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jueves, 11 de junio de 2015

Camel - Moonmadness (1976)

Artista: Camel
Álbum: Moonmadness
Año: 1976
Género: Rock progresivo sinfónico
Duración: 71:08
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. Aristillus
2. Song Within a Song
3. Chord Change
4. Spirit of the Water
5. Another Night
6. Air Born
7. Lunar Sea
8. Another Night (single version) (Bonus track)
9. Spirit Of The Water (demo) (Bonus track)
10. Song Within A Song (Live 4-14-1976) (Bonus track)
11. Lunar Sea (Live 4-14-1976) (Bonus track)
12. Preparation / Dunkirk (4-14-1976) (Bonus track)

Alineación:
- Doug Ferguson / bass, lead vocal on 2
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion, voice on 1
- Peter Bardens / keyboards, vocal on 4
- Andy Latimer / guitars, flute, recorder and vocal


Vamos con otro clásico, ahora que se nos ocurrió que podemos presentarlo, reseñarlo y mostrarlo a las nuevas generaciones. Abad Badie me pasó el disco, y Alberto me trae otras dos versiones, incluída la remasterización de Steven Wilson. Aquí tienen otro de los discos imperdibles del género, en su versión clásica y la nueva, para que puedan conocer (algunos), volver a disfrutar (otros) y comparar el sonido.

Para su cuarto disco, editado en el 76, Camel seguiría con la formación que dio los discos más clásicos e indiscutibles de la banda, como es el caso de este “moonmadness”. Empezando por ese dúo dinámico que son Andy Latimer y Peter Bardens y terminando por esa sección rítmica tan curiosa como excelentemente compenetrada que son Ferguson y Ward.
Estamos ante un disco donde cuesta destacar un tema sobre otro podríamos empezar hablando de la grandeza melancólica de “song within a song” o de las magnificas guitarras de “chord change”.
Lo más destacable del disco en su conjunto es la creación de atmósferas y desde luego una producción mejor respecto, por ejemplo a “mirage”, que lo hace más atemporal, como comentábamos con dicho “mirage”. Podríamos decir que es de esos disco que crean escuela, más si hablamos de piezas como “lunar sea”, que además crea un juego de palabras con el título del álbum “moonmadness”, con lo cual se podría decir que es la pieza homónima, lo que esta claro es que es un gran cierre para un gran trabajo.
La edición de 2002 contiene 5 bonus tracks; la versión single de “another night”, la demo de “spirit of the waters” y versiones live de “song within a song” y “lunar sea” temas que aparecen en el repertorio de “a live record”.
El disco esta producido por Rhett Davies, quien ya nos es conocido por aquí, debido a su trabajo con gente como The Talking Heads, King Crimson, o los Genesis en su extraordinario “selling england by the pound”.
Parece que todo gran grupo progresivo tenga su trilogía de oro, con “moonmadness” se completa un ciclo para Camel, con una superlativa trilogía formada además por “mirage” y “the snow goose” y excelentemente completada en el genial directo “a live record”. Pero este cierre anuncia cambios en el horizonte, además de la llegada del siempre competente Mel Collins, se anuncia la marcha del bajista Doug Ferguson y la llegada del “caravan” Richard Sinclair....
...Y la historia sigue...
Grimble

No tengo mucho tiempo como para ponerme a escribir sobre el disco, pero ello no quita que no se los deje. Considerado como un álbum clásico dentro del rock progresivo, este cuenta con una mayor participación y variedad compositiva de todos sus miembros, dando lugar a una mayor influencia del jazz-rock, la psicodelia, y también al uso de flautas. No escribo más, dejo algunos de los muchos comentarios que hay y la forma de operar que les proponemos es la misma que implementamos en el "Relayer" de Yes. Ante cualquier consulta, lean ese posteo, que para algo nos matamos escribiendo.
Dejo, eso sí, algunos reviews de gente que ha escrito sobre el disco:

El mundo de la música progresiva está llena de curiosas constantes. No es difícil encontrar ejemplos de grupos que, después de la publicación del etiquetado unánimemente por la crítica como su mejor trabajo, lanzan al mercado un trabajo muy ambicioso, lastrado por demasiadas pretensiones o excesivamente intelectual que recibía una aceptación mucho más tibia por parte de la crítica: le pasó a Genesis con The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, le pasó a Jethro Tull con A Passion Play, le pasó a Yes con Tales from Topographic Oceans y le pasó a Mike Oldfield con Incantations, por citar tan sólo unos cuantos ejemplos. Pero el caso de Camel es diferente, porque un año después de firmar su mejor trabajo [Music Inspired by The Snow Goose], regresan a las tiendas de discos con un álbum sin pretensiones, en donde Camel tan sólo hacía aquello que mejor sabe hacer, sin intentar abarcar más allá. Un álbum sincero, para ser deborado de una sola escucha y donde se muestran algunos de los mejores momentos de la historia del rock progresivo.Moonmadness no sólo es un disco excelente en la discografía de los hombres de Andrew Latimer, sino que es una de las cumbres del rock progresivo.
Tras colocarnos los auriculares y tumbarnos en posición horizontal, vemos que Moonmadness es un disco tierno, con una gran capacidad para dibujar paisajes asombrosos. Los primeros acordes de Aristillus nos dejan muy claro que el título del disco no es metafórico ni poético, sino estrictamente literal, ya que en cuestión de segundos nos vemos inmersos en un cráter lunar cuestionándonos nuestra propia cordura. Song Within a Song es una dulce progresión melódica que termina por convertirse en un elemento obsesivo hasta que, instantes antes de pasar de obsesivo a repetitivo, estalla en belleza en su máxima expresión. Chord Change es un tema instrumental, que sirve de regodeo para los dedos de Latimer. Spirit of the Water es una simple cancioncilla de gran carga melódica, que deja ver el camino de algunos de los proyectos futuros de Camel. Another Night es el tema más agresivo del vinilo, donde las voluminosas guitarras y el trepidante bajo empapan el ambiente desembocando en pasajes a tres bandas. Air Born es un dulce desarrollo que recuerda al estilo compositivo de Moody Blues. Y para cerrar el álbum, el aquoso rock de Lunar Sea, totalmente indescriptible sin un estéreo a mano, donde el único comentario posible es una expresión de asombro. Sin lugar a duda, uno de los discos imprescindibles en toda discoteca progresiva que se precie. Uno de los mayores hitos en la historia de la música.
Rock en Progreso

