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Quarteto 1111 - Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas CD (album) cover

ONDE, QUANDO, COMO, PORQUÊ, CANTAMOS PESSOAS VIVAS

Quarteto 1111

Eclectic Prog


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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars

FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM

As a Tronmaniac it was inevitable that one day I would stumble upon the album 10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte by singer and keyboard player José Cid, this is Mellotron Heaven on Earth! Then I discovered that José Cid once joined the Portuguese five piece band Quarteto 1111 and from that moment I was very determined to get an album. Thanks to a Portuguese PA friend (you know who you are) I got a copy and was finally able to listen to this highly acclaimed and most progressive Portuguese progrock effort.

Their third LP Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas is from 1974 (in 2008 released on CD) and sounds typically late Sixties/early Seventies with hints from The Moody Blues (melodic, accessible, lots of Mellotron) but it also could have been a Seventies Italian progrock album (in the vein of I Dik Dik, Celeste or Apotheosi), especially because of the passionate vocals, the contrast between the mellow parts (warm vocals, acoustic guitar, flute-Mellotron section) and heavy or bombastic moments (violin-Mellotron section, Minimoog flights and fiery guitar work) and the intense atmospheres and emotional outbursts. And how about José Cid is role? Well, from the very first second it's Mellotron Heaven.

1. Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas - Part 1 (13:58) : The intro delivers the violin-Mellotron section (with hints from Karelia by Anekdoten), then a slow rhythm featuring lush Mellotron, Minimoog flights and emotional vocals, followed by the distinctive flute-Mellotron (evoking Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles), blended with Minimoog runs, delicate Grand piano work and wonderful vocals (very expressive but not theatrical or screamy). The moods shift from mellow and slow rhythms to mid-tempo (heavy guitar play) and bombastic eruptions. The final part contains an unique combination of a fiery guitar solo, accompanied by lush violin-Mellotron, very compelling!

2. Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas - Part 2 (16:52) : The second track starts with the compelling end of the first composition featuring expressive vocals and powerful drums and again lush violin-Mellotron. Then a dreamy part with flute-Mellotron, acoustic rhythm guitar and warm vocals, gradually turning into a slow rhythm with emotional vocals, Grand piano, Moog and Mellotron, culminating into again a very compelling, more bombastic final part with all those vintage keyboards in full splendor, goose bumps!

DON'T MISS THIS MELLOTRON DRENCHED PORTUGUESE PROGROCK CLASSIC !

Report this review (#172463)
Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. This really is essential for those who love the mellotron. I'm not surprised that Eric Neuteboom has already reviewed this considering his love affair with "the tron". The star of this Portugeuse band is Jose Cid who sings and plays the beloved mellotron. I must say this music reminded me alot of the romantic Italian music during the quieter sections. There are also some aggressive moments where the drums, guitar vocals let loose. This really is one complete song that is divided into two parts because of course it was released on LP back in 1974. The cd version I have has no break between the two parts, it's one long 31 minute suite.

The mellotron comes in almost immediately joined by drums. Just a gorgeous sound. Synths a minute in while the mellotron continues to flow in waves. The vocals 1 1/2 minutes in sound great,quite passionate. A change 2 minutes in as piano arrives and with it a pastoral mood. Reserved vocals and mellotron lead the way. Strummed guitar, drums and synths all sound fantastic 6 minutes in followed by a mellotron flood. The song continues to change in tempo and mood. The tempo picks up 11 1/2 minutes in with some scorching guitar. Suddenly a calm with spoken words before the passionate vocals return as the song kicks back into gear. The mellotron, guitar and drums are outstanding 15 minutes in as it blends into "Part 2".

Aggressive vocals, blistering guitar and frantic drumming follows. Nice. This continues for a minute then it mellows out with reserved vocals, acoustic guitar and mellotron. A change 5 minute in as we get a fabulous mellotron / drum passage,not to mention the vocals. Piano before 8 minutes as mellotron and drums join in as themes are repeated. Tender vocals join in and then synths.

