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ARCADIUM

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Arcadium biography
Founded in London, UK in 1969 - Disbanded in 1969 (?)

ARCADIUM were a late 60's psychedelic band fronted by songwriter, 12-string guitarist and lead vocalist Miguel Sergides. Sergides was joined by Graham Best on bass and vocals, Allan Ellwood on organ and vocals, John Albert Parker on drums and Robert Ellwood on lead guitar and vocals. Like many, they played the clubs until a small label by the name of Middle Earth - who released a whopping total of five albums - finally approached them. In 1969, "Breathe Awhile" was issued on an LP, the only album the band ever recorded. It has lately been reissued in cd format by German label Akarma.

ARCADIUM's ominous, cathedral-like organ, distorted guitar and anguished vocals are clearly derivative of bands such as the DOORS, IRON BUTTERFLY and VANILLA FUDGE - very much in the 'downer-heavy' school of the genre that was popular at the time. Their album is something of a bad-trip soundtrack that relies on minor-key melodies, ghostly harmonies and anguished vocals. What with all its flaws - bad production, sloppy vocals and doomesday atmospherics - its historical significance is immense. The music's intensity and sense of urgency, the blazing acid-drenched guitars, the tortured vocals and heavy nightmarish sounds all perfectly convey the late 60's atmosphere.

Fans of heavy psychedelia in search of a genuine dose of 60's nostalgia will love this band.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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3.76 | 71 ratings
Breathe Awhile
1969

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ARCADIUM Reviews


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 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars "Breathe Awhile" (1969) is another re-discovered rare album treasure from the archives. The British band Arcadium released this one amazing album before going their separate ways and disappearing without trace, in common with many other one- album bands of the late 1960's psychedelic era. The album is filled with the powerful resonating sound of the Hammond organ, twinned with some masterly way-out acid guitar leads for fans of Psychedelic Rock. The album features two epic, stand-out songs, running at over 10 minutes long, the first track "I'm on My Way" and the final track "Birth, Life & Death". There are no album-fillers on this album. Every song stands up well on its own merits and blends in perfectly with the album as a whole. The CD album also includes two bonus tracks featuring the two singles released the same year as the album.

The epic album opener "I'm on My Way" is the highlight of the album. It's a hauntingly atmospheric song with a deliciously slow build-up after a deceptively quiet beginning. The spacey song features a delicately-played Hammond organ, laid-back acid guitar riffs, steady drumming, haunting ethereal voices and some atmospheric sound effects. The memorable song explodes into a full bore psychedelic jam of dramatic intensity around about the 9-minute mark, which should delight fans of way-out Acid Rock. Track 2 "Poor Lady" is a pure out-and-out rocker which maintains the fast pace from the previous song. Track 3 "Walk on the Bad Side" starts quietly with a gentle melody before bursting into life with some heavy guitar riffing and fast and wild Hammond organ-playing. Track 4 "Woman of a Thousand Years" is another up-tempo number with the ever-present Hammond organ blending nicely with acid guitar riffs and powerful drumming. Track 5 "Change Me" is one of those powerful and dramatically memorable songs that could have gone on to become a classic if it had received some radio airplay. Track 6 "It Takes a Woman" is another fast-paced Hard Rock song with a change of pace at the end to keep things interesting. Finally, this brings us to the second epic song "Birth, Life & Death" to play out the album. Everything is thrown into the mix for this song, including frantic Hammond organ-playing, wild psychedelic guitar riffs and a pounding drum beat, and the song also features a dramatic change of pace midway through, before concluding with a tremendous crescendo of sound. It's a perfect ending to a classic album.

This memorable album grows on you with repeated listening and it should appeal to any fans of British Psychedelic Rock.

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Out of the very depths of progressive rock comes this slightly interesting and rather nice album. Released 50 years ago it made little impact and I suppose that for the majority of prog lovers this album is quite obscure and to a large extent unknown. I can see why but at the same time it's a pity. It's not a groundbreaking album and the music itself is rather typical for the period and the genre. It is a record steeped in the psychedelic mould but it stretches out into new territory aswell, trying to expand upon the musical form. The development of rock music is obviously something that had been going on for quite some time by 1969. Every new artist and band added something new to the very basics of the music that was to become rock, hard rock and progressive music. Arcadium did their bit and although they never became as influential as King Crimson or Yes (or any other giant) has simply to do with opportunity, luck (as always) and, to be frank, the quality of the music.

