Get this crazy baby off my head!


Curved Air


Curved Air - Alive 1990 - 2000 - Mystic Records

"Alive, 1990" was recorded at the Curved Air reunion concert at The Town and Country Club 2 in London, England on 23 September 1990, sixteen years after they had played together for the last time. The tapes were located by Francis Monkman and mastered by him. The first track "Twenty Years on (Intro)" was recorded with a mono cassette recorder from an audience member. Sound on this track is only average, and the track was supposedly composed especially for this reunion concert. Why isn't there a better audio version? At the same time it has to be said that many of the 13 tracks are of limited sound quality. At times, the audience noise is too loud, and a little studio tweaking may have improved the sometimes out of tune "Backstreet Luv". Still, even with modern recording studio techniques, there is only so much that can be done to rough tapes to improve them sonically. Curved Air have better live recordings available, but a concert from this period is rare, and was probably worth releasing. If you are a Curved Air fan you will probably want to hear this. If you are unfamiliar with the band's music, listen to their classic "Air Conditioning" and "Phantasmagoria" albums


1."Twenty Years on (Intro)" (Monkman, Way) – 4:11
2."It Happened Today" (Kristina, Monkman) – 5:31
3."Stretch" (Monkman, Way) – 4:29
4."Hide and Seek" (Kristina, Way) – 6:52
5."Marie Antoinette" (Kristina, Way) – 7:04
6."Melinda (More or Less)" (Kristina) – 4:14
7."Situations" (Martin, Way) – 5:43
8."Young Mother" (Kristina, Way) – 7:06
9."You Know" (Linwood, Way) – 3:45
10."Propositions" (Monkman) – 5:15
11."Vivaldi" (Way) – 9:59
12."Everdance" (Monkman) – 4:15
13."Backstreet Luv" (Eyre, Kristina, Way) – 4:26


Sonja Kristina – acoustic guitar, vocals
Francis Monkman – bass, electric guitar, keyboards
Rob Martin (Guest) – bass on "Vivaldi"
Darryl Way – keyboards, vocals, electric violin
Florian Pilkington-Miksa – percussion


**** It happened when? - There are a couple of mysteries about this album. Hmm, Curved Air, band of mysteries. The first one comes with the CD booklet. My version shows a ceiling fan and a patch in the lower right corner with a fighter plane that says "Live 1990" at the top and "the HIDE & SEEK tour '99" at the bottom. Well, the liner notes really clear things up seeing as how there are no liner notes. Not even any credits for the band. So I pop it in and to my horror, it's a really crappy bootleg. The first track is called Twenty Years On. It's the only track that isn't from the past. Might actually be cool except for the crappy sound quality. Then, it breaks into It Happened Today, and I am about to shut it off and go listen to something else when it finally slides quickly into a respectable sound quality for a live recording. Mystery number two is did they not get the tape running soon enough and then have to patch the beginning with something taken from a bootleg? Well, whenever or wherever or whatever it happened, it happened to go quite well. The quality of the recording and the performance for the rest of the show is quite good. These songs don't sound as old as their age. As best as I've been able to find out, it's a reunion of most of the first lineup of the band. To be certain the presence of a few key members is obvious. Sonja Kristina is in excellent form. I'm surprised that someone who sings with such a strong vocal style still sings so well after a few years, if not better than she did in the past. Darryl Way's violin playing has only gotten finer over the years and together they both breathe new life into these songs. I haven't seen Francis Monkman doing anything post Sky, he certainly takes advantage of the new keyboard technology, which again helps give these old tunes a new feel. I feel the need to say something nice about the other musicians as well. Curved Air's first drummer , Florian Pilkington-Miksa is back. I'm not aware of him doing any projects post CA. Certainly have no complaints about his performance here. Who's playing bass is anybody's guess. I see a credit for Rob Martin playing bass on Vivaldi on this site and that's it. I haven't heard the live at the BBC Curved Air concert(s) CD, but I do have the Live from 1975 (performed in December 1974, I know this thanks to good liner notes, are you actually trying to sell the damn thing?, I think we all know the answer...). This one's much better despite its flaws, and not a bad assortment of selections from their first three studio albums, to boot. © Slartibartfast 4/5 2008-5-3 © Prog Archives, All rights reserved http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=169651