This is a mellotron feast ! This might be the best album ever to come out of Portugal. A must have.

Report this review (#183551)
Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars So along our path in Progressive Rock, there are these hidden gems that no matter how hard you try to uncover, you just can't. Some had a very limited pressing, some were regarded as rubbish back in the day, others were simply forgotten. Thankfully, ever since the new century started, people started looking back, as to see just how much they had lost on the way. Well, this was one of those things: a hidden album, obscure, unknown to the masses, known to the elite of the elites, something so rare that it was thought that it had been lost forever, along with the sands of time. But now it's back, and its kicking ass to pratically anything prog ever released in Portugal and in Europe, I dare say.

32 years after its release, here it is ladies and gentlemen: Onde/Quando/Como/Porquê/Cantamos Pessoas Vivas. Two years before 10 000 Anos, supposedly José Cid's greatest masterpiece, back when he was in Quarteto 1111, his brain clicked, and instead of a lightbulb appearing on top of his head, like it happens to most of us, this LP appeared. It was the dawn of a new regime in Portugal, and José Cid created its wake-up call in the cultural field. From mesmerizing lyrics, alluring to the beggining and ending of things, to keyboards like no other, a guitar that screams of agony, because the player is too damn good in this album, a drum that tells the band what to do and tells the listener what to expect (and by this I don't mean that it's predictable, I'm just trying to say that it creates a fantastic ambience) and, finally, to a bass that will make your house shake in respect, this CD has it all.

One song, that's all there's to it, just one, fantastic, long piece of progressive rock. But that's all it needed. This LP is, quite basically, an exact definition of what a progressive album should be like. Sure, it didn't bring a single new thing to the genre (besides unmatcheable 'Tron usage), but it used every single thing that defines the genre in such a fashion that you'll be forced to wonder: How can anyone NOT love this LP?.

By the time you reach the last second of this album, you'll realize the same thing I did: this album is a true world-wide masterpice that was hidden for too long, much to everyone's dismay.

Regarding the (first ever!) remaster: as you can probably imagine, this album was abandoned for so long that, when they went to pick up the master tapes, they were completely useless. So, instead of mastering from the original tapes, they did it from a LP. You won't hear a single click, which is nice, and you can hear a lot of background sounds, like the band members signalling each other with claps and whatnot, but the sound is plagued with bass and medium sounds. It's like the remastering engineers completely forgot about the treble sounds! As you can imagine, the 'Trons suffer quite a lot from this, but you can still hear them well enough to distinguish every sound they make. Even so, it's not like you have a choice here: you either buy the band-new CD, or you won't be able to listen to it, period.

Report this review (#185046)
Posted Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the best albums i discovered this year!

I remember when Quarteto 1111 was being suggested for addition and i thought that my knowledge about portuguese music was very limited (is, actually) anyway i was interested in this band and by chance i found their third release called Onde, Quando, Como, Porque, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas which was released in 1974 and if im not wrong was the last studio album of the band. My previous experience with portuguese prog rock was that highly acclaimed Jose Cid album, and oh surprise, Jose Cid playde in Quarteto 1111, so that was an extra point of interest to me.

This album is actually very short, it's lenght reaches only 30 minutes but which in my opinion are 30 well used minutes, the music is always contstant and maintain us interested in what is next. This record is divided in two songs with the same name of the album, the only difference would be the parte 1 and parte 2 thing.