Una banda que ha extendido su influencia a todos lados del planeta y a otros estilos. Akerfeldt de Opeth en varias entrevistas la nombró como una de sus bandas favoritas y de las que más cosas tomó prestadas. Bueno, y seguro que hay muchos otros que aunque no la nombran les han sacado más de una una cosita.

Moonmadness nace con el propósito de convertirse en un álbum conceptual basado en las personalidades de los miembros de la banda: Andy Latimer fue “Airborn”, Andy Ward fue “Lunar Sea”, Peter Bardens fue “Chord Change” y Doug Ferguson fue “Another night”. Debido a las críticas recibidas por su álbum "The Snow Goose" (1975), el cual fue totalmente instrumental, Camel decide construir este disco bajo un concepto sencillo y además incorpora letras a algunos temas. El resultado, más allá de la intención inicial, es realmente impecable.
Solo me bastó oirla una vez de principio a fin para caer rendido ante esta extraordinaria creación de Camel. Desde ese momento, este disco es uno de mis favoritos. Para mí, el sonido que logra la banda en este trabajo puede resumirse en tres palabras: Melancolía, Belleza y Delirio. Imaginen estas tres sensaciones entrelazadas en una exquisita combinación y podrán hacerse una idea de los lugares que podrán alcanzar oyendo Moonmadness.
¿Por qué es una obra maestra? Por que está compuesta por siete composiciones soberbias, tres instrumentales y cuatro cantadas, sin que ninguna de las partes desmerezca en lo más mínimo el trabajo total. Lo único criticable, a mi juicio, es el desempeño de las voces, lo cual de todos modos no interfiere mayormente con el espíritu del disco. Además de los sobrecogedores ambientes presentes, son dignas de destacar la belleza, existencialismo y sencillez de las letras que los acompañan. Camel no necesitó demasiadas palabras ni complicadas frases para plasmar versos de una profundidad que emociona, versos que se encuentran imbricados a la perfección con cada sonido.
En resumen, este trabajo es un continuo viaje entre el interior y el exterior, entre la sensibilidad y los rincones más profundos de la conciencia, dando al oyente la posibilidad de experimentar una riquísima gama de sensaciones. Sin duda, uno de los discos más extraordinarios del género.
Usul

Vamos ahora con los comentarios en inglés y creo que ya saben como hacer para poder escuchar esto...

One small step for a camel.
This album was where Camel really came of age. From the first notes of "Aristillus", a brief but striking instrumental, the attention of the listener is caught.
The well worn criticism of Camel's vocal capabilities can undoubtedly be applied to "Moonmadness". After "Snowgoose" however, another instrumental album would perhaps have appeared indulgent, and would certainly have implied that the band accepted the criticism, giving up on the vocals altogether. Without wishing to labour the point, the vocals are indeed the weak point, but not to the extent that they spoil the album.
In any case, Camel's instrumental prowess is still very much to the fore here. The excellent closing track "Lunar Sea" (Lunacy = Moon Madness, get it?) for example is entirely instrumental, with slightly more jazz leanings than on previous albums but still very much in the symphonic prog vein. There isn't a weak track on the album, but my personal favourites are "Air Born" with it's dramatic pauses and soaring finale, and "Chord change" A remastered version of the album is now available, with a number of bonus tracks, although none of these can be considered essential.
Footnote, "Moonmadness" was originally was intended to be a concept album based around the personalities of the band members (musically if not lyrically). Andy Latimer was "Airborn", Andy Ward was "Lunar Sea" Peter Bardens was "Chord Change" and Doug Ferguson was "Another Night".
Bob McBeath

CAMEL's "MoonMadness" stretches beyond words as is certainly one of my alltime fav's. Centered around the classic CAMELl line up (Bardens, Ward, Latimer and Ferguson) , they continue to refine their sound. "Moonmadness" contains lots of great progressive styled flowing flute and wicked guitar additions by Latimer. I also love the keyboard sounds which Bardens carefuuly layers throughout the album. This album contains some of my alltime most loved CAMEL pieces ("Another Night" and "Chord Change"). For those who do not a lot of CAMEL, this is a great place to start your collection and work backwards from. "Moonmadness" explores loads of instrumental passages and background noises are added for dramatic intensity. I always considered this a kind of concept-like recording really and love the atmospheres they create. Songs are allowed to expand and the only bummer is that the album is over far too soon. Excellent progressive rock.
James Unger

