUIDAM is the use of bassoon, cello, flute, oboe and strings. The cover artwork is very beautiful with five pictures of clouds, and the music is as beautiful as the cover. My favourite tracks are "Angels Of Mine", "An Apple Dream", "Cheerful" and the epic track "Behind My Eyes". Two of the songs are singed in Polish, and that is "Awakening (Dawn Of Hope)" and " There Is Such A Lonesome House". There are two tracks that keeps the album from getting the highest rating, and that is "Little Bird with No Legs" and "One Small Tear". This is a high quality album from Poland, and I strongly recommend it. The French label Musea distributes the English version.

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#5955)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Typical Polish neo progressive rock like only they can do it. Very much like Lizard and Collage. Dishing out a clean and polished sound that I can only describe as bland or plain , this music is trying hard to be emotive but is absolutely failing with the tough old guy writing this review hoping that some people might appreciate telling them straight from the heart. Yet another one of these "neo-prog classic", I fail to appreciate.

Please do not lookat this creview slating the group, I am just stating my opinion, and as you know, opnion are lika ass...le, everyone's got (at least) one ;-)

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#5960)
Posted Monday, March 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A solid classical progressive rock band with solid musicianship. QUIDAM blend sweet vocals, seering flutes and complex drums with great guitar/bass interplay. "Sny Aniolow" reaches out into all directions and certainly does not sound very neo-proggy as synths are used to create lush soundscapes and not lead the tunes. I have rather enjoyed this CD and recommend it to all progressive lovers.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#5956)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Birds are chirping, flutes are magically emerging throughout the "Awakening" / "Przebudzenie", and quietness preludes Emila's gifted voice to suddenly come with a burst of singing. How else could you picture the perfect arousal every morning? It just can't get better than this. Originally released in Polish to be translated afterwards in English because of the exigencies and demands from the fans and marketers, "Angels' Dreams" / "Sny Aniołów" is the second studio production by the Polish neo progressive band. Due those inconveniences surrounding the translation, only two tracks of the English release album are sung in Polish, but featured in English writing on the booklet, "Awakening (Dawn of Hope)" / "Przebudzenie (świt nadziei)" and "There is such a Lonesome House" / "Jest takis amotny dom". Curiously, those couple of songs are my favorite out of the entire record, reaffirming that in order to appreciate QUIDAM's work better, we must stick to the pure essence and vitality the band cares to transmit by listening to them in Polish (not that I discredit the effort put by Emila to sing in English, because no matter the language, she gets to enchant anyone with her fine, well educated voice), disregarding completely the language barrier and limiting ourselves to experience an incommensurable musical pleasure.

This inspirational masterpiece orchestrated by the sextet from Poland implies a complete inner journey throughout beautiful flute passages taken away by talented Jacek ZASADA along the intriguing keyboards execution leaded by the hands of Zbyszek FLOREK. Special recognition deserves the strings instrumentation performed by Maciek MELLER in "Cheerful" / "Wesoła" and in "One Small Tear" / "Łza"; both songs are irremediably exceptional, each one of them evokes the emotiveness randomly, putting us into this roller coaster that explores the edges of passion and the profundities of sorrow at the same time. The drum striking by Rafał JERMAKOW is not as surprising and unpredictable as the one he displayed on the band's debut album, but yet, it's convincing somehow because of the percussions carefully included in "Little Bird with No Legs" / "Mały beznogi ptak" and in the almost 14 minute suite "Behind my Eyes" / "Pod powieką".

Now, allow me to address this review and your kind attention to the most remarkable issue behind the production of "Angels' Dreams" / "Sny Aniołów", cellist and lead singer, Emila DERKOWSKA. She dedicated over ten years of her prolific life as a musician to the Polish band, where she got to achieve several successes. In 1997, during the CAMEL tour in Poland, Andy LATIMER invited her and Ewa Smarzyńska to perform live the opening part of "Harbour of Tears" suite. One year later, the band releases "Angels of Mine" / "Moje anioły", named after the single that turned out to be a hit which was included in the playslists of many radio stations in Poland; with the live recorded versions of "Rhayader / Rhayader Goes to Town" and "Bajkowy". So, departing from that specific context, we can indisputably agree about the similitudes between the music played by the band once named DEEP RIVER and the English masters of symphonic progressive rock.