This album starts off with "I'm on my way". It's a "builder", starting off in a mellow and very psychedelic fashion before heading into a great hammond driven beast of a song. It's quite good, especially the last organ driven part of the song. I think it may be a bit too uneventful at first but I have grown accustomed to it and now I like it alot. In many respects it is quite sypmtomatic of the album as a whole. Harsh, organ driven, sombre (or even depressing sounding), bleak and loud. If they had continued as a band releasing more albums I think they would have ventured either into the territory of full blown hardrock or carved out a nice piece of progressive land.

The next five songs are good and steeped in the same mould, more or less. What you get is powerful and well played proto- prog, as I would like to call it. "Change me" is a ballad-y song, which is good, and breaks the formula a bit. "It takes a woman" is a hardrock knock-out with extremely loud guitar. I like it alot. I think that all of the first six songs are good or great but I like the ending "epic" of "Birth, life and death" the most. It's not what I would call an epic, really. Sure, there are movements in there but I find it's more in the prolonged jamming quarters. Nothing wrong with that.

At first listen I wasn't that amused but after a few listens I got hooked. In many ways it's one of those obscure, loud, organ driven hardrock albums that nods to the future of prog and keeps one foot in the psychedelic pool but it is also a charming time piece that grooves along and offers a heartfelt dose of sincere music. You've probably heard the sound before, if you like me are into early progressive music, but sometimes that is just what you need. The sole album of Arcadium is not a fantastic album, possibly not even great but it's a decent and good album. If you want to explore the beginnings of prog you might want to start elsewhere but when you've come a bit on the way it might be interesting enough. It holds a place in my heart, mostly because of the massive organ, which sounds a bit dirty but there you go.

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Arcadium were one of those underdogs, who never managed to dive out of the London underground. Playing alongside acts such as Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Egg, Gun, Spooky Tooth or The Writing On The Wall never brought them the true recognition they deserved. However, to their luck, they did not find it exceptionally hard to sign a record contract. With a little help from the acclaimed Middle Earth club, they signed a contract with Pye label. To enable them to polish their material, the club rented a manor in Cambridge, where they could rehearse. After a week, the band moved to the recording studios on Chandos Street. That's where "Breathe Awhile", Arcadium's only album was recorded. The album art was designed by Mike McInnerney, who had just finnished working on The Who's "Tommy" cover.

"Breathe Awhile" is a testimony for ending psychedelic trends in music. Psychedelia was still very much present, but lacked the creativity, mysticism and freshness it once was full of. Without knowing what it was at the time, Arcadium picked the "progressive" path. The main attraction of this work are incredibly passionate jams based strongly on modal improvisation. On sung parts, the band exposes their electric folk aspirations. Arcadium's music is characterised by poweful pastoral organ playing, fuzzy guitar, feminine 12-string guitar passages and very decent vocals.

The two longest tracks "Birth, Life and Death" and "I'm On My Way" are in my opinion the strongest on the album. Other tracks are not bad by any means, but feel a bit unfulfilling. However, that is saved by the passion, vigour and sensitivity resounding on this work. And this I consider a very valuable aspect of "Breathe Awhile".

Overall, Arcadium's only album is a strong effort, musically very typical of obscure bands at the turn of psychedelia and progressive rock. It features some excellent moments and will be a pleasing experience to those fascinated with proto-prog or psychedelic rock. 8/10, Recommended!

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by psychprog1

5 stars This is a real dream come true for collectors of rare late 60s albums. I would very strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a masterpiece in the psych prog sub-genre. Apart of that it is a very moving album which has had a strong sentimetal impact on me, and on many other people as I can see. Indeed, I have heard (and read) a lot of people saying that this one almost changed their view on rock music when they first heard it.

People (like me) looking for forgotten masterpieces of the late 60s really regard this one as second to none. All our musical phantasies are here: long mysterious tracks of the highest quality, heartfelt vocals, dreamy production and all this recorded by an obscure record company-alternative club and packaged in one of the most enigmatic covers ever (the back cover adds to the aura, too). In addition to that, the band, as well as their enigmatic leader/songwriter Miguel Sergides disappeared immediately after this testament, leaving no traces (you will find nothing else if you google them). And a special treat, as if this was not enough: the 2 bonus tracks are so good, that in the case of another LP of the era they would be worth the price of admission alone! There are great albums that get re-issued with disappointing bonus tracks, but this is definitely a different case. Thank you Arcadium, whoever you were and wherever you may be now!

