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Curved Air: Live Atmosphere

A phantasmagorical return.

Coming back after a couple of decades away from the spotlight seemed like a risky move for Curved Air’s unassuming singer Sonja Kristina, particularly with the band’s halcyon days some 40 years behind them. But as the band’s spot at the 2011 High Voltage Festival showed, her strong, honest voice is still intact, as is her understated but beguiling stage presence.

She’s only been able to round up Florian Pilkington-Miksa (has there ever been a more wonderfully named drummer?) from the original line-up, but no matter – she’s stayed true to the guitar/violin/keyboards format that secured Curved Air’s modest but distinctive part in prog rock’s history, and the new band brings a vibrancy their predecessors might have struggled to match.

They wisely stick to the first three albums on this live compilation, accentuating the jazz-rock elements of Propositions and adding to the original flavour of Everdance, Stretch and Back Street Luv.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.