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4 stars The Polish symphonic/neo-progressive rock band QUIDAM's third studio album is called "Time Beneath the Sky" and it was released in April last year. What's significant for Quidam is that their music is very beautiful and spiced with folk music. I really liked their "Sny Anilow" album and "Time beneath the Sky" is perhaps even better. I believe that all their albums have been released in two different versions: one with Polish and one with English lyrics. The album I've heard are unfortunately the English version, because I would've preferred the Polish version if there were such a version released. However this is a really wonderful album if you like symphonic rock and soft neo-progressive rock.
Report this review (#5970)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars In contrast to my co-reviewer I listened to the version of this album in polish language and I've to say I'd rather have the english one maybe I would like it more. Not to get it wrong I really appreciate that Emila is singing in her native language and she's got a very beautiful voice. It's probably just an individual problem, but to my ears the language is sounding somehow inconvenient and disturbing.

Okay let's put the language problem aside and concentrate on the music. To me it sounds partly quite floyd-ish and these are mainly the parts I like, the more mellow songs remind a bit to (late era) Camel and there are some folk-ish and mystic influences as well. Unfortunately the song I like the most is not their own, the LedZep cover No Quarter. But it's very nicely done and sounds a bit like PINK FLOYD would play LedZep, really nice symphonic adaptation of this great song. Credo I & II as well have some Floyd influence, at least partly, of which I prefer part II since it is all instrumental (again the language!!!). In my version there is one song more (between Nowe imię and Credo) which is called Kozolec (dla agape) and is a quite a nice folk-ish one. I really would like to listen to this one in English. There are a few songs that sound a bit boring and mediocre to my ears like Ciągle czekam , Jesteo and the last one but alltogether the album is not a bad one and maybe for the english version I would have given even one star more.

Since I like only about half of the songs, I think 3 stars is an adequate rating.

Report this review (#5973)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Where should I start here? The version I have heard is the Polish version of this album called Pod Niebem Czas (it could be that there even isn't an English sung version). The vocals are in Polish and I don't have any problem with that. I always prefer that the progressive groups sing in their native language. The problem is the music itself. It's really sad to hear this Polish band go worse with each album. This 3rd studio album hasn't basically much to offer. It is far from the excellent debut album and it is perhaps even more to the light prog direction that the band adopted with their 2nd album Sny Aniolow. I can even hear some new age influences. Not really something that would make my socks turn on my feet. All in all, I'm disappointed with this album and with the direction Quidam has taken. Still, I believe it is quite good in this style of music but it just pales in comparison to the early material. The only track that deserves a special mention is the first one called "Letter from the Desert". It is a good instrumental and also the one that is the most progressive.

This was apparently the last album with the singer/cellist/oboist Emila Derkowska.

Conclusion: Good but for the most part for fans only.

Report this review (#36856)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
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.
Report this review (#51048)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I love the cover of this record, it reminds me of growing up at Wasaga Beach. Across the road where I grew up were houses, and behind them a river, and beyond the river, sand dunes and then the bay.The sand dunes were at a higher elevation, so we saw them every day. The sand dunes have since become a park and a parking lot, but we still have the world's longest fresh water beach. A long winded reason why I love the cover art. I noticed the band thanked Colin Bass in the liner notes. I feel there is something very special about this band, and this album. It's just hard for me to point to one thing and say that's it.

The record starts off with "Letter From The Desert I" a dark, atmospheric song with restained, emotional vocals from Emila, and some beautiful flute and aboe. Acoustic guitar and percussion after 2 minutes as the vocals stop and a melody takes over and builds. "Still Waiting (Letter From The Desert II)" is a light breezy song with gentle vocals and flugelhorn. It reminds me of PAATOS. "No Quarter", yes the LED ZEPPELIN song is covered amazingly well by this band. This for me is the highlight of the record. The flute is very prominate, lots of keyboards, atmosphere and soaring guitar. There is lots of breathing room in this song for the musicians to stretch out. After 10 minutes the song becomes even more uplifting. Fantastic job !

"New Name" opens with soaring guitar and the beautiful vocals of Emila. "Kozolic (For Agape)" has a Celtic or Folk vibe to it, and includes accordion and mandolin. "Credo I" has a CAMEL feel to it during the instrumental parts. This is another favourite song of mine on this record, and it ends with a beautiful extended guitar solo. "Credo II" is a fantastic instrumental featuring spacey synths with drums and guitar to create a gorgeous melody. "You Are" is a smooth, mellow tune. "Quimprompto" is a long spacey instrumental with a hypnotic beat and flute. This record was a great way to end this era of QUIDAM, farewell Emila ! And thankyou !

