Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home

Circus 2000

I Am The Witch: The Anthology

Review by Gary Hill

You might not have heard of Circus 2000 before. I know I hadn't. This new collection gathers up all their works into one two-CD set, making it a great introduction to this act. I have put them under progressive rock for a number of reasons, First, they do have some music that is definitely prog. Secondly, a lot of the rest lands as proto-prog. Finally, their brand of psychedelia was certainly an influence on progressive rock. This act is often compared to Jefferson Airplane because lead singer Silvana Aliotta was heavily influenced by Grace Slick. Clearly the Airplane leanings go further than that, but they have plenty of other things at play here. This band was from Italy, but most of their songs feature lyrics in English. I really find their sound to be unique and fascinating.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 3 More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Disc One:
Circus 2000 (1970)
I Can't Believe

Intricate folk based sounds are on the menu here as this gets going. The vocals join over the top and it continues in that sort of mode for a time. It powers up into more psychedelic rocking meets prog zones as it gets more electrified. This gets pretty intense before it's over.

Try to Live
A fast paced jam, this is built on plenty of progressive rock and psychedelia. It's pretty freaky at times, yet it still manages to groove.
Must Walk Forever
Harder rocking, but also very psychedelic, this manages to get a little trippy and spacey at times. There are some many cool twists and turns built into this thing.
Sun Will Shine
I dig the oddities and cool energy built into this track. The tune drives with a lot of style and power. There are some tasty fuzz laden elements and also some twists into space territory.
I Just Can't Stay
Psychedelia, world music and trippy psychedelia is on the menu here. It's another classy piece.
I Am the Witch
I really love the tasty psychedelic sound on this cut so much. The guitar is complex, fuzz-laden and so cool. The vocals have a dramatic mode to them that definitely makes me think of proto prog. This is a real powerhouse and of the highlights. This gets into some killer fast paced zones as it continues.
Magic Bean
This track has plenty of pure psychedelia built into it. It starts rocking, but then turns mellow with trippy, dreamy sounds in place.
While You're Sleeping
I really dig the hard-edged and energetic proto-prog meets psychedelia on the tune. There is a cool up and down slide on this song, and some smoking hot guitar soloing.
Try All Day
This cut varies in that it has male lead vocals. It really has more of a 1960s pop rock vibe to it. There are some tasty guitar fills built into the piece.
The Lord, He Has No Hands
Energized psychedelic rocking sounds are on the menu here. This is another classy cut. It also gets into some proggy territory. There is a freak-out section later with killer guitar soloing. This is all class in some trippy ways.
Bonus Tracks:


Io la Strega (I Am the Witch)

This version of the earlier track has lyrics in Italian. It feels more crazed and hard-edged here. This is driving proggy stuff with killer psychedelic angles. Even though I don't speak Italian, I think I prefer this version of the tune.

Pioggia Sottile (I Can't Believe)
There is such classy dreamy texture to this Italian version of the earlier song. This grows organically into some tasty zones. I think I like this better than the other version, too.
I Am the Witch
Now this version of the track has English vocals again. This is the mono single mix, and I think I might prefer the sound here to the stereo mix. 
I Can't Believe
Another mono mix, this one is also a couple seconds shorter than the version that started the album. I really like this take a lot.
Regalami Un Sabato Sera
This is an Italian language single by the band. It's a high energy, more mainstream rock song with some definite jazzy elements. There is some killer scat singing, too. This isn't the proggiest thing here, but it's a real powerhouse.
Ho Regalato I Capelli
With plenty of psychedelia built into it, this is a bit of a freak-fest. It's another Italian language single. In fact, it's the B-side of the previous tune. We get a trippy, echoey freak-out later.
Disc Two:
An Escape from a Box (1972)
Hey Man

Mellow psychedelic rock brings this song into being. The cut works upward from there and gets into some of the most decidedly hard rocking prog we've heard so far. This thing has some killer twists and turns and is really one of the highlights. There is a killer section with driving bass guitar and particularly crazed guitar soloing over the top that is so tasty. It restarts back at the beginning later, but quickly shifts back to the killer prog. From there we get a drop to a melodic, mellower section that feels like something that would have fit into "Hair" in some ways. This gets some proggier treatments via the clean guitar as it evolves.

