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CIRCUS 2000

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Italy


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English female vocals on this italian band who performs a elaborate psychedelic music that switches from soft moods to rapid passages, sometimes having a little folkish influence. It might cause weirdness at the first time, but it kind of grows on you as you get used to their sound.

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Escape from a BoxEscape from a Box
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Escape From a Box by Circus 2000 (2005-10-11)Escape From a Box by Circus 2000 (2005-10-11)
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Circus 2000 by Circus 2000 (2008-05-01)Circus 2000 by Circus 2000 (2008-05-01)
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RIFI
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CIRCUS 2000 discography


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CIRCUS 2000 top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 48 ratings
Circus 2000
1970
3.22 | 34 ratings
An Escape From a Box
1972

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CIRCUS 2000 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 An Escape From a Box by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.22 | 34 ratings

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An Escape From a Box
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

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.

 Circus 2000 by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.29 | 48 ratings

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Circus 2000
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars CIRCUS 2000 was one of the anomalies to have emerged out of Italy in the early years of the 60s beat / psychedelic rock scene morphing into the more complex styles that swept the early 70s. Described by some as Italy's version of Jefferson Airplane, CIRCUS 2000 did indeed buck the trend that Italian rock was undertaking at the time. While most bands of the day were staunchly fixed on using their own native tongue for lyrical expression as well steeping themselves in elements of classical and jazz rock, CIRCUS 2000 looked westward, the California scene more accurately for their inspiration. A surprising reverse scenario as at the time most Americans were looking towards Europe for much of theirs especially in the emerging prog scene.

The comparisons to Jefferson Airplane came not only from the fact that CIRCUS 2000 engaged in a psychedelically tinged form of progressive pop fronted by a charismatic female singer, in this case Silvana Aliotta who joined the already established group Best Genius and quickly changed their name (imposed change by the record company Ri-Fi), but also because even within their own nation, CIRCUS 2000 was mistaken for being an American band due to the fact that the song titles were in English as were the lyrics. The overall style does very much sound like something that would've emerged in the San Francisco scene rather than anything remotely Italian. Due to the band's crossover potential, the record label allowed the band to record the album in English but demanded that singles be released in Italian, however commercially speaking the band never really took off and released only two albums.

The eponymously titled debut album was released in 1970 and captured the zeitgeist of the changing times but mostly resides on the 60s side of the timeline. Firstly Silvana Aliotta exudes the perfect alter ego of Grace Slick with nearly identical vocal phrasings, stylistic flair with the hippie inspired mystical lyrics in full free love form, however i find she sounds a lot more like Mariska Veres of Shocking Blue who was also a disciple of Slick's feminine bravado. While similar with Jefferson Airplane stylistically speaking, CIRCUS 2000 doesn't sound like them exactly. More like the alternate universe version. While steeped in California psychedelic pop with catchy guitar rhythms augmented by bass and drums, CIRCUS 2000 eschewed any organs, utilizes tribal drumming and guitar slides that evoke some Indo-raga influences as well. An occasional harmonica is heard and of course at this stage, the blues is a major ingredient in the compositions.

While the attention getting album cover stands out amongst the burgeoning musical scene even by today's standards, the music doesn't. CIRCUS 2000 delivered a very pleasant slice of period piece psychedelic pop but in terms of catchy well-crafted hooky melodies doesn't reach the heights of either Jefferson Airplane or Shocking Blue for that matter. This debut is a rather short album just shy of the thirty minute mark and its 10 tracks are all very short and to the point, the perfect recipe for chart topping possibilities however the band never seems to shine in any way. While every track is performed nicely and flow into each other at an even keeled pace, CIRCUS 2000 hadn't quite mustered up enough individual flair for this to really stand out and despite falling into the camp of early progressive rock, this is much more pop oriented than many of the bands that were emerging in the scene by 1970. Still though, a pleasant listen and recommended for those who love to check out some of the obscurities of the era.

 Circus 2000 by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.29 | 48 ratings

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Circus 2000
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Circus 2000 were an Italian band that released two albums at the turn of the seventies. Listening to this you'd have no idea that they came from Italy, bearing no resemblance to the soon to be burgeoning prog scene that was about to explode there. Their sound had much more in common with the American west coast sound that developed in the late sixties, made all the more authentic by the use of English vocals.