I guess you could call me sentimental here because this is barely 4 stars, but I do feel this is a special album for various reasons therefore the fourth star.

Report this review (#97940)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow, I am the first reviewer here who has listened to Polish version and was able to understand the lyrics (they were written in my native language) - and, trust me guys who did not understand - you were lucky men, cause you really should make effort to spoil such great music with something as sappy. Emila Derkowska certainly has nothing to do with Miss Dickinson, she is just the 2222th follower of Christina Rossetti. Moreover, she much too often sings them in softly, poppish manner. But to be fair, I should say that her voice really can rock - listen to "List z pustyni I" and "No Quarter", and had a contribution in composing really great tracks. And the music is simply delicious, there are bits of Camel, Pink Floyd, Pendragon, early Marillion of course, but it is mature, refined Quidam style, very subtle neoprog, enriched with oboe, cello, mandolin, but first of all with very good flute playing (Jacek Zasada is amazing, IMHO he could substitute flute parts of Dave Jackson). The performance is very high and the production clear. My favorite parts are "List z Pustyni", "No Quarter", "Jesteś", "Credo" (both parts) and "Quimpromptu" - but in every track you will find sophisticated rhythm section, atmospheric keyboards, and refined guitar and flute solos - for the painstaking analysis see my excellent co-reviewers. If you do not expect much from lyrics, this album because of its tunes is an excellent addition to any prog collection, and it will make you miss the times of lineup with Emila, which I do after seeing the new lineup play alive. It is a great memory of better times.
Report this review (#105025)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Quidam´s third efford - and, unfortunatly, the last one with Emila Derkowska on vocals - totally redeems the lacklustre affair that was Angel´s Dreams. While the latter was unispirired, boring and commercial, this one returns with all the mighty sound that impressed us all when the band released their first CD. Ok, they´re maybe a little more accessible now, but the music is definitly progressive, haunting and amazingly beautiful, with symphonic, neo, polish folk and eastern music influences. Emila is singing better than ever and the band reached its instrumental peak at this point. I bought the polish lyrics version and it sounds great.

Of course the main atraction in this CD is the group´s version of Led Zepellin´s No Quarter. I agree with the other reviewers that say it sounds like Pink Floyd doing Zep, and that the song is really more a reinvention then a cover, giving it a whole new approach, while still maintaining the original spirit. Nevertheless, the remaining, self penned songs, are all very good and varied, making The Time Beneath The Sky the most consistent album Quidam´s released so far. It´s a pleasure to hear it form beginning to end with its many moods and changes, and, of course, tinged with Emila´s emotional and unique interpretation. If the lyrics are lame or bad, her vocal make them sound like heaven.

So, overall this is a must have for anyone who likes good music in general, not only prog lovers. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#122712)
Posted Friday, May 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars When this album was released, there were little talks that it would be the last one with the superb Emilia on the vocals. This is another album released in both English (Musea Records) and Polish (except "No Quarter" of course).

This Polish band, although ranked in the neo-prog genre has a broader range of music: neo of course, but symphonic and definitely some prog folk as well. In all, they play a quite diverse and interesting music which should appeal to a lot of prog fans.

The opening "Letter from the Desert" is a good example of these folkish influences: fine fluting but dark mood and some fine (but short) vocalize part in the same line than during "Chocbym" from their debut.

The mood is very melancholic in "Still Waiting": it is a tranquil ballad in which crystal clear vocals are the best attributes. Folk influences are plenty and a track as "For Agape" is just another example. It sounds as a Polish "Mostly Autumn". But there is nothing wrong with this.

In their live album recorded during the prog conference in Mexico, the band covered already one of my fave hard-rock band. They chose a very difficult song from their repertoire, and IMO it was a total failure ("Child In Time"). This time, they are tackling another one of the genre, namely Led Zep.

They were inspired not to have chosen "Whole Lotta Love" for this exercise, and they wisely covered "No Quarter". It is not so far from the original studio version, keeping the heavy passages (and not substituting them with pastoral ones like they did for "Child"). "Quidam" will add a spacey and psychedelic instrumental break which is slightly increasing the length of the song. It is still a pleasant version.

Unfortunately, as far as own compositions are concerned, we are far from their debut and if you would except the "Credo" suite and the crescendo "Quimpromptu", there are hardly numbers to point out after their cover. Too many mellow and ambient songs.

