Records That Made History

Camel – Mirage

todayMay 25, 2024 16

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Mirage is the second studio album by English progressive rock band Camel, released on 1 March 1974. It includes songs such as “The White Rider”, “Lady Fantasy” and “Supertwister” which are a special showcase for Andrew Latimer’s flute.

There are five tracks on Mirage, with two, “Lady Fantasy” and “Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider” over 9 minutes being multi-part songs. The album was released by Gama and Deram Records, with Mick Rock as the cover photographer.

In a review for album reviews site Sputnikmusic, critic Matthijs van der Lee declared Mirage to be Camel’s “magnum opus” (life’s work). The album was voted #51 in the 100 Greatest Progressive Albums of All Time by readers of Prog magazine in 2014.

The site Prog Sphere considered Mirage to be the band’s best album, writing that it is a prog classic that should be owned by anyone who is a fan of progressive rock.

The band had obviously chosen the kind of music they wanted to make on “Mirage” and it’s obviously progressive at every turn, shrouded in a magical mist that falls and rises like a sewing needle. The sleepy vocals, carried on the winds of a lovely mellotron and supported by the bass and drums, create a dreamlike state that wakes you up and that few albums can do. All of this is on display in “Freefall”, with its seductive sirens smoking, followed by the instrumental “Supertwister”, with Andy Latimer’s previously unknown and otherworldly flute playing. All of this finally leads to the two-parter “Nimrodel”, which sounds like a transcendental reimagining of the re-emergence of another great space group, Gandalf. For this heroic achievement only, Camel could be considered classics through the years.

“Earthrise”, on the other hand, removes some of that evocative atmosphere, leading to a distant land with Pete Bardens sweating over his shiny instrument playing relentlessly, while Andy Ward attacks with non-stop percussive energy. The three-part “Lady Fantasy” seems to continue in that vein, but soon morphs effortlessly into a charming melody sprinkled with passages of Bardens’ keyboards that touch the sacred path of the Doors.

The whole album speaks to what the genre is best at: a self-sustaining musical world where fantasy is reality and human strings remain invisible. Camel offer a different route from the great load of Genesis immortals, using softer musical touches instead of impressive genius, with “Mirage” not just an illusion of progressive, but progressive itself.

Through this amazing album I select, what else, “Lady Fantasy”.

Tracklist

A1 Freefall 5:55
A2 Supertwister 3:20
A3 Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider 9:18
B1 Earthrise 6:50
B2 Lady Fantasy (12:59)
     B2.1 Encounter
     B2.2 Smiles For You
     B2.3 Lady Fantasy

Written by: Dimitris Sigalos

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