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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sonja Kristina

Sonja Kristina: Anthology

Review by Gary Hill

I've put this under Sonja Kristina solo, but technically speaking, it's part of the Curved Air rarities series. This double disc set has some intriguing stuff. While a lot of it is original material, there are songs originally from Hair, Emerson Lake and Palmer and even Motorhead. Kristina was one of the founders of the "acid folk" movement, and a lot of this lands in that territory. Not all of this is prog rock, but it's all artsy. Besides, Kristina lands under prog because of the Curved Air and Mask connections either way. I'm not blown away by this set, but there are some really shining moments. It's well worth having.

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Track by Track Review
CD 1
        
Frank Mills

This has a trippy kind of 1960s pop vibe to it. There is a definite psychedelic element to it. There is a vulnerable, child-like element to this piece that lends some charm.

If This Was Love
More of a serious psychedelic texture is on hand for this piece of music. There are some European cafe styled sounds here. I like this quite a bit.
The Passion
Much more folk music based, there is some musical theater along with some pyschedelia here. I like this cut quite a bit. It seems dated, but also timeless.
Baby Song
Combining a definite symphonically based musical theater sound with music closer to psychedelia for the song proper, this is intriguing. It works out to more purely prog rock based stuff for the jam later.
Full Time Woman
There are definite Beatles sort of textures here. This is a cut that's more along the lines of the prog end of things. I dig this cut a lot. It's quite cool. There are definitely still links to the psychedelia sound.
Man He Colour
Another with a lot of prog rock in the mix, this is a classy cut. The bass work is very funky. The whole song is quite special. I love the vocal arrangement, but I love everything about this tune. It's one of the standouts here. The jam later really pushes it into stellar territory.
One to One
A bit more tied to the pyschedelic folk concepts of the 1960s, this is intriguing. It's really not one of the best things to my ears, but it's cool.
Melinda (More or Less)
With a bit of a symphonic edge, this has plenty of both art rock and psychedelia in the mix. I suppose the vocals land closer to the folk end of the spectrum. This is such a cool tune.
This is Not a Sanctuary
Some tuned percussion brings an almost Island vibe to this cut. There is still plenty of both prog and psychedelia here. The vocal arrangement definitely adds more folk music to it. 
Angel
I like this cut a lot. Folk prog would be a good description. This is a powerful number with some great melodies and a killer arrangement. It's another highlight of the set.
C'est La Vie
A Greg Lake song, this is an intriguing take on the piece. It's always been one of my favorite ELP tunes. This lends a different flavor to it.
CD 2
         
Devil May Care

This is a rocking tune that works quite well. It's packed with psychedelia and prog.

Anna
Another folky number, this is bouncy and quite a lot of fun. This is a song about addiction and recovery. It has a lot of reggae in the mix.
Buccaneer
This comes in with a real Celtic rock vibe. It's an intriguing piece that makes a nice change.
Rollercoaster
Folk prog is the concept here. There is a bit of a punk edge with some of the backing vocal parts. The trippy kind of bridge brings some definite psychedelia to it.
San Tropez
Much more of a rocker, this is such a smoking hot tune. It feels a bit like Hawkwind to me.
I Don't Believe A Word
A redo of a Motorhead song, acoustic guitar opens this. As the vocals come in over the top, it takes on a real folk music vibe. This is very different from the original. That take was slow, but very hard rocking. That said, I like this interpretation. Don't cover a song unless you can make it your own. Kristina definitely did that.
Street Run
This is a cool rocker with a definite punk edge along with psychedelia and space rock. It has some weird shifts and changes. It's a lot of fun. I love the killer jam later. That one brings some definite prog along with some other rocking stuff to the table.
O Fortuna
Dramatic and symphonic in texture, this is classy. It has a definite classical music element. Of course, that's because this is Sonja Kristina's take of the cut composed by Carl Orff with lyrics from a 13th Century poem. I've liked every version of this piece I've ever heard. So, it goes without saying that I love this one, too.  Oops, I said it.  
Love Child
Starting with a mix of folk and classical to create an art music kind of vibe, this grows out into more pure progressive rock from there. This is a powerful piece that is one of the highlights of the set. It really does have a lot of both classical and folk music built into its structure. The rocking jamming later is classic.
Citadel
A spacey bit brings this into being. Folk music and classical are the main concepts here. This is an intriguing number with a lot of psychedelia built into it. Personally, I think the previous song would have been a stronger closer.
 
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