Emila seriously committed herself to this 1998 production, firstly, because of the language inconveniences I pointed out in the paragraphs above, and secondly, because of the devotion and selfless expectations she put into the album. And this last remark is simple to perceive in songs like "Awakening (Dawn of Hope)" / "Przebudzenie (świt nadziei)" -a beautiful, almost instrumental suite were her voice takes over the enchanting sound of a sweet flute accompanied by a peaceful piano execution-, and "There is such a Lonesome House" / "Jest takis amotny dom"; -one of the most important songs of Polish rock music, originally sung by a very popular Polish band BUDKA SUFLERA; as Emila explains- both pieces chanted in Polish to give the album that special touch that communicates the unique mood and atmosphere of the roots and significance of the Polish culture. Unfortunately, Emila left the band indefinably on February 20th, 2003.

Many of you may try to satiate your curiosity by purchasing the English version instead of the Polish one just to hear how Emila sounds off in a foreign language like I did in the first place, but believe me, no matter the language, the angelical, almost operatic voice she's got, works both ways to me. The conceptuality of the album is appreciated in the bonus track (I don't know if the Polish version has got it as well), were the joyful birds from the beginning carry on chirping but this time with no compassing flute. Definitely a must for lovers of carefully crafted, innovative music, and of course, an obligated album for neo prog rockers to listen to.

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Send comments to The Prognaut (BETA) | Report this review (#5961)
Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars The 2nd album is a disappointment after the excellent debut album. In general, this is in similar style but everything is a little simpler and "polished". It's like they hold back and this makes this album sound rather unimaginative. With this album they were going much more in the neo-progressive territory (for me their 1st album is almost purely symphonic), which is an absolute no-no for me. In this album you can't hear the fullness and beautiful melodies that made their debut album stand out from nineties symphonic scene. The melodies are nice occasionally but almost the whole album just lacks really good ideas. However, this album isn't that bad as I make it sound to be. This album is just weak compared to their debut. This is neo-progressive.

There are not any really impressive tracks in this album unlike in their debut. My fave tracks are "Beznogi Maly Ptak", the piano/flute/vocals track "Pnzebudzenie" and the 14-minute "Pod Powieka". The last one of these has clearly the best ideas in this album. The problem is that these three very good tracks stand out a bit too easily from the otherwise so-so album.

Conclusion: A good album but far from essential.

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Send comments to geezer (BETA) | Report this review (#36855)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Quite a disappointment! After the fantastic debut album Quidam sounds uninspired and popish, in a bad way. This CD is rather dull and boring, although the band still plays very well. Some songs save the day like the beautiful, simple and poignant Beznogi Maly Ptak and the progressive 13minute+ Pod Powieka (the only real progressive song in the entire CD, not coincidentaly, the best tune here). But clearly those are not enough to make the album really worth it. Don´t get me wrong, it is not bad, it sounds nice, no real bad tracks, but we expected a lot more after their electrifying start.

Fortunatly they´d redeem themselves on their third release The Time Beneath The Sky. But I can not recommend Angel´s Dreams to anyone but hardcore fans, collectors and completionists. One prog song, even a quite good one, is not enough. It´s Quidam´s weakest efford ever. Two stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#122637)
Posted Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Barely 3 stars and their weakest effort. It's just not as symphonic or dynamic as their other albums, it's very bland to say the least. In the liner notes they thank Susan Hoover & Andy Latimer, Colin Bass and Nick Barrett among others.

