Curved Air — Live at the BBC
(Band of Joy BOJCD 014 , 1976/1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01
Something I hear often regarding Curved Air is complaints about the band's lack of focus and the unevenness of many of their studio recordings. This may be due to the fact that the only recordings that are currently available are the generally substandard Curved Air Live, Lovechild (consisting of leftovers and out-takes by the second lineup), and their final two studio albums, Midnight Wire and Airborne, which show the band moving into a more mainstream rock / pop direction. The first three albums, available only as costly Japanese imports, and probably out of print to boot, are from the band's most inspired period; and while these are excellent albums, the studio performances always sounded a bit restrained.
For those not in the know, Curved Air was one of Britain’s premier prog supergroups, featuring violin, VCS3 synthesizer (yikes!), guitar, bass, drums, and the unique voice of Sonja Kristina. Their style was rooted in rock and experimentalism, and incorporated elements of classical, jazz, folk, and proto-electronics. Darryl Way, Francis Monkman, Eddie Jobson, and Stewart Copeland all got their start here, in one of the three basic lineups during the band's seven year career. Most of the material on Live at the BBC was recorded by the first lineup, which existed from 1970-72, and corresponds to the band's first three studio albums. The performances are full-throttle, the band is in top form; so much for the restraint — these versions absolutely kick ass, and in several cases the arrangements presented in these sessions are wildly different than their studio counterparts. Selections include a wealth of material from the first album, including "Stretch," "Situations," "Propositions," "Blind Man," and the ever-popular "Vivaldi." There are two unreleased tracks here also, "Thinking on the Floor" by the early lineup and the instrumental "Stark Naked" from the '76 sessions by the third lineup. Four additional tunes by that lineup round out the disc, including the classic "Midnight Wire." My only complaint has nothing to do with the performance: I've been through two copies of this disc and both have the exact same glitch on track seven at precisely the same place, tested on five different CD players to be sure. It's not a biggie, but a minor annoyance, and one that will hopefully be corrected. Notwithstanding, this is one that gets the highest recommendation for longtime fan and newbie alike.
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more