Moonmadness is among the best Camel's albums. The songs are very progressive, and the melodramatic keyboards are often highly placed in the foreground. I would say the omnipresent keyboards are the main attraction, despite the guitar takes very much room too. The drums are often very fast (Lunar sea) and never simple. Latimer's voice is, as always, impeccable: he uses some fuzzy effects here. The bass is very well played, never timid, although not very elaborated. The guitar sound of Camel is nothing extremely spectacular, but the refined melodies involved are very compensatory. With combinations of mellow flute, Fender Rhodes, moog, organ, the quasi-Canterburian music is a pleasant emotions bringer; it is varied and sometimes surprisingly floating, so that it makes a very well balanced album. If you like The Snow Goose album, then chances that you like this one are high. Let us mention that this record is more loaded, progressive and complex than The Snow Goose. It is less delicate too, but still more than Mirage! A must for any progressive music fan who likes quality music.
reenback

The opening "Aristillus" may herald a mad moon, but the shrouded shapes cast by "Moonmadness" are old friends we've seen in an earlier "Mirage". These songs are slices of the same sleepy exotica that snaked like a wild opiate through the black grooves of their first two albums, "The Snow Goose" being for all intents a downy anomaly. Vocals return, shared again by various band members (Andy Latimer bears the burden of them), each obscured by the familiar veil of the subconscious from whence their muse arises.
As with "Mirage", the music on "Moonmadness" is intoxicating, absorbing, and comforting, using gentle sounds (keyboards, muted bass, flute) to weave a soft fabric scented with the spices of faraway worlds. Within their complete catalog, several of these tracks breathe the rarefied air of prog rock classics: "Song Within A Song", "Chord Change" (with shades of SANTANA and PINK FLOYD to be found), the soaring "Air Born". The remainder of the album is never less than engaging, from the moody "Lunar Sea" (again inviting TANGERINE DREAM as a reference point) to the celebratory "Aristillus". I've read that this is a concept album, but some things are better left to the imagination. As with the best of progressive rock, the songs are suggestive of many things, and may transport individual listeners to any number of fantastic landscapes that a map might limit.
The Camel albums that followed were terrestrial excursions, grounded in quasi-conventional structures that made spaceflight difficult. There were isolated moments of magic in them, to be sure, but it's on "Moonmadness" that the eerie light of inspiration last pervaded an entire album ("Nude" notwithstanding). Note that an alternate version of the cover exists with a CAMEL in a spacesuit.
Dave Connolly

Well actually this work deserves a 3 stars and an half score, by regarding of a certain diminution of tension in some circumstances...nevertheless this album alone is such a unique "Manifesto from Light Canterbury" within the whole production of Camel, more than Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink" and less than Hatfield and the North "Rotter's Club".
The most unforgettable track is that unique and remarkable mini-suite such as "Lunar Sea", an imprinting of Andy's style, an emotional crescendo of feelings, by starting with an ambient and spacy atmosphere created by the analogical sythezisers, passing through the excellent guitar excursion by Andy afterwards!! Nevertheless it should be a mistake if I couldn't remark also some other interesting features within the easier and melodic songs like "Another Night" or "Chord Change" for example!! This time the melodic aspects of this band are more positive and less melancholic or sad in comparison to the majority of the recent albums by Camel (Do you remember the mood of "Rajaz" or that one of "Harbour of Tears"?!), even though the atmosphere is not epic or always aggressive (except on Lunar Sea) and the keyboards are sometimes not so much loud!! Apart from the considerations above, their taste is remarkable and the style unique as well!!
It can complete your Prog Collection, regarding of such genre from Light Canterbury...
Lorenzo

Thanks for the rating warning but I remain undeterred, Moonmadness undeniably is the best musical contribution by Camel. Following hard on the heels of The Snowgoose, Moonmadness dealt a serious blow to the critics saying.." Oh well you cant surpass that masterpiece", that beeing the Snow Goose.
Every track on Moonmadness is well balanced slick jazz prog rock at it's best. Aristillus opens up demanding attention and tracks like Spirit of the Water, Song within a Song and Air Born and pure magic. You wonder where the creativity and passion has gone when you listen to relative youngsters serving up classical dynamite. Moonmadness is their best piece of work but there are so many of their albums that came close but never quite having that all round polish.
Chris S.

Camels best in my opinion. The album opens with 'Aristilus' which chugs along in a Mike Oldfield fashion before 'Song within a song' sets the mood for the album. Melodic and moody in places. Latimers performance is superb especially on 'Chord Change' and 'Lunar Sea' Two instrumentals which, for me, represent all that is good about Camel. They were always at their best when performing without vocals. Latimers vocals are not brilliant but they in no way ruin the songs on 'Moonmadness' 'Spirit of the water' is a beautiful bridge track, taking us into 'Another night' a single. The 7' version is also on the CD. The song has a memorable riff, which some may say would have benefitted from more 'beefy' production, but then, I guess it wouldn't be Camel.
Camel knew how to rock, and were at their best on 'Moonmadness' but they always 'rocked' in a controlled way, with clean, crisply produced music which allowed the complexity and sensitivity of all the bands input to be clearly evident to the listerner.
A relaxing, melodic and thoughtful prog rock album. Highly reccomended!
Andy Robinson

This album has a twin: "The SnowGoose". This is the perfect complement and further exploration of musical melodic exploration. Everything I wrote about "The SnowGoose" could apply here since I believe those two albums should be listened one after the other.
I had a tape with SnowGoose on one side and Moonmadness on the other, and I could drive my car for hours listening to that. This is extremely intense music, with lot of interesting repetitions (creating a climax) and musical explosions.
You have to listen to this.
Belz

