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Thread: Featured album: Circus - Movin' On

  1. #1
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Featured album: Circus - Movin' On

    http://www.progarchives.com/progress...14752017_r.jpg

    Since my 90's choice of last week didn't inspire you, et's get back to the 70's, then :

    circus.jpg

    Circus - Movin' On

    Tracks Listing
    1. The Bandsman (4:25)
    2. Laughter Lane (4:11)
    3. Loveless Time (5:32)
    4. Dawn (7:51)
    5. Movin' On (22:23)


    Line-up
    - Roland Frei / lead vocals, acoustic guitar, tenor saxophone
    - Andreas Grieder / flutes, alto saxophone, tambourine, backing vocals
    - Marco Cerletti / bass, bass pedals, 12-string acoustic guitar, backing vocals
    - Fritz Hauser / drums, percussion, vibes

    Here is what my buddy Martin Vangdesan (Malaysia) AKA Trotsky had to say about it in ProgArchives
    Within the first two minutes of this engrossing album, Circus lays down its platform pretty convincingly. The Bandsman has a rapid fire mix of strong, fast flute lines, potent percussion, jerky (and mildy accented) vocals, the occassional jazzy diversion and some rather personable saxophone playing. Believe me this album turns out to be full of it.
    I had never heard a Swiss prog band before hearing this album and I was impressed enough to give it three consecutive spins. I'm still not sure if the style of Circus (a latter day outfit whose debut album came out in 1976) is truly representative of a scene that spawned Mainhorse (including that brilliant gent Patrick Moraz) and Analogy, but this is an entertaining band to listen to. (Incidentally, this group should not be confused with the similarly-named English outfit that featured reed-man Mel Collins.)

    There aren't any weak songs among the five pieces here although the moody Laughter Lane, with its heady mix of vibraphone, delicate acoustic guitar playing and Marco Celetti's distinctive bass-work that calls to mind the playing of Wishbone Ash's Martin Turner, is probably my favourite of the shorter songs. Loveless Time is another fascinating track that runs through a range of moods within a relatively short period of time. One strength that Circus has that not every progressive band enjoys is that their music always manages to sound natural ... in other words there are no points where you feel that a change in style or tempo of a particular song was done just to make it complicated.

    The fourth piece Dawn is also a quality cut, although at one point I felt convinced that Circus were just a little too much under the influence of Lizard-era King Crimson (perhaps they should have called this group Cirkus, eh?) ... the avant-garde soundscapes, chromatic keyboard runs, dominant saxophone passages, vibrant percussion are all quintessential Tippett/Haskell era King Crimson.

    The 22 minute title track makes up more than half the album's running time and it's a real winner as far as I'm concerned. Despite being the lengthiest piece here, it's got the most energy packed in it. Starting in "fusiony" mode with pacey drums under-pinning a New Age flute solo it gradually moves into a passage dominated by modern (for 1977) synth sounds ... at the 4 minute mark there is a vocal harmony section Yes would have been pleased with, (even if the bass does ocassionally reveal that disco was a powerful presence at the time this album was made!) ... the actual "song" part starts around the 9 minute mark and isn't that memorable, although I think the biting guitar fills are excellent ... I was quite charmed by the mellow ambient vocal segment that started at around the 13 minute mark ... and when at the 15 minute mark the bass solo took off underneath the flute lead I was fully won over ... the outro that announces itself at the 19 minute mark is every bit as climatic and exciting as one could expect.

    Probably the worst thing about this album is its timing. Coming out, as it did in 1977, when progressive rock was on the retreat, it stood very little chance of ensuring that its "parents" got a chance to make much headway, and sure enough Circus seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It would only be a slight exaggeration to say that this is one of those must-hear great "lost" albums, and although you'll be able to hear a few other bands like King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator and Yes at various times during this record, Circus has a distinctly robust character of its own. ... 76% on the MPV scale
    review link: http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=32890



    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  2. #2
    The title track drags on a bit (IMHO), but the first four tunes are very, very good.

    There are Swiss bands I prefer (Island, Debile Menthol, L'Ensemble Rayé, Kedama and An Invisible World Revealed by Krokodil), but for the "straight" rendition of 70s progressive rock they were - Circus, I mean - about as super as they came. Others of that ilk, like Flame Dream, Welcome, Rumplestiltzken Comune et al. were either too derivative or generally not too apt in their game.

    I gotta relisten.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  3. #3
    when does the sympho-weenie jump in to state how much he hates the vocals?

