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Celeste - Second Plus CD (album) cover

SECOND PLUS

Celeste

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hauntingly beautiful mellotron laden progressive rock with soft instrumental accompaniment throughout. In sharp contrast to their first masterpiece, "Second Plus" carries a much more "jazz-like" (loads of jazzy sax) approach and at times has a more random feel. Songs are generally shorter in length with 3 epic tracks (10, 13 and 15 minutes long). Although "Second Plus" is not as "Picture perfect" as their first release, it is still quite overly inspiring music with some delicious melodies and mellotron passages. I will admit that this album did take a little bit of time for me to warm up to, but without hesitation I recommend this album to all lovers of Italian prog.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#1405)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

If Celeste's debut album had a very minimalist artwork, the least we can say is that their second had a very colorful (and clichéd) cover (at least in the Mellow MMP 154, which adds a bunch of bonus tracks to the Second) and the group is now a quintet with a full-time drummer. However musically, Celeste's music has not remained much the same to PDUG, and in some ways (or at least in some moments) is even more enjoyable, but there are more typical Italian pop moments as well. Indeed, Harmonium's presence is much less felt on this second album, and there are three tracks above 10 minutes in what would be a double vinyl (if it ever did get out in this version), Mazzo De Ortiche being an absolute aural orgasm , Battaglia's bass being orgiastic during the lengthy instrumental section where all the other instruments take their moments of glory.

The full story on this release is that the "Second" album was a posthumous release of tracks that were recorded just before the group's demise in 77, and was made of four lengthy tracks, which are presented, from track 3 to 6 included, on the second version named Second Plus. And there are a bunch of bonus tracks preceding these four tracks and following them.

So the first two tracks might actually lead the proghead hoping for a repeat performance of Principe Di Un Giorno, because the extended use of the Mellotron will have you believe so. The opening Giardino Armonico (also closing the retouched Plus album) is a pure and shameless Mellotron exploitation track, while Bassa Marea (Low Tide) is just a little less than an orgy, but the group plays with Pierrino. Of the four lengthier tracks (present on the first version of the album), two (All' Ombra and Danza Di Mare) appear to be in a relatively unfinished state, but there is nothing shocking or scandalous, especially due the much jazzier feel (mentioned in the first paragraph), which allows greater imperfections. The next few shorter tracks are obviously taken from the same sessions as the Second album as they also radiate this soft delightful jazz-rock. Somehow a wise undaunting Canterbury-esque jazz rock is not far away, but in a Caravan way, because Celeste strays a little but never digress much from their original symphonic sound.

While not as stunning as Principe, and being a bit of an exploitation album, Second Plus remains an excellent release, much worthy of your hunt if you loved Principe. To think that this bottom of the drawer release is much better than a lot of Italian official historical releases tells you just how much

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#117979)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars « Celeste » is a rather difficult band to follow even if they only released three albums.

Their debut album was recorded in 74 and released in 76, a soundtrack recorded in 1974 was released in 1992 and this "Second" album was recorded in 1977 and only released in 1991.

This work consists of demo tracks and unfinished songs. Needless to say that you can hear this while paying attention to it.

Talking about symphonic music is a bit exaggerated as far as this album is concerned. Even if the opening track "Il Giardino Armonico" displays some great mellotron and is truly emotional, very little of these moments are featured on this album.

An intriguing, dark and "Bolero"-like "Bassa Marea" is also a nice musical experience but most of this effort should only be considered as a recorded jam actually. The long and jazzy kind of directionless "Un Mazzo Di Ortiche" is the best example. Over thirteen minutes of "n'importe quoi".

"Setteottavi" holds some good sax, and can be considered as a finished song. Not super but at least it it is still music (on the contrary of "Un Mazzo.").

The recording quality of "All'Ombra Di Un Fungo" is quite similar as a bootleg. Pityful. This long and almost instrumental being most of the time closer to cacophony. Pastoral flute and good sax again comes to rescue for half of it.