This should really have three and a half stars, but I will err on the side of generosity and give it the full four. For my opinions on Camel and their music, read my review of Mirage, the same thing said there applies here. Nevertheless, this is a superior album to Mirage as the songwriting is better here. We open with "Aristillus", a very short instrumental, keyboard dominated, with Andy Ward's voice repeating 'Aristillus, Autolycus' over and over. (These are two craters on the moon, visible with the naked eye.) I actually think this track, though short, is one of their best ones, melodic and bright. Next up comes "Song Within A Song", another decent effort, with some nice relaxing guitar and flute. It probably would have been better left as an instrumental, but, unfortunately, the vocals kick in on this one, and make it sound depressing. Camel can never be accused greatness when it comes to the vocals on their songs! The third track is "Chord Change", another track that is pleasant, if undemanding. The fourth one, "Spirit Of The Water", is a short piece again, and, (maybe there is a link here!) one of the best ones on the album. Lovely keyboards here and a gentle melody. Then comes the weak point for me, track 5, "Another Night", where the band try to sound more upbeat and aggressive, but only succeed in sounding dated. I have heard worse though. "Air Born" is the penultimate track, an improvement on the preceding one, but not particularly insipiring. The guitar work is ok here, but again I prefer the keyboards. For me, Peter Bardens is the main inspiration in the band at this period in their development. Last 'official' album track is "Lunar Sea", which is an altogether better song and finishes the original album off well. Again nice keyboards and guitar. Incidentally, the bass work on this and 'Mirage' gets better the more you listen to it, probably not receiving the credit it deserves. Likewise, the drums, whilst not brilliant, are played to a decent standard. My copy is the remastered version, with five extra tracks on them. As I said about 'Mirage', these tend to go on so long you end up wishing for the end to come! The last three are live tracks, two from this album, "Song Within A Song" & "Lunar Sea" and, finally, one from 'The Snowgoose', "Preparation/Dunkirk" which I find dull and not very inspiring. However, it has to be said that the first two bonus songs are far better. The first is the single version of "Another Night" which is shorter (see what I mean about the short pieces being more satisfying for me?) but has lovely keyboard work around the middle of it. The second is the demo for "Spirit Of The Water", which is an instrumental, quite haunting and probably my favourite track on the whole cd! Lovely evocative piano here, showing again Bardens' skill on the keyboards. All in all, although the vocals somewhat spoil it, and despite the lack of true inventiveness here, this is a good album to have, and, if I have to recommend one Camel album to have in your collection, then it has to be this.
Carl Swallow

After the instrumental concept album The Snow Goose proved to be something of a breakthrough album, Camel must have been tempted to repeat the trick with another similar work. Instead Latimer, Bardens, Ferguson and Ward turned back the clock to produce an engaging album that probably ranks second-best among Camel's works, even if it is rather a long way behind the majestic Mirage.
After opening with the lively and brief instrumental Aristillus, our boys hit us with Song Within A Song, surely one of the most mournful, yet compelling tunes they ever committed to record. Latimer's flute-playing is exquisite and the combination of the vocals and flute is heart-breaking ... until a ballsy Latimer guitar solo cuts through that is. His segment then segues into a Bardens solo extravaganza with the rest of the band providing a typically Camel-esque backing track.
I'm not the biggest fan of the lengthy instrumental Chord Change, which while challenging enough, doesn't really have the memorable melodies that make Camel's musical interludes so special. The spacey Spirit Of The Water, which features some distorted vocals from Bardens is another track I don't rate too highly.
But the album then gets back into full swing with the highly charged Another Night. While hardly a typical Camel prog tune, there's something about its underlying sinister tone that really gets me. The excellent off-time solo section doesn't hurt either! It's followed by Air Born which has a gorgeous flute and piano theme and some more phased vocals (this time from Latimer).
The concluding track Lunar Sea is a storming piece of music that starts off, as one would imagine, full of spacey synths courtesy of Bardens. It eventually erupts into a full throttle Latimer guitar solo, but when the rhythm section starts playing around with the time signature, Bardens comes back in ... the effect is both discomforting and enthralling, and puts the exclamation point on an entertaining album. ..
Martin Vengadesan

With this, Camel did the impossible. They produced a follow up album to the Snow Goose which kept to very nearly the same standard and didn't follow the same pattern. It's full of dreamy keyboards, superb guitar and flute work and the whole is backed by one of the classiest rhythm sections in history. Even the vocals, often a Camel weak point, work brilliantly. All the tracks are out of the very top drawer; not a filler or duff track in sight. It's hard to single any one out, but perhaps Another Day and Lunar Sea are the ones I will remember till the day I die. This is one for the desert island and no mistake.
Tony Fisher

I was really impressed by this album, and browsing the other albums of this band has been a sad process, as anything that I have heard from them haven't reached the quality of this album in any way. "Moonmadness" has a very compact and clean sound, and the compositions are pleasant, following each other in a logical way. The overall felling is nice and positive but not banal, which I see as an achievement. It's difficult to pick any highlights from this, as the quality is very good from beginning to end, but maybe the long instrumental which closes the album sums up the emotions of the album most strongly. Highly recommended!
Eetu Pellonpää

