Caamora — Journey's End... An Acoustic Anthology
(Metal Mind MASS CD 1237 DGD, 2008, 2CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01To recap: Caamora is the musical partnership of Clive Nolan (Arena, Pendragon, Strangers on a Train, etc.) and Polish singer Agnieszka Swita. Last year they recorded an original musical theatre score based on H. Rider Haggard’s story She. They also performed the work live in Poland, captured on DVD. Stylistically the music of Caamora is a cross between the bombastic symphonic prog of Nolan’s various bands and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. This two-disk set follows Nolan and Swita on the road, performing songs from She, as well as other tunes from Nolan’s repertoire, to audiences in Europe and South America. In some instances Nolan and Swita perform as a duo, though in other locations they are joined by guest performers, including Christine Booth on “The Bonding” and Argentinean singer Medina on “Salamander.” In Chile, Claudio Momberg (keys) and José Luis Ramos (bass) guest on several tracks, delivering the fullest band sound on the collection. But whether other musicians are present or not, the songs generally succeed because they were developed as voice and piano pieces from the get-go, so any additional instrumentation merely fleshes out the essentials. At their core the melodies and vocal lines are well written, so the listener simply gets a nice variety of treatments depending on who’s on stage. Swita is uniformly solid in her delivery, as is Nolan even though he lacks her chops or range. But in duet mode they harmonize well and the performances are sincere. The audience responses are enthusiastic, so for those who couldn’t catch Caamora on stage this set will make sure you don’t feel left out. As an extra inducement, She demos, tracks from previously released EPs (including Swita’s gorgeous “Grunwald” and the Enya-like “In Aeternum”) are included, along with a lengthy radio interview.
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
Die Anarchistiche Abendunterhaltung - We Need New Animals – Under this rather long and cryptic (!) name [Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung] is hidden a Belgian band operating in the same areas as Cro Magnon, Maximalist!, Ensemble Nimbus, Miriodor or Palo... (1999) » Read more