|Produced by David Hitchcock|
|Released on March 1, 1974|
|US CHART POSITION #149|
|Find it at GEMM|
|PB 9855 cover
[high resolution photo]
T his is the Camelshair smoking jacket I slip into most often, well worn over the ages and sculpted to my musical temperament like a certain pair of jeans in need of a patch. The band had obviously settled on what sort of music they wanted to make with Mirage, and it’s palpably progressive at every turn, shrouded in a magical mist that falls and rises with the needle. The sleepy vocals, carried on the winds of a magnificent mellotron and buttressed by the bass and drums, conjure a waking dreamstate that few albums can match. This Mirage first takes the form of “Freefall,” whose seductive siren’s call simply smokes, followed by the instrumental “Supertwister,” featuring Andy Latimer’s heretofore unheard (and otherworldly) flute playing. It’s all leading up to the two-part “Nimrodel,” a transcendent retelling of Gandalf’s reappearance as the white wizard that remains my favorite journey in all of Camelogue. For this heroic feat alone, Camel could count itself minstrel-kissed through the ages. “Earthrise” shakes off some of that sleepy, far-off land with a sweaty workout that finds Pete Bardens’ brilliant organ working overtime while Andy Ward attacks his kit with unrelenting energy. The three-part “Lady Fantasy” would seem to continue in this vein, but soon slides effortlessly into a mesmerizing melody spiced with keyboard commentary from Bardens that beats down The Doors’ hallowed path. If I were assembling the Gods in order, a task best left to presumptive chess players, Mirage would appear near the head of the receiving line for progressive initiates. The entire album bespeaks what’s best about the genre: a self-sustaining musical world where fantasy is the reality and the strings of man remain unseen. Camel provides a different ride than the great carriages of the immortals (Yes, Genesis), using softer strokes in lieu of striking genius, but Mirage is no mere illusion of prog heaven, it’s the genuine article. So climb aboard and strap yourself in for a ride you won’t soon forget.
|PB 9855 back cover|
PETE BARDENS --
DOUG FERGUSON --
ANDY LATIMER --
ANDY WARD --
return to CAMEL discography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|UK||1974||Deram/Gama||LP||SML-1107||unique cover, lyric insert|
|US||March 1, 1974||Janus||LP||JXS 7009|
|SPA||Decca||2LP||15100/1||repackaged w. THE SNOW GOOSE|
|WW||June 24, 2002||Deram/Universal||CDX||882929||digital remaster w. bonus tracks|
|JPN||2002||Deram||CDX||UICY-9205||digital remaster w. bonus tracks|
The song "Nimrodel" includes a reference to Gandalf in "The White Rider," who (as we readers know) returns in the forest as the white wizard. This of course happens in Tolkien's The Two Towers, the second in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You can find a used copy of The Two Towers by clicking on this link to GEMMbooks.
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