  4. #4
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    One could argue that there is a bit of Peter Hammill's vocals in theuir S/T debut, and in the sidelongtt on this one, buit I'd say that Roland Frei has got a wider range and he's got also a very smooth voice for the shorter songs on this album. Love the scattings and canon vocals on Movon' On... Paragon of taste, really!!

    As for the Movin' On Track lasting too long, it's kind of true that personally, I'd have cut it at 17'30" before it gets to Maneige-like, or at§ the very least the 1 minute outro that comes as an afterthought.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  5. #5
    Forgot to pin this one.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  6. #6
    Good album. Not a top favorite of mine, but a solid listen. Haven't heard it for a while, I'll tee it up when I'm back from vacation - may comment more after that.

    Bill

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  7. #7
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    One of my top synphonic Prog Albums of all time.

    Be aware that the only plugged instrument here is the bass guitar. With Island this one of the two Swiss Prog Albums
    that is really important.

    Sadly it's easier to get hold of an original LP than the only legit CD release.

    If I would be asked to recommend something not from the Uk or Italy this one would be surley among it.

  8. #8
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Forgot to pin this one.
    Only admins can do that, so I have to wait untiil Cozy or Duncan do it.

    I PM'd him yesterday, but I suppose he hasn't read it yet.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Excellent album that I go back to quite a bit. This will prompt me to revisit the other Circus albums to see if I can get them to click.


    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Only admins can do that, so I have to wait untiil Cozy or Duncan do it.
    I was busy yesterday.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  10. #10
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    Excellent album that I go back to quite a bit. This will prompt me to revisit the other Circus albums to see if I can get them to click.
    I like their debut almost as much, Fearless still having some super moments as well.
    However, I've only heard parts of their Live album, but it's quite stupendous how they rearranged some Movin' On parts (still searching for it, actually)
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    I like their debut almost as much, Fearless still having some super moments as well.
    However, I've only heard parts of their Live album, but it's quite stupendous how they rearranged some Movin' On parts (still searching for it, actually)
    Yes, the other two Albums are great too.

    Note that the Live Album ain't a live Album by Circus. It's from a promo tour of (many) Swiss musicians for Swiss Rock Music. Circus where the only complete band at that tour so it was named after them (Circus All Star Band).


    Only the intro on side A and the last Track on side B are really Circus (Titeltrack of Movin'on under a different name).
    Last edited by TheH; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:17 AM.

  12. #12
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    ... let's get back to the 70's
    'bout time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    Good album. Not a top favorite of mine, but a solid listen.
    +1
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    One could argue that there is a bit of Peter Hammill's vocals... but I'd say that Roland Frei has got a wider range


    Overall a solid album, and a quite original sound - and yes, there is some sort of aimlessness on the long epic.

  14. #14
    This and their debut are very good ones...
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  15. #15
    Wonderful album, but I would emphasize above all an ELP influence, mainly in the Greg Lake like vocals -which I found that are great- but also sometimes in the way they sometimes construct their songs and their choruses.

  16. #16
    This might just be my favorite Swiss album, or at least in the top five. Reminds me a lot of Yes circa Close to the Edge, but given a very different flavor on account of the instrumentation, obviously. Although I have to question the “acoustic” assertion—look at the band photos; come on, that is clearly a pickup in the sound hole of Marco Cerletti’s guitar! I knew my ears weren’t playing tricks on me.

    I disagree with those who think the title track is too long; it is PERFECT to my ears! I certainly agree about Roland Frei’s voice, though, he is an excellent singer with clear tone and good vocal expression, two things in short supply in prog in general (which reminds me, I have thoughts that need to be posted in that other thread).

    Never cared for the debut Circus album, it just sounded not ready for prime time. None of the songs engaged me at all. I need more time with Fearless..., but my initial impressions were that more conventional instrumentation resulted in a more conventional—but by no means bad—prog sound. I still think Stephan Ammann’s finest hour was yet to come, with the excellent Blue Motion album, also in my top 5 from Svizzera.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  17. #17
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    ^^

    By the way Stephan Ammann was a founding member of Circus and left before the first Album
    (just to rejoin later).

