Very strange line-up, unique sound.
Hauser is one of the better percussionists (still playing but in jazz bands nowadays), bassist Cerletti (the only non-Alemanic in the band) is certainly excellent plays also acoustic guitar. The other two, Fri and Grieder, share the wind instruments with the vocals. That's it! No KB and almost no el. guitars, at least on the first two albums.
The lack of keyboards is filled by melodic woodwind playing from flute and sax along with vibraphone, which provides a similar harmonic dimension to that of keyboards. There is a large amount of acoustic guitar to contrast the electric, and this goes some way in adding to the already atmospheric sound created by the flutes. They are able to shift seamlessly from up-tempo rocking passages to mellow and atmospheric parts.
The instrumentation of the band is very unique in some points making you think of VDGG (mostly the saxes but also in one superb section of singing much better than Hammill himself because more melodious) , but also Maneige during the classical influenced moments , Crimson but IMO not much like Tull although this album is loaded with orgasmic flutes.
The first three tracks are fairly typical, but good seventies symphonic rock. Here they sound like mid-seventies Hoelderlin with hints of Genesis and the gentler side of Gentle Giant. Movin' On (get the album title?) with Dawn is entirely instrumental (8 min long) and is one of the better example ever of what descriptive music is , and ranks up with some of the masterpieces of impressionist classical composers of early 20th century. In between some realy gloomy athmospheres at the end of the night to the soothing birds calls and wind breezes to the first rays of the sun, this is simply astounding.
They could've easily made a suite of this 22 min+ number but chose to let it express itself as an entity of its own. This pieces starts of with the most genial rythms sprinkled with sax and flutes lines and 6 min into the number comes in some scatting (no jazz feeling though) with suddendly one of the three vocalist breaking into another scheme making this grandiose. Bass and flutes take over only for Roland Frei to break into this Hamillian-singing worthy of Pawn Heart. We are now just barely half-way through and are now lying on the floor ready for the final blow , the ultimate nail into our coffin. The music flutters by, twiddles , twirls around you and circles , swirls not giving you an instant to recuperate and now comes the blow. The finals verses are shared in the most beautyful call-and-respond manner so well delivered that if have not shot your intellectual wad by now, you must be frigid or impotent. The number closes of with fabulous music unfortunately (the only slight mistake) sticking to close to my fave number from Crimson, Starless.
This absolute masterpiece (I strongly insist on this) gradually builds up to a superb climax progressing from one track to the other.
This album is a must have!
Circus - Dawn...
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