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CHANGES

Catapilla

Eclectic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Just as good as the other one. This is almost a carbon copy of their debut . Both albums coming with stunning but strange art work , I was very surprised at the dates of released because I had never seen those albums before the great label Repertoire Record has released those in the mid-90's . A very brassy affair but also a hinge between Psych rock and prog rock . The music is just wild and Anna Meek's vocals are awesome but sometimes limit nutcase. Well worth a spin , your investigation and your investment.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#21512)
Posted Monday, February 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Experimental acid avant-garde jazz prog rock with some simply mind curdling psychedelic influences. For those who love to get trapped in the spaceous realms of some pretty trippy space prog will absolutely drool over CATAPILLA's "Changes". Led by the saxes of Robert Calvert and the psychy yet elegantly powerful vox of Anna Meek, this album just refuses to quite with multi layered instrumentation and some of the most thought provoking tunes your ears can take. Graham Wilson's electric guitar solos are heavingly and soaring while e- bass, electric piano and drums complete the rhythm section throughout. This is another essential album you must hunt down and add to your collection... even my cat love it!

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#21513)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unless your either very lucky or well heeled you are unlikely to be able to afford this highly sought after collectors piece and will have to be content with the CD. Never mind the CD is excellent. This LP has a very strange and cold sound, most especially the vocal. For a progressive album it really has more in common with the work of bands like Gong and hawkwind, and certainly would fit into any ones acid rock collection perfectly. The Music could be termed as Jazz but doesn't fit catorgizing well, certainly at times it rocks. The Sax's are excellent . I have read a number of reviews who have mistakenly assumed that this Robert Calvert here is the same man who fronted Hawkwind during their early years. This is not however the case, and this Robert Calvert has also worked with Gilli smyth of mothergong .Anna Meek's Vocal are what gives this band its very unique and somewhat disturbing feel. The compositions are all good and well executed. Most rare progressive albums don't deliver the goods, when you consider that poor sales was responsible in many case's for an LP rarity this is hardly surprising. However this is far from the case with this and caterpillars debut both remaining interesting an worthwhile. I certainly recommend buying the CD as the record is way to expensive. A good addition to any collection I rate this album very highly.

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Send comments to burgersoft777 (BETA) | Report this review (#91903)
Posted Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another bite at the Apple...

The second and sadly last album from Catapilla features only changes in personnel it would seem, as the music is equally as vibrant and interesting as on their debut album - gone are Thierry Reinhardt and Hugh Eaglestone on tenor sax, Dave Taylor on bass, Malcolm Frith on drums, the line-up now featuring new members Ralph Rolinson on organ and electric piano, Carl Wassard on electric bass and Brian Hanson on drums. The sleeve is a die-cutaway design featuring our Catapilla nibbling on a huge lettuce leaf this time. The new sound seems more ordered than on the previous album featuring four long tracks, the same atmospheric sound from Anna Meek, even more so on the first track "Reflections", a rather eerie ethereal piece punctuated with sax solos and featuring some nice Argent style Hammond Organ passages, and finishes with a very atmospheric vocal from Anna ;

"In the eye, I saw myself...In the heart of the river was reflected,In the eye, I saw myself...In the heart of the river was reflected, a hole,of liquid movement...of liquid movement...of liquid movement...In the eye that made moves,he saw himself...In the heart of the river was reflected,In the heart of the river was reflected,on the movement,rain, hole, a river...".

The next track "Charing Cross" comments on the social climate found on the London Underground, is characteristically reverberating, the track begins in a slow atmospheric mood then breaks into a fast rock groove which leads into a Floydian style guitar solo; "Cross-legged in the corners,in the Underground,in the Underground,the train moves,the train goes,Eyes cross directions,Eyes cross directions,they sympathize,they sympathize,beneath...beneath..."..... "Trouble in your eyes,awakes cool to my eyes, sources found after searching round. Up the tunnels Up the tunnels same on the plain part direct after time forth, the first time, the last buffet beneath...beneath..."

..... it's really not that gloomy on the good ol' toob!

