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QUIDAM

Neo-Prog • Poland


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Quidam picture
Quidam biography
Founded in 1991 as "Deep River", renamed in 1993 - Disbanded in 2014

If you're a prog fan looking for the cream of the nineties progressive releases then add Poland's QUIDAM to your list. Influenced by MARILLION and CAMEL, this band elegantly blends harmonies, refined arrangements and diversity of orchestrations (keyboards, cello, flute, oboe, strings).

The neo prog style guitar playing is interlaced with haunting flute, cello that evokes depth, female vocals and keyboards that give an orchestral fullness to the music. Their style is a melodic, text-based (female vocals) symphonic rock. The rhythms intensify, the symphonic keyboard textures thicken and the electric guitar plays long melancholic notes. QUIDAM is certainly the main and most appreciated act to have emerged from this field, with ABRAXAS and COLLAGE.

See also: WiKi

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QUIDAM discography


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QUIDAM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 158 ratings
Quidam
1996
3.50 | 94 ratings
Sny Aniołów
1998
3.68 | 13 ratings
Angels' Dreams
1998
3.72 | 116 ratings
Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky
2002
3.13 | 80 ratings
SurREvival
2005
3.77 | 188 ratings
Alone Together
2007
2.75 | 61 ratings
Saiko
2012

QUIDAM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 48 ratings
Live in Mexico '99
2000
3.79 | 23 ratings
Half Plugged
2006
4.19 | 23 ratings
The Fifth Season, Live in Concert
2009

QUIDAM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.83 | 21 ratings
The Fifth Season - Live In Concert
2006
4.63 | 56 ratings
Strong Together
2010

QUIDAM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 8 ratings
Quidam (10th Anniversary Edition)
2006
4.14 | 7 ratings
Pod Niebem Czas (Special Edition)
2009

QUIDAM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 4 ratings
Angels Of Mine
1998

QUIDAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Quidam by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.02 | 158 ratings

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Quidam
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION ((CD 2021, 74:54, GAD CD 183))

The Polish Neo-prog formation Quidam (derived from a poem, means in Latin "somebody") was founded in 1991 as Deep River, renamed Quidam in 1993 and disbanded in 2014. In between Quidam released only 7 studio-albums, their eponymous debut album from 1996 is still considered as their best effort. In order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this debut album the band has produced a CD re-release in 2021. I have seen Quidam on several prog festivals: 1997 in Uden, 2006 in Paris and 2009 in De Boerderij, Each time Quidam was embraced by the crowd, showing a huge appreciation for their very pleasant and melodic Neo-prog sound. So "nostalgia rules", I am in the mood to listen to the reissue of this first and highly acclaimed debut album, it has been a while ago that Quidam was in my CD player, to be honest.

On this debut album Quidam is scouting the borders between Neo-prog, symphonic rock and folk (like in Bajkowy featuring cheerful tin-whistle), evoking Seventies and Eighties bands like early Genesis (especially the Steve Hackett guitar sound), Camel, Renaissance, Pink Floyd (The Great Gig In The Sky-like vocal eruption in Nocne Widziadla) and Marillion (Gleboka Rzeka and Plone). The focus in the very melodic and harmonic songs is on pleasant female vocals (between dreamy and powerful) in the native language, and the electric guitar, lots of moving soli with howling runs. The music is embellished with flute, hobo, piano and synthesizers, a pleasant variety.

My absolute highlight is the first track entitled Sanktuarium (close to 9 minutes). The bombastic intro contains a majestic church organ sound and howling guitar runs, wow, goose bumps! Then a mellow climate with dreamy female Polish vocals, blended with a hobo, gradually turning into a slow rhythm and an intense atmosphere with powerful emotional vocals. Back to mellow with volume pedal electric guitar, cello and flute. In the second part first a melancholy cello solo and then a long and moving guitar solo (strongly reminding me of Steve Hackett in early Genesis), topped with inspired female vocals. Wonderful!

As a bonustrack Quidam have added a 2021 version, it sounds a bit more lush and compelling, the intro features the distinctive Hammond organ, a strong conclusion.

