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Colin Bass

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Colin Bass Planetarium (with Józef Skrzek) album cover
3.06 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Star Overture (8:47)
2. Eli (7:32)
3. Goodbye To Albion (6:46)
4. Singer, Oh Singer (4:59)
5. Freedom With Us (12:15)
6. As Far As I Can See (6:14)
7. The Golden Harp (8:47)
8. Denpasar Moon (4:28)
9. Wish (8:54)
10. I Bid You Goodnight (6:55)
11. Refugee (4:07)

Total Time: 83:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Colin Bass / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Józef Skrzek / vocals, keyboards

Releases information

Recorded 29.04.2004, Planetarium Śląskie, Chorzów (Poland)
Oskar CD 1024 (2004)

Thanks to tuzvihar for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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COLIN BASS Planetarium (with Józef Skrzek) ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

COLIN BASS Planetarium (with Józef Skrzek) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars It's probably because I really like Colin Bass and his "An Outcast to the Island" as some of the songs of that album are played in this live, also Jozef Skrzek is the keyboardist of the Polish S.B.B. that's a band that I like. I think this is a great live.

It sounds like an unplugged, because there are only Skrzek and Bass on stage and Bass is often playing acoustic guitar.

The gig is opened by "Star Ouverture". A keyboard's carpet with Colin playing what I think is an "ovation" as it sounds like a classical guitar amplified. Then the keyboards volume raises up giving the track more than a touch of Krautrock. Here Bass demonstrates a quite good guitar skill.

Same instruments for "Eli", but this time Colin sings. "Baby I love you" is not a great example of poetry. Imagine a Jon Anderson's song of the kind of the A side of Jon and Vangelis' Private Collection.

"Goodbye To Albion" is a simple song, but one that I really love. I have listened to it tons of times, probably since when I have left "Albion". In this version it looses something of the good original arrangement because it's just played by a duo, but Jozef makes great things with his keyboards while Colin is just playing rhythm guitar and singing.

"Singer, Oh Singer" starts very melodic with some dissonances, more similar to "errors", on a live it can happen. This song is too mellow and musically trivial, maybe with a different arrangement it could sound better. I'm used to skip this song. It can cause diabetes.

"Freedom With Us" is more interesting. Everything would be, effectively. However the guitar makes a lot of work while the keyboard provides the bass and the background. This is Krautrock...a very hypnotic sequence of echoes and major chords with a hammering bass behind. Sometimes reminding of the instrumental part of "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast", I mean the part with nothing frying. Colin starts singing after about 5 fantastic minutes, then some minor chords enter in the sequence. Listening better, the chords are the same of Prince's "Purple Rain", but this song appears to be more intense. Great vocal work.

Then it comes "As Far As I Can See", another song from An Outcast To The Island. Being a song largely based on acoustic guitar it's not so different from the original. Initially it's only Colin with his guitar and voice. Jozef adds background vocals on the chorus, then some keyboard background work that's his personal touch to the song. Very melodic but non- trivial. This live version of the song is at least as good as the original if not better.

"The Golden Harp" is a great song. I don't know if it's an SBB track or a Skrzek solo effort. It's a very good song, still melodic, with good passages but I can't compare it with the original version if any.

"Denpasar Moon" is again from Outcast, but it's from an Indonesian author: Sabah Habas Mustapha. If you have ever been on the island of Bali you can understand it better.

"Wish" makes me think to "Pete Bardens" on Seen One Earth. There's along section, maybe a bit too long, made of two keyboard's chords (A- / E) that are very useful to jam on, since Santana. Just a long jam. The two should have had some fun playing it. Not sure about the public.

"I Bid You Goodnight" is a country song. I don't know if it's a traditional or they just wanted to make a western song. The piano part is very good and the song is funny.

Finally a nice version of a Camel's classic. At least classic of the Bass era. From Stationary Traveller, a song that played in Poland is more significant. The keyboard part is totally different, but effectively Ton Scherpenzeel has played it in the early 80s.

I think I can forgive the duo for a creamy song and a country joke. The rest of the songs are good. It's a very good live that sounds like an unplugged. To be not missed by Camel's fans, an excellent addition for all the others.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Singer, oh singer!

Colin Bass is apparently very popular in Poland as he has no less than three different live releases all recorded in that country. Also, on all of these, as well as on his studio solo album An Outcast Of The Islands, he has Polish musicians participating. I am not sure in which direction the causal direction runs; that is, if he is popular in Poland because he uses Polish musicians, or if he utilized Polish musicians because he was antecedently popular there. Anyway, for the present live recording, Colin collaborated with keyboard player Józef Skrzek. I don't know the precise circumstances surrounding this concert, how it came about, etc. (Maybe it was some kind of charity gig or special event?)

With only the two of them on stage, this is naturally a very stripped-down performance. But even if Colin plays only acoustic guitar and sings, this is not an "unplugged" affair as Skrzek adds lots of spacy synthesisers to the mix. The material is divided about equally between Colin Bass songs and songs that I presume are by Józef Skrzek (whom I am not previously familiar with). Three songs are taken from Colin's An Outcast Of The Islands (Goodbye To Albion, As Far As I Can See, and Denpasar Moon), and there is one Camel song in Refugee (originally from 1984's Stationary Traveller; Colin has played this song live frequently both with Camel and on his solo shows). All of these songs are good and work rather well here, though I certainly prefer other versions.

When it comes to the other songs, I must say that it is a mixed bag. The show opens with almost nine minute instrumental called Star Overture consisting of acoustic guitar and atmospheric/electronic keyboards. This one is pleasant enough and functions well to set the mood for the show. Skrzek is a good keyboard player, but (I'm sorry to say) an awful vocalist. The songs on which Skrzek takes to the microphone are difficult to bear. He has a weak voice and he sings in English with a strong Polish accent. The repetitive and clichéd lyrics don't help things along either with trite lines such as "Babe, I love you" and "Freedom, I love freedom" being repeated over and over. It would have been much better to let Colin sing all the songs, or just keep them instrumental.

I think that this concert could have been much better with a full band backing up the two men. With the addition of a rhythm section and some electric guitars, the sound could be a lot more interesting. As it stands, it feels a bit "naked" and leaves a lot to be desired. If you are interested in Colin Bass live, I strongly recommend you to start instead with the much better double-disc set called Live At Polskie Radio 3. That album includes full band versions of all of the Colin Bass songs also present on this album plus many more, including several more Camel songs.

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