Curved Air
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Air Conditioning (1970), 6/10
Second Album (1971), 6/10
Phantasmagoria (1972), 7/10
Air Cut (1973), 5/10
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Curved Air were an anomaly in the world of British progressive-rock becuse of Sonja Cristina's sensual vocals (a veteran of the "Hair" musical play) and Darryl Way's romantic violin, the same combination tested in California by It's A Beautiful Day, plus Francis Monkman's synthesizer (the real genius behind many of their compositions). Air Conditioning (Warner, 1970) boasts Vivaldi, their most celebrated piece. Second Album (1971) delivered their only hit, Back Street Luv, and the 12-minute Piece Of Mind. Their artistic peak was reached with the baroque suite of Phantasmagoria (1972), but the band dissolved after the mediocre Air Cut (1973), with Eddie Jobson taking over violin and keyboard duties. Jobson was then hired by Roxy Music. Kristina was joined by her husband Stewart Copeland (future Police) for a new version of Curved Air that released Midnight Wire (BTM, 1975) and Airborne (BTM, 1976).

Curved Air's violinist Darryl Way had already released three albums with his band Wolf, Canis Lupus (Deram, 1973), Saturation Point (Deram, 1973) and Night Music (Deram, 1974), later compiled on Wolf (London, 1974). Upon leaving Curved Air, Way recorded an ambitious Concerto For Electric Violin (Island, 1979), with electronic arrangements by Francis Monkman, a work that embraced the relaxed stance of new age music. Equally melodic and classical-sounding, Edge of the World (Mausoleum, 1984) and The Human Condition (Venture, 1987), that employs a string orchestra, further removed him from rock music. Under The Soft (IRS, 1991) contains lyrical vignettes (Vapour Highway, Electric Bolero) but is perhaps too thin. Way also formed the Electric Symphony Orchestra and the Elektra Ensemble and scored a number of popular soundtracks ("Licensed To Kill", "Die Hard").

Francis Monkman joined classical guitarist John Williams in Sky, one of the most gifted progressive bands ever, that recorded Sky (1979), whose 19-minute tour de force Where Opposites Meet was written by Monkman, and Sky 2 (1980), whose 17-minute FIFO was again a Monkman composition. Monkman then recorded the concept album Dweller On The Threshold (Maya, 1981). He will not release anything under his own name until 21st Century Blues (1998).

Kristina disappeared after her first solo album, Sonja Kristina (Chopper, 1980), but returned a decade later as a singer-songwriter with Songs From The Acid Folk (Fruithouse, 1991) and Harmonics of Love (HTD, 1995).

(Translated by Claudio Vespignani)

I Curved Air per un breve periodo fecero sensazione nell’ambito del progressive rock britannico a causa della sensuale voce di Sonja Cristina (una veterana del musical "Hair") e del violino romantico di Darryl Way, la stessa combinazione dei californiani It’s a beautiful day, con l’aggiunta del sintetizzatore di Francis Monkman (il vero genio che si nascondeva dietro le composizioni). Air conditioning (Warner 1970) conteneva Vivaldi, il loro pezzo piu’ celebrato. Second album (1971) conteneva il loro unico successo, Back street luv e Piece of mind, di 12 minuti. Raggiunsero il loro apice artistico con la suite barocca di Phantasmagoria (1972), ma il gruppo si sciolse dopo il mediocre Air cut (1973), con Eddie Jobson ad incaricarsi delle tastiere e del violino. Jobson fu poi assunto dai Roxy Music. Cristina fu raggiunta dal marito Stewart Copeland (futuro Police) per una nuova versione dei Curved Air che fece uscire Midnight wire (BTM 1975) e Airborne

Il violinista Darryl Way nel frattempo aveva gia’ registrato tre dischi col suo gruppo, Wolf. Canis Lupus (Deram 1973), Saturation point (Deram 1973) e Night music (Deram 1974), raccolti su Wolf (London 1974). Dopo aver lasciato I Curved Air, Way registro’ un ambizioso Concert for electric violin (Island 1979), con gli arrangiamenti elettronici di Francis Monkman, un lavoro che si appropria della rilassatezza tipica della new age. Dal suono sia melodico che classico, Edge of the world (Mausoleum 1984) e The human condition (Venture 1987), che impiega una sezione d’archi, lo portarono sempre piu’ lontano dal rock. Under the soft (IRS 1991) contiene alcuni schizzi lirici (Vapour highway, Electric bolero) ma forse e’ troppo fragile. Way ha formato anche la Electric Symphony Orchestra e l’Elektra Ensemble e ha piazzato alcune colonne sonore famose (Licensed to kil, Die hard).

Francis Monkman si uni’ al chitarrista acustico John Williams per formare gli Sky, uno dei gruppi piu’ premiati di sempre, registro’ Sky (1979), il cui tour de force di 19 minuti Where opposites meet fu scritto da Monkman, e Sky 2 (1980), in cui Monkman compose ancora un pezzo di 17 minuti, FIFO. Monkman poi registro’ il concept album Dweller on the threshold (Maya 1981). Non fara’ uscire piu’ nient’altro sotto il suo nome fino a 21st century blues (1998).

Kristina scomparve dopo il suo primo disco solista, Sonja Kristina (Chopper 1980), per ritornare dopo una decina d’anni nelle vesti di cantautrice con Songs from the acid folk (Fruithouse 1991) e Harmonics of love (HTD 1995).

After a long hiatus, Kristina released another solo album, Cri De Coeur (2003).

Kristina then joined Mask, the project of cellist Marvin Ayres (who had already released Cellosphere). Mask released Heavy Petal (2005), the single Waking The Dream and Technopia (Repertoire, 2010), whose Technopia dwells at the border between hard-rock and synth-pop and Pumpin Up The Whisper harks back to soul-rock jams of the 1960s,

Curved Air reformed and released Reborn (2008).

Darryl Way released Keep Hope Alive (2010).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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