"Awakening" opens with lots of birds chirping as what sounds like a tin flute and waves of synths join in. If it wasn't for the birds this sounds a lot like IONA. Vocals follow. "Angels Of Mine" is a catchy uptempo track with drums and vocals leading the way. Flute 2 minutes in and vocal melodies a minute later. She's great. "An Apple Dream" eventually settles into a drum / bass led melody with vocals.Tasteful guitar after 3 minutes. "Cheerful" opens with flute and orchestral sounds. It sounds like kettle drums and acoustic guitar as vocals arrive a minute in. This gets a little too light and fluffy at one point. The final minute is well done though.

"Little Bird With No Legs" features vocals,percussion,acoustic guitar, flute and piano. Some nice guitar after 3 minutes followed by more flute to end it. "Behind My Eyes" is the longest track at 14 minutes. Lots of drums early as synths and bass arrive. Guitar 2 minutes in, flute a minute later. A change 5 minutes in. It kicks back into gear 7 minutes in. Passionate vocals followed by some emotional guitar as drums pound. It calms back down 11 minutes in with flute. It starts to build again with some good guitar 13 minutes in. "Awakening (Dawn Of Hope)" is mostly fragile vocals and piano with tin flute later. "There Is Such A Lonesome House" is the only song that she sings in Polish. It takes 2 minutes for it to get going. Some strings(violin, cello & viola) as the sound begins to get fuller and the vocals more passionate. The guitar after 4 minutes is fantastic.

So this isn't the place to start if you want to check out this band, but still enough here for 3 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#174574)
Posted Friday, June 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Like several other Polish bands (like the excellent Abraxas for instance), Quidam switched to bilingual lyrics for this work.

On the lead vocals, Emila Derkowska does a very good job. And while catalogued into the neo-prog genre, "Quidam" offers some fine symphonic passages. Mostly due to the addition of some good fluting as well as a whole bunch of string instruments.

It gives another dimension to their music which is rather pleasant all the way through. Of course, this might probably sound shy in comparison with their excellent debut, but "Angel's Dream" has the merit to be rather expressive and personal. Not at all derivative as too many works from this genre.

No such borrowed themes here. Fine and enjoyable prog music combined with some Polish folk elements are a good combination. A song as "Cheerful" holds it all and is a highlight of this good album.

Nice melodies, beautiful instrumental breaks (flute and guitar) are such a pleasure! At times the music is on the mellow side ("Little Bird with No Legs") but the emotional singing part does bring a special and pastoral touch which is also featured during "One Small Tear" although the latter is the poorest of all.

The centrepiece of this album is the epic "Behind My Eyes". A song full of poetry and sensitivity: the superb vocal work of Emila being for sure the best ingredient. Such a wonderful female add-on. You should only be charmed. She is playing an extraordinary role here. She IS the cement of the band during this album and raises the quality level of the music played. If she wouldn't be there, this album would just be average. With her passionate input, I upgrade it to three stars.

A good album, even if not on par with their debut.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#181981)
Posted Sunday, September 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Neo-prog is quite new musical area for me, and it's interesting to find out pleasing albums containing musical styles which have not opened before. I got myself a copy sung in Polish language, and I think feels better choice so I can focus to melodies and music, escaping the meanings of the lyrics totally. The vocalist has really beautiful voice, and it is really pleasant to listen her sing. Music is shamelessly sweet, romantic, positive and either heals the nihilism or drives one away. Flute and clear synth driven rock sounds resemble little the sound texture of 1990's Jethro Tull recordings. Round bass tones are powerfully front, and this instrument is something I like here quite much in addition of the singing. Drums play quite straightforwardly and have soft tones, though there are some more unconventional lines like in long song "Pod powieką", which is most progressive of these songs probably. The guitar is not also very loud, and solos are quite short, both acoustic and electric guitars are used. Calm ethereal sections soothed the easy to listen pop/rock style of the group, which probably resides in the grey zone of progressive and commercial music, containing elements from both. The pop side of later Yes recordings are an association for me, and the compositions aren't as simple as average radio played songs have, and they gain some length from instrumental passages. Songs have good quality ratio, and album is fun to listen from beginning to end without skipping any songs. I really like the romantic tune at the end, "Przebudzenie (świt nadziei)", reprising little the beginning theme of the album. So, a very good record in my opinion to listen, if one wishes to get happy and is receivable for the style of the music. Would be fun to find this on vinyl, if such exists?