Parte 1 starts with a great mellotron sound, and the vocals of Jose Cid inviting us to stay tuned since it sound with power and delicacy at the same time. The song has several changes but all of them are excellent planned, the music sometimes sounds aggressive and sometimes very pastoral, the acoustic guitars and drumming along with the almost predominant mellotron sound makes this really interesting, at the half of the song we will listen to some slower passages but it always return to the constant and beautiful musical sound produced, after the eleventh minute we will listen to another sudden change which is probably the most aggressive of them all, with a very nice guitar solo and a faster sound but wait, it makes a sudden stop and some spoken word enter, just to come back to that faster sound, the mellotron is simply exciting and the blend of symphonic pastoral and aggressive sound is simply awesome, i also think that the vocals of Cid play a main role here there are some kind of screams he does and soun very good, great music and what a powerful ending, pure mellotron bliss!

Parte 2 basically follows the first part as it would be just one song, i am not sure but i believe this is actually a one song album, but cut in two parts due to the LP issue, side A and B i mean. This part has also several changes the first one is after one minute, when it slows down, acoustic guitar appears, a melodic vocal style and there will always be a keyboard sound as background, sometimes mellotron, sometimes moog, etc. This part of side 2 has a bit more folkish and pastoral moments than the first one i think, there are no weak moments, it is a whole that always sounds fresh and interesting, i didn't find a boring minute, all is compact and enjoyable and actually i have no complaints for any musician, all of them play their instruments very well, and all the changes they did are in the right moment, it ends very emotional, with some high vocal notes that may cause you goosebumps, what a great end and a great album.

In general, pastoral music sometimes folkish, but very symphonic after all, mellotron heaven and a great melodic voice style, a beautiful album, which does not reach the 5 star level, but without a doubt is highly recommendable to any prog lover, especially for those ones who love mellotron, if someday is decided to add that .5 rating, i would give this a 4.5 one.

4 stars! Enjoy it!

Report this review (#194930)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Brazil
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This CD was released in 2008 by the label Do tempo do vinil in Portugal and a friend (Nuno) sent me as a gift from there. This edition brings photos, lyrics and an interview with the members of Quarteto 1111. The subject of Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas (Where, When, How, Why, We Sing Living People) is the end of the dictatorship and the beginning of democracy in Portugal. Cantamos Pessoas Vivas is inspired in a poem by José Jorge Letria. According to Cid in his interview, this poem is dedicated to people that came to light and resuscitated in that beginning of democracy. This album is dedicated to mellotron lovers, like me, but it has also many acoustic passages. Cid thinks this album is more original than 10.000 anos entre Venus e Marte, that is, as he says, in the "trail" of English symphonic. In fact, I think the subject of this album more interesting than 10.000 anos..., but I still prefer the instrumental of that Cid album. Anyway, if you love symphonic prog with melloton and intelligent lyrics, you need get this one. It's the best album of Quarteto 1111 with José Cid.
Report this review (#207742)
Posted Thursday, March 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm just going to focus my review to the lyrics, since i couln't add anything new to these other reviews, it's a great album, the best in Portugal, along with 10.000 anos by José Cid, and Mistérios e Maravilhas and Humanoid by Tantra, although these two last are not at the same level.

While 10.000 anos is space themed, the end of manking as we know it, etc, etc, this piece is about the happiness and hope after the 1974 Revolution, it talks about the bright future of Portugal, with the arrival of freedom. All the slow and and gentle parts are filled with beautiful poetry about our people, but above that, about Humanity. The violent parts are a demand for liberty, for freedom for all the peoples. The lyrics on this song are about real people and real feelings, it's a mirror of the general feeling in Portugal after 1974.

This album has just been re-released in vinyl, by a spanish label. As soon as my copy arrives i'll be posting the lyrics, both in portuguese and english, maybe that way it'll become clear what this masterpiece is all about and why it is an outstanding work, both intrumental and lyrics.

5 stars.

Report this review (#259365)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Probably one of the best cd in my collection of symphonic prog. Full of 70's typical keyboards (including a lot of mellotron of course) but as well few really welcome piano part. The guitar is discreet but does its job very well when needed. The voice of Jose Cid is great and suit the music all the way either through the bombastic parts or the more intimates. The lyrics in Portuguese are not a obstacle either and brings a latin touch. This is to finish a very accessible album that i would recommend to lot of people who want to know a bit more about prog or to the already confirmed prog fans. Rating: 4.5
Report this review (#297896)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Mellotron classic!