Side 2's strangely titled "Thank Christ for George" is a very phsychedelically influenced sounding track, a twelve minute hypnotic groove punctuated by some wah wah fuzz guitar, leading into a Jazz Rock rhythm supported by characteristically mysterious and gloomy vocals from Anna Meek and an eerie sax solo;

" Her remains, men in some tomb,he hands off a last light.I heard a clinchedmeans words you fenced with,to protect.to protect. An image,liberally coiled,around him.He started to tenderly unfold. She failed,at least she learned. He knows a restricted silenced tune. Drifting to you at night,start right. An image,carefully foiled,around him."

The last song on the album, a moody instrumental "It Could Only Happen to Me" begins with a solo sax and electric guitar, building into a rather repetitive theme, played at different keys, it includes a good Gilmour style guitar solo but is a rather an unremarkable end to a great album, which pairs with the first one perfectly - you really need both in your collection!

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Send comments to mystic fred (BETA) | Report this review (#137413)
Posted Sunday, September 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Post Jefferson Airplane Psychedelia with Prominent Saxophone

Caterpilla was an English psychedelic / prog band from the 70's who produced two albums before going the way of some many before them. CHANGES was their second album, which from reviews, seemed to be at least the better produced of the two. I picked it up for cheap and found myself listening to a singular female vocalist and some respectable psych prog. The most dominant elements are lead singer Anna Meek's Grace Slick ? like vocals and a sad wailing saxophone courtesy of Robert Calvert. Meek takes everything Slick did a step further, for good and bad. Her range spans considerably higher, and there are times where it's haunting tone sends a shiver up your spine. There are also times where it gets grating. Generous echo is applied to her voice at times and her theatrics are energetic to say the least. Though her tonality is eerily similar to the Jefferson Airplane singer, her skills as a vocalist are clearly a firm notch better. She also pushes her limits harder.

The music is a laid back, unassuming affair where the instrumentalists really provide support rather than contributing to the meat of the songs. The songs themselves are not compositions but grooves in sections a la most rock or some funk / jazz fusion. Though the music stays interesting through the use of syncopation and occasional up tempo stretches, this is really not that "proggy" in the sense of complexity. It is very psychedelic in the lines of Hawkwind or Eloy, and probably should have been categorized there. The drums are slightly swinging though not overtly jazzy, the bass mainly just holding down the bottom end.

The most interesting element in the music is the way that Meeks uses her voice more as an instrument and how she and Calvert weave their tones and lines. Clearly improvisational, the two actually match surprisingly closely and one of their signature tricks is for Meeks to hit a note and for Calvert to crescendo in on the same note, creating a long sustain that seem impossible. It is often difficult to determine exactly where one blends into the other.

The album seems much longer than its 37 minutes because there really isn't a lot of variation in the sound. While it's pleasant enough, not much really grabs me here. This is the kind of music to have in the background on a Saturday night in a smoky club where the conversation is more important than actually watching the band. Great for atmosphere, but not strong enough to really command sustained attention. A strong 2/5 stars.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#265283)
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The title is a little confusing; the production got better and Meek doesn't interject herself that much into the music as she did on the debut. But CHANGES is essentially the same brand of fusion that Catapilla ate up on the debut, this time with the overall song lengths shortened.

Trouble is, CHANGES is more difficult to stomach than the debut. It's as if Catapilla morphed into a half-cocoon and just froze there. This album has the most ''in-one-ear-out-the-other'' moments than any other I can recall; I found little more than a murky fusion swamp. Occasionally, I'll find an interesting idea in the middle of bouts of extreme yawning.

I enjoy jazz fusion and psychedelic stuff, but this particular fusion never did anything for me. It seems counterintuitive for me to be repelled by this especially since I like bands such as Nucleus and Chicago. If you want tuneful yet ever-morphing fusion, the two bands I just mentioned are perfect to get into. On the whole, this album is not very interesting to listen to nor is it great background noise.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#368881)
Posted Friday, December 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars An obscure album from an even more obscure British act.

Changes is the second album from this British band. It is also their final album before the band vanished without a trace. It is also an album that balances on the edge between great and really bad.

The basis of the music here is the British rhythm'n'blues scene from the late '60s/early 70s. The vocals is vailing female vocals who uses here voice more like a jazz instrument than a as a mean of uttering words. On this album, at least. Perhaps not in her daily life. Let's hope not. Anyway, her voice is effectful and put to good use on the music here which comes across as a jazzy, proggy and slightly avant-garde'ish version of British rhythm'n'blues. The other instruments are various woodwinds, bass, tangents, guitars and drums. The songs are pretty long and well developed too.