My first Camel album. Of the many I have bought it's certanly the best. Great musicians, great elaborate sound. Sadly the Camel's Muse seems to pass away after this jewel... Delicate and soft Latimer's flute on Song Within A Song and exciting sinth instrumentation in Aristillus. Unique Camel's style is also evident in the ethereal Air Born and in the instrumental Chord Change. The icing on the cake is the Bardens 2 mins long piano played Spirit Of The Water. The best of Camel is surely a masterpiece!
Andrea Cortese

Count me as one of those who don't consider The Snow Goose as Camel's best work. It's not necessarily the lack of vocals that bothers me, but it has after all quite few highlights and too many interlude-like tracks that extend themselves too much. In my opinion, Camel's finest era begins with Moonmadness. It starts with a short and sharp keyboard piece 'Aristillus' that I don't really enjoy, but the rest is strong vocal-oriented Camel, stylistically a cross between Mirage and Rain Dances and also some worschmack of the 80's tight pop/rock songs in 'Another Night'. The soft and airy ones 'Spirit of the Water' and 'Air Borne' are among my dearest songs - some may find them too mild. At one time in my life I used to have nightwalks with my Walkman and this music still associates with the view from a hill, stars up and city lights down... (Though 'Ice' more than any!) 'Lunar Sea', long instrumental, is of course a classic track. The whole album could be longer, have more flute, etc, but it's very enjoyable, pure fine music.
Matti P.

After the beautiful, but somewhat dull instrumental album THE SNOW GOOSE (1975), Camel returned with one of their best albums, the striking MOONMADNESS (1976). The album is a loose concept album, based around the moon, and the diverging personalities of each band member. (eg. "Lunar Sea" = Keyboardist Peter Bardens). The concept is rather weak, due to the mainly instrumental compositions and the weak vocals. While personally I feel Andy Latimer's suit the music perfectly, adding a light, ethereal quality that strong vocals (a la John Wetton for example) would ruin. This music is drifiting and beautiful, and Latimer's voice is pleasant enough. The album has shimmering layers of very modern sounding keyboards as well as Latimer's ever present flute, and trademark smooth, liquid guitar, which lends the album its melting soundscapes. It is easy to loose ones' self in the shifting textures of the album, but it remains structured enough to remain quite engaging as well.
The album kicks off with the short, punchy instrumental "Aristillus", a composition based around concise, electric synthesizers. This piece, in its two minutes, manages to have more punch than much of the SNOW GOOSE album. "Song Within a Song" is a very good (typical) Camel song, in which there is a nice meeting of electric guitars, synths, and delicate flute work. The song has a brief vocal section in the middle, before giving way to an excellent instrumental section at end in which Barden's Synths are especially impressive. Camel have often been accused of sounding too much like Pink Floyd. This criticism is understandable, especially on this spacey album, but imagine this as Pink Floyd with much more solid melodies and a much faster tempo. These compositions move pretty quickly for such spacey material. "Chord Change" is a rather unstructured instrumental, where one could say spacey-symphonic meets jazz- fusion. It is an excellent, paced track in which every instrument is excellent. "Spirit of the Water" is probably the prettiest piece on the album, a song built on piano and synthesizers, in which Latimer's distant vocals add an eerie feel. The piece is short and stays around just long enough to achieve its goal, but more development would have been welcome. "Another Night" is probably the most typical rock song on the album with its insistent riff, and some of Latimer's strongest vocals. The piece, like all Camel tracks, does leave considerable time for instrumental development. Despite the strong melody, this is one of the weaker tracks on the album. "Air Born" is a very pleasant track, with lots of flute and acoustic guitar and piano. It is good, but somewhat unremarkable. It does contain an impressive and stately climax towards the end though. "Lunar Sea" is probably the most popular piece off of MOONMADNESS, and is also Camel at its spaciest. While the album mainly showcases Latimer's gorgeous guitar work, this track really is Barden's spot to shine, in which he employs a various number of pretty synthesizers to truly create a magical atmosphere. The song is long, but deserves its length entirely. The synthesized landscapes are always shifting, and like most Camel work, are always melodic and beautiful.
MOONMADNESS is a masterpiece of Progressive Rock. The Instrumentation and is complex yet accessible, due to an abundance of pretty melodies sewn into the fabric of the album. Recommended to any fans of spacier rock (a la Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream) who want more of a base for their music, and a must for all symphonic fans. MOONMADNESS, along with 1974's MIRAGE represent the peak of Camel's powers, and this album is easily the more cohesive of the two.
NetsNJFan

