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Phoenix - Cantafabule CD (album) cover

CANTAFABULE

Phoenix

 

Prog Folk

3.97 | 125 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Legends of communist-era Romania, Phoenix were the country's premier rock group during the 1970's, shifting millions of records, regularly performing to packed-out stadiums of screaming teenagers, and constantly finding themselves under surveillance from the government's shifty cultural bureau. Formed in Timisoara during the late-sixties, the group would produce three studio albums of varying quality after signing a contract with the state record label Electrecord, before issuing this extraordinary double-sided slice of fantasy-laden prog-rock during the summer of 1975. Heavily-influenced by Romanain history and folklore after the then-government of Ceacescu decreed that all Romanian artists must look 'inward' for their inspiration, ignoring the vagaries of the corrupt West and taking their ideas direct from the history and mythology of the motherland, 'Cantafabule' meshes elements of prog-rock, folk, fantasy, hard-rock and symphonic grandeur to create a dense storybook of an album filled with contrasting styles and textures. Of course, not everyone was happy with the 'looking inward' deal, but the reality was that group's like Phoenix had little choice. Admirably, they took it all in their stride, and subsequently produced the defining album of their career, a remarkable feat considering that the stipulations introduced by the government were designed to restrict the creative ability and appeal of groups like Phoenix, whom the state eyed with both suspicion and contempt. Even in the cold grey days of communism rock and roll was still sticking it to the man! Since it's release, 'Cantafabule'' has gone on to enjoy something of a legendary reputation amongst progheads, with original Electrecord pressings fetching upwards of 750 on the collector's circuit. But be warned: 'Cantafabule' comes with a legendary reputation, but you must remember that it was recorded in Romania. In 1975. The sound quality is ropey, the special effects are occasional laughable(especially he outmoded synth pulses on the album's opening cut) and it is a very, very, very long album. The best stylistic touchstone would probably be the likes of Alphataurus, SBB or French outfit Artcane, but the truth is that for just this album, Phoenix did manage to establish a strange sound all of their own. Certainly unique, this is a dark and complex album that needs to be heard to be truly (dis)believed. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2015
stefro | 3/5 |

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