The quality........ well, I guess this album is very much a love/hate album. I personally cannot be provoked in any directions. A song like Thank Christ For George is a great piece of symph proggy fusion. The rest is good songs, but nothing more.

This is a good album, but do not except a Gentle Giant clone here or even excitement from this album. I award it a meek three stars.

3 stars (barely)

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#430303)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars.The Gnosis site desribes the music from this band as experimental Jazz and like a cross between a jazzier VDGG and SOFT MACHINE or NUCLEUS. Hey that description has me sold ! The sax is fantastic on this album as Robert Calvert (different guy) plays acoustic and electric saxes and he uses tenor, alto and soprano.The drumming is so crisp and fluid like all great Jazz drummers are.This album is more atmospheric and spacier than the debut and many feel that Anna's vocals are better too. I like the way she uses vocal melodies. I can't forget the electric piano either. Everything for me is extremely well done.

"Reflections" opens with female vocal expressions as the sax joins in. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes to a full sound. How good is this ! They're jamming here.The sax is ripping it up 3 1/2 minutes in. Electric piano comes in a minute later and leads. So freaking good. Psychedelic sounding guitar joins in then vocal melodies before 6 minutes. Sax to the fore after 7 minutes. A calm after 8 1/2 minutes then the vocals come in and echo. What a way to start the album !

"Charing Cross" opens with sax, drums and piano as the vocals join in. I like her. This is trippy stuff. It kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes. Intense. She offers up some vocal expressions.The organ comes in but it's brief. Sax follows before the guitar solos tastefully as it settles back.The guitar and vocals are crying out.

"Thank Christ For George" has a good raw sound with the sax playing over top. A change after 2 minutes as the drums and vocals standout.The sax and bass are excellent here too. We're grooving now.The sax and vocal melodies lead and the drums pound as they jam.Vocals and drums stop before 8 minutes as the sax and cymbals take over in a spacey atmosphere. She's back before 10 minutes.The guitar comes in as it builds. So good.

"It Could Only Happen To Me" opens with the guitar, bass and sax standing out then it all gets louder before a minute. Organ joins in as well.The guitar leads before 3 minutes then it's the sax's turn again before 4 1/2 minutes in a laid back manner to the end.

It's music like this that really brings me joy. Simply a pleasure.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#473834)
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Showing an incredible amount of development over the debut, with Anna Meek's vocals moving away from the sub-Janis Joplin yelling of the debut to a sound that's like a more dramatic and theatrical version of Gilli Smyth's Gong-era space whispers. Musically speaking, the album is dreamier and much more spacey than the debut, leading to a curious blend of jazz fusion and mellow, ambient, dreamy space rock. Without the abrasive edge of space rock or the hot fury of fusion, what remains is a breathtaking, haunting, and truly original sound which commands the listener's attention. Particularly good is the saxophone playing Robert Calvert (not the Hawkwind member), who dominates the musical landscape along with Anna Meek's ethereal vocals. A true original.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#499654)
Posted Monday, August 08, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 6/10

"Changes" is a warm, sensual, intriguing, effort that closes Catapilla's brief career.

Catapilla give themselves a last chance before giving up on releasing albums, with their sophomore and last work, "Changes", a noticeably more mature album, that ends up keeping the same quality as the first LP.

The band on this one adds keyboards, makes the mood much mellower, makes all the instruments flow fluently. As a matter of fact, the flow of the instruments almost sounds like the streaming of a river, it's so effortless sounding and continuous. This sort of smoothness gives a strange sensuality to the whole, especially thanks to Anna Meek's at times soothing but ironically at times harsh and rough vocals. Much more atmospheric and Progressive, (replacing the heavy Psych roots the debut was attached to) the musicianship also is a bit toned down, despite there being good and very frequent solos along the whole LP: the sax, the keyboards, the guitars, are all together layered in this thick yet relaxing wall of sound, that almost gives the chills because of it's mysterious sensuality richened with Anna's dragging voice.

