Curved Air -
The Lost Broadcasts

(DVD 2011, 40 min, Gonzo Multimedia HSTO58DVD)

The tracks:
  1- Back Street Luv 1
  2- Back Street Luv 2
  3- It Happened Today
  4- Propositions
  5- Vivaldi
  6- Piece Of Mind.

Gonzo Multimedia

Recently an interesting series of DVD-sets caught my eye called The Lost Broadcasts. These DVDs contain rare performances that were broadcasted on a German television channel in the sixties and seventies. Some of these concerts I've seen as an adolescent since I live just near the German border. That made it possible to watch those TV-shows. It's a good thing that these recordings are now available on DVD. However, not all releases are interesting for our readers, but I guess this disc featuring Curved Air might be something to look out for.

Curved Air were a pioneering British progressive rock group formed in 1970 by musicians from different artistic backgrounds, including classical music, folk and electronic s. As a result the music of the band was a blend of progressive rock, folk rock and fusion with classical elements. At the time they were one of the first rock bands that featured a violinist namely Daryl Way. Curved Air released eight studio albums and had a hit single with Back Street Luv (1971) which reached number 4 in the UK singles chart. The most striking band member was Sonja Kristina. She was one of the first female singers in a progressive rock related band. Francis Monkman (guitars, keyboards), who later on established Sky, and Darryl Way were responsible for the compositions and the excellent instrumental parts.

You can enjoy three separate sessions on this DVD that were all shot in 1971. The first set was filmed in March 1971 and includes three tracks: Vivaldi, It Happened Today and Propositions. These tracks are all taken from their debut Air Conditioning (1970). In September 1971 another recording session took place. Strangely enough they recorded two sessions on the 20th and the 22nd of September and as a result we got two different versions of Back Street Luv and Piece of Mind. These songs can be found on their Second Album (1971). Their regular drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa wasn't available for these sessions, so they hired session drummer Barry de Souza to help them out. The footage of those TV-shows is well worth watching. They particularly show that music was made with a minimal of electronic devices at the time. Just a couple of amplifiers and the instruments they played on. This way the music sounds very pure with a raw touch. I also noticed that they liked to improvise in the longer and more intricate pieces like Vivaldi  and Piece Of Mind.

Since a couple of years the band got together again supervised by Sonja Kristina. Whether they have intentions to record new material isn't known yet, but anyway, I would like to thank the people who made this footage available! It's always nice to see and hear progressive rock music from the time it started to emerge!

*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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