Curved Air is perhaps the last band standing from the art rock revolution in England some forty year ago. North Star continues their amazing lyrical legacy.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Name three bands from the late 60's prog rock explosion that are still making a viable artistic statement today. Pretty tough...Curved Air's sound and instrumentation continue to influence artists today and across a multitude of genres. North Star is the first release of new material since 1976. There are some re-recordings and covers but the initial impact rests squarely on the shoulders of the seven new compositions featured on this highly anticipated release.
Original vocalist Sonja Kristina is back and the voice is in fine form. The sound has matured and evolved along with the conceptualized message of humanity and the cosmic karma of our ever changing world. A charismatic front person, Kristina's latest incarnation of Curved Air finds an ensemble that are impressive instrumentalists while charting a slightly more contemporary course. The classic roots of art rock are the harmonic bass line yet the melodic message has morphed into a somewhat more accessible sound that will embrace the fans of the new millennium while maintaining their high level of artistic integrity.
Tracks: Stay Human; Time Games; Puppets; Images and Signs; Interplay; Spider; Magnetism; Colder Than A Rose In Snow; Spirits In The Material World; Old Town News; Situations; Chasing Cars; Young Mother; Across The Universe.
Curved Air is:
Sonja Kristina: Vocals
Florian Pilkington Miksa: Drums
Kirby Gregory: Guitarist
Paul Sax: Violin
Chris Harris: Bass Guitarist
Robert Norton: Keyboard Player
Considered (according to AllMusic) "one of the most dramatically accomplished of all the bands lumped into Britain's late-'60s prog explosion", Curved Air is a pioneering British progressive rock group of musicians from mixed artistic backgrounds.
They are famed for their unforgettable live performances and 'Art Rock' music - the quasi classical imprints of Terry Riley hooked onto beautiful and demonic violin combined with electronic adventurous synths and interwoven with brilliant guitar wizardry mesmerisingly embroidered by the subliminal and exotic presence of a unique girl lead singer Sonja Kristina. All these elements elevated them from the underground Roundhouse scene to top the album charts in the early '70s.
Along with High Tide and East of Eden, Curved Air was one of the first rock bands after It's A Beautiful Day and The United States of America to feature an electric violin, inspiringly and dramatically explored by the excellent Darryl Way and now by the dynamic Paul Sax. Original keyboard player/guitarist Francis Monkman was the trailblazer for future 'electronica' and ambient extemporization. Robert Norton has inherited this sonic template and himself a spinner of ethereal soundscapes extends the boundaries towards further horizons while Florian Pilkington Miksa on drums then and now, with Chris Harris' bass guitar artistry, provides the expressive rhythmic pulse that is the Curved Air signature.
Curved Air have to date released eight studio albums and though progressive innovators they were hailed as Pop Stars when their single, the sultry "Back Street Luv" was a Top 5 hit in 1971. The present line-up of Sonja Kristina, Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Kit Morgan, Chris Harris, Robert Norton and Paul Sax have been touring together since 2009.