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Ciccada - Harvest CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 106 ratings

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5 stars An amazing band, Prog Folk or not!

Another long span of time passes since the band's sophomore album (which was released five years after their 2010 debut), yet here they are, with a sound and maturity (and comfort or ease) and intimate sound better than ever!

1. "Eniania (Keepers of the Midnight Harvest)" (7:25) folk electric guitar with Mellotron flute--which is so interesting knowing what a FINE flute player they have in Nicolas Nikolopoulos). I love the whole-band choral entrance over the guitar--it sounds so pagan! Gorgeous! The band then flips on the instrumental switch in between the first two choral passages. At 3:15 the guitarist doubles the speed of his arpeggiated lines as a jazzy support ensemble kick into a sax and flute-led section. A minute later the lead instruments switch to jazz electric guitar, organ, and synth, then they trade back to the flute and saxes for the sixth minute before turning quite cinematic. The whole-band weave over the final two minutes is nothing less than astonishing--so much to listen to--all so idiosyncratic and worthy of individual attention. The final minute sees the main choral theme carried forward by recorders and organ over a militaristic style distant snare drumming. Wow! What an opener! We have really missed you, Ciccada! (13.75/15)

2. "Open Wings" (5:28) pure Ciccada Prog Folk in the JTull tradition. The lead vocals are much smoother, less operatic (Dimi's work?) and the production a little more modern (a little tighter, more intimate to the listener). Awesome guitar work--on many instruments--by Yorgos Mouhos. A wonderfully engineered, many-layered and intricately-woven construct. (9/10)

3. "The Old Man and the Butterfly" (7:52) a little heavier prog here, still folkie, but with Yorgos taking the lead vocal! Perhaps more reminiscent of early Prog Folk rockers like SPIROGYRA or even Samla Mammas Manna (in sound, not humor and quirk)--and even some of the more flower-power happy Canterbury artists (like KHAN or today's MAGIC BUS). A non-instrumental song by Ciccada that is not led by Evangelia's voice: something I never imagined! But it's great! A top three song, to be sure!(14/15)

4. "No Man's Land" (8:40) a return to the more-British school of Prog Folk--a little JTull, a little STRAWBS, even a little Pink Floyd and Renaissance--before Evangelia enters with her immaculate, uncorrupt voice. Again, I wish to point out the incredible detail and compositional skill that this band puts into each and every instrumental line of their very complex weaves; it's like watching the Bruges masters of tapestry at work! No line is rote or lame, all functioning to give more life to the whole. And a totally fresh sound and style for Ciccada to explore--and they do it so well! A top three song for me. (18.75/20)

5. "Who's to Decide?" (4:40) more jazz-tinged (though definitely still very much shaped by their regional and, probably, local influences), this song has a lot of similarities to some of the more dark, psychedelic musics of the RPI masterpieces from the early 1970s. As well-performed and composed as the previous songs but just not my cup of tea (as BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, OSANNA, MUSEO ROSENBACH, and even some LE ORME and BANCO are not to my tastes). (8.5/10)

6. "Queen of Wishes" (12:39) This one seems to have more foundations in classically-influence folk traditions, with lots of hard lines in transitions despite the exploration of some wonderfully diverse and dynamic range. This is a song that I grew to love more with my third and fourth listens. Such an unique and eclectic expression of old prog styles: I hear tinges of Anthony Phillips, Gryphon, England, Genesis, Renaissance, Mike Oldfield, early Gentle Giant, Goblin, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, and yet it's all fresh, all perfect. The only place it might have some minor deficiencies is in the melody department. My final top three song. (24/25)

Total Time 46:44

A/five stars; a certifiable masterpiece of sophisticated Prog Folk and definitely an album that keeps giving every time you listen to it--and will, I'm sure, keep giving for years to come. Methinks we are very privileged to be able to hear their work--and to have it preserved for all-time in these recorded albums.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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