One of the most remarkable things about Camel, is their evolution over time. In the early 70s the name Camel was chosen by the four members of the band, Peter Bardens (keyboard), Doug Ferguson (bass), Andy Ward (drums) and Andrew Latimer (guitar).
In that setting they made four albums, the first one called Camel, a good debute album, but not yet a coherent whole. The second, Mirage was already more structured and had just a few, but rather long tracks. The next album was their first concept album which was based on a book by Paul Gallico. The Snow Goose is their most famous album which they performed live with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1975. [click to continue…]
When I was thinking about a tagline for my blog, I remembered a comment that was made on one of Camel’s videos on Youtube. It said When the human soul speaks, this is what it sounds like. And that was exactly how I felt listening to their music, especially the one the comment was made on, Ice.
When I read that, I thought that was indeed it, the language of the human soul. And that brought me back to what I was trying to put into words for a while now; what is the soul?
My best attempt so far was here. The soul as the passive potential of the active structure of the mind. But this individual human soul is only part of a bigger whole. And the best descriptions so far, I found in the zodiac, where the water- and firesigns reflect the evolution of the spirit and the soul. [click to continue…]
If I would follow the timeline of the concerts, the next video to describe would be the one with Preperation and Dunkirk from the album The Snow Goose. But that was not the video I wanted to continue with. I even had been hesitating to include that video. Not because of Dunkirk, as I think it is one of the best performances I heard of Dunkirk. I think it has a fantastic power in that concert and it also is amazing to see it played live.
The problem for me is with Preperation. And it is not at all that I do not like that one. I like it as it is played on the original album. It is a very contemplative piece of music which is also very essential in the totality of the whole Story of the Snow Goose. And I mostly like the more contemplative moments in music. I also love those in classical music. I love the adagio in a classical symphony, although somehow those parts are not so well integrated, they seem to be often apart from the rest of the symphony. And that is what I think a band as Camel is very good with. They have many contemplating moments and I feel they fit in very well. [click to continue…]
Next is Lunar Sea, which is on the album Moonmadness. I always liked that album a lot, especially Song within a Song and Spirit of the Water but most of all Air Born. Air Born is one of those songs I can turn on repeat and listen to the whole evening, over and over again. And even with the volume up, you do not have to be alone in the room.
Others like it too (well, maybe not as many times in a row) and it gives a real relaxing and special atmosphere which fills the whole room. I also like the lyrics here (and if the world keeps spinning round, you’ll be back again), which summarizes a bit my overall feeling of the album.
But when I watched the live videos, I started to appreciate the other tracks on the album much more. Two of them are on the dvd Moondances (Another Night and Lunar Sea) and at the moment I like them even more than my previous favourites, but that might easily change if I would find a live version of Air Born. [click to continue…]
The first video is the White Rider, which is originally on the album Mirage. Mirage is the album of 1974 and it was the second album of Camel as a group. I like it a lot as a whole, but it was not my favourite at the time I was listening to their music the most.
And as I am finding out now, it especially had to do with the White Rider (officially Nimrodel, the Procession, the White Rider). Not that I did not like that one, I always liked it a lot. The beginning, very spacy and atmospheric, great, I like that. Then the more determined marching feeling it gives, which I also very much enjoy listening to. Increasing and increasing and than wow, the guitar, just amazing. I just like it so very much. And then a sort of melancholic continuing.
Next is the start of the lyrics. While reading a lot of reviews of that album these last few day, it became clear that most consider those not the best part of Camel. So I tried to figure out what I thought of them. Some called them boring, while others called them effective but not to exciting. I kind of agree with that. Somehow Latimers voice gives me the feeling of ‘okay someone has to sing here’, but it is not the way he expresses himself, not the way as he does that with his guitar. [click to continue…]
Music by Camel, based on The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico.
The Great Marsh starts with bird sounds and softly the music sets in. In the background there is the repeating sound of female vocals and occasionally there is the highlighting of a guitar. Then the pressure goes up, the drums enter and it becomes a coherent setting for the story to take place.
…the ocean cut through the sodden land that seems to rise and fall and breathe with the recurrence of the the daily tides. It is desolate, utterly lonely, and made lonelier by the calls and cries of the wildfowl that make their homes in the marshlands and saltings …
Rhayader is the introduction of the main character. His introduction is rather sensitive with the sound of a flute, but soon gets a firm grounding with the drums and keyboard, while the tambourine gives it a light and dancing touch. And it ends again with the sensitive flute in a repeating rhythm. [click to continue…]