Search - Curved Air :: Phantasmagoria

Curved Air
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Top 20 in the UK when it was released in 1972, includes 'Marie Antoinette'. Original artwork and new liner notes. Prime prog-rock! Standard jewel case. 2000 release.


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CD Details

All Artists: Curved Air
Title: Phantasmagoria
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Collector's Choice
Original Release Date: 1/1/1972
Re-Release Date: 2/13/2001
Genres: Pop, Rock
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 617742016024


Album Description
Top 20 in the UK when it was released in 1972, includes 'Marie Antoinette'. Original artwork and new liner notes. Prime prog-rock! Standard jewel case. 2000 release.

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CD Reviews

The air is always curved if you choose to see it
Steve McMullen | Upland, CA United States | 09/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The third album follows the tradition with some refinement. Born from the British group Sisyphus in 1968, the core of Frances Monkman (Guitar), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (Drums) and Rob Martin (Bass) met up with another visionary, Darryl Way (Violin, Keyboards) to form Curved Air. Very shortly, they were joined by Acoustic Guitarist/Singer Sonja Kristina. A milestone in the Progressive/Folk Rock genre had surfaced from the psychedelic mold, and Curved Air was still making mega-leaps in song construction and complexity. Personnel change for this album brought Mike Wedgewood in as Bassist. From the beautiful Marie Antoinette to the straightforward pop tune Phantasmagoria to relentless Cheetah, the quality just kept coming. The complexity and continuous changes in tone and beat set the mark for other Prog Rock groups to emulate in songs like Over and Above with its multiple layers of sound. More electronic and synth experimentation on this album than the others - Ultra Vivaldi and Who's Shoulder Are You Looking Over Anyway? - Highly recommended, of course."
Life Begins in a Thousand Years
Schuyler M. Hupp | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The journey of discovering the sweetness of Curved Air was slow motion for me. I heard bits of "Over and Above" on an AM radio station in Dallas around 1973 and was hooked. Now that I've listened to the song more closely, it's easy to understand why: An alluring Avante Garde intro, great arrangement with xylophone, violin, horns and rather spooky albeit beautiful vocal harmonies, long jazzy solos with vibraphone and synth keyboards... Unfortunately, the DJ got the name of the group wrong and my quest for the album ended in disappointment. The song stuck with me though and on a whim I recently entered the one lyric I'd remembered into a search engine ("life begins in a thousand years ") and scoured through the links. One of them was a web site dedicated to the somewhat obscure psychedelic art-rock band, Curved Air. When I heard an excerpt of the track I'd heard 33 years earlier, it was like turning the key to a door that opened into another world. Even after decades, the music stands distinctly on it's own, offering a remarkable experience for all who would listen. I'm really glad this CD is available! :-)

(Techno-Nerd Suggestion: If you are so inclined, you can use a parametric EQ to reduce low end at around 100Hz to effect a more balanced bass. Not every song will require the same equalization, so use your ear!)"
A most curious mixture of everything .....
Mr. Thomas Thatcher | Salisbury, UK | 02/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"His name is Mike WEDGWOOD! (no "e").

Curved Air's difficult third album, mostly recorded at Air Studios, divides and unites fans in equal measure. The reviewers so far have pretty accurately highlighted its strengths and weaknesses. Always, and I mean always, the contribution of newcomer Mike Wedgwood and drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa is underestimated: Mike's dextrous bass and immaculate vocal harmonies, with Florian's sparse and beautifully accurate drumming, are about the only consistency in the whole record.

Sonja Kristina's two main songs, Marie Antoinette and Melinda More or Less, are both good, the former being more like the "old" Curved Air, the latter really being a "folk" song that she could carry off well with just an acoustic guitar (which she plays very well indeed, by the way) if needs be. "Never quite the same", a curiously tastless song about masturbation, has a lovely orchestral introduction but is uninteresting after that (apart from Wedgwood's running bass) and "Once a Ghost" is really just a filler. Francis Monkman's long piece that takes up a lot of side two is musically complex and very well played (fantastic drummimg from the consistent Florian Pilkington Miksa) - but, again, is it interesting enough? Darryl Way's violin piece "Cheetah" is quite stirring but is, again, not hugely interesting. The "Ultra Vivaldi" sequenced piece could either be mantra-like attractive or maddening. Most find it maddening.

Nobody for a second questions the musical ability of these people and if they appeared nowadays it would be like the Second Coming. But on this album they seemed to struggle too hard to break new ground and to inject a jazz/classical paste into a mould that would not readily take it.There was also too much fiddling with electronic toys and Vocoder precursors (like Patrick Moraz in the band Refugee). It's boring. After this, only Sonja and Mike were left and they produced one of the best, most under-rated and nelected albums of all times, Air Cut (please see my review on - but that's another story.

My advice? It spans the whole star rating from one star to five stars with moments of real excellence peppered with moments of mediocrity and/or poor taste. Still about 40 times better than 9/10s of the competition and for that reason alone worth a listen - and worth buying. I just wish these top-flight musicians could have left a real diamond in this line-up before they went their separate ways."