Exposé Online banner

Curved Air — Curved Space & Infinity
(Curved Air Records CRV RS 002, 2016, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-12-25

Curved Space & Infinity Cover art

The latest in the Curved Air Rarities series (Volume 2) is in fact a two disc set of material that is in fact not Curved Air at all, but instead improvisations by subsets of band members, former members, and such, and should be approached as that. Don’t expect any compositions in the way of songs with lyrics here; there are no vocals — the two discs here represent collectives of certain Curved Air members (from two different eras of the band) shooting off some steam through jamming. Sonja is nowhere to be found on either of these. Most of the material on disc one was previously released as Francis Monkman’s Jam, originally released on the Voiceprint label back in 1991. Here, with an extra (and excellent) track “Rose” included, it has been rebranded as Curved Space, though it is what it is: original Curved Air members Francis Monkman (guitar), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums), Rob Martin (bass), and friend Mike Gore (guitar) jamming for hours, then carefully edited down to eight long tracks, which all pretty much sound the same with some variations in pace and approach, with the final track “Rose” added from a session featuring Monkman and Pilkington-Miksa around 15 years after the original material, to bring the running time of disc one of to a few seconds shy of 80 minutes. Honestly, I am a huge Curved Air fan from way back, but this first disc of the set is just too samey (and not all that well recorded), and well before the half-way point it all becomes pretty tiresome.

Disc two fares a bit better, another full length disc of current / recent Curved Air members Pilkington-Miksa, keyboardist Robert Norton, and Kirby Gregory on guitar; the original session from 2011 featured Norton playing all the bass, electric piano and synth parts simultaneously along with the drums; several years later in 2014, Kirby heard the recording and offered to overlay guitar parts on the existing improvisations, and the six tracks that comprise disc two, here titled Infinity, were born. This is essentially another assemblage of jams that clock in at nearly 80 minutes, but fares much better due to a variety of sounds presented and a vastly superior recording. All taken, the material on this set is more an effort to capitalize on the Curved Air name by rebranding some peripheral material that may only be of limited interest to most.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Curved Air, Francis Monkman

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Zapotec - Alpha Centuri – When I first listened to this disc, I quickly categorized it as jamming space rock. The first track builds from quiet ambience to a throbbing jazzy thrash, consisting almost entirely of an...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues