Curved Air - Retrospective (double cd)
Specially compiled by Sonja Kristina, Retrospective is the most comprehensive and authoritative Curved Air compilation ever issued.
A re-mastered double cd set with an illustrated full-colour booklet (written by respected journalist Chris Welch and containing an in-depth interview with Sonja), the collection features a superb cross-section of material spanning the entirety of Curved Air's illustrious career.
An ideal introduction to a groundbreaking band.
Curved Air were an instant success when they formed in 1970.
Founder members Darryl Way (electric violin and vocals), Sonja Kristina (vocals), Francis Monkman (keyboards), Pilkington-Miksa (drums) and Ian Erye (bass) were signed to Warner Brothers and their astonishing debut Air Conditioning (1970) was promoted as the first ever picture disc album.
In 1971 they scored a Top 5 hit single with the gritty 'Back Street Luv' and the accessible, yet experimental, Second Album (1971) ably showcased the band's innovative fusion of electronic rock and classical music.
The group underwent several personnel changes during the 1970s.
Later members included legendary violinist/keyboard player Eddie Jobson (Roxy Music, UK, Frank Zappa) and soon to be superstar drummer, Stewart Copeland (The Police).
Around late 1967/very early 1968, Sonja Kristina was running the Wednesday evening sessions at the Troubadour Folk Club and appearing on the folk scene as "Sonja". She had had a number of TV slots on the kids' show "Song and Story". She played briefly with the Strawbs immediately after Sandy Denny left the band, the boys trying to recreate the sound of their recently recorded album with Sandy. Cousins recalled:
"'Or Am I Dreaming' [on Strawbs] was very much inspired by the sessions I used to do at the Troubadour with Sonja Kristina .... When Sandy left the band Sonja was going to be her replacement, but she did one show with us at a folk club in Chelmsford, and that was it. The reprise was about the magic mountain music man, which was me .... that was in the poem I wrote about her which was going to be in the book of my poems that was never released."
In fact the poetry book was eventually released (in 1993, "The Bruising of Hearts, The Losing Of Races" and sure enough, a poem "Silver Smile" includes more on the magic mountain music man, and is the poem written to Sonja Kristina back in the 60s.
Meanwhile Curved Air had more or less gathered (minus Sonja) having previously worked under the name Sisyphus, but changing their name to a shortened form of Terry Riley's album A Rainbow In Curved Air. Sonja, having played the folk clubs, had secured a role in the musical Hair, singing on the soundtrack album and recording "Frank Mills" which released on a single. She met the band whilst they were the house band for Hair's producer Galt McDermott's other shows, and auditioned as lead singer.
Curved Air were the first British band signed by Warner Brothers, and their first album, Airconditioning was the one of the first rock picture discs. Their second album Second Album (nice title!) included the number 8 chart hit "Back Street Luv".
Key members Francis Monkman (keyboards) and Darryl Way (violin) departed after the third album Phantasmagoria and Kristina formed a short-lived line-up without them before spending a few months back in "Hair" to pay the bills! Way and Monkman briefly rejoined her for a live album. Monkman then split for Sky, and Sonja and Darryl Way recruited new members including her husband to be Stewart Copeland on drums. This line-up toured incessantly and also produced two Curved Air studio albums, Midnight Wire and Airborne .
In the later 70s and 80s Sonja had her own vehicle Sonja Kristina's Escape, which released a solo album Sonja Kristina in 1980 and later, another vehicle called Tunis, which didn't record.
After a long time away from the business, she became interested in the burgeoning London acoustic scene and produced a CD in 1991 in the so-called "acid folk genre" called Songs From The Acid Folk, re-issued by Korean label Si-Wan in 2000 with splendid packaging. Further CDs followed in 1996 (The Harmonics Of Love) and 2003 (Cri De Coeur). She also held a five year residency as pop music tutor at the University of Middlesex.
Her latest project Mask, teams her up with ambient cellist/violinist/producer Marvin Ayres . On their website they describe their music as "experimental voice and strings soundscapes, fusing elements of Ambient/Electronica, Trance and Classical music to breathtaking and original effect". An initial CD maxi single CD Healing Senses has been followed in August 2005 by a double-sided disc (CD/DVD) "Heavy Petal, the Tenebrous Odyssey of Jack and Virginia", including ambient films created for the music of Mask by film artist Outerbongolia. There are samples both of audio and video.
Sonja will be joining the Acoustic Strawbs to sing some of the early Sandy Denny numbers with them at the spectacular 40th Anniversary Strawbs weekend in September 2009.
Curved Air - Live at the BBC
Curved Air - Live at the BBC - 1995
# Propositions/What Happens When You Blow Yourself Up? (Francis Monkman/Sonja Kristina) *
# It Happened Today (Francis Monkman/Sonja Kristina) *
# Young Mother in Style (Darryl Way/Sonja Kristina) **
# Situations (Darryl Way/Rob Martin) **
# Blind Man (Darryl Way/Rob Martin) **
# Thinking on the Floor (Darryl Way/Sonja Kristina) ***
# Stretch (Francis Monkman/Darryl Way) ***
# Stark Naked (Curved Air) ****
# Woman On a One Night Stand (Norma Tager/Sonja Kristina) ****
# Midnight Wire (Norma Tager/Darryl Way) ****
# Hot 'N' Bothered (Norma Tager/Mick Jacques) ****
# The Fool (Norma Tager/Darryl Way/Mick Jacques) ****
Album recorded * 28/4/70; ** 5/1/71; *** 27/1/71; **** 29/1/76. Album released 1995
# Stewart Copeland -- Drums, Percussion ****
# Ian Eyre -- Bass **, ***
# Mick Jacques -- Guitar ****
# Sonja Kristina -- Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (all)
# Rob Martin -- Bass *
# Francis Monkman -- Guitars, Keyboards *, **, ***
# Florian Pilkington-Miksa -- Drums, Percussion *, **, ***
# Tony Reeves -- Bass ****
# Darryl Way -- Violin, Keyboards (all)
# Recordings made 28/4/70 are mono, recorded at the BBC Studios; produced by John Walters
# Recordings made 5/1/71 were recorded at the BBC Studios; produced by John Muir
# Recordings made 27/1/71 were recorded at the BBC Studios; produced by Frances Line
# Recordings made 29/1/76 were recorded live at the Paris Theatre in London; produced by Mike Appleton
# What Happens When You Blow Yourself Up is not credited on the album cover.
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Music. Warmth people. Good songs.Delight in female voice.YOU!Kaki King