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Ciccada - A Child In The Mirror CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.82 | 240 ratings

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4 stars 'A Child in the Mirror' was one of my Top-10 album picks for 2010, thanks mostly to its wonderful and liberal use of mellotron, woodwinds and keyboards that managed to explore the range of the music without being overpowering or 'trendy'. This is a beautiful album with the sort of imaginative arrangements that pay tribute to the masters of old while at the same time making its own contribution to the current progressive rock scene.

Greek progressive rock of the 21st century tends to remind me a bit of RPI in terms of the omnipresent trait of layered instrumental sounds that expand rather than simply reiterating the rhythm and musical theme of a given song. Flutes and recorders make their own way through a composition while at the same time the piano, organ and other keyboards traverse ever-shifting scales and tempo shifts, setting an overall mystic mood to most of the music. Finally the guitar, bass and percussion ground the whole thing in a decidedly rock vein, but something that seems far removed from the traditional blues, jazz or folk influences that characterize most rock music. The whole thing is simply enchanting, cosmopolitan and culturally amorphous, yet the band manages to make it all sound so simple and casual. There are similarities to another Greek band, Will-o-the Wisp that I find appealing here, especially the fantasy-tinged mood and soothing female vocals that make every song seem like a small suite even though most of them (excepting "A Garden of Delight") are not much longer than a typical FM radio tune.

I guess there's a story here, or at least the song titles suggest as much. Almost all the lyrics are in Greek though so unless you happen to speak it or have a good interpreter the message is left to the imagination, but the album cover, mood and titles give pretty good insight into the general theme.

Other than the title track most of the music fits the description above. That one song has a couple of short instrumental passages and one vocal track that seem to be in a smooth jazz bent, not overpowering but distinctive enough from the rest of the album as to stand out. The brass is synthesized I believe, while the piano and organ blend to make this sound like a sort of folksy ballad. There is a sadness to Ms. Kozoni's vocals that melds with the opening of the next track "A Storyteller's Dream" and its weeping acoustic guitar with wispy flute that give way to an energetic rock rhythm of guitar, bass and drums although the song never lets go of the woodwinds and even adds mellotron and organ to great effect for an overall passage of music that seems to go on forever. The closing flute and wordless vocals feel like a bridge, a shift in the musical theme that carries on through "Raindrops" before turning darker with the mellotron strings and heavy beat of "An Endless Sea" and "Epirus - A Mountain Song". "Elisabeth" gets even funkier although the bits of flute and acoustic lulls keep the percussion and guitar from overpowering the delicate mood. The listener gets the sense that there is a climax of some sort coming, so despite the laconic mood there is a feeling of anticipation and tension that heightens each song as they build on each other.

Finally "A Garden of Delights" pulls all the various instruments and sounds together along with a solidly grounded guitar and organ base, stilted sharp piano and the few English vocals on the album. This is the summation, the point to the story and the keyboards and guitar strings definitively mark the buildup to the end. In the end though the music fades rather than explodes, yet another demonstration of the unique character of modern Greek music as this waning is both unexpected and immensely appealing. A great ending to an exquisite album.

I know almost nothing about this band and have purposely avoided trying to find out too much. Like their countrymen Will-o-the Wisp the band are all consummate musicians and collaborate very well together. Their music is unique in that it is clearly in the progressive mold but doesn't sound like any prog rock created outside of Greece. For those reasons I highly recommend this album to any prog rock fan, and don't have any problem rating it as a high four out of five star effort. You really should have 'A Child in the Mirror' in your collection.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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