I believe that reviewing each and every track in this album wouldn't be necessary. Indeed, those who have heard it know what I'm talking about and adore it, unless they are not prepared to hear something so eerie (I understand that there are reviewers who give this one a single star while they believe that, say, Neal Morse is an absolute genius, but they surely have the right to think so). The rest are, to put it this way, lucky that they have not heard it yet... because a great musical experience still lies ahead!

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars Arcadium was a relatively unknown band that released one album in 1969. For fans of psychedelic proto-prog, this is worth investigating. The bad production is actually a part of the album's charm, as it offers a distant, eerie tone, a grainy effect that enhances the anguished vocals, and a hazy, smoky feel throughout. Even so, this makes parts of the album almost unbearable. Also, the acoustic guitars sound cheap and often out of tune. The two bonus tracks are decent, but do not add much to the overall value of the album.

"I'm on My Way" Over low-quality acoustic guitar is an organ bit that begins this opening piece delightfully enough, but for some inexplicable reason, the band decides to ruin what could be a fresh piece of music with extremely loud noises, like the section of the guitar strings between the nut and the tuners. Other racket ensues on top of all this, making for a terrible listening experience. Fortunately, these go away, bringing in a single guitar and some haunting voices. As keyboard takes over the vocal bit, a gritty guitar solo ensues. Actual singing doesn't occur until halfway through, and it consists of a good melody enhanced by an excellent bass line. For the jam at the end, there's a large organ solo over an unbridled rhythm, additional vocals, and a final guitar solo, all of which is practically ruined by the poor sound quality.

"Poor Lady" Dissonant organ washes and a driving beat begin this one. The song proper involves heavy psychedelic music with verses bolstered by those distant, creepy vocal harmonies. A tinny lead guitar plays over and in between all this. Incidentally, I could hear this song covered effectively by a current pop artist.

"Walk on the Bad Side" The parts of this song are jumbled together, not even attempting to flow one into the next. It opens with a pleasant guitar bit with a rising percussion, and then jumps right into the organ-led verse, which itself sounds like a weak Three Dog Night. The next sudden section is a wild ride of grainy guitars, wailing, shouting, and a speedy rhythm.

"Woman of a Thousand Years" Comfortably in the category of early psychedelic rock, this song juxtaposes poorly-structured heavy verses (that organ doesn't even fit!) with an a cappella refrain drenched in reverb.

"Change Me" The boisterous vocals, prominent organ, and tormented sound make this one sound similar to "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. At the same time, it sounds like what I think Radiohead would have sounded like if they'd played in the late 1960s.

"It Takes a Woman" After the somber twelve-string introduction, music in the vein of The Allman Brothers Band comes in, which is to say, a driving, organ-filled bluesy rhythm with excellent drumming and walking bass, topped off with exceptional guitar work- easily the best performance on this album, as even the coarse vocals work here. The gentle conclusion to the song is abrupt and pleasant, but does not fit- it is just unceremoniously tacked on.

"Birth, Life and Death" A siren heralds the beginning of the end for this album. Finally, there is some real progressive coherence, as the musical introduction shows. After a short bass solo, that lovely guitar and organ come back in working around each other in a brilliant way. It rather loses focus midway through, however, but the sound is richer and the music still strong- fans of Uriah Heep may find enjoyment in this.