    Also Stephan Grieder from Blue Motion was never in Circus but his brother Andreas was.
    (that gets confused almost all the time)

  18. #18
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    I thought it was time to get a proper CD of this terrific album, so I've ordered one from lpcdreissues, my first experience with them. Hope it's a good one! I don't expect it to arrive quickly however, coming from Greece to Canada just as the holiday mail rush begins.
    Prog, Metal and Classic rock reviews/interviews - www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  19. #19
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I thought it was time to get a proper CD of this terrific album, so I've ordered one from lpcdreissues, my first experience with them. Hope it's a good one! I don't expect it to arrive quickly however, coming from Greece to Canada just as the holiday mail rush begins.
    Note that it's most likely the Big Pink release which is only barley legit. You never know if it comes to them (some of their stuff is legit)

  20. #20
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheH View Post
    Note that it's most likely the Big Pink release which is only barley legit. You never know if it comes to them (some of their stuff is legit)
    The problem is, until it sees a proper reissue, the legit choices are limited. The 1990 CD release is pricey, and Discogs lists the Italian CD as definitely unofficial, so I went with the Big Pink one, which looked nice from photos I saw. We shall see!
    Prog, Metal and Classic rock reviews/interviews - www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  21. #21
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    The problem is, until it sees a proper reissue, the legit choices are limited. The 1990 CD release is pricey, and Discogs lists the Italian CD as definitely unofficial, so I went with the Big Pink one, which looked nice from photos I saw. We shall see!
    definirtely a huge problmem for this band (the other three albums have never been reissued)

    Not for lack of Trying, though: Pat Becker from Galilleo records tried to do all four releases, but failed to reacj an agreement.

    Galileo's last release (according to RYM) dates from mid-2017
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  22. #22
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    The debut was also released in the same mini-LP format on Big Pink, but went out of print almost as quickly as it was released. I've only known one person to have it so far, this is his photo. It's not even listed on Discogs.

    cd12.jpg
    Prog, Metal and Classic rock reviews/interviews - www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  23. #23
    Pulled this one out again today for the first time in a while. Dunno which CD-issue I've got, but it's definitely "unofficial" - although sound is Ok.

    I have to say that it's not quite as strong as I remembered. There are parts where it veers off from the 'standards' and into some lite-chamber-like sonorities, but overall much of their material even here appears a bit underdeveloped and generic in Places. It's still a solid album, but not a remarkably great or fascinating one like Pictures by Island or An Invisible World Revealed by Krokodil or especially those two Debile Menthol records. All IMHO, of course.

    I took the time to listen to an almost forgotten slice of Swiss "symph" rock ditty while I was at it, namely the Dragonfly release from '82. Released in the midst of the ensuing neo-Endeavour, this was obviously from the wrong decade, wrong geography and wrong aesthetic side of things. Fairly well produced, nicely assembled and excellently performed tunes in awe of P.F.M., VdGG, (some) Genesis and E.L.P., Wood-era Tull, GGiant and more, the total lack of enthusiasm for this release always puzzled me a bit. The Musea reissue features two lengthy works; the title track from the original album (of course) and a peculiar recording intended for their never-to-be followup called "The Riddle Princess". Yeah, corny titles for sure. But the latter song in particular is actually quite intriguing for a 1982 "symphonic" rock statement; it somehow makes me wonder at how listeners would have reacted if they'd found lost 80s demos by any of the "big" names with this kind of strength to them. Is it in the league of Circus or Island? No, but absolutely worth another listen.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Pulled this one out again today for the first time in a while. Dunno which CD-issue I've got, but it's definitely "unofficial" - although sound is Ok.
    The cover of the official CD on Decoder is navy blue, the unofficial one is in light blue. The Big Pink release is a mini-LP replica.

    The reason of the good sound for the unofficial releases is that they are sourced from the official CD.
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  25. #25
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Pulled this one out again today for the first time in a while. Dunno which CD-issue I've got, but it's definitely "unofficial" - although sound is Ok.

    I have to say that it's not quite as strong as I remembered. There are parts where it veers off from the 'standards' and into some lite-chamber-like sonorities, but overall much of their material even here appears a bit underdeveloped and generic in Places. It's still a solid album, but not a remarkably great or fascinating one like Pictures by Island or An Invisible World Revealed by Krokodil or especially those two Debile Menthol records. All IMHO, of course.
    TBH, I can't see what peaple hear in Islands( Pictures album. It's good, but I don't find it extraordinary....

    Not sure I would include it in my Magma-less top 10 zeuhl albums. If it did miss it, it wouldn't be my much though.

    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    The cover of the official CD on Decoder is navy blue, the unofficial one is in light blue. The Big Pink release is a mini-LP replica.

    The reason of the good sound for the unofficial releases is that they are sourced from the official CD.
    The strange fact is that both the light ble and dark blue issues, as well as the Tachika (an unknowing friend of mine bought it) have the same flaw (don't know if it is on the vinyl, though), but we clearly hear a "tick" in a silence between two tracks or between two movements of the titkle track.

    I hadn't noticed it since I owned the album, but she did (she bought her boot aroubd 2009) and so I checked to see if I could hear it on both version I own. And yes it's there.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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