My rating: 3,5

 Angels' Dreams by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.68 | 13 ratings

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Angels' Dreams
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars This is a somewhat simpler version of Quidam than the one found in their debut album, with rhythmic patterns sticking to basic backbeat and its variations, but retaining, maybe even increasing, their melodic charm and classical harmonic richness. The key aspect here, to my taste at least, is that the winged voice of Emila Derkowska grows lighter than ever, and always keep finding new paths for melody.

The overall sound and feel remind me of Clannad in, let's say, "Macalla", if one skips the celtic passages. The electric guitar of Maciek Meller throw in the mix some excellent, even unforgettable lead moments, like in "Cheerful". Did I mentioned Emila? Well, she'll amaze you more than once, listen "Little Bird With No Legs", and tell me not.

 Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.72 | 116 ratings

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Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator

4 stars The Polish NeoProg artist's third album and last with vocalist Emila Derkowska and the rhythm section of bass player Radek Scholl and drummer Rafał Jermakow. Though I've been a fan of Quidam for some time now--since discovering their debut album around 2012--this is really my first exposure and repeat dive into this album.

1. "List Z Pustyni I / Letter from the Desert" (6:08) a great exposition of progified World Music, starting with the wonderfully hypnotic Arabian a cappella vocalise of Emila Derkowska. The music that follows is powerful, beautiful, excellent; prog perfection. (10/10) 2. "Ciągle Czekam (List Z Pustyni II) / Still Waiting (Letter from the Desert II)" (4:51) synth wash and muted snare open this before piano, bass and drum kit establish a gentle, spacious, and beautiful tapestry to support Emila's front and center vocals. Incredibly moving melodies coming from Emila's soothing voice. A pop ballad that is not very proggy until the Hackett-like sustained guitar note and soulful flugelhorn in the fourth minute, Simply beautiful. (9.5/10)

3. "No Quarter (Page - Plant)" (11:51) You read that correctly: a cover of the famous Led Zeppelin song! And introduced by flute and piano! They manage to do quite a nice job! Emila's voice is, of course, heavily effected (it has to be!). Embellished in the middle by a great guitar solo. You can tell how much the band love and revere this song, the performances are so impassioned and emotional. Not even the near-reggae section supporting the flute solo can spoil this for me. (23/25)

4. "Nowe Imi' / New Name" (4:56) A very simple, straightforward ballad with nary a prog lick in it even the guitar solo sounds like it could've come from Journey or Foreigner. (7.75/10)

5. "Kozolec (Dla AgaPe) / Kozolec (for AgaPe)" (5:05) prog folk with wooden flutes and weird drum sounds (very tight snare?) while Emila and Maciek show their skill for creating great melodies with their respective instruments. I love the stripped down, slowed down passage in the fourth minute with its nice keys and wonderful flute play. Almost in the land of Iona. (8.5/10)

- Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky: 6. "Credo I" (8:07) more IONA-like prog folk; these guys really know how to make prog the right way: with many influences and lots of creative, new ideas. Great guitar and vocal arrangements here, beautiful use of organ and gorgeous flute and guitar solos. (13.75/15) 7. "Credo II" (5:13) long sustained atmospheric Bar-do period (two minutes) before new motion and motif are formed. Instrumental (other than angel voices) with not much development--though the synth solo in the fourth minute is pretty awesome. (These guys know how to solo!) (8.5/10)

8. "Jestez (w Labiryncie Myzli) / You Are (In the Labyrinth of Thoughts)" (4:40) a weird man whistling while walking through a house bridges the previous piece to this. Strummed acoustic guitar with Emila angelic voice singing a beautiful, impassioned vocal in her native Polish. Flanged guitar chords and fretless bass are used to perfection. Remarkably, the chorus is even more beautiful--but the brief bridge that follows is a bit off-putting--but then they return to the chorus to finish. (9.25/10)

9. "Quimpromptu" (9:37) pacing themselves (never in a rush to develop--masterful use of space and time to create the perfect amount of tension) this song develops from bass, space synths, gentle drums, and "native" flutes into quite a gorgeous PINK FLOYD-like hypnotic piece. Great display of impassioned flute play throughout the middle and then a great guitar solo in the eighth minute--something David Gilmour or Roy Buchanan would, I think, be quite proud of. (18/20)

