810 879-2 Moonmadness
Produced by Rhett Davies & Camel
Released on April 1976
UK CHART POSITION #15 . . . US CHART POSITION #118
Find it at GEMM
810 879-2 cover  

T he opening “Aristillus” may herald a mad moon, but the shrouded shapes cast by Moonmadness are old friends we’ve seen in an earlier Mirage. These songs are slices of the same sleepy exotica that snaked like a wild opiate through the black grooves of their first two albums, The Snow Goose being for all intents a downy anomaly. Vocals return, shared again by various band members (Andy Latimer bears the burden of them), each obscured by the familiar veil of the subconscious from whence their muse arises. As with Mirage, the music on Moonmadness is intoxicating, absorbing, and comforting, using gentle sounds (keyboards, muted bass, flute) to weave a soft fabric scented with the spices of faraway worlds. Within their complete catalog, several of these tracks breathe the rarefied air of prog rock classics: “Song Within A Song,” “Chord Change” (with shades of Santana and Pink Floyd to be found), the soaring “Air Born.” The remainder of the album is never less than engaging, from the moody “Lunar Sea” (again inviting Tangerine Dream as a reference point) to the celebratory “Aristillus.” I’ve read that this is a concept album, but some things are better left to the imagination. As with the best of progressive rock, the songs are suggestive of many things, and may transport individual listeners to any number of fantastic landscapes that a map might limit. The Camel albums that followed were terrestrial excursions, grounded in quasi-conventional structures that made spaceflight difficult. There were isolated moments of magic in them, to be sure, but it’s on Moonmadness that the eerie light of inspiration last pervaded an entire album (Nude notwithstanding). Note that an alternate version of the cover exists with a Camel in a spacesuit.

810 879-2 booklet sleeve
810 879-2 booklet sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. ARISTILLUS    (Andy Latimer)
  2. SONG WITHIN A SONG    (Andy Latimer/Peter Bardens)
  3. CHORD CHANGE    (Andy Latimer/Peter Bardens)
  4. SPIRIT OF THE WATER    (Peter Bardens)
  5. ANOTHER NIGHT    (Andy Latimer/Peter Bardens/Andy Ward/Doug Ferguson)
  6. AIR BORN    (Andy Latimer/Peter Bardens)
  7. LUNAR SEA    (Andy Latimer/Peter Bardens)

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  8. ANOTHER NIGHT (SINGLE VERSION)
  9. SPIRIT OF THE WATER (DEMO)
  10. SONG WITHIN A SONG (LIVE)
  11. LUNAR SEA (LIVE)
  12. PREPARATION - DUNKIRK (LIVE)

CREDITS

PETER BARDENS -- keyboards, vocal (4)
DOUG FERGUSON -- bass, lead vocal (2)
ANDY LATIMER -- guitars, flutes, recorders, vocal (2,5,6)
ANDY WARD -- drums, percussion, voice (1)
Rhett Davies -- engineer
Field -- cover design
David Antsey -- Camel logo
Geoff Jukes -- co-ordination

return to CAMEL discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK April 1976 Gama LP TXS-R115 gatefold cover
US April 1976 Janus LP JXS 7024 gatefold cover
JPN 1976 London LP GP1035 gatefold cover, booklet, poster
NET 1976? Decca LP 6376 118 gatefold cover
US   Passport LP/CS PB/PBC 9857 picture sleeve, reissue
GER   London CD 810 879  
JPN 2001 Decca CD UICY-9046 digital remaster
WW 2002 Decca CDX 882 931 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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