When looking back at the highly innovative music produced by British bands who emerged in the 1970s, the name Camel is always prominent. Their legacy includes albums such as "Mirage", "Snow Goose" an "Moonmadness" - all of which do much to enhance the reputation of a band who, unlike many of other contemporaries, have survived nearly thirty years in the music business and still demand a loyal and devoted following throughout the world, both in concert and on record. The consistent factor through various line-up changes has been, and continues to be, guitarist and flautist Andrew Latimer. [CD liner notes - quoted without permission].
Yes, I think Camel is similar to King Crimson in terms of evolution of their line up: what ever changes in line-up, the guitarist remains the same and it's the only member that always be there in any album the bands have made. The only difference between these two bands is that in terms of music style consistency. King Crimson underwent fundamental change in their music direction when they reformed and released "Discipline" album. While the music style of Camel remains intact since its inception until now.
For me personally, this album is special as some songs has been around me by the time it was released. The music I can say is melodic with a great combination of keyboard and flute. The album opener "Aristilus" (1:59) explores Peter Bardens keyboard work and set the overall tone of the album, followed with a melancholic and melodic track "Song Within a Song" (6:48) which has become the band's classic and legendary track. The lyrical passage combined with flute is really melodic and reminds me to the seventies era. "Chord Change" (7:18) is also a killer with some jazzy touch exploring Latimer's guitar fills combined with Bardens' keyboard. The music somewhat has similarity with Babe Ruth's. The short track "Spirit of the Water" (2:09) serves like a bridge with an exploration of distant vocal style and keyboard / piano in classical music style.
"Another Night" (7:00) is another killer with an intro that comprises repeated chords of guitar and keyboard followed with vocal line. The music is floating melodic with steady drumbeats. The song has a nice interlude with solid basslines and guitar / keyboard works. "Air Born" (5:04) is a legendary track that begins with flute / piano work in classical music style followed with great music using guitar solo as main melody. When vocal enters the music, it turns out to be a melodic track with great work on flutes and clavinet. Memorable track! The album concludes with "Lunar Sea" (9:14) which its opening reminds me to space rock music like Klaus Schulze's. But what follows is a great guitar solo with layers of keyboard work augmented with solid bass guitar work by Doug Ferguson. Andy Ward who later became Marillion's drummer (for a short period) fills the drum work inventively. Keyboard solo continues the melody and the song experiences some tempo and style changes. It turns into faster tempo with more inventive guitar solo and multi-layer keyboard work. WOW! It's a wonderful track!
It's highly recommended album and is accessible to many ears - prog and even non- prog lovers. You should have it in your collection.
Gatot Widayanto

A great and mostly instrumental prog rock work from Camel that balances their classic rock roots with their melodic and symphonic rock from Snow Goose. It is not a strong departure from their previous albums. Instead I consider it to be a natural progression and their most mature work yet. If there is a complaint is its controlled nature that does not leave much room for impressive solos (with the exception of the opening and closing tracks).
It begins with a brief mini-moog showcase. The proper songs themselves are multi-faceted, melodic, varied, dynamic, and just plain good progressive rock. 'Song within a Song' has great melodies in the first half and an extended, if restrained, synthesizer solo in the second half. 'Chord Change' begins and end with uptempo rock, its highlight being the laid back jazzy playing in between. 'Another Night' benefits from a rocking guitar riff and a contrasting middle section. 'Air Born' carry similar elements from the previous tracks but with greater success. This dreamy track is easily a highlight of the album. The closing track 'Lunar Sea' is an instrumental showcase and one of the best drumming performances on a Camel album. There's also a highly memorable guitar theme and an extended synthesizer solo. What follows however is an unrestrained Andy Latimer playing a highly fierce and passionate guitar solos that continues over the course of several minutes, only to end with a very powerful and frantic hard rock riff.
Zitro

After very popular and IMHO overrated "Snowgoose", CAMEL recorded their last LP in the original line-up, and for my taste the best one. Although they were never among my top fav artists, I admit that listening to "Moonmadness" gave me many pleasant moments. Musicianship and production is perfect, sound mellow and polished, solo parts jazzy and spacey... Excellent for an engaged "active" listening as well as a leisure background. definitely the peak of CAMEL career.
Sead S. Fetahagic