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#228612)
Posted Monday, July 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Gerinski
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Although less brilliant than their debut, this second album by the polish Quidam is still a very enjoyable example of melodic Neo-Prog, as long as you do not despise the genre. This is Neo focussed on beauty, all very melodic and sweet, and hugely emphasized by the gorgeous voice of Emila Derkowska, for most of the time angelical but she can also throw in some energy when needed (those who have seen them live in that period and heard their version of Deep Purple's "Child in Time" surely know what I mean). Her voice is undoubtedly the highlight.

The frequent flute and occasional cello also contribute to the feeling of classical beauty. If what you seek in prog is experimentation, complexity or dissonance, stay away from this.

While many Neo-Prog bands are based on strong interplay between keyboards and guitar, this music is very much lead by the vocal melody and has also a nice very upfront bass, the keyboards and guitar do a fine job but never take a starring role, no virtuoso self-indulgence here at all. The structures and rythms are not complex yet they somehow manage to avoid any feeling of pop-prog, thanks in good part to a drumming which while not being very elaborated is interesting enough.

I have the version sung in polish and have never heard the english one. The album starts with a soft flute melody on keyboards background (which will re-appear in track 8) and then it flows through a collection of upbeat, mid-tempo and slow tracks making a good balance, the softest ones close to being pastoral but never to the point of being ridiculously mellow, and the hardest ones with enough energy yet never sounding really hard. The proggiest track is the 7th "Pod Powieka" mostly because it's the longest, and because it has the most variation in time signatures, but that does not mean much, if they would have combined 3 or 4 of the other tracks in a suite of 15 or 20 min, everybody would say that was the best track even if the music was the same as it is now in separate tracks.

For the rest the album is quite in line with the Neo-Prog standard sound and has a very clean production.

Surely 3 stars, and I hesitate if the outstanding voice of Emila should not be enough to entitle it 4.

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Send comments to Gerinski (BETA) | Report this review (#282527)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars ''Quidam'' was not only an excellent debut but also the opening gate to wide recognition for the band.In early 97' Quidam played live for the first time abroad (Holland), while a few months later Andy Latimer invited Emila Derkowska and Ewa Smarzyńska to participate on the opening act of the Polish tour of Camel.The summer was also quite busy for the band, being part of the Proglive 97' line-up but unfortunately flutist Ewa Smarzyńska quit shortly after to be replaced by Jacek Zasada.In February 98' Quidam return with their sophomore effort ''Sny aniolów'' (Rock- Serwis label), also released in an English version by Musea under the title ''Angel's dream''.

Quidam continue delivering some fantastic musicianship with this new album, atmospheric Neo/Symphonic Progressive Rock with numerous New Age/Folk touches and offered with the strongest production to be met, maybe a bit folkier than their debut.The album gives away a pleasant positive atmosphere all the way, hailed by the dreamy voice of Derkowska, the ethereal melodic guitar performance of Maciej Meller and the beautiful keyboards of Zbyszek Florek.The overall result is close to bands like SATELLITE, COLLAGE, MOSTLY AUTUMN and IONA.There is a strong amount of lovely flute breaks and intros among the pieces to offer a more bucolic taste accompanied by the modern approach the band takes on Progressive Rock, full of light symphonic instrumentals, vocal-based parts and series of sensitive guitar soloing.There is also space for some warm acoustic passages with a folky edge with Derkowska's clean chords really shining.Eventually ''Sny aniolów'' is characterized by the memorable tunes all over, the trully artistic performances and the almost trippy atmosphere of the compositions, all drawn with a high degree of melodic content.

If you run over these CD's, I would easily recommend the Polish version, though Musea Records made things easier by providing more recently a double-CD version of the release with both the Polish and English editions.Fascinating smooth Melodic Progressive Rock of great value and easily recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#636065)
Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 | Review Permalink

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