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another excellent reissue from Repertoire Records, Arcadium's 'Breathe Awhile' is one of the few albums that truly deserves the 'lost classic' tag bestowed upon so many underachieving progressive-and-psychedelic rock releases from the 1960's and 1970's. Now a highly-prized collectors item - both on CD and even more so on vinyl - 'Breathe Awhile' is a genuinely innovative mixture of lysergic psych-rock, skilful prog and intricate, bluesy Vanilla Fudge-style hard rock that resonates with a wonderfully tripped-out intensity that reminds one of the scarred cerebral landscapes of a particularly memorable bad-trip. Led by the enigmatic multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer Miguel Sergides, Arcadium unleashed 'Breathe Awhile' upon an unsuspecting world in 1969. Evidently, the music-buying public weren't quite ready for Sergide's brand of uncompromising acid-rock, even in the era of LSD and Timothy Leary, and the album proved a commercial failure that consigned the group to the decade-straddling netherworld of rock obscurity. And it's a real shame. 'Breathe Awhile' is a bravura creation, a highly-conceptual collection of songs exploring pathos, shame and adultery with utter conviction, displaying Sergide's penchant for darkly-wrought lyrical poetry and an intense, almost hallucinatory musical style quite unlike any other group of the time. Most of the tracks on offer feature a fast, bruising pace with screeching guitars, wailing lyrics, quicksilver drumming and discordant keyboards, creating a hysterical yet utterly-controlled brew of scorched epics. 'Woman Of A Thousand Years', 'Change Me' and 'It Takes A Woman' are particularly impressive, though the rest of the album is also highly recommended. Trying to find a comparison is difficult, as Arcadium sport a highly-refined sound that is completely their own, but elements of Iron Butterfly, Rare Bird, 21st century San Francisco psych-rockers Wooden Shjips and King Crimson are apparent. Thoroughly exhilarating, 'Breath Awhile' is a a brutal tour-de-force of an album that should please those in love with the freakier side of psychedelic madness. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars ARCADIUM are an obscure band from the UK who were released on even a more obscure label called "Middle Earth Records". Their lone release "Breathe Awhile" was released in 1969. I don't like the album cover or the pictures in the liner notes, heck I don't like the liner notes either. Anyway I do like the first two tracks a lot, but I felt the rest was below average except for the final song.

"I'm On My Way" opens with relaxed guitar as bass joins in. It gets heavier after 2 1/2 minutes then settles again. Electric guitar after 4 minutes as it builds.Vocals and a calm 6 minutes in. The tempo picks up 9 minutes in with organ.This is catchy stuff.The guitar lights it up before 11 minutes. Good song. "Poor Lady" is another catchy track with harmonies. Love the chorus.The guitar cries out on the verse.

"Walk On The Bad Side" features reserved vocals, organ and bass before a minute. I like when the vocals stop and guitar and organ take the lead. Vocals return as themes are repeated. Not a fan of a "Woman Of A Thousand Years", the vocals and lyrics do little for me. Guitar and organ stand out on "Change Me", vocals a minute in. "It Takes A Woman" kicks in quickly guitar leading the way as bass, drums and organ try to keep up. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. An uptempo tune. "Birth, Life And Death" has this spacey intro then it kicks in with organ and drums. It then settles with a relaxing beat. Raw guitar before 2 minutes. Lots of organ and vocals arrive before 6 minutes.

I can understand why some people adore this record, sadly i'm not one of them.

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Sometimes you are listening new album and you aren't thinking. You just feel that it deserves best mark, because you feel it that way. OK, but that argument is not good enough to support your rating. But you know that in its category (psychedelic prog in this case), this album stands so still and so unknown, hidden in depths of progressiveness, that it can easily be shaded gem. But try to wipe out dust that surrounds it and instantly (after first song) you just Know. After many listens, you are decided.

As everything in this kind of psychedelic music, it uses similar pattern. Organ as underlay, sometimes two of them (one underlay, second takes soloing part), with it repeating guitar riff and hypnotic drums. Well, not only drums, everything here is very, well, psychedelic (that's the name). I wonder how it would be if I was high (best suited is maybe LSD), but that's something I will never know. OK, but feelings of normal, sober mundane earthling can be enough as well. Yeah there are two types here - slow and fast songs (as it looks like)

"I'm On My Way" is great intro. I always though that psych. music is (don't beat me) little bit monotone, weak and that Pink Floyd are not so classic psych and because of it I like them. But this album kicked me on a way of psychedelic lover with hope that there will be more records like this one. I must confess that (YES) I'm doing this thing with head (circling it around slowly to the rhythm) on some parts, slowly head banging on others. This music is simply experience. Jumping right into it could be good way to witness it all. Another fact is that this song starts with slow rhythm and (also) slowly coming to psych climax, which we can see in last few minutes. Sort of ironic name, he's on his way, I'm walking on this way now also.

and so on, no need to continue. Another reason is that it can turn skeptic and unbeliever like me into maybe-fan of this genre. Maybe after some time spend on listening this kind of music I'll reconsider my rating, but by far I don't know better psych prog album. I think the thing I like the most is this guitar solo through entire songs, dueling organ and guitar also.