There seems to be a lot of bands getting together with their original lineups and putting out live albums these days. In some cases, it turns out to be a disaster and often, it is an interesting experiment. Curved Air fits into the latter category. Their "Alive 1990" CD, released last year houses over 70 minutes of a one time only concert. There are many faults with this CD but there are also many strengths. The most visible surprise of this CD is Sonya Kristina’s Voice. Once angelic, but limited, Kristina’s voice has now matured and shows more depth and grit. It adds edge to the recordings that the band never had before. Francis Monkman and Darryl Way – both multi-instrumentalists and the musical masterminds of the band - play as well as ever. In general, the songs have a new energy that they originally lacked and with a more modern recording, fans have a chance to hear some better versions of old classics. For those who unfamiliar with Curved Air, the 70s band was an excellent example of the fusion of rock with classical in a progressive vein. The band’s albums ranged from soft, ethereal ballads to scorching hard rockers. They experimented a bit with the atonal and avant-garde as well and their first four albums (and a live one) remain progressive rock classics to this day. However, many of their early works were so poorly recorded that even re-mastering (if it ever happens) would not help. Some of the downsides of the CD are the horrible song of the electronic drums which really betray the acoustic roots of the band. Though drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa is a talented and skilled drummer, he made a wrong choice to play on such a kit. The band is rounded off with a special appearance by Rob Martin who plays bass on Vivaldi. Another fault of the album is the fact that it seems to take a few songs before the band warms up. It seems from the recorded applause, that the audience was quite small and this may have had something to do with it. The opening song, "20 Years On" was composed especially for the concert and though a great song, it was not, for some reason, not recorded. The recording done on a cheap mono recorder in the audience is included on the band’s insistence. The band proceeds to warm up through several songs until their classic, "Marie Antoinette", track 5. This track is beautiful to begin with, but here the band rocks their way to a fierce finale. From here on, the CD never lets down. "Melinda" (More or Less), another ethereal classic is given fine treatment. "Situations" and "Young Mother" are both fusion-esque rockers and feature the great electric violin that Darryl Way is noted for. A version of "Vivaldi", the band’s 10 minute Opus, is included here and adds as much to the original version as it takes out. Curved Air’s music is something that requires many listens and if you have been eager to discover the band, here’s a modern "Best of" version that certainly will give you a taste. I only wonder why the band didn’t take the time to record more original material in the last decade. © Richard Zywotkiewicz - February 2001 © http://www.progvisions.nl/reviews_uk/ca_a99_uk.htm