I see this album as, to the mellotron, the same as Thick as a Brick to the flute in rock. A single song with developments, recapitulations, changes, everything that a prog epic deserves, and, most of all, a magnificent mellotron from beginning to end. Both the standard strings sound as the less known flute sound of the mellotron are superbly used, so if you, like me, think the mellotron is not an imitation of strings, flute or whatever, but an original instrument with beautiful timbres, you should definitely listen to this album.

The lyrics in Portuguese are quite good, they seem to be based on a poem about the revolution that put end to a long dictatorship in Portugal. Verses like "Because the smile has returned to the face/Of those who were vigilant" and "The forbidden word/The forgotten word/Liberty" (my translation) can be very touching.

The arrangements and the sound, generally, seem to me very much improvised, not contrived at all, with minimalism. (yes, mellotron and minimalism can coexist!)

PS: It's a shame that Brazil and Portugal are so distant culturally. This is the only Portuguese album I've heard, I can't think of a Portuguese movie or TV show I've ever watched, and besides José Saramago, all portuguese writers I can think of have died more than 70 years ago. If there are other bands and writers on the same level of Quarteto 1111 and Saramago, it's a pity that we never hear about them in Brazil

Report this review (#299076)
Posted Monday, September 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Retired Admin
4 stars Listen up RPI fetishists!

This album might feature the beautiful Portuguese language, but it shares a lot of similarities with the symphonic Italian scene. From the classical piano playing, that emulates the same sort of feel you get from Banco - the dramatic and slightly operatic touch that sounds so bittersweet, - to the lush and creamy surroundings here, this album just might be the equivalent of pouring maple syrup into your ears.

I personally know of Jose Cid from a record he did called 10.000 anos, which in all fairness is pretty close in sound to this album, if it wasn´t for one thing: It´s from 78 and it occasionally shows signs of disco and funk, - and especially the last number the mini-epic Vida is momentarily marred by this tendency. Onde, Quando... however, has that 70s sound, that I absolutely adore - those natural timbres of the instruments and a love for analog equipment, which emanate a warm, vibrant and sensual aura.

I hear no jarring bits - no scenes where the instruments assault each other and propel the song into some freaky semi jazz cacophony, like many other artists did at the time - especially when they were doing long pieces. Yes, King Crimson, Genesis all did this to some extent (some more successfully than others) and hell even Floyd went a little mad on Atom Heart Mother, much credited to Ron Geesin. Here however, there are no distracting and discordant aspirations. It´s pretty much all smooth and silky like flying a condor covered in vaseline, apart from a few rocking climaxes, where a seldomly heard electric guitar sweeps across the symphonics like a wild firestorm. These moments really feel like a healthy dosage of salt and pepper to the dish - transforming what could have been mildly interesting - to a masterly spiced serving from the Portuguese riviera.

The album is comprised of 2 long tracks, that share a red thread musically, but as I found out also lyrically. The album evolves around the newly formed freedom - emerging from the rubble of the 1974 revolution in Portugal. Now I can´t tell what Jose Cid is singing, but I can feel him right down in my toes no matter the lingo. He has a very original voice that flows from this raw and big booming lumberjack voice - to fragile and tender phrasings that at times invoke the balladry side of Italian singer Lucio Battisti.

His biggest treat is however the way he plays those synths, and to tell you how they make me feel, and how I think they sound like - fills my head with all kinds of weird images, but none really depicting anything resembling a guy playing keys... Sounds to me like cold margarine hitting a hot frying pan - oozing, melting, covering everything in some sticky coatings. - Or maybe they sound a little bit like hot glue running down surfaces(Don´t ask). Flowing underneath and over this delicious liquid margarine - and pretty much all over the place, are the mellotrons, which sound like gospel choirs consisting only of seabirds. This record should be paradise to the mellotron lovers out there!