The band centres around the powerful vocals of Silvana Aliotta, an excellent singer not unlike Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane and indeed parallels can also be drawn on a musical level to the San Francisco band. Their sound is very derivative of the west coast scene playing bluesy psychedelic rock. They have a duel guitar line up with no keyboards, the guitars generally on the clean side leaving an uncluttered sound and there's some good if unspectacular playing going on. It sounds a little dated at times now but there's some more than decent songs here. All are on the short side though, often under the three minute mark. Best of the bunch being Try To Live and Sun Will Shine, both with insistent catchy melodies. Despite the obvious competencies of the band they'd be nothing without Aliotta's emotional vocal delivery which benefits from a high range, making the album a cut above the average.

Not an essential release by any stretch but nevertheless, despite their Italian origins an album that anyone who has more than a passing interest in the late sixties/early seventies USA west coast scene will be advised to check out.

 Circus 2000 by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.29 | 48 ratings

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Circus 2000
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DeKay

4 stars This is a strange album. The main reason is that it bears very few similarities with other releases of Italian rock during the late 60's and early 70's. I always connected the sound of Circus 2000 with other bands like Analogy, Sandrose, Julian's Treatment, Babe Ruth and Earth And Fire (two first albums only). The sound in their debut reminds of Jefferson Airplane and Curved Air. All songs are written on the wonderful voice of Silvana Aliotta. She sounds like Grace Slick, Sonja Christina and Jerney Kaagman, but there is something original about Aliotta and Circus 2000. Their music and lyrics have a deep occult element, mainly in songs like "Must Walk Forever", "Sun Will Shine", and "I Am The Witch". The album is 70% psychedelic and 30% prog, a proportion which changed towards prog in their second release. The most psychedelic moment here is "Magic Bean", "The Lord, He Has No Hands" is the most fuzzy, and "Try To Live" the most jazzy.

All songs are short (none above 4 minutes), and their structure is rather simple, reminding of east coast '66-69 psychedelic rock. A real classic, a wonderful debut, and an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

 An Escape From a Box by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.22 | 34 ratings

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An Escape From a Box
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

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.

 Circus 2000 by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.29 | 48 ratings

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Circus 2000
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars One of Italy's early prog favourite of mine C2K's self-titled debut album is an outstanding piece of dream psych prog. The quartet (guitar trio plus the superb- sounding Aliotta singing) developed a great form of psychedelic prog, that can serve as the perfect example between psychedelic rock and pure prog rock, without sounding too much like most of the 60's groups (bar the Indian-laced Magic Bean) and the basic cheap psych artwork doesn't do justice to the music on the album. Careful with the track list as the chronology is not respected on the backsleeve (I hate that!!).

Some of those tracks (10 short ones) are pure joy and could've been easily written by Jefferson Airplane at their top form (a tad proggier though, but this came out two years after JA's creative peak) and, outside the closing Try All Day, there are no weak tracks. Among my faves are the superb opening I Can't Believe (Sonia leads her dog to Pavlov ;-) and its successor I Just Can't Stay, the Jeffersonian Must Walk Forever, the irresistible Try To Live (with its wild rhythms and moods), the enthralling The Lord, He Has No Hands (what a groovy tune) and the exciting I Am A Witch (and its weird incantations). The worst thing is that most of these songs appear way too short (longest just below 4 min) and you'd be curious as to how the group could've expanded on them.

Aliotta's voice is cross of Grace Slick and David Surkamp (of Pavlov's Dog), creating a bit a timbre and delivery between Madeleine Bell (Stones The Crow), Janita Haan (Babe Ruth) and Sonja Christina (Curved Air), but unlike the latter two, Sylvana can not only sing very well, but charm the hell out of us, singing in a fair English some proggy occult lyrics. But she's hardly alone in the group and Quartarone is an excellent guitarist, not afraid to use his fuzz box at good use, while drummer Lo Previte is shinning throughout the whole album (he will play in jazz-rock group Duello Madre) and Bianco's bass filling much of the gap when the other two compadres are running up and down all over the fretboards and toms. Some additional but un-credited flute (on I Just Can't Stay) and the odd sitar complete an album that does perfectly well without the slightest trace of keyboards.

A short album (just under the 30 min-mark), but indeed a real classic, all to sadly overlooked by progheads because of the lack of extended musical interplay, but I urge them to reconsider this album. Barely missing the flawless, this album is easily an essential piece of progdom, even comparing to their better-esteemed follow-up.

 An Escape From a Box by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.22 | 34 ratings

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An Escape From a Box
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space 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 italianprog.it! 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 drums...no 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.

 An Escape From a Box by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.22 | 34 ratings

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An Escape From a Box
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Carl floyd fan
Prog Reviewer

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.
 An Escape From a Box by CIRCUS 2000 album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.22 | 34 ratings

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An Escape From a Box
Circus 2000 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Muzikman
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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