Changes is an extremely brave piece of work in a way, because of it's so original sound. However, maybe some songs were just not memorable and impacting enough, unfortunately. The shorter song "Charing Cross" doesn't do anything for me melodically, while the longer tracks like the opener "Reflections" and "Thank Christ For George" are very enjoyable for the most part, even though exceptions are made when the band goes through too much cold complexity, definitely contrasting the fact that "Changes" is sonically a warm album. The closer instrumental "If Could Only Happen To Me" has also great moments alternated with more boring ones, where the band almost feels lost in their own sound.

"Changes" is a nice experience overall, despite the few flaws it has. It's sonic characteristics makes Catapilla a unique and underrated band that truly had talent, and deserved another chance; I'm sure a masterpiece would have come next.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#600790)
Posted Sunday, January 01, 2012 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first time I heard the music of this album I had an impression that the intro part of opening track delivers a kind of music that King Crimson plays - especially in Islands album. Bit that happens only at the intro part and the rest, the music flows in ambient style featuring nice vocal line of Anna Meek. The music is challenging in a way as most segments indicate the dark nuances especially with the kind of singing style combined with the accompanying music at opening track Reflection (12:06). It's actually an interesting track that reminds us to the glory days of 70s when classic and prog rock were born.

The second track Charing Cross (6:45) has jazzy style with, again, beautiful vocal of Anna Meek. The music was statretd with an ambient segment with saxophone at background. But then the music moves in faster pace with improvised saxophone work and powerful voice of Anita. There is a Foydian (stunning!) guitar work at the later part of the song. It's really a good composition. Thank Christ For George (12:07) sarts something classic in its intro part with sax provides its fills at first. There is a progressive jazzy style when Anna starts to sing. But still the nuances are still dark. The concluding track It Could Only Happen To Me (6:45) is mellow in style with sax still providing its solo.

Overall it's a good album that features traditional symphonic prog combined with the dominant work of saxophone. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#604023)
Posted Friday, January 06, 2012 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Their second offer from 1972 is almost the same with the first long improvised sax sections with plenty of psychedelic jazz atmosphere, the guitar , sax has an important role here. With Changes, Catapilla wanted to break the market from that period, they never siucceded, mainly because they've lost 3 memebers who appear on previous album, but the sound is almost the same as on first. The brass section is omni present on all 4 pieces, lots of sax solos and improvisation, maybe to much , at least for me. Not bad overall, but the sound is even date it then on first and the voice of Anna Meek is less intresting. Thank Christ For George is the best piece for me. 3 stars for Changes, good album but something is missing overall.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#711407)
Posted Friday, April 06, 2012 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Imagine Chicago, Soft Machine and Nucleus involved in a crazed, LSD-fuelled jamming session and what you have is the blistering jazz-rock sound of British outfit Catapilla. Issued in 1971, Catapilla's self-titled debut remains one of the great lost British prog relics of the early-seventies, an album positively dripping with the kind of thick hazy atmosphere that could only have been cooked up in the heady days of the late- sixties. Featuring just four songs and capped off by the extraordinary twenty-four minute long epic 'Embryonic Fusion', Catapilla made Miles Davis seem tame in comparison, with lead vocalist Anna Meek squawking, howling and hollering her way through the group's hundrerd-mile-an-hour mixture of hard-hitting rock, fiery jazz breaks and genial lysergic madness without ever pausing for breath. As debut's go 'Catapilla' really was something, yet predictably the group failed to make any kind of commercial headway, instead releasing just one more album before calling it a day. That album would be 1972's 'Changes', a less intense follow-up housed in an intricate novelty sleeve that also failed to chart. Now, of course, both albums are worth a small fortune on the collector's circuit - this writer has seen a copy of 'Catapilla' on sale for £500 - and both have developed a deserved cult following over the years. Although it lacks the frenzied pace and burning jazz aesthetic of it's predecessor, 'Changes' does, however, still find time to both rock out and chill out, ambling loosely along the jazz-rock divide without ever igniting in the same incredible way as the group's debut. Like that debut, 'Changes' features just four tracks, with the laconic late-night pulse of opener of 'Reflections' backed by the skilfully-played 'Charing Cross', the dark and menacing fusion fuzz of 'Thank Christ For Geoge', and last of all, the jazz-drenched tones of 'It Could Happen To Me'. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2014

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#1158298)
Posted Monday, April 07, 2014 | Review Permalink

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