(02 June 2002) The third studio album and fourth album overall by the Polish progressive rock band Quidam is entitled The Time Beneath The Sky (Musea (France) FGBG 4441.AR, 2002). The 10-track album is also available on the band's Polish label, Rock-Serwis (RSCD 062); the artwork is the only difference between the two versions. The Musea version is primarily in English whilst the Rock-Serwis version is in Polish. The music on both versions is identical although plans include a version with lyrics sung in English. A lovely cardboard slipcase surrounds the jewelbox in both versions. Our reviews of two of Quidam's earlier recordings Sny Aniolow and Quidam Baja Prog Live In Mexico '99 can be viewed here and here.
Considerable progress has been made since Quidam's last studio album. It is not only strong instrumentally but the stunning quality of the compositions, arrangements and performances is further endorsed by a lush and warm production quality that will strike the listener from the first play. The band have continued to develop along the progressive axis without reference to metal or other influences. It is stronger instrumentally with lush vocal
arrangements adding richness to the sound of the band's former work.
The Quidam lineup is fronted by--Musical Discoveries featured artist--lead vocalist Emila Derkowska and is also comprised of Zbyszek Florek (piano, keyboards), Rafal Jermakow (drums, percussion), Maciek Meller (guitars), Radek Scholl (bass) and Jacek Zasada (flutes). Clearly the flute playing continues to set the band's music apart but an increased use of electric guitar has taken the band firmly into mainstream progressive rock.
The album's worldly "Letter From The Desert I" opens with searching vocals and flute before a the richly arranged and percussive Delerium-style instrumental takes over. A stunning vocalise part echoed by a powerful guitar solo and another by keyboard adds texture to the number. Jazz rhythms and spacey keyboards in "Still Waiting (Letter From The Desert 2)" on piano perfectly support Emila's solo vocal becoming more accessible as the track develops. The progressive epic "No Quarter" is the album's longest track. The arrangements span spacey, worldly and rich progressive rock and permit each of the members to demonstrate their musical talent individually and as an integrated entity.
A most accessible tune, similar in theme to Quidam's earlier material is "New Name," although instrumental arrangements--primarily led by guitar riffs, keyboard and flute excursions--are much stronger. Emila's lead and rich backing harmony vocal layers are mixed way up, right out in front where our readers like them.
"Kozolec (for AgaPe)" is an upbeat progressive Celtic number with Emila's sensitively sung vocal and harmony layers supported by acoustic guitar, flute initially. Arrangements build to include electronic instrumentation with guitars and keyboards at times even sounding reminiscent of Capercaillie (Best Of
The last five tracks of the album comprise the title track "The Time Beneath The Sky" suite. "Credo I"
instrumentally moves more into the progressive domain with guitar excursions fronting lush arrangements. Emila's dramatic vocal segments explore her range blending rock, ballad and jazz with additional tribal-style vocal layers (á la
Miriam Stockley and Adiemus) flute, and electric guitars in the bridge adding accessible textures. "Credo II" is a progressive rocker dominated by driving guitar and moody keyboard passages and Emila's powerful vocals are sung in English.
The sensually sung progressive ballad "You Are (In The Labyrinth Of Thoughts)" also exhibits a jazzy feel with flute and spacey keyboard parts blending with Emila's voice in the mix. The track "Quimpromptu" in an extended and dynamic instrumental incorporating keyboard, flute and guitar with crisp percussion to illustrate the band's virtuousity performing as a group. The final and most highly accessible track of the album "(Everything Has Its Own) Time Beneath The Sky" is an upbeat softly rocking number. Emila's lead vocal is perfectly supported by harmony layers and lush keyboard-laced orchestral arrangements.
Quidam's The Time Beneath The Sky is a lush progressive rock album with rich arrangements and lovely vocal textures.
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Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, this third studio album from the Polish superstars is a must listen!