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Renaissance - Prologue CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 532 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Prologue: a title couldn't be more appropriate. The old Renaissance disbanded and disappeared. It's probably a unique case in the history: a new album is released under the name Renaissance, with no elements in the lineup that were present in the previous release, if we don't consider Michael Dunford that is credited as guest on Illusion.

The title track has the classical mood that made them famous, it's the first song featuring the incredible voice of Annie Haslam, and is one of the few songs on the Live at Carnegie Hall to be played with few or no arrangements respect to the studio version.

It is followed by "Kiev". Now the city is in Ukraine, but actually it was in the Soviet Union. This song makes the pair with "Mother Russia" appeared some years after, in stating the connection with the russian classical musicians of the 19th century, clearly evident in the piano section in the middle of the song. This is still one of my favourite Renaissance songs, even if Annie Haslam is not the lead vocalist. McCarthy is credited of the songwriting. Another little link between the two lineups.

"Sound of the Sea" is of course opened by waves and seagulls, then is mainly Annie's voice and piano. Not a great track, but good enough. Just a bit too long, and Side A is gone.

The a capella voice of Annie Haslam introduces "Spare Some Love". The song has a hippy flavour in the optimistic lyrics of the poetress Betty Thatcher. The bass and drums interlude in the middle followed by an acid guitar give it a little touch of psychedelia, but it's just a moment. I'm not the only one, probably, in hearing similarities with the YES in the bass lines and in the choirs.

McCarthy is credited also as author of "Bound For Infinity". This is the most folky song. I can imagine it played by Angelo Branduardi, even if Aniie's voice is not comparable, of course.

"Rajah Khan" is the longest track. It starts spacey even if a sitar can be heard initially, then a psychedelic guitar plays an oriental flavoured theme. This is just the intro. Two minutes and half and the song begins. The indian/arabic mood is emphatized by Annie's vocalisms. When the organ comes the oriental flavour is gone and we have a mix of Wakeman and a hippy community. The effect is absolutely not bad also because it played by skilled musicians. After the interlude it restarts from Annie's vocalisms and bass for another go of the main theme. At minute 7 a new section begins. tendentially classical, with frequent changes of pitch, then the guitar and later the drums lead into a section made of loops and recordings. Not enough chaotic to be defined psychedelic. When it stops the third run of the main theme comes to life for the last time. It could have been an epic with a bit of effort more in the songwriting. The coda is just a way to finish the track.

In brief "Prologue" and "Kiev" ar egreat songs, mature enough, but the rest of the album is averagely good. 3.5 stars really, but I'm not feeling comfortable enough to round it to four.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |


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