10. "(Wszystko Ma SwĒj) Pod Niebem Czas / (Everything Has Its Own) Time Beneath the Sky" (4:16) twangy lead guitar and strummed acoustic guitar set up the back drop for Emila to sing over. This one sounds light and airy--positive and uplifting. A little too radio poppy. (Perhaps this is the direction Emila was heading--the reason she left the band after this album.) (8/10)

Total time 64:44

Definitely my favorite Quidam album! One of the few near-perfect prog albums I've ever heard and definitely one of the best albums of the Naughties. A band of mature prog masters at the very top of their game. If it weren't for the weakness of the two "pop" songs this would be a veritable masterpiece.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of masterful progressive rock music that should be in every prog lover's music collection. I want so badly to give this five stars but those two songs . . . .

 Saiko by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.75 | 61 ratings

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Saiko
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 2.5 stars, really. It was quite a depressing experience listening to this album. Thatīs because I could not hear Saiko without recalling all the time how good a prog band they once were. A friend borrow me this CD and I decided to give it a shot. I heard it several times over the last few weeks and still it didnīt move me. Not that it is bad per se: in fact, if you like the alternative/pop style chances are youīll probably enjoy Saiko very much (if you donīt mind the fact that most of the material is sung in polish. Only the ballad Walec is in english, despite its title). Itīs all very nice and well performed and produced. And certainly they reversion to polish lyrics is a plus. And still itīs also miles away from what they could do when Emila Derkowska fronted the band. The prog elements are all gone, except for the flute interventions and bits and a few nice guitar parts, plus some fusion. Itīs hard to figure out what theyīre aiming at: The music here is a bit too complex and jazzy to the alternative/pop audience and the polish lyrics will not endear them to the american market.

All in all, a good alternative album, with no bad tunes to be found anywhere However, due to their glorious past, I found it hard not to be sorry for the great loss that was when they gave away their symphonic/folk prog sound. For a band that gave us such wonderful albums as Quidam and The Time Beneath The Sky, Saiko is really a let down. They should have changed their name along with the style and the line up.

 Alone Together by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.77 | 188 ratings

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Alone Together
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator

4 stars Polish NeoProgger's fifth studio album release and first without the full-time participation of lead singer Emila Derkowska (now Nazaruk).

1. "Different" (3:16) okay start, great end. (8.5/10)

2. "Kinds Of Solitude At Night" (6:00) great melodic hooks, solid, mature construct and palette. A great song--a top three for me. Nice to hear founding vocalist Emila Derkowska's beautiful voice again, if only in background support. (9.25/10)

3. "Depicting Colours Of Emotions" (10:18) nice mellow song with many instances reminiscent of fellow Polish proggers, Collage. A near-perfect song. (19/20)

4. "They Are There To Remind Us" (7:49) trying to go heavier, the sound is decent, it just does work for me. These musicians are too talented to have to murk things up with power chords and heavy distortion. It's good when the acoustic instruments are allowed to shine--and when the electric guitar is let loose. (12.5/15)

5. "Of Illusions" (8:04) fast-moving and extremely tight throughout, just not the most interesting song; nothing stands out or grabs me. (12.25/15)

6. "We Lost" (8:26) a song that feels based on some MARILLION-like traditional folk sounds, melodies, structures. Once the vocal starts I'm reminded of the first couple LUNATIC SOUL albums (which are yet to arrive on the Prog scene). Nice jazziness develops as it progresses--becomes especialy noticeable with the chorus. Great instrumental passage follows the first chorus--with awesome drum and lead guitar work--in the middle of which the band doubles the tempo. Wow! It's off to the races we go! How these guys can stay so tight! It's amazing! (17.5/20)

7. "One Day We Find" (6:46) solid music to support a rather straightforward vocal performance. The guitar, flute, and keyboard contributions in the instrumental section are stellar. The chorus does eventually get into your head. (12.5/15)

8. "We Are Alone Together..." (8:20) piano intro, quickly joined by Bartek singing sensitively. Very nice melodies and chords. Other instruments join in for the second verse, but they do not disturb, change, or disrupt, merely add dimension to the existing piano weave. Beautiful! Exquisite ambient textures--even from the drums! Atmospheric prog perfection. (19.5/20)