To me it feels like the drums together with the bass guitar sums up perfectly the enormous differences between 10.000 anos and this album. Gone is the late 70s production - and everything is much more vivid and natural. The rhythm section here is basically the rock quotient of the band. They cook up an uncanny rock n´ roll element to the music, and are essentially the driving forces of a record, that otherwise would have sounded completely different, and perhaps all too ethereal and pastoral. It´s simple and tight, and covered in a very dry sound to boot - adding a somewhat wooden texture to both the bass and drums. They feel natural and very much in tune with what the album is all about soundwise: Large sonic sculptures that open up like seedlings to the sun - which on this particular release is substituted with the synthesizer, but believe you me, when I tell you that there´s infinite warmth to be found in Quarteto 1111´s third and final album. This album is very much about mixing things up - creating a balance between the high soaring pompous orchestrations to the earthy acoustic guitars that dominate both pieces. Just like the rhythm section, they too work as the earthy and rocking part of the sound - balancing things out nicely.

This is one of those records that immediately feel welcoming and strong, -well at least to me that is. I found it instantly wonderful - and my appreciation has only been rekindled by subsequent listenings. It´s not a grower but a "confirmer" so to speak...

So welcome to this floating and swirling universe, that sounds like it´s wearing wings, and in fact is airborne - basking overhead on gentle mellotron winds. If you´re into the symphonic genre or RPI, then do yourself a favor and listen to this gem - it is a truly wonderful record!

One of its greatest achievements is that, what just as well could have ended up as an oversweetened, buttery and all too creamy affair, - in stead sounds like the cream has been tapped freshly right from the sacred cow´s teat. Uhhhmm fresh and warm...

Report this review (#542652)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Composed Between April and May of 1974, this album talks about the fall of the dictatorship in Portugal That Ruled For 41 years, and the years that would follow. The Lyrics are based in a poem From José Jorge Letria. In This Symphonic Prog Album, The Mellotron Is The Most Predominant Instrument. It has only Two tracks(part 1- 16:42m and part 2- 13:10) that are combined by a guitar solo, ending in the beginning of part 2. This one is undoubtedly one the best ever recorded in Portugal and it was composed mainly by José Cid. This Album Was the Last with originals that Quarteto 1111 Recorded.
Report this review (#880895)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
Meltdowner
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
PSIKE Team
5 stars To celebrate the 42th anniversary of the event that lead to the creation of Quarteto 1111's final album, the end of the political oppression in Portugal that lasted more than 40 years, I decided to review it.

It has become a tradition for me to listen to this album on this day, since it's the most genuine expression of freedom and what it truly means, unlike the long speeches sketchy politicians give on this day!

Instrumentally, it's a mixture of Symphonic and Folk in a very Italian Prog way, with plenty of Mellotron, Moog, pastoral acoustic guitars and José Cid's voice at its most powerful state. Another curious thing about it is how the drums are in foreground, which sounds surprisingly good with the epicness of the music, I couldn't imagine it any other way. This was due to the fact that Vítor Mamede, the drummer, was responsible for mixing it.

Lirically, it's as beautiful as the music: it was based on a poem by José Jorge Letria which José Cid continued. It speaks about important values, not only freedom but also education, equality, tolerance and respect for others (and maybe nature, since it's so frequently mentioned). It also gives the idea that the struggle didn't end with the revolution of 1974, that the country should be built anew with these ideals in mind and people should be simple and honest (as the compositions and cover suggest) in order to live in harmony as a community. It's too bad the message of this album was ignored.

Maybe the importance of this day faded in the memory of people but the feeling was immortalized on this record. It is one of my all time favourites and I can't rate it with less than five stars.

