Exposé Online banner

Curved Air — Live at the BBC
(Band of Joy BOJCD 014 , 1976/1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01

Live at the BBC Cover art

Something I hear often regarding Curved Air is complaints about the band's lack of focus and the unevenness of many of their studio recordings. This may be due to the fact that the only recordings that are currently available are the generally substandard Curved Air Live, Lovechild (consisting of leftovers and out-takes by the second lineup), and their final two studio albums, Midnight Wire and Airborne, which show the band moving into a more mainstream rock / pop direction. The first three albums, available only as costly Japanese imports, and probably out of print to boot, are from the band's most inspired period; and while these are excellent albums, the studio performances always sounded a bit restrained.

For those not in the know, Curved Air was one of Britain’s premier prog supergroups, featuring violin, VCS3 synthesizer (yikes!), guitar, bass, drums, and the unique voice of Sonja Kristina. Their style was rooted in rock and experimentalism, and incorporated elements of classical, jazz, folk, and proto-electronics. Darryl Way, Francis Monkman, Eddie Jobson, and Stewart Copeland all got their start here, in one of the three basic lineups during the band's seven year career. Most of the material on Live at the BBC was recorded by the first lineup, which existed from 1970-72, and corresponds to the band's first three studio albums. The performances are full-throttle, the band is in top form; so much for the restraint — these versions absolutely kick ass, and in several cases the arrangements presented in these sessions are wildly different than their studio counterparts. Selections include a wealth of material from the first album, including "Stretch," "Situations," "Propositions," "Blind Man," and the ever-popular "Vivaldi." There are two unreleased tracks here also, "Thinking on the Floor" by the early lineup and the instrumental "Stark Naked" from the '76 sessions by the third lineup. Four additional tunes by that lineup round out the disc, including the classic "Midnight Wire." My only complaint has nothing to do with the performance: I've been through two copies of this disc and both have the exact same glitch on track seven at precisely the same place, tested on five different CD players to be sure. It's not a biggie, but a minor annoyance, and one that will hopefully be corrected. Notwithstanding, this is one that gets the highest recommendation for longtime fan and newbie alike.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1995 releases, 1976 recordings

Related artist(s): Curved Air, Sonja Kristina Linwood, Darryl Way / Wolf, Francis Monkman

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Liberation. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ain Soph - Hat and Field – Ain Soph are a post-Canterbury Japanese quartet who have certainly paid their dues, and whose Hat and Field album marks their return to the progressive/jazz scene from a six year hiatus since their...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues