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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Whetting the appetite

Caamora is the latest of the prolific Clive Nolan's (ARENA, PENDRAGON, Etc.) projects. For this ambitious venture, he has teamed up with the a mysterious Polish lady by the name of Agnieszka Swita. It seems Swita has never been actively involved in the music industry, her partnership with Nolan coming about as a result of a chance meeting via a mutual friend.

The project, which involves a lavish interpretation of a Victorian novel called "She" is scheduled for release in 2007. Meanwhile, the duo have released this EP entitled "Closer" to whet the appetite. There are five tracks here, three of which are new, the other two being re-interpretations of songs Nolan has previously recorded with other collaborations.

The EP opens with a spirited version of the Shadowland song "Half moon street". Swita's vocals are highly accomplished and confident. Sounding at times vaguely like Marianne Faithful, her slightly husky tones are ideal for the dramatics of the song. The following two tracks are from the "She" project. Interestingly "World somewhere" is described as having been written for "She" while "The bonding" "will appear on the album". Certainly "The bonding" is the stronger and more memorable song, being a mid-paced number with powerful instrumentation. Swita uses varying vocal effects reminiscent of Sonja Kristina to bring out the power of the song. Mark Westwood contributes some useful guitar here too.

"Sacrifice" originally appeared on the first Strangers on a Train album. For those familiar with the two "Key" albums so far released under that name, they are the best reference point of the many projects Nolan has been involved with. Another useful reference point is RENAISSANCE around the time of their Scherezade album, especially in view of the orchestration here.

The final track, which gives the EP its title, is a soft piano and vocal duet. Swita's slightly trembling vocals are powerful and pure.

This EP, which is only available either via the band's website or at their shows, serves as a good appetiser for Caamora. The objective was clearly to showcase the vocals of Agnieszka Swita and to that extent it works well. She is undoubtedly a highly capable singer with a distinctive voice. My own preferences is when she adopts a slightly lower key, as she does on "Half moon street". Apart from the non-performing aspects such as song-writing and production, Clive stays largely in the background throughout. It appears we will need to await the release of "She" in 2007 before we see him in all his glory.

In all though, the signs are good that this will be a highly appealing project.

Report this review (#95728)
Posted Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Interesting vocals, Agneška (it makes me smile, how all these letters "iesz" can fit into one letter "š" in my language, good thing to be neighbor of two musically important countries, while having our bit of quality for ourselves) Swita have, completely fits to her look. From what I hear, her vocal range is quite impressive, voice full and clear. But we know that Clive Nolan is probably this driving force here. Maybe short album, but very refreshable and pleasant to listen.

Music is very different than style of Arena, some parts are like other Nolan's project, The Hound of Baskerville. OK, sometimes like Arena, but with woman as vocalist, it's something unfamiliar, yet good. But that's it, it blends a lot of styles together, making new, unique one. Her voice is also quite new and good. I wonder how Clive Nolan's sounds like.

4(-), not much material to listen and after repeated listening it's quite boring, but of course, if you wait some time, it's good again. But after all, it's just EP. Which brings one good fact, it's not too expensive.

Report this review (#238207)
Posted Wednesday, September 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Clive Nolan project started around early 2005,when Clive met Polish singer Agnieszka Swita in London through a mutual friend.By March 2005 they begun recording together under the concept of the musical adaption of English writer's Henry Rider Haggard novel ''She''.To promote this work Clive and Agnieszka decided to tour in Europe and South America in 2006,while by the fall of the year the EP ''Closer'' was released,giving a first taste of what the project would sound like.In this work the duo receives help by Mark Westwood on guitars (Shadowland,IQ), John Jowitt on bass (IQ,Arena) and Andy Edwards on drums (Frost,IQ).

Reasonably the album falls into the keyboard-based rock category with Nolan dominating the sound with his grandiose and orchestral playing on the rocking numbers and delivering smooth piano parts on the ballads.Agnieszka has a fantastic voice and a wide range of emotional approach with operatic,offensive and warm singing,depending on the track.The overall style has strong links with symphonic music and plenty of Opera elements and gives a good picture of the upcoming ambitious work,while the arrangements are of first class with a cinematic flavor.The role of guitars and the rhythm section is more supporting,but they still add an even more bombastic atmosphere to the general sound-picture.

Clive and Agnieszka managed to catch the attention of public with this short release and making the listener wanting for more.Great symphonic music mixed with rock elements and another proof of Nolan's endless creating talent.Highly recommended.

Report this review (#546543)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink

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