Report this review (#1555705)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2016 | Review Permalink
VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Review Nº 104

Quarteto 1111 is a very special and important Portuguese progressive rock band, and their second and last album "Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas", or third if you also want to consider the album "Bruma Azul Do Desejado" recorded with Frei Hermano Da Câmara in 1973, is, in my humble opinion, a very special album and a truly landmark in the Portuguese progressive rock musical scene. I believe that it's perhaps the best Portuguese progressive rock album of the 70's, even superior to "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte", the solo work of Cid.

The line up on this album is José Cid, António Moniz Pereira, Mike Sergeant and Vitor Mamede.

As I wrote before, when I reviewed their debut album, Quarteto 1111 was formed in the late of the 60's and included some of the earliest recorded output from Cid. Their music didn't exactly pleased to the Portuguese dictatorships of the time of Salazar and Caetano, and so, a lot of their music was naturally banned by the regime. However, by 1974, the Caetano regime was over and in that year Quarteto 1111 released their final album, "Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas". If you're a fan of Cid's "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte", you're going to need this album. It's basically the starting point of Cid's exploration of the progressive rock music. Certainly it doesn't have the spacey cosmic overtones of "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte". This isn't properly a science fiction conceptual album, as the other album is. Anyway, "Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas" is also a conceptual album where the poetic, the musical and the instrumental ideas are totally from Cid. Lyrically, this is essentially an album of poetry. It uses a poem of José Jorge Letria, a Portuguese poet and musician, very well known at the time.

"Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas" is a very different album of their previous eponymous debut, especially in terms of musicality. It tends to more emphasize on symphonic progressive ballads, but not unlike the Moody Blues, with tons of mellotron. And it's the mellotron very much noteworthy on the album. Cid absolutely plasters the entire album with it, more so than on "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte", tons of mellotron strings and flute. But the mellotron choir so dominate on "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte" it's not present here. The album is basically one cut that takes up both sides and it goes through several changes, from romantic balladry, to more acoustic passages, and some more rocking passages. The album consists of two short side-long tracks, with side one fading out and the flip fading in at the same point. It would be nice that in the future, on an official CD release, the two sides could be correctly joined. It's precisely the same thing that happened with "Thick As A Brick" of Jethro Tull.

"Onde Quando Como Porquê Cantamos Pessoa Vivas" offers a pretty typical southern symphonic progressive rock music as it was at the same time also produced in Italy and Spain. The album often was compared to Pulsar and other French progressive rock bands of the time, except the vocals which are in Portuguese. Another band that they can be compared with is the German band Eloy, with their similar spacey synthesizers. But the main characteristic of the album is the massive use of the mellotron. Here begins the comparisons with the first phase of King Crimson. Cid goes completely overboard here, with swathes of strings underlain by cellos with considerable quantities of flutes, too. There's a nice moment about a minute into side two, where he suddenly switches from strings to flutes which isn't really a bad moment on the album. The only other keys on the album are an unidentified mono synthesizer which gets used a bit, a smattering of piano on side two, and even less string synthesizers at one point. So, I think it's safe to say, that this is a "mellotron album" in every sense of the word. You really like and want a mellotron? So, you've got it here.

Conclusion: I agree with José Cid when he says that this is an album that represents a rupture and at the same time a leap forward in the work of Quarteto 1111. This is a conceptual album where the poetic, the musical and the instrumental ideas are totally from him. Lyrically, I think this is essentially an album of poetry and musically, it's a symphonic progressive album, essentially "acoustic". Like many, I also think this is probably, in some way, superior to "10.000 Depois Entre Venus E Marte". It's most original, audacious, pure, simple, naïve and poetically superior to that album. I even can see on it, influences from King Crimson, Renaissance and Camel. Anyway, this is mainly an album with Portuguese features. If we could define the Portuguese progressive rock, we could say that their main features are on it. As Erik Neuteboom, I'm also a "tronmaniac". I think that many of us, especially those of my generation, learned to love the sound of the mellotron, especially with the first two albums of King Crimson and even today we are still delighted with the sound of the mellotron, for instance, on the albums of the Swedish band Anekdoten. So, I sincerely think this album is an icon of the mellotron sound and is also one of the best progressive rock albums from the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1686975)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Where could I begin? When will I be able to make this song justice? How could I even express what I feel properly? Why do I obsess so much over it?