First off, before I do anything I just have to say that my good buddy ClemofNazareth recently posted a review of "Out of the Blue" by The Electric Light Orchestra. In the opening paragraph of his review he stated that the best music has a personal story to it. I think that music is all about personal experience and in every review I write I include something about how I got the album or a story behind it. I know that most people don't care about your personal experiences, but I for one will continue to explore, not just the music in albums, but the personal experiences behind it.
When I purchased "Moonmadness", or rather went looking for it I already owned "Came"l, "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" and "Breathless", so it was only natural for me to seek this album. I spent many weeks searching through CD stores, until eventually I just got fed up a decided to ask the employees at one of the stores if they could find a copy for me. The guy told me that there were no copies in Australia, and there hadn't been for several years. So I ordered a copy from America, the day before I picked it up I had a look under "C" in the popular section and guess what I found? Correct four copies of Moonmadness for $18 (The same thing happened when I went looking for 'Takk.' by Sigur Ros). I had payed $27 to order it so I was pretty angry and the people there.
When I collected the album the next day I remember saying to myself "this had better be really, really good." Now I have to admit that it took the better part of a year to get into the album, but nowadays it receives frequent listens and it has a place on the "good" CD shelf in my room, right along side "Takk..." There certainly is something different about "Moonmadess", perhaps it's just a matured sound to their previous stuff. If you haven't already guesses the album is inspired if you like by the moon which is obvious from songs like "Lunar Sea."
After "The Snow Goose" the band was eager to get back into to music with vocals and the result was "Moonmadness." "The Snow Goosev had had much success in the UK reaching number 22 on the charts and it gave Camel a good name. It didn't have such a great success in America however reaching number 162. Andy Latimer sates in the CD booklet that "We decided to steer clear of conceptual albums and start to put more emphasis on vocals." It seemed that they just couldn't escape having a concept to their music here, but the second half of the statement it true, there are vocals. Camel was under tremendous pressure from record companies to create something good and Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer set to work creating something of very high quality.
I'm not sure whether you agree with me here but I think "Moonmadness" had the best production of all Camel albums thanks to Rhett Davies. The first song on the album "Aristillus" was inspired by two craters on the moon which can be seen without the aid of a telescope. The song is a lunar sounding array of synthesizers with Andy Ward repeatedly saying "Aristillus Autolycus." The following Song "Lunar Sea" is in my opinion the best on the album and has a very progressive structure with many time changes. The last 3 or so minutes of the song is some of the best Camel music ever written.
The next song, "Chord changev is another very progressive song and the guitar and keyboards in the song is very mood catching. The last one and a half minutes is the best part of the song, it is a lively section which closes the song on a high. There is another short song piano piece with flute echoing here and there, with vocals sung by Peter Bardens. Next is" Another Night" and this time the music is slightly more aggressive, but it still has that Camel charm. Again the last couple of minutes are extraordinary. There is a synthesizer solo followed by a guitar solo which closes the song.
"Air Born" starts off with a soft flute melody accompanied by piano. It then moves into a short, but beautiful passage which is then embellished by mellow vocals and a relaxed feel enters the music. The entire song has the same, eerie but beautiful atmosphere and an epic finish. Last off is "Lunar Sea", a song inspired by the Lunar Sea of Imbrium on the moon. This song is entirely instrumental and the interplay between Synthesizers and Guitar is great. There is an especially good synthesizer solo around the 2:49 minute mark which lasts for the better part of three minutes. A guitar solo follows and it lifts the mood of the song and makes everything more livelily. The song closes with a slow synthesizer, and a slow wind-like sound.
"Moonmadness" is Camel's highest charting album reaching number 15 in the UK and made a considerable impression in America. The Remaster of "Moonmadness" come with several bonus tracks which include "Another Night" Single, "Spirit of the Water" Demo, A live version of "Song Within a Song", "Lunar Sea" and "Preparation/Dunkirk." Like all Camel albums the cover is worthy of a mention and the CD booklet is very informative.
1.Aristillus (4/5) 2.Song Within a Song (5/5) 3.Chord Change (5/5) 4.Spirit of the Water (4/5) 5.Another Night (5/5) 6.Air Born (5/5) 7.Lunar Sea (4/5) Total = 32 divided by 7 (number of songs) = 4.5714 = 5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music
I know many people regard "Moonmandess" to be the last in a series of good Camel albums, but in truth there are a few very good Camel albums which were yet to come. Take 'Rajaz' for example and come on people 'Rain Dances' isn't that bad, is it? I recommend "Moonmadness" to all Symphonic prog Fans, it is among the best progressive albums ever, if you don't believe me just take a look at the top 100 list on this web site. Though I'm pretty certain this is the last 5 star Camel album around.
Matt

On the heels of my recent discovery of this amazing band, and my review for The Snow Goose, I feel ready to review this one.
Well, what to say? Is it as good as The Snow Goose for me? Most definitely yes! Even the vocals, which, from the Camel albums I have heard are usually a low point are fine on this one. Musically, I find it to be a continuity of The Snow Goose, only more concise.
'Aristilus' is a very interesting and intriguing keyboard introduction to Moonmadness. It has a space and a medieval flavor that works, as weird as it may sound. Short but great.
'Song within a Song' could'nt have been more aptly titled. The first part is mellow and soothing, with nice vocals courtesy of Doug Ferguson. The second part, instrumental, is more upbeat and entertaining and features great keyboard work backed by a great Latimer shuffle rythm guitar and a great rythmic section, not overly doing things. Great track.
Instrumental 'Chord Change' shows once again great musicianship and songwriting from the band. The keyboard and guitar interplay in this song reminds me a bit of Babe Ruth, only much better. Interesting tempo shifts and structure changes throughout the song. Amazing instrumental.
'Spirit of the Water' is a mellow tune, featuring great piano and flute work. The vocals, passed through Leslie rotative speakers, are good. Once again a medieval feel fills the song, only in a more melancholic manner.
'Another Night' is the rocker on this album, and probably my favorite for that reason, along with 'Lunar Sea'. The song stuck in my head upon first listen. Latimer's guitar work I find very compelling in this song.
At the moment I'm writing this, I realize I have no memory of 'Air Born', and I don't know if it's a good thing or not. I know I enjoy all songs on this release, so I guess it must be a good thing.
Album closer 'Lunar Sea', as stated earlier, is my other favorite track from Moonmadness. From the spacy keyboard intro to the appearance of the rythm section playing a weird time signature tight as hell, all serving as background to Latimer's (once again) great guitar work, everything is there for this song to be a classic.
I was about to give this album five stars, but due to the fact that I really don't remember 'Air Born' I'll give it 4.5 stars, even though it deserves five.
Eric Beaudin

Is it wrong that I find the first track the best and most intriguing? I'm not sure if this is my favorite Camel album, as it kind of goes back and forth with Mirage. Camel is one of the most laid back bands I listen to, as the music more or less speaks for itself rather than the in your face approach.
I'm not captivated by the melodies, but I love them, in other words, the melodies don't really stick with you(at least not for me anyway) but I find myself enjoying it every time I hear them. To me, the intro alone is enough to have this record, even if its only 2 minutes.
The biggest detractors are the vocals and the length, along with the fact that you really have to focus. Camel doesnt work well in the background to truly enjoy them. Don't worry though my friend, the time spent is well worth it. An album that more than deserves a place higher up in the ratings.
Joey Kelley

