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Caamora: Journey's End…an acoustic anthology
This collaboration started back in 2005 when Clive Nolan and Agnieszka Swita met in 2005 in England. Soon after they began working on what would be known as She and they have not looked back since. A major tour took place shortly thereafter and in late 2007 She was completed and released in 2008 to great critical acclaim. I would love to tell you what I thought about that release but, unfortunately, I have not listened to it yet. I guess I have it a bit backwards, reviewing this live recording before listening to the studio tracks. This is not a bad thing because I had no preconceived notions of the new album.
This double cd release features selected tracks taken from She and other tunes taken from various Nolan Collaborations (Arena, Oliver Wakeman) and many feature just Nolan on piano and the voice of Swita, however Nolan also contributes vocals. Some of the pieces do get the full band treatment from various guest musicians which contrasts nicely with the all-acoustic songs. I probably do not need to tell you that Nolan is a fantastic musician and his magic touch on the piano is all over these songs and Swita has a lovely clear voice that is really suited for these acoustic arrangements. The recording also boasts excellent production, everything is razor sharp and crystal-clear, truly exceptional considering this is a live album. The live tracks are taken from various countries in Europe and South America including Poland, England, Chile, Bolivia, Germany, Belgium and Argentina.
The first cd consists entirely of live tracks except for the first song "Journeys End" containing a beautiful piano melody and some fine singing from both Swita and Nolan, their voices compliment each other nicely which makes this a fine album opener. The album's second song "So the Music Stops" is a heartfelt offering from Nolan who also handles the lead vocals and does an admirable job. Even though it is only piano and voice the emotive quality of the song really shines through. Christina Booth (Magenta) adds her vocal talents to "The Bonding" another mellow piece with flowing piano and Booth's sultry singing. "Mea Culpa", an Arena tune, translates nicely to the acoustic setting with Swita singing with plenty of emotion and Nolan really banging the ivories making this an excellent rendition.
The second cd features more live tracks, demos and 3 bonus tracks. A stripped down version of "State of Grace", another Arena track, really works well, partly because of the melodic nature of Arena's music. One of my favorite acoustic pieces is the Nolan/Wakeman penned "Glimmer of Light" with an absolutely haunting melody. "The Veil" from the She album receives the full band treatment, featuring excellent lead and background vocals, acoustic guitar and airy synths and would make an awesome Arena tune. The second half features demos from the She sessions and bonus tracks. "The Storm" is a full blown prog rock tune that absolutely rocks. Evocative keyboards, rapid fire drumming, dramatic changes in tempo and gentle acoustic strumming make this one of the album's best pieces. The choral background voices are absolutely lovely. Many of the later songs on cd 2 feature awesome background vocals that only add to this record's charm. The disc ends with an informative interview of Nolan and Swita conducted by Darren Redick followed by a hidden track.
This is a top-notch effort and one that I am enjoying after multiple listens. If you are a fan of well crafted passionate music you need to hear this cd. If you are a Clive Nolan fan it is a no-brainer.
1. Journey's End (Studio Track)
2. So The Music Stops (Live in Poland)
3. Sacrifice (Live in Poland)
4. Covenant of Faith (Live in Poland)
5. Embrace (Live in England)
6. Shadows of Fate (Live in England)
7. The Bonding (Live in England)
8. Mea Culpa (Live in Chile)
9. Horizons in Your Eyes (Live in Chile)
10. The Eleventh Hour (Live in Chile)
11. Judgement (Live in Chile)
12. Murder (Live in Bolivia)
13. Resting Place (Live in Bolivia)
14. Invisible (Live in Germany)
15. Closer (Live in Germany)
1. Shadows (Live in Belgium)
2. State of Grace (Live in Belgium)
3. Glimmer of Light (Live in Belgium)
4. The Veil (Live in Argentina)
5. (I Can See Your) House From Here (Live in Argentina)
6. Salamander (Live in Argentina)
7. Confrontation (Live in Argentina)
8. The Storm (Demos)
9. Vigil (Demos)
10. The Hermit (Demos)
11. In Aeternum (Bonus Track)
12. Grunwald (Bonus Track)
13. Father (Bonus Track)
14. With Darren Redick (Midnight Radio Interview)
Added: January 31st 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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