You Aren't Listening
Trippy, echoey stuff that seems to encompass both psychedelia and prog is on the menu here. Rather unusual vocals come over the top as this builds in a dreamy like way. This has some intriguing moments as it grows organically. Then it shifts out to an instrumental jam that has some hints of early Pink Floyd, but with almost a jazz sensibilty to it. We get back into the song proper for the return of the vocals. It is intensified from where it was before, though. This is really fairly crazed and spacey. There is a false ending that gives way to a new melodic psychedelic building section.
Our Father
This is another track that deftly combines the prog and psychedelic angles. It starts off with a dramatic vocal movement, but then drives into hard rocking zones from there. There is a movement later that has a trippy quality and some intriguing almost chorale backing vocals. There is a real stream-of-consciousness vibe to this to some degree. The instrumental break around the half-way mark has a real dream-like quality to it. It is fairly sedate, but it grows up gradually. There is some killer jazzy guitar soloing that comes over the top as this works through.  That section eventually ends the song in a rather fusion way.
Energetic and grooving with unique guitar based prog that reminds me a little of the band Flash, this builds sans vocals. It then shifts to a slightly mellower and very dramatic arrangement for the entrance of the vocals. There is almost an otherworldly sense of cool and style on this number. There is another fusion-like instrumental movement that comes in later. We're taken back into vocal territory with a rather blues rocking jam from there. They get into some more trippy zones that at times make me think of the first Captain Beyond album. This builds into some more dramatic prog jamming from there. It turns decidedly mellow with atmospherics accompanying percussion as it approaches the end. At over eight-and-a-half minutes of music, this is the epic of the set.
When the Sun Refuses to Shine
Trippy atmospheric space prog gets things underway. Other things threaten to take over as it slowly evolves. It drops to even more textural sounds with some almost mystical vocals over the top. From there we get a harder rocking, building sound that has a mysterious, almost dangerous quality to it. It gets mellower, but continues to be trippy. More vocals come over the top of that section, more song-like this time. The cut keeps shifting and growing as it continues, turning more purely prog oriented, but still pretty trippy. There is a journey into decidedly strange territory with weird vocal elements that seem to drop out and come back in. Then we get a more hard rocking section that's more mainstream. There is a peak later that's followed by a false ending. A new jam emerges from there and male vocals eventually come over the top creating a fugue as they grow outward. This builds to a killer rocking movement that closes the album proper.
Bonus Tracks:
Need (Edited Version)

This edited version of the song seems a little more immediate and perhaps a bit less unusual.

Hey Man (Parte 1)
This edit of the album track made up the first side of a single, with the next number here being the B-side. I have written in detail above, so I'll just leave it with this being an edit that ends abruptly.
Hey Man (Parte 2)
I think this second half works better in single edit form. It's more soaring and powerful. This leads into that "Hair" like movement after a time.
Dove Va la Mia Gente

This is the first track of two that were recorded for a third album that never happened. Coming in mellow, based on keyboards, this grows gradually. As you might guess from the title, the lyrics are in Italian. This gets into some soaring, dramatic modes as it continues. This gets fairly rocking and powerful, with the vocals really selling it.

L'ultimo Paese
The acoustic guitar flourish that opens this makes me think of Steve Howe. That doesn't hold it for long, with a different mellower motif serving as the backdrop for the vocals (again in Italian). This builds upward with style and charm into more of a mainstream prog rock leaning jam. It gets dramatic via keyboards over the top before dropping back to mellower stuff for a time. Then we get an excursion toward jazz zones with some positively soaring vocals. It turns back toward the more mainstream rocking zones to end.

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./