EDIT: Year (and 10 days) later.

Not so strong impression after all these years, it now sounds rather plain and noisy, not clever and strong as it was before. Well

3(+) is more suitable I suppose. Not that variable music, because they simply play the same thing over and over again. However, my previously stated words are still true.

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by MasteR ProggeR

5 stars THESE ARE ARCADIUM!

i love this band, alle the songs, all beautiful from the start with I'm on my wayyyy until the end with goodbyeee goodbyeee my worldddd goodbyeee goodbyeeee...

the best dark prog album ever IMHO all the people existing in this world must have it!

the 2 bonus trax too are pretty good.

thx arcadium! 5 stars of course!

 Breathe Awhile by ARCADIUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Breathe Awhile
Arcadium Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This is a true gem of late 1960's acid rock, presenting a very depressed and sincere vision holding both composed and improvised themes. Miguel Sergides is truly the heart of this band. His skillful songwriting talents shine in the constructed parts of this record, passionate voice being strong and creating powerful emotional load. Other dominant elements of the music are strong organ keyboards and guitars weaving beautiful webs of harmonies over it, and also releasing fiery distorted solos. Vanilla Fudge's "Renaissance" album is stylistically a close comparison with this record. Though Arcadium's music is celestial and very trippy, the band found inspiration for their lyrics from themes of the secular world, the quest of being a good human being, a man, a lover.

The album starts mysteriously with mantra like webs building up nearly twelve minutes long opener "I'm on My Way". The surrealistic haze reminds of very early Hawkwind recordings, especially the calm part with descending voices, slowly gaining power. After six minutes the vocals are introduced in a dreamy and calm space. The descending voice part returns as a chorus, and strong force pulses more powerfully within the surface. Tasty ocean soundscapes opens "the way" where the singer heads, and a fabulous bluesy psych rock jamming begins. Here the vocal lines turn to more aggressive, and the raw and archaic sounds underline the power of this music. "Poor Lady" presents the band's skills in short and powerful psych rock songs with both catchy minor melodies and strong feeling of surreal, partly created by ghastly backing chants. "Walk on The Bad Side" is another longer song, beginning carefully with very beautiful organ and vocal melodies. Lyrics are very touching sad wonderings of the world, probably founding sympathy from fans of Peter Hammill. The verse is more Major key blues run with space for wonderful psychedelic solos. Among the free chaos the band still plays wonderfully to same direction, and there are many nice arrangements and controlled changes of both rhythms and sections to be found from the music, features often missing from psychedelic recordings. "Woman of A Thousand Years" is another shorter aggressive rocker fading in peculiar way, being quite OK but not as great as the other songs of the album. "Change me" has a dramatic drive resembling Vanilla Fudge very much, holding great feeling of desperation in it. "It Takes A Woman" starts with fast jamming and interesting repetitive guitar solo. The verse brings dramatic twist to this composition. The song ends to a quiet part, which sadly fades out.

The last over ten minute long song of the original album has a humble title covering "Birth, Life and Death". Some warning sirens give start to tasty jamming having playing space for all instruments. Again there is a strong sense of collective control of the band present here, and some surely predefined parts work as a guiding line through the track. The descending organs begin the melancholic sung part. The verse brings few Major key contrast to the overall depression, which is very, very strong, reaching ultimate climax in the end's "good bye world" sequence. Listening to this during depression isn't maybe a good idea. There are two bonus tracks on CD re-release. "Sing My Song" begins in a delicate manner, but the verse brings forth the power lingering beneath the calmness like in other songs of the album tracks. The melodies are very tasty and classic sounding. "Riding Alone" opens with some acoustic licks, and the tune is driven forward by the guitar instead of the keyboards.

The only negative sides I found from this album are the few fadeout endings and a bit duller short fourth song. But the pure greatness of the vision of this record bears this flaw in my opinion, and thus I recommend it warmly for those with taste of raw melancholic vintage psychedelia.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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