I never understood why there was no review of the Polish band Quidam on our page. Back in 1996 this band made an amazing debut album under the name "Quidam". Maybe because I live in The Netherlands I discovered this band at an early stage. I still look back with a smile on my face at the first concerts they gave in our country. Singer Emila Derkowska and flute player Ewa Smarzynska stole the hearts of the Dutch progfans. But it was keyboard player Zbyszek Florek and guitarist Maciek Meller who led us into progheaven with their solos. Because there was only one album the band played in those days some marvellous covers of classic Camel and Genesis material. In the year 1998 when Ewa was already replaced by Jacek Zasada, the band recorded their second effort "Sny aniolów" which later was also released in a version with English lyrics ("Angels dreams"). This album didn't had the same impact as the debut album with the long guitar solos, but the band was searching for and developing an own sound. After "Live in Mexico" which was recorded at BAJA prog festival of 1999 we had to wait a long time for their third studio album. But at last the album is now released and carries the name "The time beneath the sky".
Emila Derkowska - vocal, backing vocals; Zbyszek Florek - piano, keyboards; Rafal Jermakow - drums, percussion; Maciek Meller - electric and acoustic guitars; Radek Scholl - bass; Jacek Zasada - flutes.
Monika Margielewska - oboe; Milosz Gawrylkiewicz - flugelhorn; Grzegorz Nadolny - bass; Robert Amirian - mandolin; Michal Maciejewski - accordion.
The new album can be divided into two parts. The first five tracks from which the first two ( "Letter from the desert I & II" ) also belongs together and the last five tracks which together form "The time beneath the sky" suite. When you put this album into your CD player you are immediately confronted with Emila's beautiful voice who still sings like an angel. The atmospheric opening of "Letter from the desert I" (6:12) is very beautiful and when the complete band joins with an Arabic sounding theme you are drawn into the music. An amazing arrangement with a breathtaking melody on oboe in the end. In "Still waiting (Letter from the desert II)" (4:48) Emila proofs my opinion that Quidam must use their own Polish language. This brings a special atmosphere to the music. Emila sings like she has never done before, very passionate. And the recording is crystal clear. In the end we hear a beautiful melody on the flugelhorn. Quidam brings with "No Quarter" (11:44) a cover of Led Zeppelin. This sounds strange but if you hear the arrangement of this track it fits perfectly into the album. In this long track the members get some space to show their skills on their instruments. We can enjoy here some nice guitar and keyboard solos. Next is "New name" (4:45) which starts with a beautiful melodic guitar part. In this track we here again the Polish vocals with tasteful melodies. "Kozolec (for AgaPe)" (5:00) starts folky with a mandolin played by Robert Amirian (Collage). The folky touch is also created by the use of a recorder (flute). The piece has an overall happy sound and includes some great melodies.
Then it is time for the second part of this CD, "The time beneath the sky" suite. The first piece is called "Credo I" (8:04). This is one of the many highlights of this album. Beautiful melodies on guitar and flute. The track melts seamless into the instrumental "Credo II" (5:13), which has a more progressive and symphonic character. "You are (In the labyrinth of thoughts)" (4:31) is a slow melodic piece which brings back the voice of Emila. Most of the compositions are from Zbyszek Florek, Maciek Meller and Emila Derkowska. And I think Zbyszek Florek is a very important factor for this album. He must be mentioned because he is not freaking with all kinds of solos but instead only plays for the compositions. The melodies and arrangements are of a very high quality. My favourite track is the long instrumental group composition "Quimpromptu" (9:35). In the end of the composition and after an introduction on flute we hear an emotional guitar solo played by Maciek Meller with a lot of passion. Only for this delicious solo I would buy this album! I like this kind of compositions where the tension is slowly build up to a kind of climax. "(Everything has its own) Time beneath the sky" (3:59) is the last part of the suite and closes this album in a worthy manner.
If I had to describe this album with a single word it would be the word: beautiful. And if I could only use two, it would be: beautiful and passion. The fans had to wait a long time for this album but the result is amazing. This is absolute the best album Quidam has come up with until now. Beautiful melodies and delicate and tasteful arrangements. The recording sounds great. The mix done by Zbyszek Florek himself sounds very clear and transparent. Zbyszek Florek and Maciek Meller are the main composers of this Quidam. They let the other members of the band shine. Singer Emila Derkowska's voice sounds mature and delicate at the same time. This "The time beneath the sky" is the most beautiful album I heard this year.