To me early Camel sounds a an aural 'warm bath', so pleasant and relaxing. The climates change fluently from dreamy with twanging guitar, flute and soaring keyboards to mid- tempo and bombastic featuring often very sensitive electric guitar soli by Andy Latimer and great excertions on Hammond organ and Minimoog synthesizer by the late Peter Bardens. The rhythm-section sounds very flowing, they are a very pleasant support for Latimer and Bardens. I have seen Camel many times between 1981 (Nude-tour) and 2004 (Farewell- tour), always a sold-out house and Camel never let the crowd down with an inspired Latimer and good musicians around him (from Peter Bardens and Micky Simmonds to Ton Scherpenzeel). On this album Camel deliver 7 tasteful and varied songs, my highlights are Song Within A Song (great shifting moods and excellent finale delivering sensational Minimoog flights), Air Born (wonderful keyboards (organ and strings, sensitive electric guitar and beautiful flute with twanging acoustic guitar) and of course Lunar Sea: an up- tempo rhythm with powerful electric guitar (from fiery to howling), spectacular Minimoog sounds and a dynamic rhythm-section, Camel rocks! I just checked the ratings, this is Camel most appreciated studio album but I prefer the more dynamic and adventurous Mirage as their best. Nonetheless, a solid 4 stars for this very good symphonic prog album!
Erik Neuteboom

"Moonmadness" was the highest charting CAMEL record in the U.K.
It starts off with a short keyboard based instrumental called "Aristillus" that sounds like a marching song. When I hear the first notes of "Song Within A Song" I just melt. No words necessary. The beautiful flute with piano and vocals are pure magic until the song changes after 3 minutes to the end. "Chord Changes" features plenty of that from Mr.Latimer as well as some fantastic drumming and keyboard melodies. Great band interplay on this 7 minute instrumental.
"Spirit Of The Water" features the most beautiful melody I think I have ever heard. Gulp. My complaint is it's way too short. I really like the vocals on "Another Night" along with the keyboards and drums. Nice guitar around 6 minutes. "Air Born" is a very melodic track opening with piano and flute. It's also the only track with mellotron. It makes me feel so good. "Lunar Sea" is a jazzy, atmospheric instrumental that features some great guitar and keyboard passages. Amazing tune !
This is a mature, beautiful piece of music history. This is possibly my favourite CAMEL album as well with the debut and 'Mirage" rounding out my top three.
John Davie

After exploring into the realms of symphonic prog in their "Snow Goose" opus, Camel was prepared to push the envelope a bit further for the "Moon Madness" effort, The main ingredient was the combination of the energetic presence of "Mirage", the stylish textures of "Snow Goose" and the addition of cosmic ambiences due to the increased synthesizer input by Master Bardens as well as Latimer's more robust confidence on guitar (using multipel layers and overdubbed harmonies) and flute (venturing into more complex solos). Simultaneously, the rhythmic interests of drummer Andy Ward were enhanced in favor of jazz-oriented vibrations, so the band's overall sound could achieve an augmented dose of dynamics and stamina. The sequence of the first three tracks is explicit enough as to set a proper general portrait of the album's nuclear essence. 'Aristillus' is an easy-going cosmic intro in which Bardens indulges himself in various Moog adornments over a firm basis of guitar and bass. Next, 'Song within a Song' defines a set of spiritually driven melodies alternately laid on Moog synth and flute, while the organ and the guitar provide subtle harmonic structures. The second half is more epic, although it could and should have sounded more energetic - perhaps a flaw in sound production?. Anyway, this track is in many ways a typical Camel song, with its intense lyricism obvious in the wide open. 'Chord Change' is much jazzier, creating a sort of bridge between the earliest Camel (i.e., the Canterburyr-related sound they developed in their debut album) and the Camel that would come to record the "Rain Dances" album one year later. If Ward was a master drummer since day one, now he managed to take his skill to a level of definitive maturity. The rest of the album is a catalogue of beautiful music, indeed. The piano based-brief ballad 'Spirit of the Water' is a very melancholic reflection on the futility of life, courtesy of Bardens: the recorder lines serve as an effective pastoral trick. 'Another Night' bears a denser sound, this time providing a hybrid between the first and the second albums, yet bearing a delicate eerie mood that works perfectly well in this particular album. The last two tracks are some of the most amazing Camel compositions ever: 'Air Born' and 'Lunar Sea' are real progressive gems of all time. 'Air Born' surpasses 'Song within a Song' regarding the manifestation of spiritual candor with a proper touch of energy that does not fall short at complementig the track's overall mood. 'Lunar Sea' is a top-notch instrumental tour-de-force that encapsulates the album's greatest qualities all at once. This album is a both step forward and a continuation of Camel's progressive ideology, although it is true that it fails to match the power of "Mirage" and the lyrical magic of "Snow Goose". While not a genuine Camel masterpiece in itself, "Moon Madness" sirely deserves to be labelled as an excellent prog item that should occupy a special place in any good prog collection.
Cesar Inca

Y hay un montón de comentarios más, pero me cansé....



9 comentarios:

  1. Respuestas
    1. Damita de Hierro, sos la primera en caer en la cuenta de Alberto!!!
      Lea el post, querida! no sea vaga!
      Igual, te cuento Alberto:
      Alberto: 1
      Moe: 11

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  2. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

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  3. donde esta el link para bajarlo ?

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  4. Disculpen, hay link para bajar este disco?

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    Respuestas
    1. Yamil, no hya más links de descargas en el blog, te acabo de responder por mail. Abrazos

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  5. Me encanta leer posteos de bandas progresivas en esta pagina. Suelo hacerlo a la vez que disfruto la pieza musical a la que hacen referencia, en este caso el bellisimo Moonmadness de Camel.

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