Average album: five out of ten. I will temporarily upgrade it to three stars.

Report this review (#182412)
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quidam's third album finds them having grown well beyond the Pendragon-IQ-Marillion hybrid sound they had on their debut, and incorporating a swathe of modern electronic influences into their music to create an intriguing hybrid between classic neo-prog and cutting-edge modern genres. They also try out a number of unexpected musical experiments which turn out to work brilliantly - including their fantastic cover version of Led Zep's No Quarter, which works far better than I ever expected that it would. It isn't quite as immediately arresting for neo-prog fans as the debut album was, but some listeners will come around to it if they give it a chance to grow on them a little; others, however, will tire of its more New Age ambient affectations and soporific tone (the No Quarter covers stands out in part because it's a welcome bit of action).
Report this review (#655735)
Posted Monday, March 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars When this album was originally released, back in 2002, I was absolutely blown away and to this day it is still one of my favourite Polish albums. This reissue is a double disc set, with the original album and a DVD ? more of the latter in a minute. My lack of understanding of the Polish language in no way detracts from the album as a whole, as for me the vocals becomes another instrument. Emila Derkowska had a wonderfully clear voice and the whole band gels and shines together in a similar fashion to the way that Pink Floyd once did. With a flautist within the band (Jacek Zasada) it gave them the opportunity to move away from the (reasonably) standard five person prog set up, and they also used guests to fill out the sound even more (oboe, flugelhorn (!), mandolin, accordion).

This is a progressive album that really is, one that brings together different instruments and players in a way that makes it feel as if they belong together. There is a cover version on the album, a brilliant take on "No Quarter" that nearly breaks the twelve minute mark, and the second half of the album is taken up with a complex piece which when taken as a whole is thirty minutes long (although it can be subdivided into five songs). I still believe that this is the best of all of Quidam's albums, showing the majesty and grace that only a band at the height of their powers could achieve.

At the beginning of 2003 after Quidam had come back to Poland from shows in Belgium and Holland, they started preparations for a special show in the band's hometown, Inowroclaw. As it turned out later, this performance was the last one of the band's line-up of that time as singer Emilia Derkowska decided to quit the band. On 16th February 2003 Emilia bade farewell during the sold out show in Teatr Miejski in Inowroclaw. Soon afterwards, the rhythm section, Radek Sikorski and Rafal Jermakow also left and the band had to regroup. Luckily, that final show was captured by three digital non-professional cameras and this is the DVD. If you have never been fortunate enough to see this line-up of Quidam in concert (and most of us haven't) then this is the only opportunity we will have. Also, this was one of the times that Colin Bass (Camel) made a guest appearance with the band so it is definitely worth catching.

A great reissue of a great album,

Report this review (#815737)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The ultimate recognition for Quidam comes in 1999.The Polish group passes the Atlantic to perform among the headliners of the Baja Prog Festival, a live that was captured the same year on CD both by Rock Serwis and Musea.The links with Camel remained strong.Colin Bass invited Quidam to support him during the European promotional tour of ''An outcast of the islands''.Come 2000 and the band focused on writing and recording the third album with only sporadic live appearances.Third work becomes reality in March 2002, first comes the Polish title of ''Pod niebem czas'' on Rock Serwis and a few months later the same album was released on Musea as ''The time beneath the sky''.

With a mix of Polish and English vocal tracks, Quidam appear to somewhat abandon their 70's influences in order to propose a modern-sounding effort, closer to the likes of Neo Prog but retaining the evident Folk flavors of English groups such as IONA and MOSTLY AUTUMN.Symphonic arrangements become a minority and the focus here is on atmospheric soundscapes with sensitive guitar solos in the vein of PINK FLOYD and CAMEL, while the omnipresent flute parts have a now some discreet JETHRO TULL acoustics.Despite the clean production and the contemporary style, the vintage references come and go through the presence of organ and piano.On the other side, the more rhythmic guitar parts are more powerful and emphatic, showcasing a need by the band to rise a bit the volume, while the English tracks are well-worked but with less character than the Polish ones.Ambiental soundscapes start to become a trademark of the band, evolving slowly into heavier moves with guitars and orchestral synthesizers in evidence.The flute work of Jacek Zasada is among the album's highlights: Delicate, touching but also pretty hard-driving in some moments.Quidam had become a master of combining emotional and more energetic textures.

The presence of English lyrics somewhat lowers the value of this album compared to the previous releases, but the musicianship remains at a professional level and the creation of imaginery sounds has been established as the hot point of the band.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1159740)
Posted Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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