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Circus 2000

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Circus 2000 An Escape From a Box album cover
3.22 | 36 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side One:
1. Hey Man (6:15)
2. You Aren't Listening (4:58)
3. Our Father (6:12)

Side Two:
4. Need (8:36)
5. When The Sun Refuses To Shine (7:42)

Total Time: 33:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Silvana Aliotta / lead vocal, percussion
- Marcello Quartarone / electric & acoustic guitar, vocal
- Gianni Bianco / bass, vocal
- Franco Lo Previte / drums

Releases information

Akarma AK-1022 with 2 bonus tracks
6. Dove Va La Mia Gente (2:50)
7. L'Ultimo Paese (3:25)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to andrea cortese for the last updates
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CIRCUS 2000 An Escape From a Box ratings distribution

(36 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CIRCUS 2000 An Escape From a Box reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
4 stars The Italian progressive rockers CIRCUS 2000 offered up an attention-grabbing profusion of moody progressive rock enchantment. This gatefold LP reproduction strikingly remasters the original recording for more sonic value and lucidity than ever before.

"An Escape From A Box" was originally released in 1972 on the RiFi label and was subsequently re-released in the vinyl and CD formats by Akarma Records in 1999.

The progressive rock elements are strong although the influences of jazz fusion exist with reference to the guitar work of Marcello Quartarone. Lead singer Silvana Aliotta sounded like Lulu with a European accent. By adding her fluttering butterfly voice to the mix with strong classical and operatic overtones, their sound took on a distinct exclusivity. Her voice was flexible and she could have easily been on the cutting edge of the opera circuit rather than on the cusp of groundbreaking progressive rock. She had a lot of range, which gave her fellow musicians tremendous freedom to experiment and play extended compositions.

Side 2 clearly demonstrated the band's ability to create full-length pieces that convincingly stretched their musical wingspan in an impressive fashion.

Review by Carl floyd fan
3 stars This album does grow on you. But for me, the best albums are usually those types. I don't see this as a spacey album or even psychy, as it is labeled, more in the vein of folk rock or just prog rock. I like the female vocals, they rival curved air or fairport convention as my favorite. Give the record a spin, good obscure prog rock.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "See your children growing very fast, while your father quietly and slowly die..."

It was a surprise for me to find this "obscure" album. I heard nothing about "Circus 2000" before, but only after having bought their second (and last) album I knew they were an ITALIAN BAND due to the fabolous and useful index by! Recently "An Escape From a Box" has been reissed on cd format by the indefatigable Akarma records... many forgotten gems Akarma permits us to discover...thanks for their work!

At the first listening it is self evident that the most considerable references of Circus 2000 derives from USA and not to the Old World. It is also said that the band, curiously is included in a book dedicated to US' psychedelic-rock! Four are the band members: Silvana Aliotta on (powerful) singing, Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone on electric and acoustic guitars (excellent musician), Gianni Bianco on Fender Bass and Franco "Dede" Lo Previte on one to play keyboards! And this is one the peculiarities of this band from Torino. Plus the fact of a certain jazz/fusion's tendency due to the versatile hand of the guitarist of Quartarore, someone I had already listened before!!

Soon the vocals provided by Silvana seem to me of someone who is between Annie Haslam of Renassaince and Janis Joplin. Above all, the expert english accent of Silvana made italian people think this was a band arriving directly from California.

This 1972's work is, as always in the italian prog scene of the seventies, very short in running time but well refined with some influences from progressive rock. The album includes (only) five tracks and offers songs between 5 and 8,30 mns time long. Akarma release includes to the cd two interesting bonus tracks...more commercial vein and structure, completely sung in italian.

The opener "Hey Man" was the leading track form Circus. "Need" (8,36 mns) is the best track of the album through the eyes of a good proglover listener! Warning: the album may grow on you after some listenings.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Italian hippie-rock with female English vocals

Circus 2000 from Turin formed in 1970 and released two full length albums along with a few singles before disbanding in 1973. While I have not heard their debut this album seems to be influenced by the Airplane and the California hippie rock sound. Another band that they instantly reminded me of was Earth and Fire mostly due to the similar voice of Silvana Aliotta. Her voice is pure unbridled attitude, sultry and sensual, with a bit of an accent to add to the effect. Some may find her voice a bit irritating at times as it is unusual but if you like the singers of the bands above you should be OK.

