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Camel - Mirage CD (album) cover

MIRAGE

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.39 | 2335 ratings

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Luqueasaur
5 stars Transported by a Camel to the bowels of a barren desert, we see an oasis of satyr pipers and hippie pianists... is this a Mirage? 9/10

The first time I listened to MIRAGE and its first track, Freefall, I felt something. Freefall, so far, represented to me the stereotypical image of the attempts of a part of early 70's in the hard rock: trying to root out the psychedelic influences into a more heavy sonority but still maintain some unwanted characteristics. While an interesting album, I couldn't understand the praise it received as a progressive representant. Until the second section of the song came along, and I observed that even though it still sounded like a bland early hard rock track, it had a powerful influence from jazz. That's where, eventually, my view for MIRAGE changed.

The early progressive genre, in my perspective, is three-faced. While this definition certainly wouldn't apply for the modern progressive, it does fit neatly on the early one. About those three faces: the first involves experimentality, mixing, innovativeness; an escape from uniform, dull or just unoriginal rock. The second is about higher structural and sonorous complexity; and the third (mildly linked to both earlier faces), a different view of rock; trying to undermine the influence of folk and embrace another important genre: jazz.

MIRAGE represents the third face perfectly. It sounds like a rock record, but it uses as a base jazz.. Yet the symbiosis between the rock and the jazz is so profound and homogeneous it doesn't sound as either. You can't label this as a merely "classic/hard rock" or "jazz fusion" because neither of both parts stands out. They're perfectly fit together.

Formalities aside, some of the highlights include Supertwister, a short but highly creative and eclectic flute-ridden tune and Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider - it begins cowboyish, proceeds into a section with galloping guitars and nimble and resonating keyboard sweeps, culminating in the western spaghetti-styled beauty that is the White Rider. It gets considerably darker in this last section, the delay is absurd and the name "White Rider" along the music helplessly bring images of deserts in the style of Grand Canyon and riders solitarily crossing under the dry sun.

When I put into perspective the absolute mastery CAMEL had to demonstrate the three faces of the progressive genre, I can't call this anything BUT a masterpiece worth the flawless rating.

Luqueasaur | 5/5 |

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