9. "... But Strong Together" (4:25) launching straight into a power drive, then turning to a Rasta rhythm and Hammond solo, the vocal section is dull, but the bridges and instrumental support passages are impressive. (I especially love the flute play.) Certainly an upbeat way to end an album. (8.25/10)

Total time 63:24

This is an album that, more than anything, showcases the virtuosity of these musicians--the seemless unity and cohesion they display in all collaborative performances of some not-so simple compositions. Kudos to these veterans: Masters of their craft(s). And band leader Bartek Kossowicz does a great job stepping into the BIG shoes voided by newlywed Emila Nazaruk.

B+/four stars; a solid prog album from some very seasoned veterans. Definitely an album that is worthy of addition to any prog lover's music collection.

 Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.72 | 116 ratings

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Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The ultimate recognition for Quidam comes in 1999.The Polish group passes the Atlantic to perform among the headliners of the Baja Prog Festival, a live that was captured the same year on CD both by Rock Serwis and Musea.The links with Camel remained strong.Colin Bass invited Quidam to support him during the European promotional tour of ''An outcast of the islands''.Come 2000 and the band focused on writing and recording the third album with only sporadic live appearances.Third work becomes reality in March 2002, first comes the Polish title of ''Pod niebem czas'' on Rock Serwis and a few months later the same album was released on Musea as ''The time beneath the sky''.

With a mix of Polish and English vocal tracks, Quidam appear to somewhat abandon their 70's influences in order to propose a modern-sounding effort, closer to the likes of Neo Prog but retaining the evident Folk flavors of English groups such as IONA and MOSTLY AUTUMN.Symphonic arrangements become a minority and the focus here is on atmospheric soundscapes with sensitive guitar solos in the vein of PINK FLOYD and CAMEL, while the omnipresent flute parts have a now some discreet JETHRO TULL acoustics.Despite the clean production and the contemporary style, the vintage references come and go through the presence of organ and piano.On the other side, the more rhythmic guitar parts are more powerful and emphatic, showcasing a need by the band to rise a bit the volume, while the English tracks are well-worked but with less character than the Polish ones.Ambiental soundscapes start to become a trademark of the band, evolving slowly into heavier moves with guitars and orchestral synthesizers in evidence.The flute work of Jacek Zasada is among the album's highlights: Delicate, touching but also pretty hard-driving in some moments.Quidam had become a master of combining emotional and more energetic textures.

The presence of English lyrics somewhat lowers the value of this album compared to the previous releases, but the musicianship remains at a professional level and the creation of imaginery sounds has been established as the hot point of the band.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Saiko by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.75 | 61 ratings

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Saiko
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars QUIDAM, polish band that was first influenced by Neo Prog but during the course of their career changed album by album.

Saiko (2012) is their most recent work, released in April. Here they're back to the polish lyrics, a charm, I must say, I like bands that sing in their own languages, not only english.

According to the band they used on their 6th studio album the concept 'less is more'. Saying that you can easily note that they're not using any intrincated or complicated passage. They say that you need to listen the album several times before get the soft details in it.

Well, I tried very hard, 4 full listens before even try to write and a fifth while I'm writing. I just can't agree with the band. I can't see an album that shows more and more details as we listen it, we have an album that has not so many things to show, in fact, we have details here and there, but they're not enough to make you pay full attention on it.

Normally a different language may scare you, this is not the thing that bothers, Bartek Kossowicz is a great singer and he giver life to the polish lyrics. 'Haluświaty' starts the album and in a good way and it's true that the song has many small details (thanks to Jacek Zasada flutes), but in general, just a pop song, And the extra low bass tone from Mariusz Ziółkowski doesn't help much. '? lato' comes in the sequence and I start to think that the new producer Robert Szydło, is the responsible for the pop sound I'm listening, he's the producer of many polish pop bands.

The flutes in 'Obok Mam' tell us that something goo is about to begin, but in the end... we something that didn't work, a folk mixed with pop. 'Walec' the one in english is the best track so far. Heavy start, bit different and the Natalia Grosiak vocals makes this a nice track. If you'll do pop do it like on this song!