One of the most dramatically accomplished of all the bands lumped into Britain's late-'60s prog explosion, Curved Air was formed in early 1970 by violinist Darryl Way, a graduate of the Royal College of Music, and two former members of Sisyphus, keyboard player Francis Monkman and drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa. Adding bassist Robert Martin, the band named itself from avant-garde composer Terry Riley's A Rainbow in Curved Air, a touchstone that would inform much of their early work. The quartet originally came together to provide accompaniment for producer Galt McDermott's musical Who the Murderer Was; it was McDermott who suggested, once the stage show closed, that they add vocalist Sonja Kristina, with whom he had worked in the U.K. production of Hair. In this form, the band launched a well-received U.K. tour and, that summer, they signed with Warner Bros. — the first British band on the company's roster. Curved Air's first album, Air Conditioning, was released in November 1970, a monumental recording that was flamboyantly issued as rock & roll's first-ever picture disc. Divided neatly between ambitious hard rockers and deeply classically influenced pieces, the album reached number eight in the U.K. chart and, while an accompanying single, "It Happened Today," did little, still Curved Air entered 1971 on the very edge of superstardom. With Ian Eyre replacing bassist Martin, the band crossed that precipice the following summer, when the incandescent "Back Street Love" rocketed to number four, ahead of the prosaically named Second Album. Disappointingly, the album emerged a somewhat lesser achievement than its predecessor, and climbed no higher than number 11, while a non-LP followup single, the lovely "Sarah's Concern," went by unnoticed. Curved Air bounced back in spring 1972 with their masterpiece, Phantasmagoria, home to the spectacular "Marie Antoinette" and Monkman's side-long "Phantasmagoria" suite. Once again, however, sales were low and, with the album bottoming out at number 20, Curved Air split up, victims of inter-band disputes that had already seen the two sides of Phantasmagoria pointedly divided between Kristina/Way's rock-tinged instincts and Monkman's more portentous contributions. Way formed a new band, Wolf, Pilkington-Miksa joined Kiki Dee's band, and Monkman moved into session work. Retaining the band name, Kristina and bassist Mike Wedgwood (who replaced Eyre for Phantasmagoria) brought in an entire new lineup — Jim Russell (drums), Kirby Gregory (guitar), and Eddie Jobson (violin, synths). In this form, the band released spring 1973's Air Cut album, but it was very much a last gasp. Although the group did record a second album, Love Child was shelved when Curved Air broke up that summer. (The album was finally released in 1990.) Jobson swiftly resurfaced as Eno's replacement in Roxy Music; Wedgwood joined Caravan. Kristina initially intended to launch a solo career. In fall 1974, however, Curved Air's original core quartet of Kristina, Way, Monkman, and Pilkington-Miksa reunited for a one-off British tour. With the lineup completed by bassist Phil Kohn, the band rekindled all of the past's most precious memories, captured for posterity on the blockbusting Curved Air Live album. The rejuvenation could not, however, heal the breaches that had destroyed the lineup the first time around and, when Curved Air resurfaced in fall 1975, Kristina and Way alone remained, alongside guitarist Mick Jacques, bassist John Perry, keyboardist Pete Woods, and drummer Stewart Copeland. (Perry would be replaced by Greenslade's Tony Reeves during 1976.) Two albums released over the next year, however, did nothing to reverse the band's fortunes — neither Midnight Wire nor Airborne offered much more than fleeting glances of the group's original, pioneering brilliance, with even the naturally effervescent Kristina appearing overpowered by the anonymity of her surroundings. Way was the first to depart, following one final unsuccessful single, a contrarily vibrant version of "Baby Please Don't Go"; he was replaced by Alex Richman, but the group lasted only a few more months before splitting in early 1977. Copeland promptly joined the Police, Reeves re-formed Greenslade, and Kristina finally launched that long-delayed solo career. Occasional reunions with Darryl Way have brought the Curved Air name back to life — 1984's "Renegade" single was followed by a short tour in 1988; 1990 then brought a fresh reunion by the original Kristina/Way/Monkman/Pilkington-Miksa quartet for a show at London's Town & Country 2. Featuring one new song, the appropriately themed opener "20 Years On," the performance was captured on the Alive 1990 album. Since that time, Curved Air has been best recalled by the Collector's Choice label's reissues of their first three albums and the excellent BBC Sessions collection, home to Way's otherwise unavailable showcase "Thinking on the Floor" alongside recordings dating from 1970, 1971, and 1976. © Dave Thompson © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:09fuxqt5ldde~T1


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

Guinea Pig

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks again, GP. TTU soon

Anonymous said...

Thanks, A.O.O.F.C. and NeoPixeos !!
Cheers, Mario
(p.s. Oron sucks, Mediafire reigns)

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Mario. Thanks. I lost over 200 files on mediafire after a stupid complaint. Not great for uploaders!

Anonymous said...

I see your point, A.O.O.F.C., and I concur.
Better my troubles once than yours 200 times.
Cheers & Thanks.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks,Mario. I have to use different file hosts to avoid losing everything. I'm glad you understand. Thanks. Keep in touch