• on camels and albums and vocals

    Set 17 2007, 18:24

    Last last.fm week passed under the aegis of CAMEL, a prgressive rock group formed in the 70s and which through the years seems to have created
    massive melodical and symphonic universe plenty of interesting read on this group is available from Progressive Archives
    I have been listening to Rajaz, Snow Goose and Tears of Harbour with some Moonmadness and Mirage- but to these CDs I am yet to return. As for the other three:

    The Snow Goose
    Gorgeous, stunning, overwhelming are the words that come to mind listetning to this piece. It;s a themed instrumental album, inspired by the novel of the same title and written by Paul Gallico. You do not have to be a prog lover to appreciate it, it will appeal to anyone who is senstive and likes melancholic and lyrical instrumental arrangements. Soft and feminine is also how this album could be described. The only minus of the album that I happened to come across is that the tracks are divided-how wrong! This in my view should be listened as a single entity, where is the point of singling out tracks and breaking them, often at most inopportune moments? Ifyou happen upon an album that doesnlt divide it by all means pick up this treasure and let it overcome you with its soft, nejoyable and relaxing sounds. Highly recommeneded!

    Harbour of tears.
    This one is close to my as I am quite an afficionado of Celtic and Irish themes. Its character is different than the Snow Goose, certainly the subject is: what we have here is music dedicated to the problem of Irish emigration after the Great Famine and it touches upon the complex issues and feelings of the Irish dealing with the exodus. It explores feelings, dreams, hesitations.. The album opens with a short farewell song, reminscent of Clannad and closes with steady beating of waves (over 20 minutes), which ends the journey and increases a feeling of melancholy and nostalgia. The orchestration os very beautifu and senuous and again this album should be viewed as an entity in terms of a musical and not only merely musical-voyage.

    Rajaz-apparently it;s a type of melody that Arabian people sing to the rhythm of a camel's steps. And this is predominant atmosphere. It's full of very poetic and lyrical songs, my personal favurote being the title song, Rajaz. It all feels very exotic. But this one still ranks lower in my books than the previous ones.

    As for Mirage For the time being I only want to make a short comment for the time being. I also liked it. I was really looking forward to listetning to The White Rider and I wasn;t disappointed. It;s like a minisuite dedicated to Gandalf and his transition to Gandalf the White. There is a very interesting part which reminds the listener of some medieval-like march-a well done bit, but too short.

    Lots of great msic from them. All well-recommeneded..good listen.

    Hocus Pocus, Focus
    There is one last bit I want to comment upon-Hocus Pocus by Focus. Its often described as a masterpiece track and there is no way I can deny or second that, but for me there is a very interesting aspect to it-YODELLING. And that's absolutely FUN.

    Further Explorations
    My further explorations will Strawbs, Mostly Autumn, Celeste Pricnipe di Giorno, Franco Battiato, and I guess some necessary classics. I would be also interested in prog Anadaluz. Have Given some initial listens to Genesis Wind and Wutherind and ELP-Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Take a pebble is a real good track, and instrumentally these might have captivating arrangements but their vocals are somehow bland-althogh I'm thinking maybe it's the fault of the recording/pressing.

    I won;t speculate on what is or not the best vocal in prog. Undoubtely, some of the good voices belong to
    to Annie Haslan and Candice Night (as long as you include Blackmore;s Night in the prog folk genre, which I think eludes it. It's more medieval folk and defnetly more mainstream.), Ian Anderson

    My all time favourite (non-classic, because we all know Pavarotti had THE voice) vocals inculde: Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Loreena McKennitt, Mairie Brennan, Tarja Turunen, Cat Stevens, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley.

    Bruce Guthro has a very good vocal too.

    And one pop singer has a very good deep voice-that;s Josh Groban. Really good voice.

    Well I like vocals, clear, strong, haunting. Which is why I take interest in spoken word. There os one interesting person that should be listened to. That's Andy Quinones aka RhemasonadorAndy Quinones aka Rhemasonador. Unconventional, out of the box ideas, wonderful voice.

    CamelThe Snow GooseRajazHarbour of TearsMirageHocus Pocus
  • Skellig loreena mckennitt

    Giu 21 2007, 16:23

    O light the candle, John
    The daylight has almost gone
    The birds have sung their last
    The bells call all to mass

    Sit here by my side
    For the night is very long
    There's something I must tell
    Before I pass along

    I joined the brotherhood My books were all to me
    I scribed the words of God
    And much of history

    Many a year was I
    Perched out upon the sea
    The waves would wash my tears,
    The wind, my memory

    I'd hear the ocean breathe
    Exhale upon the shore
    I knew the tempest's blood
    Its wrath I would endure

    And so the years went by
    Within my rocky cell
    With only a mouse or bird
    My friend; I loved them well

    And so it came to pass
    I'd come here to Romani
    And many a year it took
    Till I arrived here with thee

    On dusty roads I walked
    And over mountains high
    Through rivers running deep
    Beneath the endless sky

    Beneath these jasmine flowers
    Amidst these cypress trees
    I give you now my books
    And all their mysteries

    Now take the hourglass
    And turn it on its head
    For when the sands are still
    'Tis then you'll find me dead

    O light the candle, John
    The daylight is almost gone
    The birds have sung their last
    The bells call all to mass

    This beautiful song is very evocative of the ancient atmosphere of monasteries. You can almost see and feel the austerity and simplicity of monks scribbling, praying, leading a simple life serving God, with harmony with him and their surroundings. It did actually serve as a very good illustration for an irish poetry class when we were dealing with early monastic poems. Whenever i listen to it i can;t help but transport back to those times and ask with loreena: What is the part that isolation plays in encouraging some to reach closer to the essence of God?
    I cannot imagine anyone who would render the atmosphere better, the austerity shines throgh her voice and music, there is the gravity if a monk's life, the journeys he undertook. What really strikes me is the finality of the depicted moment and how it is depicted. Also the books so important..he passes them on as his legacy to his fellow brother. Incredible, i can't even begin to describe what feelings this song wakes. Skellig