'sPotykanie' is like COLDPLAY and only now I realise that this isn't a Prog Rock album. When 'Wiosna' ends and so the album I asked myself what the band is really trying to do.

They don't know if they go towards pop or if they stay with their Prog heritage. All I know is that on Saiko (2012) QUIDAM didn't get any of them. We have some beauty moments here and there and if you don't mind listen a pop album (and you shouldn't anyway) it's ok. Now, if you're looking for some Prog Rock, go elsewhere, you'll not find it here.

 Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.72 | 116 ratings

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Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars When this album was originally released, back in 2002, I was absolutely blown away and to this day it is still one of my favourite Polish albums. This reissue is a double disc set, with the original album and a DVD ? more of the latter in a minute. My lack of understanding of the Polish language in no way detracts from the album as a whole, as for me the vocals becomes another instrument. Emila Derkowska had a wonderfully clear voice and the whole band gels and shines together in a similar fashion to the way that Pink Floyd once did. With a flautist within the band (Jacek Zasada) it gave them the opportunity to move away from the (reasonably) standard five person prog set up, and they also used guests to fill out the sound even more (oboe, flugelhorn (!), mandolin, accordion).

This is a progressive album that really is, one that brings together different instruments and players in a way that makes it feel as if they belong together. There is a cover version on the album, a brilliant take on "No Quarter" that nearly breaks the twelve minute mark, and the second half of the album is taken up with a complex piece which when taken as a whole is thirty minutes long (although it can be subdivided into five songs). I still believe that this is the best of all of Quidam's albums, showing the majesty and grace that only a band at the height of their powers could achieve.

At the beginning of 2003 after Quidam had come back to Poland from shows in Belgium and Holland, they started preparations for a special show in the band's hometown, Inowroclaw. As it turned out later, this performance was the last one of the band's line-up of that time as singer Emilia Derkowska decided to quit the band. On 16th February 2003 Emilia bade farewell during the sold out show in Teatr Miejski in Inowroclaw. Soon afterwards, the rhythm section, Radek Sikorski and Rafal Jermakow also left and the band had to regroup. Luckily, that final show was captured by three digital non-professional cameras and this is the DVD. If you have never been fortunate enough to see this line-up of Quidam in concert (and most of us haven't) then this is the only opportunity we will have. Also, this was one of the times that Colin Bass (Camel) made a guest appearance with the band so it is definitely worth catching.

A great reissue of a great album, www.rockserwis.pl

 Alone Together by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.77 | 188 ratings

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Alone Together
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Quidam's new studio album "Saiko" comes out in a few days, so it's a good time to look back at the incredible Alone Together. Whilst prog purists tore their hair out at Marillion's wide-ranging musical wanderings from Seasons End onwards, it appears Quidam have been taking copious notes, because Alone Together is a reasonably (but not world-conqueringly) successful attempt at a rather similar musical evolution, though one which I think will appeal more to the purists than Marillion's has.

On the whole, the album manages to hit a balance between the classic neo-prog sound of previous Quidam albums on the one hand and delving into lush, rich soundscapes of the sort Marillion have been toying with on the other, the end result being a compelling, fascinating, and very original album which takes Quidam's sound in a whole new direction, though one which to my ears feels like a little bit of a calculated move.

 Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky by QUIDAM album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.72 | 116 ratings

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Pod Niebem Czas / The Time Beneath The Sky
Quidam Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Quidam's third album finds them having grown well beyond the Pendragon-IQ-Marillion hybrid sound they had on their debut, and incorporating a swathe of modern electronic influences into their music to create an intriguing hybrid between classic neo-prog and cutting-edge modern genres. They also try out a number of unexpected musical experiments which turn out to work brilliantly - including their fantastic cover version of Led Zep's No Quarter, which works far better than I ever expected that it would. It isn't quite as immediately arresting for neo-prog fans as the debut album was, but some listeners will come around to it if they give it a chance to grow on them a little; others, however, will tire of its more New Age ambient affectations and soporific tone (the No Quarter covers stands out in part because it's a welcome bit of action).
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