Monday, April 2, 2012


Still not sure whether this album is called Cantofabule (fabulous song) or Cant Of A Bule (as the disc label being called so) or as my Romanian stepsister said Cantafabule, but the track listing is correct. The artwork being similar but monochromic red and carrying the cat # Fanny 100, it is most likely a bootleg, but this was the only way to get to listen (outside the PA's samples) to a full album. This sextet's third album is maybe the best appreciated by progheads, but apparently the last one before the fled the Ceaucescu regime.

The original double album was a concept based on some traditional Romanian themes based on adaptation of poets Seban Foarta and Andrei Ujica and inspired on a Dimitri Bolintineanu book called Istoria Ieroglifa (speaking of a "bestiaire" of fantastic mythical creatures), this almost 70 min-long piece is indeed one of the best thing to come from the old Dacian province. If I speak of Dacia (relating it to the Roman Empire times instead of Valachia or Moldavia-Bessarabia), it is because the general feel relates a bit to Italian prog (this is greatly due to the similarity of both languages), but the Timisoara (in Transylvania where the revolt started) group developed a very ambitious project that mixed some medieval folk with hard rock fronted by a fuzzed-out guitar.

The two-parts lengthy opening track Invocatie gives out right away the main dimension of their music, a fairly hard prog dominated by a fuzz-guitar, where all musicians hold their own. Surprising how modern for the day they sounded apparently having a moog synth. During this track, the group moves to different moods and passages including a "folk" one and there is a harpsichord thrown in there too and the track is a very captivating intro. Moving from the Harpsichord/flute piece Unicorn (sung in Old French) to the mediocre beat-rock of the sacred beetle (Scarabeului), the albums moves quickly to another highlight about dolphins (Delfinul), where the group shows the extent of their considerable talent in this folky ballad. Going through the dragon (semi-hard rocking), the snake (with a terrible sounding violin), a special kind of bird (Calandrinon) that's supposed to accompany you into the underworld (another highlight in my book with superb bass work), the moose and the mongoose, the siren and a few other mythical creatures, the group continues tirelessly (even if you do, partly due to the length and the repetition of tracks that hammer on the same nail and the Romanian singing) until another pure psych-beat-RnR (track 11, a bit of a filler really) breaks the cycle of prog/folk tracks alternating.

The album gets back on track with the splendid Cintic-Lu (hawk) track which definitely seals the fate of the concept as excellent (just short of brilliant), followed by another fabulous Zoomahia (starting with the same electronic sounds that you found on the start of the album, but much longer and sounding like Gong) and the album closing on their fetish Phoenix, rising from the ashes.

Overall this album holds very few flaws (given its communist era background), few fillers and a bunch of superb if inhabitual prog folk tracks, which makes this album a masterpiece of its own. Clearly this album should get the honours from a full remastering and mini-Lp treatment, as it stands in the top 10 of the ex-soviet block.

Review by Sean Trane


01. Invocatie
02. Norocul Inorogului
03. Scara Scarabeului
04. Delfinul, Dulce Dulful Nostru
05. Uciderea Balaurului
06. Stima Casei
07. Pasarea Calandrinon
08. Filip Si Cerbul
09. Vasiliscul Si Aspida
10. Sirena
11. Pasarea Roc...K and Roll
12. Cintic-Lu a Cucuveaua-Lliei
13. Zoomahia
14. Phoenix

Artwork Inc.


Roy Harper followed HQ with another superb rock-oriented classic, 1977's interestingly titled Bullinamingvase. The album will forever be remembered for its controversial track "Watford Gap," with lyrics that supposedly defamed the service station of Watford Gap. Harper ran into legal problems when the station owners voiced their extreme distaste of the song, resulting in the record company's removal of the composition from the album. It was replaced with the light but solid "Breakfast with You." Both songs are included in the 1996 CD re-release, remastered with 20-bit supermapping. But the album's strengths lie elsewhere. The compositions are laced with beautiful passages, both musically and lyrically, and the vibrant acoustic guitar work on tracks like "Cherishing the Lonesome," "Naked Flame," and the epic "One of Those Days in England (Pts. 2-10)" are likely to never be surpassed. The powerful, energetic passion, brilliant lyrics, and driving force of "Cherishing the Lonesome" make for one of Harper's greatest accomplishments. "Naked Flame" impresses equally with its clean, country-tinged guitar work. The jewel in the crown, though, is "One of Those Days in England (Pts. 2-10)." The lyrical content, a collection of reminiscences, is striking, being at once trenchant/biting and beautiful. The piece is comprised of many movements, opening (with guitar) like a looming cloud foreshadowing the storm and darkness that lie ahead. Suddenly, after the introductory verses, the guitar picks up and the clouds begin breaking apart, allowing the sun to shine through. The song becomes hopeful before changing moods once again, with Harper's voice at its peak. The song benefits from wonderful use of lap steel guitar with strings fleshing out several movements. Bullinamingvase also contains the radio-friendly pop tune "One of Those Days in England," the closest Harper ever came to having a hit single. This is also the alternate title of the album. It is interesting to note that, even though most of the lyrical content is presented in the CD booklet, several lines/verses have been purposefully omitted from the printing, such as much of "Watford Gap" and the opening of "One of Those Days in England (Pts. 2-10)." Upon listening to the tunes, the reason becomes quite clear. Listen for uncredited vocal contributions from Paul and Linda McCartney.

Tracks :

1. One of Those Days in England
2. These Last Days
3. Cherishing the Lonesome
4. Naked Flame
5. Watford Gap
6. One of Those Days in England, Pts. 2-10
7. Breakfast With You

Artwork Inc.

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