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CATAPILLA

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Catapilla biography
CATAPILLA were an English band from the early 70's who released two interesting albums of experimental jazz rock, without symphonic traces as in other bands of the moment such as AFFINITY, CRESSIDA, or SPRING. The band had a line-up of six to seven people performing on saxophones, keyboards, bass, guitar, vocals, bass, and drums.

In "Catapilla" perhaps the production is not so strong as it was necessary. The album consists of four tracks with extended, instrumental passages where guitar, saxophone, and keyboards get lots of solo space. Far superior to their first album, "Changes" is a very atmospheric piece of music. Their sound is more ethereal and spacey, but still a terrific blend of jazz rock/brass rock with an occasional psychedelic edge. This is another essential album you must hunt down and add to your collection.

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CatapillaCatapilla
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Green Tree Records
Audio CD$22.99
ChangesChanges
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Akarma 2001
Audio CD$29.99
$17.77 (used)
Catapilla & Changes (2 in 1)Catapilla & Changes (2 in 1)
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Click Record Productions
Audio CD$21.99
catapilla LPcatapilla LP
VERTIGO
Vinyl$75.00 (used)
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CATAPILLA discography


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

3.36 | 74 ratings
Catapilla
1971
3.49 | 82 ratings
Changes
1972

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CATAPILLA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Changes by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.49 | 82 ratings

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Changes
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by 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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 Changes by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.49 | 82 ratings

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Changes
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by 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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 Catapilla by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.36 | 74 ratings

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Catapilla
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Catapilla is one of those bands that never manage to survive in early '70's in prog rock realm. They've done two albums, the first one selftitle from 1971 is maybe their best one and most intresting but is not very diffrent then the second one Changes from next year. What we have here is eclectic brass prog with some jazzy psychedelic touches giving overall a very intresting atmosphere. The sax has an important role and having lots of space in solos combined with keybords and very unique and powerfull voice of Anna Meek. If I'm not very attached by the vocals here, the instrumental parts are quite ok, even great in places, Tumbleweed and Promises are the best from here, only 4 pieces, the last one Embryonic fusion has almost 25 min. A very intresting band for that period, very much in sound and manner of composing with lets say Flock among other with avant prog moments very well performed but I think the longer pieces has to much improvisation elements that at some point is little boring and aimless. Anyway a good album, good band they didn't gone with the flow in that period performing symphonic prog they optain for more avant jazzy prog quite original in places but in same time date it. The voice of Anna Meekis an acquired taste for sure. For me 3 stars, nothing more nothing less.

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 Catapilla by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.36 | 74 ratings

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Catapilla
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars One of those early progressive albums that positively drips with a hazy, late-sixties vibe, the debut album from little-known jazz-influenced outfit Catapilla is an underrated little gem blending elements of jazz, avant-garde folk, heavy prog and psychedelia to strange yet highly satisfying effect. Seven-strong, Catapilla's line-up featured Robert Calvert(no, not that one; Sax), Hugh Eaglestone(sax), Malcolme Frith(drums), Anna Meek(vocals), Thierry Reinhart(wind instruments), Graham Wilson(guitar) and David Taylor(bass), most of whom would re-appear on the groups second, and final, album 'Changes' a year later. With only four songs, this self-titled effort features a dense, multi-layered sonic tapestry of sounds, falling almost halfway between the jazz-flecked epics of Frank Zappa's more adventurous pieces and the fuzzy jazz-fusion of Nucleus and Soft Machine. The difference, however, are the deliberately manic vocals of Anna Meek, who squawks, sings, screams, howls and hollers her way right through the album in a show of pure, unbridled passion that needs to be heard to be (dis)believed. Of the four tracks - all are great - it is the final, firey epic 'Embryonic Fusion'(what a name) that finds the group at their most adventurous, the bleating saxophones, edgy guitars and skittering drums creating a swirling, almost mystical jazz journey that brings to mind the more eclectic works of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock et al, though with a hard-rock edge that soaks everything with a late-night effect often found in the best of cool jazz. Highly recommended to all fusion fans as well as lovers of classic progressive rock, this debut album is a wonderfully obscure relic from bygone days. Enjoy.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Changes by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.49 | 82 ratings

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Changes
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by 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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 Changes by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.49 | 82 ratings

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Changes
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by 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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 Catapilla by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.36 | 74 ratings

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Catapilla
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 6/10

Catapilla's self titled is a brave album full of desperate atmosphere and tons of character.

Catapilla are an obscure London act that back in the day released two little albums, this one being their self titled debut. The music they brought to this world is creative and somewhat innovative, with interesting moments and ideas.

The music itself is, very roughly, a mix between a very original sounding Blues Rock and Jazz Rock. The resultant piece is a radical and kind of heavy, at least for 1971, Progressive Rock album, with evident Hard Rock and Psychedelia influences as well. One of those vintage, classic albums, extremely visceral and fierce in some moments, due to the instrumentation also: we have guitars, bass, and sax that are accompanying the vocals, without any keyboards anywhere. This gives, like I said, a more fierce touch to the overall sound, which can truly be beastly.

The visceral feel in these four tracks have a somewhat dark, desperate tone in many parts, while in others it turns out to be a more fun and light listen, especially the shorter songs. But singer Anna Meek has such a strong and powerful voice, she almost sounds like a prophet of death in many pieces, evoking almost nightmarish tones, especially in the fifteen minute 'Naked Death'. Two thirds of this intro of the album basically are composed of soloing, which starts after the two minute mark and ending at almost the end of the song. This is why I found myself in a bit of difficulty in enjoying it as a whole, but the sung part is absolutely priceless. The next two songs are more forgettable and happen also to be more cheerful: 'Tumbleweed' and 'Promises' both could have been written more enthusiastically in my opinion, although even here Anna Meek shows her undeniable talent. The monster track is 'Embryonic Fusion', almost twenty five minutes of madness, featuring a lot of variation and it doesn't feel at all like 'Naked Death', it's multi parted nature makes it the most interesting and worthwhile song of the entire album.

Overall Catapilla's debut is enjoyable, however not the most essential album of this kind of music. The following album 'Changes' is considered even more Progressive because of the adding of the keyboard, but this debut has no question character, and quite a large one too.

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 Changes by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.49 | 82 ratings

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Changes
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by 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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 Catapilla by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.36 | 74 ratings

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Catapilla
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Part of the extensive Vertigo stable of jazz-prog bands travelling in the wake of the mighty Colosseum, Catapilla's debut album is notable mainly for the vocals of Anna Meek, who this time around tends towards adopting a powerful Janis Joplin/Grace Slick roar as opposed to the Gilli Smyth-style space wails that would dominate the band's second album. The group as a whole is tight, but this time around show a certain lack of polish - there isn't much distinguishing them from any other group working this particular angle at this stage of their development, beyond Meek's vocals and the admittedly diverting sax playing from Hugh Eaglestone and Robert Calvert (no, not the Hawkwind Calvert, a different one).

The group would undergo some lineup changes and tighten up their style for the next album, which is generally superior; I'd only recommend this one to people who are absolutely in love with Changes, or to people who simply can't get enough of the Vertigo jazz-prog sound.

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 Changes by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.49 | 82 ratings

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Changes
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by 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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