The music of "An Escape From A Box" is not essential progressive music by any stretch, but period hippie rock complete with stereotypical lyrics and trippy guitars. I would almost describe the sound as more psych-blues-rock than space rock or pure psych, they head off occasionally into Big Brother territory as well. The band is pretty good with crisp drumming and an edgy guitar sound and thankfully they take some space and stretch out at times. It always sort of holds back from becoming super-heavy with plenty of light touches. The nearly 9 minute "Need" is the standout to me. These single notes drenched in wah-wah alternated with three concise strummed chords, cleanly played, alternating with Silvana's amazing vocal. Several sections of bluesy, trippy guitar soloing here and there. Then there is an emotional vocal build-up that leads into a spacey section of rapid bass/drums over wordless vocals harmonies before some tablas softly finish the track. Some moments like the early acoustic parts of "Hey Man" have a folkie feel to them sounding a bit like the Dead when Donna would sing. The album packs a nice, polished, crisp sound for 1972 and I can't emphasize enough the good balance they achieve between "light" and "heavy" moments. As good as Silvana is she does not overshadow the players in the band who shine by not only what the play but the manner in which they play: careful, nuanced, effectively. [Side note: Silvana's daughter Valeria Caponnetto Delleani can be heard on myspace. Her music is not nearly as interesting as Circus 2000 but her voice is good like her mom.]

Circus 2000 is a very good period album and you do not have to be an Italian Prog fan to enjoy this. Any fan of British and American hippie rock will do fine with this album. Even fans of acid-folk like the Holderlin's Traum debut should like this, although Circus 2000 is heavier than that. The VM-015 issue features good sound but measly information, simply a foldover insert with lyrics and miniscule bio in Italian.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars CIRCUS 2000 released their self-titled debut album in 1970 but didn't exactly catch the world by storm. Although they emerged from Turin, Italy, this band was one of the rare examples of a psychedelic rock band that completely ignored the trends that were sweeping Italy and instead looked to California's west coast scene of the late 60s inspiration. Touted as Italy's version of Jefferson Airplane, mainly due to the charismatic vocal style of Silvana Aliotta and backed up by folk inspired psychedelic pop, the band continued these elements that debuted on the first album and continued them on their 1972 sophomore album ESCAPE FROM A BOX which while completely performed with English titles and lyrics, has a tag along (FUGA DALL'INVOLUCRO) in the album title.

ESCAPE FROM A BOX is a much more polished album than the debut. The production is the obvious improvement. While the debut sounded raw and unpolished, this one add all kinds of nice smoothing out effects that allow the music to flow in more of the psychedelic ways that were probably intended on the debut as well. Stylistically ESCAPE FROM A BOX is a much mellower affair. If the debut album was an alternative version of Airplain's "Surrealistic Pillow" minus the top notch pop hooks, ESCAPE FROM A BOX is more like "After Bathing At Baxter's" or "Crown Of Creation," which adds more folk elements and subtle changes that meander around in far more progressive ways than the debut. The tracks are also lengthier with more time to develop beyond the short and to the point pop aspects.

ESCAPE FROM A BOX is more interesting than the debut. The tracks are more varied. There are more psychedelic effects and Aliotta doesn't sound as much like a second rate Grace Slick. The progressive touches have been amplified manyfold yet without jettisoning the 60s influences that dominated the debut. The album did find the new drummer Franco Lo Previte replacing original drummer Roberto Betti and adds a bit more jazzy touches in the percussion department. The track "Need" extends past the eight minute mark and offers some of the most diverse guitar parts of the band's career but once again on tracks like this i find that Aliotta evokes more a Shocking Blue vocal performance that Mauriska Veres belted out than what Grace Slick was all about. The pop hooks are more polished on this one as well which makes this a more engaging listening experience than album #1 as well.

While the band caught did catch more attention this second time around as they even won the Rome based competition "Festival d'Avenguardia e Nuove Tendenze," which they shared with the big prog player Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, the band ultimately succumbed to lack of interest and disbanded. Personally i find it logically since the local Italian scene had well moved on from the psychedelic 60s and the saturated American scene had no room for European migrants to weasel into the already waning scene. Nevertheless, out of the two albums CIRCUS 2000 released, ESCAPE FROM A BOX is by far the more interesting for those who want a more progressive rock oriented experience. Despite outshining their debut, even this second album is a bit uneven with an awkward folky ballad styled intro opening up the album and not really picking up until "Our Father." However the best tracks on here are much more psychedelic than anything Jefferson Airplane every recorded and worth the price of admission alone. Aliotta would continue on as a solo artist but CIRCUS 2000 has pretty much been relegated to the obscurity bin with original albums fetching a hefty price tag.

A 3.5 star album but i'll round up because the second side is really good.

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