Quarteto 1111, one of, if not my favorite Portuguese band. While I don't find that their previous albums can be exactly considered progressive, they are still high quality records that I enjoy at any time of the day. But this? this is even more special. Perhaps because of how beautiful the composition is? Maybe because of the themes explored in the song? Or is it because of how personal the Carnation Revolution feels to me? Having listened to this song, front to back, almost 50 times already. And having meditated about the reason why it cut so deeply into my soul, I found my answer.

The most obvious part to start, is the composition. I fear saying idiocies while pretending I am a master of music theory, therefore I will describe it in my own words. I have observed that a common point this song is praised for, is the use of the mellotron. I, personally, couldn't agree more, but I would like to go even further than that. The use of this vintage sampler is simply astonishing, that being an understatement. It is an incredible feat to have unleashed the power of an orchestra in the most intense parts of the track, followed by close and personal, even discreet flute and ethereal violins. While this would already be enough to make me consider this song as one of the best usages of the mellotron ever, there's more. The interplay is intrinsically important, and here, it is perfected. Synths, pianos, guitars, drums, bass, all of the instruments in this song feel like they were built around that mellotron. If all of these instruments were considered the bed you rest on, the mellotron would be your blanket; softly wrapped around yourself and bringing you the warmth and comfort you'd be lacking. Its use is pushed to a level of perfection, that on the first listens, I couldn't even understand what I was listening to. As time passed, I started to grasp the genius of this track, as a whole. The guitar solo bringing the two parts of the track together is one of the most awe-inspiring, as well as literally inspiring, pieces of progressive rock that ever graced my ears. In fact, it made me want to pick up my own guitar, to start playing again. Simply with that, the song would already be in my all-time favorite list, but there is still a lot to be discussed about it.

This song made me feel blessed for having a fairly decent grasp of the Portuguese language. The lyrics, while simple on the surface, are extremely powerful, as well as touching. A text does not have to be complicated to be poetry. Even by using the simplest of terms, if one expresses themselves in a way that matters to them, and conveys their feelings and emotions, it is, to me, a great piece of art. This song is the epitome of, as the song itself describes, the simple things that give me pleasure. Not only pleasure, but varied emotions as a whole. In a sense allying sorrow with hope, a deep sadness as positive as happiness.

For most of their lives, family members of mine lived under the dictatorial regime that reigned over Portugal. I heard stories about repression, stories about destruction, stories about the fights for liberty, and the prize that a lot of individuals payed to see their nation and people experience freedom. To me, this song is like one of those stories, or at least the ending to the novel of memories amassed by those who were oppressed for so long. Like the Carnation Revolution, this song is a bloodless triumph, a soft and bittersweet comforting thought, thanks to which the people can finally rest. José Cid's singing reflects what I take away from this song, from a gentle voice transporting you in a better world, to the passionate cries that never could exist for decades. From the dark moments that are strewn upon my life, to those of unrestrained euphoria, I feel a need for this song. While its main focus is on that ultimate liberty from tyranny, I feel that this song can be beyond even that, and reach the depths of my soul. Beyond its original meaning, this song feels, to me, like a deep expression of humanity, and it never ceases to make me look towards my own future with hope, and forever helping me bear the hardships of my life.

Quite possibly one of my favorite songs ever, a milestone in progressive rock for its composition; a milestone in art for the emotions it expresses; and a milestone in my own life, for helping my own hope bloom, like the flowers at the end of a rifle's barrel.

Report this review (#2582524)
Posted Saturday, July 31, 2021 | Review Permalink

QUARTETO 1111 Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas ratings only


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