Same poor recording quality for "La Danza Del Mare" which is again a useless quarter of an hour jamming (this is rather long when you need to suffer such noises) . I just hope that the band had fun while playing this. At least five people were having fun.But I won't be the sixth one.

I just should feel ashamed if I were a member of the band or their label. To release this CD as an official album is a gigantic swindle. One of the many in the record history to fool the fans.

And I do not agree that this "bottom of the drawer release is much better than a lot of Italian official historical releases". Only one great and fantastic (but short) track : "Lontano Profondo". Almost four minutes of the most sublime harmony : keyboards and flute are truely wonderful. I only have wished that "Celeste" would have played more of this type of music here. But four minutes out of over seventy is not a big deal.

This ultra long album and indeed bottom of the drawer isn't worth a ? cent. Nothing to do with Italian prog of which I am found of. Jazz/fusion. That's it.

Two stars. Both for this marketing behaviour as well as for the "musical" performance.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#152629)
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars After listening to this recording all the way through with open ears and not really comparing it to Celeste original masterpiece first album, this is a fine album. It does have (as other reviewers have mentioned) a bit of an unfinished/not mastered feel to it - BUT! not to excess. It doesn't sound like some of the other Italian offerings - which are great musically - but totally unacceptable sonically.

There's a bit of everything; the traditional soft side of Celeste, but also an almost jazz/slight (and I mean slight!) RIO feel to it. A lot of improvisation by the woodwind player, and it's very effective and high quality.

The CD has a lot of material, and maybe too much for one setting, but still, overall this is what great contemplative progressive music is about. I love it, and highly recommend it to those a bit more adventurous soul's out there.

As always, thanks to Prog Archives for having us too absorbed with music types spouting our opinions and love of this high art.

Tom

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Send comments to tmay102436 (BETA) | Report this review (#175706)
Posted Sunday, June 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. It was great to see the two positive reviews from Hugues and James here because there isn't much love for this posthumous release in Prog circles. Maybe it's because people are comparing it to their debut which is considered a masterpiece by many including myself. Maybe it's the complete change in styles from the pastoral beauty of the debut to the jamming Jazz / Rock. I don't know but I think the criticism is a little unfair. CELESTE were working on their followup but disbanded before recording the album. Mellow Records has released over 71 minutes of music here and some of the songs are of demo quality and feel unfinished. Regardless there is enough amazing music on here that it gets me excited just thinking about it. I've not given this 4 stars because of two of the longer tracks (5 & 6) that just don't sound that good, and that's over 22 minutes of music right there. On the other hand i'm so into this album that i've actually burned myself a cd out of my original copy that consists of around 45 minutes worth of fantastic music. I love these tracks where they simply jam. I just get lost in the music and hope it never ends.

Some of the highlights include the short mellotron laden opener and the followup "Bassa Marea" where the mellotron binge continues but this time with a beat. Amazing sound ! "Un Mazzo Di Ortiche" is a 13 minute jam that is laid back with prominant bass and sax.The pace picks up before 4 1/2 minutes and vocals join in. It calms right down before 7 1/2 minutes.The sax is back later. Love this stuff. "Sette Ottavi" features vibes, sax, mellotron and a beat leading early on.The bass is chunky 1 1/2 minutes in.Soon the mellotron and vibes stop but they return later on.

"Slancio Dell'Immaginazione" opens with piano, light drums and bass. Synths replace the piano and then sax replaces the synths as they continue to trade off. "Un'Anima Nell'Universo" sounds incredible as well with the piano, drums, bass and flute standing out. "Nodissea" features sax before a minute as the piano and bass continue. Flute before 2 1/2 minutes. "Ala Del Pensiero" has this beat with piano, bass, mellotron and sax standing out. So good.

It's a shame not to give this 4 stars but as I said, on the whole it's not worth that rating because of some clunkers they should have omitted. Oh well i'm so thankful to own this for all the other amazing tunes.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#402558)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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